Having trouble with hair loss, fragile, damaged or thinning hair, or wish it would just grow?
I have had some real problems with damaged, fragile, thinning, and reluctant-to-grow hair.
A few years ago, my hair was down to my waist. However, the longer it was, the thinner it became. It became frizzy, dry, brittle and difficult to control. In an effort to make it smoother and straighter, I tried using a straightening chemical on it – something like a perm, only in reverse. That chemical completely demolished it! It broke, started falling out, and was so damaged I had to cut it all off!
I was devastated! I truly mourned the loss of my long hair. It took several months for me to accept how short it was.
It was during this time that I started looking around for some answers to help regain its health, help it to grow, and make it stop falling out. Did I need some sort of supplements? Did I need to change my shampoo? Did I need to change the methods I used while style it? Did I need to use some sort of special cream or something natural that would help? The answer to all of the above is, yes!
I am so grateful to my daughters who know more than I do and for my sisters’ wealth of knowledge, expertise, and talent as a hair dresser. She is extraordinary. As my sister and I have chatted during a cut and style, she has taught me some very valuable information that has made a difference to me. I will pass on what I have learned to you with the hope that it makes a difference to you too!
First of all, how often are you shampooing? I used to shampoo every day. I felt I needed a fresh start to the day. Washing your hair so often strips it of the natural oils that protect it. Yes, washing it less often at first will seem to make your hair way more greasy. That’s just because the natural oils are trying to replenish themselves according to how they have had to keep up while being washed so often. Give it a week or two. The oils will balance out, so the greasiness won’t last very long. I now shampoo 1-3 times a week. Of course, I have to wash it more often when I swim.
Next, what shampoo are you using? Once upon a time, I was a die-hard Pantene girl. It made my hair feel great. I loved how it smelled and what it did for my hair. However, one of my (6) daughters and my younger sister, shared with me the secret of Argan Oil. One of the first changes I made was to add Argan Oil to my regimen after towel drying (yes, while I was still shampooing with Pantene). It took time, but eventually, I found the Argan Oil seemed to help make my hair a little stronger, less frizzy, a little softer, and more manageable.
My next change was to switch shampoos. I switched to Organix Argan Oil of Morocco shampoo and conditioner. When I made the switch, that was when I also changed to shampooing 2-3 times a week, and I didn’t really notice a big problem with greasy hair. (I also kept applying Argan Oil after towel drying). It seemed to adjust pretty quickly. I now switch between Organix and an organic vegetarian shampoo my sister gave me. Recently, I ran out of Organix and decided to try using the left-over Pantene in my bathroom cabinet. What a mistake! My hair was instantly dry, fly-away, and difficult to manage. It was shocking! I had even used my specially home-made all-natural hair mask before shampooing! (the recipe is coming later in this post).
At my last appointment with her, my sister also introduced me to a cream that helps strengthen the proteins (keratin). Things just keeps getting better and better! You need a fabulous hair dresser who knows her stuff!
It just so happened that when I made the switch to shampooing 2-3 times a week, I also found this awesomely amazing hair mask on Babilon Kay’s blog. Her posts are more for African-American hair. I tweaked it just a little to better meet my needs. I was desperate to get my hair to grow and become healthy, so I tried it. At first, I saturated it the night before I intended to shampoo. I have since come to understand that I really only need to have the mask on for 20-30 minutes. Nothing more is really absorbed after that.
Essential Hair Mask Recipe:
- 1 cup shea butter
- 1/2 cup cacao butter
- 4 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1 Tbsp grape seed oil
- 1 Tbsp vegetable glycerin
- 1 Tbsp sweet almond oil
- 10 drops essential oil (I use 10 drops of 3 different kinds of essential oils, making the total 30 drops). What essential oils may help with hair problems?
Place shea butter, cacao butter, and coconut oil in a microwaveable/freezer-safe dish. Microwave in 30-second increments, stirring between, just until melted. Add remaining ingredients. Blend well. Place in the freezer for 20-30 minutes, until cloudy around edges. Whip mixture on high until it resembles cake batter. Place in a container. Does not need to be refrigerated.
Apply mask to scalp and hair in small sections. Start at the root and apply a light/medium amount of cream from root to tip. (In my experience, the amount I have to use varies according to how dry my hair is that day. Some days it soaks up the moisture quite quickly, necessitating using more.) When the entire scalp and hair are covered, leave on for 20-30 minutes. Shampoo and condition as usual. You may need to shampoo twice to get all of the mask out. If you find your hair is greasy or heavy, too much mask has been left behind. A very effective agent to get the mask out is apple cider vinegar. Not only does it get all the mask out, it is also a natural conditioner that promotes growth.
I swim as part of my exercise routine, and I use this mask for protection against damage when I swim.
These few simple changes have made an incredible difference in the rate of growth, texture, and manageability.
Some Reasons for Hair Loss and Other Problems
One of the resources for my information is the book “Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Fifth Edition” by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC. The following excerpt is from her book:
“Baldness or loss of hair is referred to as alopecia. Alopecia totalis means loss of all the scalp hair. Alopecia universalis means loss of all body hair, including eyebrows and eyelashes. If hair falls out in patches, it is termed alopecia aerate. This condition is usually temporary and rarely leads to baldness. Factors that are involved in hair loss include heredity, hormones, and aging.
A less dramatic, but more prevalent, type of hair loss is androgenetic alopecia (AGA), or male pattern baldness. AGA is common in men. As the name implies, a genetic or hereditary predisposition to the disorder and the presence of androgens – male sex hormones – are involved in this condition.
Women sometimes have the same type of hair loss, but it is not usually as extensive and most often does not occur until after menopause. All women experience some hair thinning as they grow older, especially after menopause, but in some it begins as early as puberty. In addition, most women lose some hair two or three months after having a baby because hormonal changes prevent normal hair loss during pregnancy.
In addition to heredity, other factors that promote hair loss include:
- Poor circulation
- Acute Illness
- Radiation exposure
- Skin disease
- Sudden weight loss
- High fever
- Iron deficiency
- Thyroid disease
- Drugs, such as those used in chemotherapy
- Other fungal infections
- Chemicals, such as hair dyes
- Vitamin deficiencies
End of excerpt
The Importance of Nutrients and Nutrition
I have done quite a bit of study and research into what vitamins and and minerals make up the hair and what supplements would make the greatest positive impact to help me reach my goals and dreams of healthy, beautiful, strong, manageable hair.
The following condensed excerpt is from “Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Fifth Edition” by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC:
Very important nutrients the hair needs are:
- Essential fatty acids (flaxseed oil, primrose oil, or salmon oil)
- Raw thymus glandular
- Bitamin B complex with Vitamin B3, B5, B6, plus extra biotin and inositol and MSM (methylsulfonylmethane)
- Vitamin C with bioflavonoids (those who are prone to kidney stones should check with their doctor first, as vitamin C may be contraindicated)
- Vitamin E (those who are on blood thinner or anticoagulant therapy should check with their doctor first, as vitamin E may thin the blood further)
Important nutrients the hair needs are:
- Coenzyme Q10 plus Coenzyme A
- DMG (dimethyglycine
Some helpful nutrients are:
- Grape seed extract
- L-cysteine and L-methionine plus glutathione
- MSM (methylsulfonylmethane)
- Silica (silicon)
I am currently utilizing some really great sources for whole-food nutrients:
- doTERRA’s LifeLong Vitality
- True Hope Freeminos
- Hair Force
- Balanced diet
- Plenty of water
Use apple cider vinegar and sage tea as a rinse to help hair grow
Ginko biloba improves circulation to the scalp
Green tea, pygeum, and saw palmetto may aid in reducing hair loss in men
Tea tree oil combats bacteria and mites that may cause hair loss. Massage 10 drops into the scalp, then shampoo in the usual fashion.
Phyllis A Balch, CNC, Also Suggests:
Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetable and low in starch. This may help slow down the process of hair loss. Fruits and vegetables contain flavonoids, many of which are antioxidants that may provide protection for the hair follicles and encourage growth.
Eat plenty of foods high in biotin and/or take supplemental biotin as recommended. Biotin is needed for healthy hair and skin, and may even prevent hair loss in some men. Good food sources of biotin include brewer’s yeast, brown rice, bulgur, green peas, lentils, oats, soybeans, sunflower seeds, and walnuts.
Caution: Brewer’s yeast can cause an allergic reaction in some individuals. Start with a small amount at first, and discontinue use if allergic symptoms occur.
Include soy foods such as soybeans, tempeh, and tofu in your diet. Soy foods appear to inhibit the formation of dihydrotestosterone, a hormone implicated in the process of hair loss.
Do not eat foods containing raw eggs. Raw eggs not only pose a risk of salmonella infection, but are high in avidin, a protein that binds to biotin and prevents it from being absorbed. Cooked eggs are acceptable.
Lie head down on a slant board fifteen minutes a day to allow the blood to reach your scalp. Massage your scalp daily.
Use shampoos and conditioners that contain biotin and silica. Aloe vera gel, vitamins C and E, and jojoba oils are also very good. Conditioners containing chamomile, marigold, ginseng, and/or passionflower help to keep hair healthy as well.
Be careful of using products that are not natural. Allergic reactions to chemicals in these products occur frequently. Alternate among several different hair care products, using only all-natural and pH-balanced formulas. Nature’s Cabin carries a variety of natural hair care products.
Hair is fragile when wet. Gently pat wet hair dry and squeeze out remaining moisture with a towel.
Cover your hair when it is exposed to sunlight. Long exposure to sunlight and seawater can be damaging.
Avoid rough treatment. Do not use a brush or fine-toothed comb. If at all possible, towel dry only. Also, do not use a blow-dryer or other heated appliances; let it dry naturally. Do not comb your hair until it is dry, as it tends to break off when wet. Use a pick to put wet hair in place. Do not wear tight ponytails, cornrows, or other styles that pull on the hair.
Avoid crash diets and diets that neglect any of the food groups. These can cause deficiencies in nutrients that are detrimental to the hair.
If you are losing large amounts of hair, see a physician.
I also have made doTERRA’s LifeLong Vitality Complex a part of my daily routine. This complex provides the full B vitamin complex. B vitamins are important for health and growth of hair.