We all want a thick, shiny mane and there are many herbal and holistic techniques that can help!
Hair fall, thinning and breakage are all quite common and can arise from nutritional deficiencies, medications and hair styling habits.
We will look at several herbs and I will share 3 recipes for healthy hair:
- Hair & Scalp oil to promote hair growth and moisture
- An herbal vinegar rinse for itchy scalp and to promote hair shine and strength
- An herbal tea blend high in nutrients to boost hair, skin and nails from the inside out
Hair & Scalp Oil
"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of treatment" is a nice old saying that fits well here. You want your hair to come out of your head thick, healthy and at a faster rate in the first place rather than trying to coax brittle thin hair forever. You want to promote blood flow (and thus nutrient flow) to your scalp, and massaging a nutrition oil is a great way to do this.
Best oils: My favorite is Jojoba because it is light and closest to our natural skin oils. Other good options are olive, coconut (melted), almond or grapeseed oil.
Castor Oil: Add in 1 part Castor oil to 5 of your base oil. Castor oil is a thick, nourishing oil rich in Vitamin E and Omega fats, and has a reputation for regrowing thinning patches.
Rosemary Oil: Rosemary stimulates hair growth and adds shine to hair. If you can plan ahead, then infuse fresh or dried rosemary into your base oil for 4+ weeks and strain. If not, Rosemary Essential Oil will be good too. Add 5drops per 2 ounces of oil (after adding Castor).
Peppermint Oil: Peppermint Essential Oil helps stimulate blood flow to the scalp, and has antimicrobial properties. Add 5 drops per 2oz oil.
Optional: Lavender Essential Oil: Because it smells so nice and helps with relaxation. Add 3 drops per 5 oz of oil.
Mix and pour into a dropper bottle.
How to use
- Distribute approx. 2ml over the scalp (which is 2 droppersful if you’re using a tincture bottle). You can section your hair out if your like.
- Massage into your scalp for 2 minutes. You can bend over so you are getting even more blood flow to your head – just don’t pass out!
- Loosely tie, braid or bun your hair (if it’s long) and leave this on for at least one hour. You can leave on overnight (i recommend using a shower cap to save your pillow) or you can add gentle heat over your head (ex. a hot towel over a shower cap) to intensify the absorption.
- Wash and style your hair as usual. Use 1-2x/week
Tip: You can also add a bit of oil to your tips since the bottom of our hair tends to be the most dry. Add while you are oiling your scalp.
Healthy Hair ACV Rinse
Putting apple cider vinegar may seem weird, but let's be honest, you're curious. And you will not look back after experiencing how much your hair loves this mix!
Base: Apple Cider Vinegar. Preferably the raw kind (the more probiotics, the better). The acidity actually help support the natural PH level on your scalp and in your hair. It’s surprisingly conditioning, yet cleansing, too. This has effectively cured my dandruff!
Rosemary: Again, it promotes strength and shine. Infuse fresh Rosemary in ACV for 2 weeks if you can, or else use 5 drops of the Essential Oil per 2 oz of the base.
Horsetail: This herbs in commonly found growing near water and is high in nutrients. The silica in particular can help strengthen hair. Allow to infuse into the ACV for at least 2 weeks, or simmer in water for 10 minutes and add to the ACV if you don’t have much time.
Sage: Another nourishing herb which adds shine to hair while also soothing a dry, itchy scalp or dandruff. Note that when used often it may darker hair, so exclude for blonde hair.
Bonus: Other gentle essential oil (like Lavender) for an added aromatherapy benefit.
How to use
Dilute 3 tbsp. of this rinse into 1 cup of water to use. There are a few ways it can be used, the most common are:
- After shampooing and conditioning, pour onto hair in the shower and let sit for a few minutes. Rinse and style as unusual. Note: Since I use a thick leave in conditioner, I use between shampoo and conditioner.
- For a refresher, if you want to go more au natural or you’re just curious what it can do, substitute your conditioner and shampoo for this cleaning and gently smoothing rinse.
- For those with fine, thin or oily hair, substitute your conditioner for this rinse and use after shampooing.
The vinegar smell should fade once your hair dries.
Bonus: You can use this herbal vinegar in a homemade salad dressing (though not if it contains essential oils).
Herbal Tea for strong hair, skin & nails
Many herbs are high in calcium, magnesium and iron. An herbal tea is a great way to incorporate easily assimilable nutrients into your diet.
Base: Red Raspberry Leaf. This common herb is nutrient dense and has a mellow, pleasant flavor. It is often used during pregnancy to add nutrients and tone the uterus. Use 1 ounce of dried leaves.
Nettle: Another nutrient dense herb, this one also help with seasonal allergies. Add 1/2 oz.
Horsetail: High in silica, this herb has a neuatral flavor and incorporates in well. Note that prolonged or excessive use may be hard on the kidneys. Add 1/4 oz.
Bonus: Not necessary, but to add a bit of natural sweetness and moisture, add 1/8 oz or 1 tbsp of Licorice root.
Combine, jar and label.
How to use
Add 1 oz into a quart sized jar (or about 4 Tbsp) into a quart jar and add freshly boiled water. Allow to steep for at least 30 minutes, though you could leave up to 2 hours or even overnight. Strain and refrigerate. You can drink straight or add to water (or make into lemonade), at 4 ounces 2x/day.
As always, consult a doctor when changing your diet or adding in supplements.
There you have it! Some common and very helpful herbs on your healthy hair journey!
Let us know in the comments how these herbal tips are working for you.
And remember: Nature is sacred, and you are nature.
-Tania Oceana | Herbalist at Mossy Tonic