10 Natural Ingredients For Hair Care
Here is a list of 10 natural ingredients for hair care that will help with healthy hair growth, keep the hair frizz free and manageable. They are easy to find natural ingredients and you can use them without having to worry about any chemicals.
I grew up in a place where we had a big garden with lots of trees and plants. There were numerous trees with exotic fruits and I still do not know the names of many of them. There were many number of plants with fruits and flowers right outside our home.
I had the luck to learn about many different herbs and plants which have so many uses, and I am still very curious to learn about more plants and trees. When I wanted any fresh herbs, I just had to get a few fresh leaves from our garden. It was so easily available and abundant that I never realized they are actually so valuable, and so I never cared much about it on those days. After I moved out from my parent's home and settled away in the city life, I learnt that I have to search and find out where I can get these herbs. Most of the time it is not even possible to find the fresh ones, and so now I try to grow few of the herbal plants in my balconies.
I have long hair which is also curly by nature, and it tends to get dry and frizzy if I do not take care of it. Many women are lucky to have naturally silky and shiny hair which is also free from frizz, but many of us just have the type of hair that is difficult to manage with out proper care.
When regular hair care is needed it is always best to go for the natural ways. I am not saying I do not use any commercially made shampoos or conditioners. Actually I use them. But that is mainly because of time constraints. Gathering the herbs and caring for your hair in the natural ways is not that difficult, but I prefer to go for an approach where I find a balance between using the commercially available products and also the natural products from herbal plants. It is working for me right now.
Here we will see ten natural ingredients that are very much useful to improve the health and look of hair.
Photo is from Pixabay by alehidalgo
1. Indian gooseberries or Amla
Indian Gooseberries are different from the gooseberries that are normally seen in Europe and other parts of the world, even though they look much similar. In India, they are generally known by the name Amla and they are used in a number of traditional medicines. These fruits are edible and it is believed that eating gooseberries daily can improve the eyesight and delay the symptoms of ageing.
Indian gooseberries are very commonly used in India, even though they have a slightly bitter taste. The fruit is quite hard and it has very hard seed inside, so it can be a choking hazard for small children.
Other than the numerous health benefits they offer, Indian gooseberries are especially good for the health of hair. Applying a paste of these fruits in the scalp regularly can help reduce hair falling. If applied in hair strands and scalp, this can help prevent premature greying of hair. Amla is a common ingredient found in most of the herbal oils and shampoos made in the traditional way. If you can’t find the fresh fruits, you can still get it from the market in the dried powdered form.
Dried Indian Gooseberry powder, so much easier to use than the fresh fruits
2. Hibiscus Flowers And Leaves
Hibiscus plant and flowers have a variety of uses, including their use in many medicines. They come in a variety of colours, but it is the red variety that we usually use in medicine and foods. The red hibiscus flowers, both single layered and multi layered, are edible and their petals are used to make hibiscus tea and also many other traditional recipes.
The red flowers and their leaves can be used to make an excellent natural shampoo which is really good in cleansing the hair. Just get a few fresh petals of the red hibiscus flowers ( avoid the stamen) and also the green leaves, blend them together in little water and apply it in scalp and hair strands. Leave it for few minutes and wash away. You will find your hair so soft, silky and shiny! The dried hibiscus powder available in markets is a suitable alternative for those who can’t find the fresh hibiscus flowers.
Due to the colour of red hibiscus, it may be particularly suitable for dark hair types.
3. Henna Leaves Powdered Or Fresh
Most of us are familiar with henna. We had a henna tree in my parents home. During those years, girls including myself, always loved to get fresh leaves of henna so that we could grind that and use the paste to put mehndi designs in our hands. It was so much of fun to do and the results were so pretty! Henna is also an excellent natural herb which can be used to care for your hair. Henna can prevent greying, and it is especially a natural dye suitable for those who have dark coloured hair.
If you can find fresh henna leaves, wash and grind the leaves, mix with little yogurt and coffee powder and apply it in your hair strands and scalp. Leave it for quite some time, say at least 30 minutes to 1 hour and rinse it off. This will dye the grey hairs naturally with a beautiful reddish brown tint and your hair will look so soft and smooth. Henna can also strengthen your hair strands and reduce hair fall.
Just like hibiscus, since the henna powder will leave a reddish tint to the hair, it will be more suitable for dark hair types.
Shikakai is very popular in India as a natural hair cleanser and conditioner. The scientific name for the plant is Acacia Concinna. They have seeds which can be dried and powdered to be used later. I didn’ t have this plant at home, and I have never seen the real plant, but it is always easily available to buy it in the natural powdered form.
Dried Shikakai powder is excellent to be used as a natural cleanser for hair, this can also be mixed with other herbal powders.
5. Aloe Vera
Most of us are familiar with this wonderful green leafy plant which has many medicinal uses. It has very thick fleshy leaves with a gel like substance inside, and this gel is very useful in many ways. It is said that applying this gel in the skin can help cure the burns in skin. The gel is mainly used as a major ingredient in many hair care products and skin care products.
If you have an Aloe Vera plant in your home, you can easily cut thick leaves from the plant. Remove the outer skin and also the spiky parts of the leaves with a knife and get the gel inside the leaves. Apply it in hair and leave it for quite some time, say 30 minutes, and then rinse off. Aloe Vera gel is excellent natural conditioner for hair and applying it in the hair will leave your hair smooth and silky.
One of the best shampoos for normal to dry hair with Aloe Vera extract as the main ingredient
6. Holy Basil
Holy basil is one of the best herbs in the world with numerous uses. This plant is commonly known by the name “Tulsi” in India. It is considered most sacred in Hindu religion and hence the leaves and flowers are used for most of the Hindu religious ceremonies and prayers. Actually, the holy basil plant comes in a few varieties and there are slight differences in the appearance of leaves including their colour. All of the varieties are excellent herbal plants with great medicinal value. The leaves are especially good for improving the immunity and they are very commonly used in Indian Ayurvedic medicines to treat cough and cold, apart from their various other medicinal uses.
The leaves from the holy basil is rich with powerful antioxidants and they make a main ingredient in most of the Ayurvedic medicines. The plant has a very strong and pleasant scent, which makes it effective against most of the insects found in garden and home. Planting holy basil in the garden is said to prevent snakes from entering the garden as they cannot tolerate the the strong scent.
Applying a paste made of the holy basil leaves in hair is a very good remedy for head lice. Apply the paste in hair and leave it for about 1 hour, then comb the hair. Rinse off the hair afterwards. Using herbal oils made out of holy basil leaves regularly can protect against head lice. The use of the holy basil leaves can also strengthen and promote hair growth.
7. Fenugreek Seeds
Fenugreek seeds are extremely good for health and they are also excellent for the growth of hair. Actually this is an excellent remedy for dandruff. The seeds can be used moderately in food to improve the flavour of the food and also for the perceived health benefits.
In order to use this in hair, the dried seeds have to be soaked in water for few hours. After 5 or 6 hours, blend them together with little water, strain the contents and apply the paste in hair. Rinse well after few minutes. Applying the fenugreek paste in the hair strands and scalp can remove the dandruff and improve the health of hair.
Fenugreek has amazing health benefits, you can also use little fenugreek powder along with other spices in your food.
8. Shea Butter
Shea Butter is the fat extracted from a kind of nuts produced in the African Shea tree. I have never seen this tree or nuts, but I have always heard how good it is for hair as a natural hair moisturizer and conditioner. And I have to agree that I love the hair products made using Shea butter. It is said that Shea butter is great for skin too, however I don’t know about that since I have tried only the products meant for hair.
It is not advisable to use the Shea butter in dry hair. Make sure you apply it in wet hair. You can simply use the Shea butter after rinsing your hair with water. Also, using Shea butter in hair gives best results if an oil like coconut oil is applied just before applying the Shea butter.
Some people may develop allergic symptoms to Shea, just like any other nuts. So it is always recommended to check for any allergic reactions before applying in hair.
Photo from Wikimedia Commons Image shows soap made out of Shea butter.
Make sure you use this in wet hair, this may also be used as a leave in hair conditioner. It is recommended to discontinue the use if irritation occurs.
Have you ever used any fresh herbs or herbal products in your hair?
9. Natural Oils
By natural oils, I mean the pure cold pressed oils which are best for doing hot oil treatment in hair.
Applying slightly hot oil in hair and scalp and massaging for a few minutes can help to increase the blood circulation which in turns reduce hair fall and thus promote the growth of healthy hair. It is believed that doing this at least once a week will give best results.
I actually do not like oily hair, so whenever I use hair oils, I wash my hair with shampoo afterwards. I think it is best to apply oil in your hair about an hour or so before you are going to use the shampoo.
Coconut oil, Olive oil, Sesame oil, Almond oil are all excellent for hair. Sometimes herbs are infused with any of these oils to produce herbal hair oils.
You can use this for cooking, skin care and hair care!
Which of the following oils do you mostly use in your hair?
10. Coconut Milk
This is my favourite natural hair conditioner. It is so easy to use and it doesn’t leave the hair oily, so I don’t have to wash my hair with shampoo afterwards. Just rinsing with water is enough. However, I prefer using coconut milk made out of fresh coconuts since the packaged one may contain preservatives which may not be ideal for hair.
If you have access to fresh coconuts or grated coconuts that come frozen, you can easily make coconut milk in few minutes. Applying fresh coconut milk in hair can prevent hair fall, and it strengthens the hair strands and follicles. It also moisturizes the hair, so it looks soft and silky. Applying coconut milk is best for detangling your long hair which leaves it manageable and frizz free!
Are you familiar with any other natural hair care products, oils or herbs?
There are definitely more herbs and oils in this world that are good for hair care. If you are familiar with any of those, please share it in the comments section below!