Hair is possibly one of the first things that we notice about a person. The state of its health can subconsciously speak volumes about the owner. Dry frizzy hair with split-ends may send the message of a lack of self-care or poor hygiene. The opposite is often conveyed when we see shiny, luscious locks. These silent messages may or may not be true. The condition of hair can be due to bad or well informed decisions on styles, dyes and products.
The history of hairdressing goes back thousands of years, but it was the invention of electricity that really morphed hairdressing into a public art. In the late 20th century, the French were leaders with their beauty salons (salon being a French word!) and a visit to one of these Parisian outlets was quickly replacing the maid in the boudoir, but it wasn’t until the 1930’s when it was an acceptable profession for women to own and run hairdressing salons alongside the barber shop. In the 50’s, 60’s and early 70’s, the local salon was not just about hairstyling, it was a trendy social rendezvous, equivalent to Facebook today! Having your hair ‘set’ for the weekend was a popular past-time for getting out of the house and having a chance to gossip.
The 80’s waved goodbye to the roller-set, the wedge, afro, flattop, finger and pin curl and launched its own style of rebellion – the frizz, crimp, side-ponytail and permanent wave. It became the big hair decade. Back-combed and over-processed hair hung out on every street corner. For the guys, a crew-cut, the flick, a rat-tail or a duck-tail was pretty funky!
The 90’s proved that we’d learned our lesson on harsh products and the new generation ditched the heavy hairspray for straight glossy hair. We became a Jennifer Aniston nation. The early 2000’s really made leaps and bounds in hair-care and we now have a huge array of products to choose from. Hairdressers themselves have become internationally famous with their own ranges. BUT, the economy in the later 2000’s has been devastating to the wallet. Taking a trip to the hairdressers and having the latest super-nutrient conditioning treatment, is possibly low-down on our list of priorities.
This brings us to a new era – the internet, especially social networks and Youtube. These avenues have brought us the ‘Do-it-yourself hairdressing’, all in the comfort of your own bathroom. More and more people are home perming, dyeing, trimming, moisturising and styling, and they are uploading their findings and sharing tips along the way. The experience of every-day people is gaining a momentum of trust, of value. From their mistakes we know what not to do and from their successful outcomes, we are spurred on to have a go.
Professional advice is always top priority, but for those of us who are struggling in today’s economy, it’s not always possible. With this in mind, below are some of the top natural tips in case you decide to go it alone…
Love Those Locks – One of the most effective and natural ways of moisturising your hair and giving it that L’Oreal shine without breaking the bank, is to do a coconut oil wrap once a month. Take a good tablespoon (or more for longer than shoulder-length hair) of organic extra virgin coconut oil (it must be extra virgin, as it is has not been further processed) and melt it by placing it in a small bowl and stand that in a larger bowl of warm water. Once melted, apply it to the tips first and then the root, lastly, massage it down the hair shaft. You can either wrap your hair in a towel for a few hours or place a plastic wrap over your hair and sleep in it. Rinse well and then shampoo and condition as normal.
Using coconut oil to strengthen and make hair shiny is not new. It has been a well-kept secret of the Afro-Caribbean culture, which has used this little treasure for centuries. So go on, have a go, you’re worth it!
Layer Those Tresses – Straight hair requires a straight across trim, but what if you want to have layers in your hair? A trip to the salon is one answer, but what if you don’t have a lot of spare time or cash? You could do it yourself, but this can prove to be quite daunting, not to mention the fact that the back of your head eludes your vision!
Well, there’s a very simple solution. Wash and condition the hair. Whilst wet, brush it up into a ponytail on top of your head (not at the back, but right on top in the middle of the scalp), and secure it with a band. Brush through the length and hold it straight up and cut vertically across for either 1″ (if you only require a trim) or 2″ (if you have split-ends). Take out the ponytail and voilà! You have long lengths. If you’re going for a shorter style, then repeat and trim off more. It’s better to go slowly and trim gradually to get what you want rather than chop off a great chunk and regret it!
If you would like to add a few shorter layers then repeat the process, but this time, part the hair from the top of the ear right around the head to the other ear and put it into a ponytail again, leaving the layer of hair below the ear down, and trim as before. You now have another layer. For a third layer, part the hair around the crown of the head, leaving all the hair down below this point, and once again put it into a ponytail on top of the scalp and trim as before. You can now choose to trim and frame your face should you wish to.
Top Tip: To give it a choppy and thicker feel, once you have trimmed it and whilst you’re still holding it straight above your scalp, take the scissors and rather than cut across, very gently snip down into the ends of the hair, making it slightly uneven and choppy.
Warning: Make sure your scissors are proper hair scissors and sharp. Do not use the kitchen ones from the knife block – big mistake, huge mistake – invest in the right tools for a good outcome.
Ban Grey Hair – we believe that grey hair is a sign of ageing, but in truth, this is actually a myth. Grey hair is a sign of nutrient deficiency. The older we become the more nutrient deficient we are likely to be. This is due to the oxidisation of the cells, whereby a build-up of hydrogen peroxide bleaches the hair follicle. This over-load of hydrogen is from a lack of the enzyme Catalase, which breaks down hydrogen into oxygen and water. Catalase is formed from a complex amino acid protein chain and iron groups. The hair follicle itself needs copper, vitamin B complex and folic acid to be present in order to produce colour. Not enough Catalase, copper, vitamin B, folic acid and the presence of a large quantity of hydrogen – and you have grey hair.
To reduce grey in the hair you would need to supplement the diet with copper, vitamin B complex, folic acid, iron, all 22 amino acids and a high anti-oxidant, such as Chaga and/or wheatgrass in order to promote colour back into the hair.
A cheap product, which is rich in iron, copper and B Vitamins is: organic unsulphured black-strap molasses. A daily teaspoon of this in tea or warm water, combined with a daily dose of liquid amino acids and plant-derived minerals, Chaga and/or wheatgrass, can seriously turn grey hair around!
Natural Hair Dyes – dyeing your hair can bring you a boost in self-confidence. The latest fad of ombre dyeing or dip-dyeing the hair is particularly gorgeous for looking like you have sun-kissed tresses. Hair-dyeing does have its downside though, it’s damaging to the hair and the upkeep can be expensive.
Henna Dye It – henna has been used for centuries. If you’re naturally light brown – black, then henna can really bring shine and thickness to your hair. Its process is messy and long, sometimes for up to 4hrs and the results can be variable. It may take more than one attempt to get the shade that you want, but it does nourish the hair rather than strip it.
In the past henna has been related to a bright red or copper colour, but now there are lots of ways to create varying shades by adding other substances that tone down the red hues, such as coffee, ceylon tea, lemon juice, indigo, are to name just a few. It’s important to use high quality body-art henna and be guaranteed that it has no chemical in it. Some boxed products claim to be a henna dye, but the ingredients say otherwise. Henna for blonde hair is not advisable unless you’re looking to go strawberry blonde. Henna will cover grey hair, but it will give it a reddish hue.
Herbal Dye It – There are many herbs that will lighten or darken the hair. This usually involves working with the herb and hair over a period of time to get the desired results.
This type of dyeing is good for enriching natural hair colour rather than going from black to blonde. Chamomile is excellent for blondes, as is a lemon-juice rinse. For golden tones, use rhubarb root. Sage and walnut hulls make a great enhancer for dark hair.
Lightening Hair Without Bleach – If you have a hair colour that has gone wrong and you want to strip out the dye or you’d like to lighten your hair a few shades, then try using Vitamin C.
Crush 4-6 Vitamin C caps or one heaped teaspoon of Vitamin C powder @ 1000mg or higher into a plastic bowl. Use a few squirts of a clarifying shampoo and mix them together to create a paste. Apply to the hair with a tint brush for easy application, cover with a plastic cap and leave for 1hr. Use towels or a plastic cape across the shoulders in case of drips.
Rinse and wash with shampoo and conditioner.
Use a clarifying shampoo once a week to remove product build-up.
Use a lemon-juice rinse to help with dandruff.
A wide-tooth comb when wet and a wide paddle brush when dry helps to prevent split-ends.
Instead of heated stylers to curl the hair, choose rollers, twist curls – twist wet hair and pin it to the head with a bobby pin. Leave to dry or dry with a hairdryer. The same can be done for pin curls, accept do not twist – rather curl the hair like you would wind up ribbon.
Squeeze-dry your hair rather than rubbing it with a towel.
If you’re in a rush, try a dry-shampoo.
If you want the latest shiny beach waves: put coconut milk into a spray bottle. Spray the hair and work it through with your fingers. Zigzag your hair into two partings, plait it and give it a final spray. Sleep on it and your hair will have shiny waves.