Friday, December 30

Hair Cream Recipe

Here's a quick and easy recipe for a soft silky hair lotion

Soft & Silky Hair Cream
1-1 1/2 cup Aloe Vera Gel or Juice
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
3 Tbsp Shea butter (can also use cocoa, illipe or kokoum butter instead)
1/2 Tbsp Coconut Oil (optional-can use avocado, sesame or whatever you desire)
2 Tbsp Castor Oil (provides shine)
1 Tbsp Honey (provides shine and moisture)
2 tsp Vitamin E Oil
2 tsp Jojoba Oil
2 Tbsp Emulsifying Wax, vegetable based
2 tsp Steraic Acid (this is a natural vegetable based wax)
5 drops Lavender Essential Oil
5 drops Sweet Orange Oil
5 drops Rosemary Essential Oil

Water Phase:
In a medium bowl combine aloe vera gel (or juice) and honey.

Oil Phase:
In a double boiler heat up olive, coconut, castor oils and add emulsifying wax and steraic acid over a medium heat. Stirl until wax and acid have completely dissolved. Remove from heat, add shea butter and stir until partially or completely melted. Let cool for about 10 minutes.

Combine water phase and oil phase. Then add in vitamin E, jojoba and essential oils. With a hand mixer or stick blender thoroughly mix for 15 minutes. Let mixture rest in fridge or freezer for about10 minutes then blend again for another 15 minutes, make sure to scrape down sides of the bowl. You'll notice that because there's more water in this mixture than oils that it's going to have a pudding like consistency. Pour into desired container and store in a dry, cool place.

Thursday, December 29

Remedying Dry Hair

Dry hair happens when oil and moisture escapes your hair and it becomes dry and lacks sheen and softness.  It feels rough, looks dull, appears frizzy and breaks off easily.  The longer hair stays dry the more prone it is to become brittle and dull.  Some people will experience dry hair that comes and goes due to various outside influences such as excessive washing, weather (sun and wind) stress, diet, health (illness or disorder), etc. Also try to avoid shampooing with shampoos laden sulfates, rinsing with hot water, and using heated appliances (flat irons and hair dryers).

Healthy hair has a moisture content of 10%. So if your hair's moisture content falls below that then the ability for your hair to retain moisture decreases, which causes the hair to lose elasticity and suppleness.

There are many different cost effective and natural ways that you can remedy your dry hair.

Vitamins - Take a look at the vitamins you're taking or not taking. Biotin has been known to help strengthen hair. Fruits (orange colored) and vegetable (dark leafy greens) that contain vitamin A not only taste good but help to keep the hair from drying out.

Moisturizing - Drinking lots of water provides moisture to your hair. Spritz your hair and/or apply an oil to moisturize the hair strands helping to keep them healthy.

Deep Conditioning - This process helps to bring much needed moisture to the hair and allows the conditioning treatment to penetrate the cuticle and shaft of the hair.

Avocado Hair Mask
1/2 avocado (or 1 over ripe banana)
3 1/2 oz coconut milk (half a can; can also use yogurt if desired)
2 oz coconut oil
1 Tbsp castor oil
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp honey

Combine avocado and coconut milk in a food processor and puree until smooth (you don't want any chunks or lumps). Add in remainder of ingredients. Section hair and apply mixture from root to tip and cover with a plastic cap (or bag) then cover with a towel and let sit for 30 minutes to an hour. Rinse out with cool or lukewarm water.

Hot Oil Treatment - It's been proven many times that hot oil treatments are an effective way to adding moisture back to dry and damaged hair. They are most effective when applied to the hair anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks (this depends on how dry or damaged your hair may be). Click here for an easy recipe.

Protein Treatment - These treatments work to build the hair shaft back up so that it can retain much needed mositure. Click here for some basic and inexpensive recipes.

Wednesday, December 28

Dry Scalp? Causes & Treatments

Lack of moisture, harsh weather conditions or hair products laden with chemicals can cause a dry, itchy, and flaky scalp. An itchy, dry and/or flaky scalp usually means that it needs to breathe. Years of using products with chemicals can cause an allergic reaction.  In some cases a dry and flaking scalp can be due to other conditions such as dandruff, eczema or psoriasis. Dandruff is caused when skin cells flake off, which are most commonly oily and not dry. Eczema is when a heavy amount of dandruff is accompained with an intense itchy scalp. Psoriasis causes the scalp to flake with silvery flakes and become red and irriated.

Here are some simple changes you can make to your haircare routine.

Scalp cleansing. Using apple cider vinegar helps to detoxify your scalp, open up the pores and bring the ingredients to cure the scalp condition. Many market products that are made for itchy scalp have too many chemicals, many of which cause the problem in the first place. Cleanse your scalp once a week or as often as needed.

Shampooing. Frequent shampooing can strip the scalp of moisture from its natural oils especially in the winter when there is a lack of moisture in the air. Follow up by moisturizing the scalp and hair with a good hair butter or your favorite oil. Using too much shampoo makes it diffuclt to rinse it all out and if any is left behind it dries and flakes.

Hot oil treatments. Apply a warm oil (i.e. olive) to the scalp and gently rubbing it in with the pads of your fingers. Cover with a plastic cap and wrap with a towel and let sit for 30 mintues to an hour. Wash out with a gentle or sulfate free shampoo and lukewarm or cool water.

Gently massage your scalp. This increases blood flow to the scalp, which helps to clear any blocked pores. Massaging your scalp also helps to loosen any dead skin cells, making them eaiser to wash away. Try not to scratch as scratching can leave cuts on the skin which may lead to infection.

Use less heat. Too much heat (blow dryers and flat/curling irons) can irritate and dry out the scalp, making it even flakier. Washing your hair with hot water can also add to the problem. Instead it's best to use lukewarm or cool water and let your hair air dry instead of using a blow dryer. If you must use a blow dryer than put it on the cool setting.

Cover your head when the sun is out. In the summer it's best to wear a hat to prevent your scalp getting sunburned, which adds to dryness.

In addition to being a great astringent for the skin, apple cider vinegar (ACV) has been used for years to cleanse the hair and scalp of product buildup and environmental residue. It helps to control dandruff and prevent the scalp from becoming scaly or itchy.  When ACV is infused with aloe vera and herbs it can condition, soften the hair without stripping it and restore pH balance.  ACV clarifies and restores natural scalp balance while aloe vera restores your hair's natural pH balance.

ACV Cleanser
2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
1 cup Aloe Vera Juice
5 drops Lemon Essential Oil
5 drops Sweet Orange Essential Oil

Combine all ingredients in a bottle with an applicator tip. Apply cleanser to scalp and gently massage in with fingers. Wash out with a gentle or sulfate free shampoo with cool or lukewarm water.

Note: The base of aloe vera, lemon and sweet orange oil helps to nourish the hair shaft, leaving the hair soft.

Herbal ACV Cleanser
1/3 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 1/2 cup Aloe Vera Gel
1 teaspoon Nettle
1 teaspoon Calendula
1 teaspoon Rosemary
1 teaspoon Burdock Root
1 teaspoon Chamomile
1 teaspoon Horsetail
1 teaspoon Sage
1 teaspoon Oregano
1 teaspoon Licorice Root
1 teaspoon Willow Bark
5 to 10 drops Lemon Essential Oil
5 drops Lavender Essential Oil
5 drops Rosemary Essential Oil (optional)

Combine apple cider vinegar and herbs in a glass bowl and place over a pot of boiling water over medium heat (creating a double boiler) and let infuse anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. Be sure to stir the mixture occasionally. After 15 minutes or so remove from heat, strain herbs through cheesecloth and mesh strainer and let stand until infusion is lukewarm. Add in aloe vera gel and essential oils. Use a whisk to break down clumps of aloe vera gel. Pour and store in a glass container, preferably an amber or colored glass bottle.

You can also combine the herbs, apple cider vinegar, aloe vera gel and essential oils in a large glass jar and let sit in a cool, dry place anywhere from a week to four weeks. Be sure to gently roll the jar one to two times a week.

When ready to use dilute 1-2 tablespoons of infused ACV to 1 cup of distilled water. Note: Dry or fresh herbs will give you the same results. You can use any essential oils you like.

Final note: You will want to use apple cider vinegar opposed to white vinegar because ACV is made from fermented apples while white vinegar is derived oxidized alcohol.  Be patient as these treatments can take up to six weeks before you start to see the results you want.
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