Tag Archive | henna

My Current, Almost All-Natural, Low-Waste Hair Routine

Essential Oils for Hair

I thought I’d start off the new year with a new series on All-Natural Hair Care. So here is the first instalment.

I have been no-poo (that is, no shampoo) for about 3 years now. You can read about how I transitioned to no-poo here.

Recently I’ve also decided to add zero-waste to my hair and general routine as well. That is not the easiest thing in the world to do when you have dry, frizzy, curly hair.

Ayurvedic Herbal Powders

However, after about a full TWO YEARS! of experimenting and watching a gazillion YouTube videos, I think I’ve FINALLY found a minimalist, natural and low-waste (not zero-waste, however) hair routine that works for me.

It’s not the simplest, most minimalistic, most low-maintenance routine that’s ever existed but then again I figure girls with curly hair can’t follow the same routine as people with straight hair. Curly hair is drier so it needs more care. And my hair in particular is especially tangly (I’ve always called it self-tangling hair because it tangles around everything), with a naturally coarse, rough, wiry texture.

So here is my………

Complete All-Natural Zero Waste Hair Routine:

Week 1:

  • I begin by brushing my hair with a wooden brush. I brush it right side up and then upside down to get out tangles and stimulate hair growth.
  • Then I rub in hair oil. On the scalp I use a concoction that I made myself. In a jar I mix castor oil + olive oil + a teaspoon of bhringraj and let it sit. When I’m going to oil my hair, I just pour out the required amount into a small bowl and add a couple drops of rosemary and tea tree essentials oils. When it’s getting low on oil I simply add more oil. After a few weeks I throw out the bhringraj (I have no idea how long it would be good for though or if it ever goes bad) and add a new teaspoonful of this herb.
  • On the lengths I use coconut oil or olive oil. Then tie in a bun.
  • I leave this on for 2-3 hours. You can also leave it on overnight and sleep on it if you prefer.
  • Wash with solid shampoo or all-natural handmade soap.
  • Condition with solid conditioner.
  • Style as usual.

Hair OIling

Oiled Hair

Notes:

*I’ve been experimenting with solid conditioner for a few weeks now and I’m a bit on the fence about it. On the one hand, I like that it’s zero-waste, all-natural and silicone-free. And it smells fantastic.

But on the other hand, it takes forever to rub it through my extra-tangly, self-tangling rough, coarse hair. It also doesn’t leave my hair feeling as soft and hydrated as a cream conditioner.

I’ll be putting up a separate post soon all about solid conditioner. So stay tuned for it!

Since my hair is so naturally rough and coarse, I have a hard time trying to make it soft. If your hair is fine and naturally soft, it might work better for you though.

For this reason, even though I love the concept, I find that every now and then I still need to fall back on a creamy, liquidy conditioner in a plastic bottle, or my hair gets very dry, frizzy, flyaway and extra tangly (and it’s already tangly enough as it is!).

Week 2:

  • Don’t oil hair. But do brush it.
  • Wash with a mixture of aritha + sidr or shikakai and methi (ground fenugreek), mix with lemon juice or flaxseed gel or warm water to form a dense paste similar to shampoo. Apply like shampoo, leave on a couple minutes and rinse out.
  • Mix amla and brahmi with warm water to form a thick paste similar to conditioner. Apply to length of hair, detangle, leave on for 5 minutes and rinse off.
  • Style as usual.

Notes:

*I have been using sidr instead of shikakai because I’m able to get it at the same online shop where I buy the rest of the powders. And because shikakai can sting your eyes.

I also wasn’t too wowed by shikakai when I used it before. But if you can’t find sidr in your neck of the woods, it’s fine to use shikakai as well.

Sidr is the powdered leaves of a tree that grows in Persia (Iran) and the Middle East. Like aritha, it has saponins, natural soap, so it cleans your hair gently.

To make flaxseed gel, simply boil a teaspoon of flax seeds in a cup of water for about 15 minutes. Then strain out the flax seeds with a strainer, cool the liquid down until it’s warm and doesn’t burn and use it to mix up the herbal shampoo.

Because I have curly hair using some sort of styling / curling / hold product is a must. If I want to be completely natural and zero-waste I use flax seed gel by itself. But I get bored always using the same product so I like to switch things up. Then I do need to add in some commercial product in a plastic container.

Where I Buy These Products

I buy these ayurvedic powdered herbs at an online shop here in Spain. If you’re lucky enough to enjoy the presence of an Indian community in your city, they’re sure to boast physical shops where you can acquire them as well.

I’m not that lucky as there are perhaps only 2 people of Indian origin living in my part of the world. But if you happen to live in Barcelona, where I used to live, you can scout the shops of the Raval. I used to buy these herbs there.

It’s not easy to find solid conditioner here in Spain, unless you live in a large city. I don’t. But I was soooooo lucky to find an ecological, green shop downtown. It’s called Verda.

However they are also available on Amazon.

Aloe Vera Scalp Massage

Every once in a while, when I get in the mood, I’ll massage my scalp with some aloe vera gel. I add rosemary, lavender, mint and tea tree essential oils in the gel. Then I rinse it out after a couple hours in the shower. It’s a gel and not an oil so it doesn’t leave hair greasy, so it’s not necessary to use shampoo.

Aloe Vera Gel for Hair

My son prefers to do this after he washes his hair. It really doesn’t make any difference in the appearance of your hair, it won’t make it look greasy, so you can do it either way.

Henna

I henna my hair about once every 2 months. Because…….. I have a few grey hairs already! Hush, it’s a secret. Don’t tell anyone.

Hennaed Hair à la The Ring

My hair doesn’t turn out too red because it’s naturally very dark. Although I imagine if I hennaed it more often it would get redder. But I’m too lazy for that haha. It also looks redder in the sun.

Hair With Henna

I love henna hehe.

Heatless Hair Straightener

Although I LOVE having curls, I can get bored with them always looking the same and I want to change them. Then I make braids and thus stretch the hair out a bit to create beach waves.

My hair is very healthy. It’s about to the middle of my back. And I never have split ends.

So I think this routine is working quite well for me. [:smile hehe:]

And now that we’ve reached the end of this post, if you feel like doing some more reading I’ve got plenty of offerings for you. Check out my collection of thriller novels and horror stories here at Thrillers By Moi.

If you enjoyed this post (I really hope you do!), maybe you will also like:

Homemade Soap 

Natural Skin and Hair Care Routine

Castile Soap and Coconut Milk for Hair 

Proper Hair Oiling For Long, Drop-Dead Gorgeous Locks 

Going No Poo

I’ve been on a natural health products craze lately, trying to reduce the amount of chemicals that we use in our life as much as possible. And no poo has been my latest craze.

As you may (or may not, haha) know, no poo means swearing off conventional, commercial, chemical-filled shampoos and using our own homemade ones, or ones made with all natural ingredients, instead.

I’d just hennaed my hair again after about three whole months without doing it. You can see some pics of the results here:

Henna Hair

I was so delighted with the effect of the henna, all of a sudden I was filled with the desire to never use chemicals on those glistening locks again. (The fact that I’d been researching places online to find the purest, highest-quality henna, and discovered some really scrumptious sites that sell luscious Indian herbs as well, didn’t really hurt the cause—even if it was perhaps not the best idea for my pocketbook haha.)

At any rate, if you are in Spain (or anywhere in Europe for that matter—but I am always looking for places with the best shipping rates to Spain in particular, of course), here are two sites that I can recommend. Both carry all types of henna—some of which are pure and some, well, not quite so much—as well as all manner of Indian herbs such as shikakai, amla, neem, aritha……

Bazar Al-Andalus: Carries the most delish and delightful variety of anything Indian or North African you could possibly desire, including natural, vegetarian, LEAD-FREE kohl (it is the works! One day I will write about my experiences with their kohl here on this blog). Not only are they located in Granada, which is only an hour away from my house, it literally took LESS THAN TWENTY-FOUR HOURS from the time I made my order for it to arrive at my doorstep! Is that ultra-fast shipping or what??

Aromazone: A company located in France, which is my number one choice (next to iHerb, but iHerb doesn’t carry all the scrumptious raw ingredients and raw material that Aromazone does) thanks to its incredibly low prices. To give an example, a package of shikakai from this company costs only a fraction of what it does at Bazar Al-Andalus. I haven’t ordered anything from them yet, but I am planning to.

But getting back to the subject at hand, which is: going no poo haha!

As I was saying, I started researching other hair washing methods instead.

My first experiment was with shikakai. You can read about my experiences here: Shikakai: My Recent Experiment.

My next foray into no poo was with bentonite clay, which you can read about here: Bentonite Clay for Hair.

Next up after that is my post on castile soap with coconut milk.

I don’t yet have a regular no poo routine, since I’m still experimenting. Although as I’ve said, I’ve been ‘poo free for about 3 weeks now and still going strong.

So, do I ever plan on going back to conventional, chemical-filled but oh-so-easy-to-find store-bought shampoos again? Well, as long as I’m able to source clay and natural handmade soap, I don’t believe I will.

I’ve also been going chem-free in other areas of life.

I began by changing to all natural soap flakes to wash our clothes instead of regular detergent.

I’d been using soap flakes for years, but then I got to reading consumer reports on laundry detergent, and that only served to pique my curiosity. Now all of a sudden I wanted to try out all those detergents!

However, I wasn’t satisfied with the results of any conventional detergent, not even the ones touted as being the most effective, and which everyone raved about. I found that, no matter which way you looked at it, clothes simply came out cleaner—and with far less product—using simple soap flakes.

So I went back to soap flakes, and I haven’t varied since.

The only thing I haven’t been able to find yet is a natural fabric softener that actually pleases me. Now, I must make clear that when it comes to clothes, I am THE ORIGINAL PRINCESS from The Princess and the Pea.

So needless to say, clothes that come out even the slightest bit cartony, cardboardy, scratchy or stiff just DON’T MAKE THE BILL with me.

I’ve tried apple cider vinegar, regular vinegar, baking soda and any combination of the three to soften clothes. But I’m sorry, it was a no-go for me and I’m still using chemical-filled conventional fabric softeners.

If you’d like more info about going no poo, here’s a website that covers most questions on the subject: The No Poo Method.

And while we’re at it, not to sound like a sleazy saleslady but I’ve written a few thrillers so, if you’re into creepy, scary, suspenseful novels, I’d love it if you’d check them out, here: Thrillers by Moi.

So how about you? Have you tried the no poo method? What have your results been? What methods do you use? Do tell tell! As you know, I LURRVE to receive (positive, non-spammy) comments!

Henna Hair

If you enjoyed this post (I really hope you do!), maybe you will also like:

Henna

All Natural Skincare

Proper Hair Oiling For Long, Drop-Dead Gorgeous Locks

Thrillers by Moi

Henna

With all the different subjects out there that I could muse about, in the end I decided to continue on a bit more with the theme of natural health-natural cosmetics-natural beauty. So today let’s talk about hair!

I’d always wished I’d been blessed with gorgeous, shiny locks of brilliant spun gold, not only is golden hair beautiful, it also rejuvenates and endows the features with light, youth and grace. But I wasn’t so lucky, in fact Mother Nature decided that not only would I not enjoy a crowning glory of royal gold waves, she actually went ahead and weighed me down underneath sheets of heavy black.

Well you could go on and praise the magnificence of raven black locks. It was the colour that Anne of Green Gables daydreamed of so insistently that she actually went out and dyed her own carrot-red waves, against her strict adoptive mother’s will, with the unreliable concoctions that existed 100 years ago, when the story was written. With the unfortunate result that her hair turned a glorious dishwater, slimy green.

I’ve got the opposite problem of Anne, however, but unlike her I am able to fulfil my dreams of flaunting a head full of fiery red. Well maybe not that fiery, but in my books it’s certainly an improvement over jet.

Last post I recounted my secret for beautiful skin. Now I’m going to talk about my tips for lovely hair. Well, for lovely black, brown or brunette hair at least. In a future post (if I ever get around to it) I will, nonetheless, hopefully, explain how you can enhance your drop-dead to-die-for golden locks without laying your hands on a single chemical, as I did for my baby:

But today black or dark hair is the order of the day. So let’s go, talking about henna!

Henna is a plant, a small tree, whose unassuming leaves produce a belligerent red dye when crushed and mixed with liquid, preferably a slightly acidic one. I suppose everyone has heard about body art and temporary tattoos made with henna. However today’s post only deals with henna for hair.

Henna has traditionally been used for millennia to enhance women’s hair in lands where the plant grows and where, coincidentally, women also generally sport black or dark hair naturally.

I imagine that all this theory, however, probably doesn’t contribute tremendously to what women (and maybe the occasional man too!) really want to know, and that is, how do we use henna?

Well the internet is chock full of websites about henna and how you can prepare it. I’ll just explain what I personally do. It’s easy and quite effective, for me at least.

About a day before I want to put henna into my hair I prepare a henna concoction. I use 300 g. of henna and I have long hair. If you have shoulder-length hair I would recommend about 100 g. and 200 if you have mid-length (a bit below the shoulders) hair.

I mix the powdered henna (I just buy it from a local natural food shop, very lucky to have found it heehee!) with a large mug of lemon juice. Okay I’m lazy I buy lemon juice in a bottle from the store and it works just great. But of course real natural freshly-squeezed lemons is better!

After that I cook up a strong infusion of chamomile, chamomile seems to lighten black hair slightly and make the henna show up more, in addition to bestowing a splendid glow and shine to hair. Once the infusion is cooled (don’t put boiling infusion into the henna because it will cook the plant and cooked leaves won’t yield any dye) I mix as much liquid into the henna concoction as needed to form a thick paste, with the consistency of very thick yogurt.

Imagine that you will be putting this onto your head, so you don’t want something that drips. But if it is too solid it won’t spread well. Finding the perfect balance is simply a matter of practice. Since you get the best results if you apply henna once every month, you can acquire plenty of practice!

Once your concoction is all mixed up, let it sit for about 12 hours in a warm place. This stimulates the henna leaves to release their dye, dye which will later go onto your head and into your hair.

And now, when you’re all ready, let’s get into the shower. Keep in mind that you should set aside about 4-6 hours of uninterrupted time for this process, so a good moment to do it is when you don’t have to go to work. If you’re so lucky as to have light coloured hair, like mousey brown or blonde, you can take less time. If, however, like me, you have the deepest most impenetrable locks, then you must think that it will take a long time for that coveted auburn stain to take hold.

Step into the shower or bathtub with your large pot of mud, which is what henna looks like. Now you can have the time of your life smearing muddy henna all over your head in any order. Or you can smear it on in an orderly fashion, one lock at a time starting with the crown and working your way down to the ends, like professional hairdressers do. Any way you do it, the end result is a mass of tangled mud, which you pile onto the top of your head. Wrap saran wrap around it and you’re ready to face your day!

For me facing the day usually means tiresome tasks like cooking and washing. Yep, when you have a family you don’t get breaks so you can relax with your henna. As you’re scrubbing the pots you can daydream about all those lovely Middle Eastern misses who could permit themselves the luxury of lounging indulgently in public hammam with their hair up in a hennaed bun while professional masseurs gave them the full spa treatment.

If you’re lucky, however, maybe you can get in a chapter of CSI or Castle during breaks from the kitchen.

I leave henna on for at least 4 hours, but if you’re one of those fortunate ladies with pale hair you can get away perfectly with maybe just 2. When you’ve left it on long enough, it’s time to wash it out.

Easier said than done. Henna leaves your hair like a bird’s nest. Like the nest of a bird that just had a knock-down-drag-out battle with an eagle.

I find that the easiest way to disentangle bird’s-nest recently hennaed hair is by slathering conditioner on generously. Don’t leave a strand uncovered with the conditioner. Once you’ve straightened your hair out a bit with this conditioner you can then shampoo and condition as usual.

Lastly, dry and style as always and enjoy your cascade of ravishing, flaming waves.

One last note for healthy hair naturally. I always like to give hair a deep oil treatment once a week. Just rub oil all over your hair from root to ends and leave it on for an hour or 2. You can put it up in braids or a bun if you prefer, so it won’t rub off on everything. I like coconut oil (as you can easily discover by reading on to the next post) or olive oil. After normal shampooing and conditioning, both will leave your hair strong, super soft and shiny, healthy and moisturized. Now you can throw all your expensive salon formulas out the window and never look back again.

Coconut oil

Most unprofessional photo if I do say so myself, but that's what my humble little jar of coconut oil looks like.

Okay so this isn't coconut oil it's coconut milk, but my coconut oil is in an unmarked jar, and this pic has a photo of a coconut which sure looks yummy!