Facts Checked By Freewill Beauty Experts - Written by Rithi Choudhury (Journalist) on 26th Nov 2020
The Best Natural Ingredients That Can Tame Your Mane!
Fan of everything natural and organic? Then today is you won't be disappointed because we'll talk about the natural ingredients lying in your kitchen or your nearest grocery store that can work wonders for your mane without costing you a fortune. Now beauty within a budget is a steal deal. Without further ado, let's get started.
Ingredients From Your Kitchen
Onions are a rich source of the third most abundant mineral in our body, sulfur. Sulfur is an essential component of 'keratin,' the structural protein that makes up our hair, skin, and nails. This is why onion juice, when applied on the scalp, can be useful in promoting hair growth.
Onions smell the way they do because of its sulfur content.
Banana is an antioxidant powerhouse with alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, selenium, choline, and Vitamin C. It also contains manganese and selenium, which is an essential mineral for healthy hair growth. Bananas also contain silica (Silicon Dioxide), and thus, banana hair masks help in smoothing the hair, imparting shine, and taming down frizz.
Honey is a humectant. It means it draws moisture, adding hydration to hair, and at the same time, it is also an emollient, which means it helps in smoothing the hair strands while sealing in the moisture. Use honey on its own as a nourishing hair mask or in combination with other ingredients to add shine and bounce to your tresses.
Honey also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Hence it is also great for treating inflammatory scalp conditions.
Avocado is your good fat friend! It is high in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) that help deeply condition your hair. It is rich in antioxidant powerhouses Vitamin C and E that scavenges free radicals that cause oxidative stress, a leading factor behind hair loss and thinning. It is even a rich source of magnesium, an essential mineral that helps in stimulating hair follicles. Using fresh, mashed avocados as hair masks is excellent, but if you do not have access to avocados, you can also reap the benefits from this superfood in the form of avocado oil.
Why are eggs not considered a superfood? They are loaded with proteins, good fats (the yolk is right for your health contrary to popular misconceptions), Vitamin A, and they are so easily accessible. The peptides present in the yolk help stimulate hair growth. Egg masks are probably the cheapest yet effective DIY protein mask you can make for your hair.
For oily hair, use egg whites, while for dry hair, use egg yolks. For normal hair, use the whole egg. If your ends are dry, then use egg yolks instead of egg whites.
Fan of K-Beauty? Then you will surely love this effortless DIY, which includes just rice grains and some water. Rice water is rich in amino acids, Vitamin Bs like niacin (B3), thiamine (B1); antioxidants, and minerals like manganese, selenium, magnesium. Rinsing the hair with rice water is therefore believed to impart the nutrition right into the hair strands.
Rice water (plain or fermented) was an ancient beauty ritual of the South-East Asian regions.
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV):
The red cousin of the plain white vinegar is not just limited to cooking and pickling, but its application also extends to the skin and hair. When used as a hair rinse after a wash, it helps balance the hair and scalp's pH. The pH factor of a substance is an indicator of its acidity or basicity. The scalp's ideal pH is 5.5, and the perfect pH for hair lies between 4.5 - 5.5. The alkaline nature of shampoos along with the higher pH of tap water (6.5 - 8.5) causes the hair cuticles (keratin scales forming the outermost coating of the hair shaft) to open because of which moisture from the hair cortex (the core of the hair shaft) escapes, leaving the hair dry and damaged. Thus, ACV helps lower the pH after a wash and closes the hair cuticles to keep the hair smooth and frizz-free.
From Your Grocery Store
Coconut oil is probably the best oil for the hair as it can penetrate deep into the hair cortex. It also helps prevent protein loss from the hair. Applying some coconut oil on your hair creates a protective coating that seals in moisture and protects the hair from uneven swelling that leads to frizziness. Studies also show coconut oil to have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. Thus it helps in treating scalp eczema, scalp psoriasis, dandruff, and lies.
Coconut oil is a natural sun protectant with an SPF 8.
Argan oil is high in fatty acids and antioxidants. The molecular structure of argan oil permits it to penetrate deep into the hair strand and nourish it. Therefore it is an excellent option for dry and brittle hair, mainly from heat styling.
Jojoba oil deeply penetrates the hair cortex as it is identical to the natural sebum we produce. It deeply conditions the hair making it smooth, maintains the scalp's pH, controls dandruff, stimulates hair growth, and repairs damage induced from heat styling.
Sweet Almond Oil:
Sweet almond oil is rich in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that scavenges free radicals and forms a protective carrier on the scalp to prevent moisture loss. Apart from vitamin E, sweet almond oil is also rich in essential minerals for the hair-like magnesium that helps prevent hair breakage.
A popular way to dye the hair naturally among Middle-Easterners and Indians is by crushing henna leaves that leave a beautiful reddish to brownish hue depending on the initial hair color intensity. If you do not have access to fresh henna leaves, then there are plenty of options (in powder form) available in the market. Only make sure there are no added artificial dyes. Henna not only dyes your hair without harmful chemicals like ammonia (a common ingredient in hair dyes), but it also has antimicrobial and antifungal properties to help treat any scalp condition you may have.
When using Henna, make sure you have not dyed your hair with synthetic colors in the past three months.
Ingredients From Your Garden or Local Market
This bright red/pink flower not just adds glory to your garden but also adds to the gloss of your tresses. The nutrients present in the flower aids in hair growth, nourish the hair, treat dandruff and itchy scalp. Crush fresh flowers and grind it into a fine paste to be used as a rejuvenating mask or extract the juice from the flower and mix it with your oil of choice for a scalp stimulating massage.
Hibiscus helps cool down the scalp.
Aloe Vera Gel:
Aloe Vera is one plant you must keep in your garden or inside your house because of its multitude of benefits for the hair, skin, and overall body health. It is a humectant and therefore hydrates dry hair. It is also rich in antioxidants, and thus it helps repair and nourish the hair and scalp.
Aloe plant purifies the air. Another reason to get this plant if you don't have it already.
If using fresh aloe vera gel, make sure you get rid of the yellow sap from the leaves, which can be irritating to the skin.
If you are from India, you are familiar with the age-old natural hair cleanser Reetha is known as Soapnut to the English speaking world. As the name suggests, Soapnut or Reetha not only cleanses the hair of dirt and grime but also keeps scalp infections at bay. Thanks to its antibacterial and antiseptic properties! It also contains saponins, genin, oleanolic acid, Vitamin E, etc., making the hair glossier and smoother.
Shikakai (Acacia concinna):
Shikakai is another wonder herb, popular in India and Ayurveda for its hair cleansing, nourishing, and rejuvenating properties. Shikakai powder is readily available in the local health stores and online. You can either use it on its own or combine it with Reetha and Amla, making a golden trio to optimum benefits.
Amla (Indian Gooseberry):
Amla or Indian Gooseberry is a rich source of iron and Vitamin C. Therefore, it promotes healthy blood circulation to the scalp, combats oxidative stress, and keeps gray hair at bay. You can use fresh amla juice in conjunction with other natural ingredients or reap amla benefits in the form of amla oil.
Amla oil may leave a grayish stain after application. Make sure you do not wear whites while oil massaging or sleep on white pillowcases.
Ingredients From A Health Store/Pharmacy
Omega 3 Fatty Acids found in food sources like salmon, salmon oil, cod liver oil, flax seeds, etc., are essential for maintaining skin, nail, and hair health. Omega 3 Fatty acid is rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. Combating oxidative stress helps prevent hair loss and thus ensures healthy, thick, and luscious hair.
Vitamin E Capsules:
No, not for ingestion because you do not Vitamin E supplements unless you have a deficiency. But did you know you can cut open a capsule into your choice of oil for a deeply conditioning hair massage?
Consume foods rich in Vitamin E like almonds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, avocados, sunflower oil, olive oil, etc. Diet is of the utmost importance when it comes to achieving healthy hair.
Biotin, also called vitamin H, vitamin B7, or vitamin B8, is an essential water-soluble nutrient belonging to the B-complex vitamin group. Biotin helps synthesize amino acids that produce the Keratin (protein making up our skin, hair, and nails). Therefore it is believed to be beneficial for hair growth and maintaining healthy hair. However, you do not need supplements unless you have a deficiency.
Biotin can be obtained from the diet as many common foods like eggs, oats, spinach, unpolished rice, banana, onions, etc., are rich sources of biotin.