Looking for another way to go green in your home? Try herbal hair care products – the kind your grow yourself! Herbs provide a gentle and inexpensive way to pamper your hair the natural way while providing variations for hair types and special conditions. With just a few ingredients you can enhance the appearance of your locks, provide shine and fragrance, and improve the overall quality of your hair!
Lavender is an astringent herb because it stimulates, and its fragrance can’t be beat for a hair rinse with a pleasant scent!
Photo Credit: © Pennystone Gardens
As a demulcent herb, parsley protects dry hair by coating the strands.
Photo Credit: © Judith K. Mehl
Rosemary is a boon for brunettes: It removes any greasy feeling while adding luster – and it’ll darken hair naturally with repeated use.
Photo Credit: © Pennystone Gardens
Start by choosing the types of herbs that can help your particular needs and wants: Astringent herbs reduce excess oil, demulcent herbs soften, and aromatic herbs add fragrance. Whether you’ve got dry or greasy hair; itchy, flakey dandruff; or you’re just looking to add some body and luster, there’s an herb out there to make your hair look great!
Here are just a few wonderful herbs that can help you get the tresses of your dreams:
Greasy hair: Use any astringent herb like rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) or mint (Mentha). An astringent herb will increase the tone of your hair.
Dry hair: Use a demulcent herb like comfrey (Symphytum officinale), slippery elm (Ulmus rubra), parsley (Petroselinum crispum) or sage (Salvia officinalis). Demulcent herbs are rich in mucilage, which puts up a protective barrier and coats the hair.
Dandruff: Combined with vinegar, herbs like rosemary, parsley, chamomile or sage will reportedly help control dandruff.
Body and luster: In addition to helping hair types, many herbs also provide body and luster to serve double duty on your locks. Some of the easiest to grow are rosemary, parsley and nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus). Remember, if you have dry hair, stick with ones that would help you, like parsley, sage or comfrey. Greasy hair requires herbs like rosemary or mint.
Highlights: Try rosemary for brunettes and chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile or Matricaria recutita) for blondes.
A simple recipe to make rinses will work for any of the above hair issues:
Take 1 cup of coarsely chopped, fresh herbs and 1 quart of distilled water. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let infuse (soak) for 1 hour. Strain, then add 1 quart of cider vinegar to the liquid. Store in plastic containers and keep in a cool, dark place. (You may be worried about adding the vinegar, but it acts as a preservative. You can make your rinses without it, but then they must be stored in the refrigerator and used within two days.)
Use about 1 cup after shampooing, pouring it over your hair several times. (You can catch the rinse water in a basin to use repeatedly.) Do the final rinse with cool water to make the outer cells of your strands lie flat, providing a smooth finish.
If you want a little extra hair care, consider concocting an herbal conditioner for greater control of your tresses. Herbs make gentle conditioners, too. To prepare one, be sure to mince the herbs first – it’s important that they be a fine texture because they won’t be strained out.
To make conditioner, add 1 cup of minced herbs to 2 cups of distilled water and simmer for 15-20 minutes. (If using roots or bark, double the cooking time.) Remove from heat and let infuse for an hour. Then add 1 tablespoon of glycerin – just 1 drop at a time – and stir vigorously. Store in a tightly sealed, plastic container and keep in a cool, dark place. Add a small amount to wet hair, finger-comb, then style as usual.
With just a wee bit of work in the kitchen, you can reap the many benefits of elegant hair in a gentle way without all the unnatural additives you’ll find in store-brand products. Not only will your hair look and smell great, you’re sure to get plenty of rave reviews!