The nettle plant, also known as Stinging Nettle, or under its botanical names Urtica dioica and Urtica urens, has been used as a traditional medicinal herb for many centuries. A mental stimulant, it was found useful in ancient schools. Teachers applied stinging sprigs of fresh nettle to the bare backs of their students, to help them memorize their lessons better…
Both nettle roots and leafs were traditionally used to treat asthma, diabetes, kidney infections, arthritis, coughs, colds, and even enlarged prostates. They were believed to improve digestion, heal wounds, and lower blood pressure. An interesting action of nettle root is in its testosterone and estrogen-enhancing qualities, with makes this herb a praised aphrodisiac. However, the most famous application of nettle infusions is in treating alopecia areata. A gentle irritant, this herb is able to improve scalp circulation, stimulate hair roots, facilitate the flow of oxygen and nutrients into hair follicles, and promote overall hair growth. Clinical trials have confirmed the effectiveness of nettle root extracts in treatments of hair loss, including genetic male-pattern baldness and alopecia areata.
Nettle root extracts, infusions, oils, and alcohol preparations have been praised in many societies for their unique skin-smoothing, bacteria-killing, and hair-restoring properties. They found applications in numerous traditional hair care products - those ancients shampoos, soaps, rinses, and conditioners. Recently, both modern science and cosmetic industry have rediscovered many wonderful qualities of nettle, and incorporated its extracts into a vast variety of treatments and beauty products. Nettle root preparations are now being used in many health care items to enhance their cleaning and healing properties. One of the most important applications for nettle root extract is found in herbal hair care products. Due to their superb hair-growing properties, nettle preparations are included in modern hair massage oils, shampoos, conditioners, and hair loss treatments. Nettle is especially known for its capacity to improve the health of skin, scalp, and hair, remove dandruff, stimulate hair growth, and strengthen weakened hair follicles.
Nettle oil is, probably, the most powerful of nettle infusions. It is usually manufactured by mixing extra-virgin, cold-pressed olive oil with nettle root extracts. For centuries, this powerful herbal oil has been proven very effective in restoring dull, thinning hair. An anti-inflammatory remedy, nettle oil should be massaged into the scalp and hair at least once a week, to combat dandruff, dry hair, and an itchy, irritated scalp. Apply gently warmed nettle oil onto your scalp about one hour before shampooing, massage vigorously into the leather and especially inflamed areas, and leave there for more effective absorption. Nettle oil can also be left on the scalp and hair overnight. Long-term nettle applications are known to improve scalp psoriasis, eczema, and various types of dermatitis - the conditions which often result in the fall of hair. A hypersensitive skin reacts to nettle root oil especially well: weekly scalp massages are a great treatment that helps reduce inflammation, heal irritated areas, and reverse related hair loss.
What makes nettle so unique is its chemical composition featuring a wide array of healing components. It contains vitamins C and E, serotonin, formic acid, choline, chlorophyll, flavonoids, carotenoids, lecithin, caffeic acids, and beneficial minerals. Some chemical agents of nettle root are able to block the enzyme 5a-reductase, which is responsible for the formation of DHT from testosterone - the main villain involved in the development of male-pattern hair loss.
To enhance the healing effect of nettle oil on the scalp and hair, it is often mixed with other herbal remedies, such as Burdock root oil, Saw Palmetto extracts, or Plantain oil. Combined action of these traditional hair-restoring herbs is particularly beneficial for over-sensitive, reddish, dry, and irritated scalp. It is also a great strengthening remedy to rejuvenate and give a boost to hair follicles that have entered telogen - their “resting phase”, during which hair falls out. In addition, personal care products with nettle root can feature facial masks and skin lotions designed to smooth the skin, combat inflammation, and remove wrinkles.
Nettle root and leaf extracts, usually mixed with other herbal elixirs, can also be found in dietary supplements formulated to purify the blood, stop hair loss, improve various scalp conditions, and stimulate the growth of healthy hair.
Rosemary is a lovely aromatic herb that has been extensively used in traditional societies as a folk remedy against hair loss. It has needle-like, dark green leaves and delicate blue flowers. The name “rosemary” is believed to be derived from the Latin language, meaning “dew of the sea”. Since the herb is native to the Mediterranean region, it indeed thrives in the salty, calcium-rich soils of dry costal areas.
Due to its strong, pungent, but undeniably pleasant flavour, rosemary is famous for its hair-conditioning properties. People of Italy, France, and Northern Europe often use this herb in refreshing hair rinses and even put several dry sprigs under the pillow to have pleasant night’s dreams and promote the growth of new, healthy hair!
Rosemary is used to combat the fall of hair, stimulate the growth of new locks, strengthen hair roots, support hair follicles, eliminate dandruff, and clean the scalp and hair of impurities. Both fresh and dry plants can be utilized successfully to make hair-friendly water or spirit infusions to use as aromatic hair conditioners, splitz, or beneficial rinses. In addition, home-made rosemary vinegar, as well as rosemary oil, can be applied to the hair roots or used in different other ways to stop hair loss.
When you buy or harvest rosemary, refrigerate fresh sprigs for several days in a plastic bag, or just place their stem ends in water. To dry, hang fresh herbs in a warm, dry, and preferably slightly windy place, before transferring into cotton bags for a long-term storage.
Both fresh and dry rosemary is very effective for making various herbal infusions that can be used to benefit your hair. To make a very simple, yet healthful water infusion, just put several handfuls of rosemary into a water-filled pot, bring to boil, and gently simmer for about five to 15 minutes. Allow to cool, strain into a clean container, and pour throughout your hair just after shampooing. Due to a very pleasant aroma and strengthening effects of this rosemary rinse, you do not need to wash it off with additional fresh water. The procedure can be repeated every time you wash your hair (we recommend that you do it only one or twice a week, since more frequent shampooing is damaging for your natural hair oils).
Rosemary oil is even more effective to fight hair loss and especially eliminate dry dandruff, than water-based rosemary infusions. In season, when rosemary is inexpensive and plentiful, make several bottles of this wonderful oil to use throughout the year. Extra-virgin, cold-pressed olive oil is extremely helpful as a scalp and hair-nourishing substance; it also lends itself most naturally to a rosemary infusion. Fresh herbs are the best to use in the preparation of rosemary oil, but dry rosemary can do the work, too. To make the oil at home, wash and dry a handful or two of fresh rosemary sprigs, rub them lightly between your palms to release the flavour, and place them in a clean bottle (you can also add several slices of fresh ginger to intensify the flavour and medicinal qualities of rosemary). Pour extra-virgin olive oil to cover the herbs, seal tightly, and leave in a dark cupboard for at least two weeks. To use, massage some rosemary oil into your scalp and hair and leave overnight for the beneficial particles of olive oil, rosemary, and optional ginger to penetrate deep into your hair roots and shafts. Repeat weekly and watch your hair quickly regaining its strength and vitality!
Another way to use rosemary for topical hair applications is to make rosemary vinegar. It is advisable to infuse rosemary only in raw and, preferably, organic apple cider vinegar of the highest quality you can find. Apple cider vinegar has long been praised for its hair-rejuvenating properties. Combined with rosemary, this vinegar makes a super-remedy for dull, weak, and shedding hair. To prepare, fill a clean jar or bottle with fresh or dry rosemary sprigs and pour raw, unheated apple cider vinegar over the herbs to cover them completely. Seal and leave to infuse for at least a fortnight in a dark place, shaking the jar occasionally. You can store ready rosemary vinegar in a dark cool cabinet or a cellar to undergo further beneficial fermentation. Use weekly to make a hair rinse by mixing several tablespoons of rosemary vinegar with lukewarm water and pouring the mixture onto your scalp and hair. This rosemary remedy has a power to completely rejuvenate weakening hair just within a few months!
Sage, also known under its botanical names Salvia officinalis or Salvia salvatrix, is a universal flavouring and medicinal herb, a native of the Northern Mediterranean coast and the American continent. For many centuries, it has been used as a powerful folk medicine to treat a number of health and cosmetic conditions, including hair loss and greying hair. A stimulant and an anti-bacterial plant, it has been traditionally applied to treat indigestion, ulcers, dandruff, bleeding gums, sore throat, fever, and a number of nervous diseases. Traditional Chinese medicine values sage as an herb able to combat liver, kidney, lung, blood, and stomach diseases. Sage infusions are known to cure joint pains, wounds, nervous headaches, excessive perspiration, lethargy, and even measles!
Long ago, miraculous healing qualities of sage were noticed by ancient Greeks, Romans, Native Americans, Arabs, and Asians. Sage was believed to have healing, strengthening, and purifying qualities. Spiritual ceremonies of American aboriginals still include burning sage to “clean” the spirit before it enters supernatural realms. Ancient Arabs praised sage for its curative powers, as a general tonic, and as a medicine for snakebites; Arab women used it extensively to keep their hair dark, thick, and healthy. Smoking sage was believed to cure coughs, chest colds, and asthma. In the Middle Ages, sage was even considered a “cure-all”.
In many cultures, sage has gained a reputation of a miraculous hair medicine. Sage applications were considered the most effective natural therapies to reverse baldness and restore the dark colour of greying hair. In “The Book of Natural Remedies for Ancient Ills” by classical English physician Nicolas Culpepper, we can read that sage preparations were extensively used in antiquity to combat the fall of hair.
Ancient Greek doctor and botanist Pedanius Dioscorides in his famous book “De Materia Medica” mentioned that drinking sage tea could make greying hair restore its black colour, while topical applications of fresh sage juice were able to treat baldness.
According to the book “Sage: The Genus Salvia” by Anthony C. Dweck, common sage is a great hair-toning aid. In order to prepare a toning hair infusion, fresh sage leaves should be brewed in water and then applied to the scalp and hair. To treat alopecia, Anthony C. Dweck recommends to use freshly-made sage infusions as a hair lotion, massaging the brew into the scalp three times a week. These treatments are also said to promote the health of hair and ensure its shiny glow.
The Dweck’s book mentions that sage preparations are particularly good to strengthen the hair roots, stimulate hair growth, and deepen the rich colour of naturally black hair. Historically, elderly African Americans used to make sage tonics for hair applications to maintain their hair strong, black ,and shiny, he writes.
Naturally-occurring volatile oil in sage is, probably, the main ingredient that does miracles to support the strength of hair.
Sage preparations work especially good when combined with rosemary - another traditional hair remedy. A very beneficial hair lotion can be made from equal parts of sage and rosemary leaves slowly simmered in water for several minutes and then steeped, covered, for a few hours. The brew should be rubbed into the scalp and hair every night as a wonderful strengthening medicine to fight hair loss, rejuvenate the hair follicles, maintain the colour, and ensure the growth of thick, healthy locks.
Tea tree oil has been around for a very long time, since about the 1800's, but has recently found its way into many hair products. It is one of the most beneficial ingredients used in hair care today. This extract is a derivative of the melaleuca tree in Australia. It is superb for cleaning out the hair follicle and promoting hair growth, more so than many of the other products on the market today. Occasionally people have an irritated scalp caused by bacteria or other irritants and this product can assist with healing the effects of harmful bacteria or hair products.
In terms of hair product tea tree oil can prevent and help with bacterial and fungal infections to the scalp. This has a direct benefit to hair, especially ethnic hair since many harmful products may have been previously applied. A solution to this is to apply the tea tree product which is perfect for restoring dry or damaged hair. Tea tree mixed with a combination of other oils can prevent scalp infection and dandruff as well. One must think of the extract like medicine. There are different concentrations of this chemical found in various products.
What you generally see in industry are hair products that contain approximately two percent concentration tea tree oil. It is particularly useful in shampoo form and since it can be applied to hair on a regular basis for healthy hair. It generally makes ethnic hair more durable, thicker and robust. The product "Proclaim Tea Tree Shampoo" also has great effect on someone who is losing their hair. In general scalp irritation will be reduced, the follicles cleansed and the hair will be strengthened and become more durable. This function of relieving scalp irritation greatly helps with ethnic hair because often times harsh products can be used that may damage hair.
However, if this oil product is used it will maintain healthy hair. By nature, it is a potent antiseptic. It is also good to note that it is not irritating to the skin like chemicals found in other products. It is also known for cleaning out the sebaceous glands on the scalp. This is desirable to most people. The net result is healthy hair, irritation free, and can be more easily worked with. And when you are styling ethnic hair, it certainly helps. Other hair products that contain tea tree oil are root stimulator, conditioner, shampoo, wax, and oils, as well as other ethnic hair products. All of which contribute to overall ethnic beauty. In summary through the usage of the tea tree oil in the right proportion you can achieve superb hair results and maintain the overall health of your hair.
Hair products containing tea tree oil are generally not too much more expensive than that of the normal variety. Only about forty percent more cost, but the benefit to your hair is fantastic. When you invest in these products and apply it to your hair it is an investment that is well worth it.
I've been approached several times in the past by people stating that there were unable to comb their natural hair.
The key to combing natural hair is to NEVER comb it dry.
I only comb my hair with a wide tooth comb after it has been freshly washed and then it is loaded with either a moisturizing conditioner for detangling or a leave-in conditioner and moisturizer (post detangling) in preparation for a styling session.
But, I you want to comb your hair while dry, the key is to use a spritz to reset your hair. I use a spritz mix of natural conditioner, castor oil, and water.
I separate my hair with the tail end of a styling tool such as a rat tail comb, pick or application brush. If I encounter a tangle during the process, I gently remove it using my fingers.
My recipe for a homemade spritz mix includes:
A 8 oz spray bottle (Walmart/Target Health Care Section) 2 tbsp Aubrey Organics Honey Suckle Rose Conditioner 2 tbsp Castor Oil Warm Water 10 drops of essential oil (optional)
You can add more conditioner or oil based on your preference. Many people prefer distilled water but I prefer warm tap warm because I helps the products blend. Essential oils can be added if preferred for fragrance, as a preservative, or their growth stimulating properties. The conditioner itself contains perservatives so if I add essential oils it's usually for fragrance or growth stimulation. If you are looking for growth stimulants, peppermint, rosemary, and ylang ylang are all touted to stimulate growth.
Updated 1/24/2010: One of my FAVORITE Bloggers, JC of The Natural Haven, has posted to articles that that you should view. Check them out!
Description: Moisture Balancing Conditioner is a dual purpose moisture adjusting product. This smart formula adjusts moisture as needed and works two ways.
As a one-minute rinse out, it boosts moisture levels with essential lipids and proteins. As a leave-in lotion, it provides continuous moisturizing and suppleness to unusually dry hair.
These lipids and fatty acids mimic hair and scalp natural moisture. Squalane, a natural component of hair and scalp moisture is used in this formula to replenish and restore moisture balance (this special ingredient comes from olives). Lipids provide subsurface hydration, optimizing moisture levels and detangle hair to create managability. Hydrolyzed proteins process from natural wheat, lock in moisture to prevent dehydration. For intense moisture treatment, use under dryer for 15-20 minutes (with plastic cap). Or use MicroHeat Cap.
Anybody that knows me knows how much I love my Aubrey Organics conditioners. But honey I’m here to tell you, Elucence Moisture Balancing Conditioner gives my Aubrey Conditioners a run for the money.
Elucence Moisture Balancing Conditioner is truly a miracle conditioner. I can cover my entire my head with a very small amount, which is the first miracle. It spreads quickly, provides lots of slip, and gives my hair uber moisture. It also has a foaming property that is hard to describe. The fact that Elucence can be used as a one minute rinse out, deep conditioner, and a leave-in conditioner is an added bonus.
I’ve have now used Elucence a total of four times. The first time I used it in my hair I was able to part my hair with my fingers so easily that it was truly shocking to me. Keep in mind that after my transition, Aubrey HSR was the only conditioner that allowed me to comb through my hair with ease so for me to part my hair with my just my fingers using Elucence was truly a miracle # two.
After three uses, I honestly have to admit that I think I can give up my precious Aubrey (except for use in my homemade spritz). It takes a lot for me to admit that considering that Aubrey is truly my first love. I haven’t yet had time to try Elucence with a heat cap but I am sure that I won't be disappointed.
The only downside to Elucence that I see in my future is that I am not able to get it on the ground. But, if I can get it $20 for a liter with a Naturally Curly discount code I’ll snag at least two at a time to make it worth the cost of shipping.
If are still searching for your holy grail conditioner or a product junkie like most, you HAVE to try this conditioner. If you have thick, dry, natural hair, I promise you that you will not regret trying it.
I hear a lot of people say that the products that worked for them while relaxed didn't worked for them after going natural. This article will provide both natural and mass market alternatives for transitioners.
The first thing you should invest in is both a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner. I recommend Aubrey organics Honeysuckle Rose shampoo and conditioner as a natural alternative and both Suave tropical coconut conditioner and Herbal Essence Hello Hydration mass market. But, trial and error will help you to figure out what makes your hair thrive. Most naturals tend to stay away from shampoo because they strip the moisture from your hair and as a natural, we need all the moisture we can get. I personally follow the no poo regimen. Every week, I cleanse my scalp using conditioner only, which is referred to as a conditioner wash or cowash. If I need an extra cleansing, I add a little baking soda to my conditioner wash. It will take a while to get use to using condition only to cleanse your scalp because we have be brainwashed into thinking our hair isn't clean without suds and squeaky clean hair but you'll get used to it.
Never rinse out all of your conditioner and ALWAYS use a leave-in conditioner. As a natural, I've used Giovanni Direct Leave-in from the health food store as well as Alba leave-in but my favorite is by Kinky Curly Knot Today. I've recently began using Yes to Cucumbers Daily Hydrating Hair Care Conditioner as my leave-in. You can purchase Alba, Giovanni, and Kinky Curly at most Whole Foods and Alba and Giovanni at the Vitamin Shoppe. Yes to Cucumbers can be found at select Target and Walgreens. A Mass market leave-in that i've read good things about is Herbal Essence.
Next, you'll need a good moisturizer. This will be the MOST important part of your regimen. You will HAVE to keep your new growth moist during your transition. Moisturizer is key to keeping your hair soft and manageable. It will also help to prevent breakage at the line of demarcation (the line where the natural and relaxed hair meets). There are a lot of good natural hair care lines that can be ordered online. My personal favorite is Qhemet Biologics Alma/Olive Heavy Cream mixed with the Olive/Honey Hydrating Balm. Another that I really like is Karen's Body Beautiful Hair Cream. Mass market products that I've heard good things about include Organic Root Stimulator Olive Cream and Profectiv, which both can be purchased from Sally Beauty Supply. Hopefully, someone will post some recommendations in the comment section below. Remember that items containing mineral and petroleum are said to block out moisture and clog pores so it is recommended that you stay away from those.
Next, you will need an oil to seal in your moisturizer. I'll suggest avocado oil, castor oil, or olive oil. These are the only three oils that actually penetrate the hair shaft and soften the hair. All other oils sit on top of the hair. You can get olive oil at any grocer or walmart. It's best to get avocado oil and castor oil at the health food store. You can get a big bottle of castor oil for a low price but avocado oil is pretty expensive. A lot of the mass market oil blends like Hot Six Oil are pure oil so ALWAYS read the ingredients.
Next you will need a styler, I use natural gels like kinky curly knot today, Aubrey Organics Mandarin Magic Moisturizing Gelly, and Kiss My Face Upper Management Gel as well as creamy natural stylers like Ohm Body Sweet Hair Pudding. Mass market, people swear by eco styler gel as well as Sparkle-lites and several curl activator gels from the local beauty supply store.
During my transition I wore my hair wrapped the first couple of month until the roots got too thick. After that, I started setting my hair with two-strand twists for twistout wavy styles. You can do the same with single braids (plaits) for braidouts.
Braidouts, Twistouts, cornrows, flat twists, rollerset and other transitioning styles help blend the natural and relaxed hair textures. Heat can damage the new growth if not utilized properly so I chose to avoid heat but that's a personal choice. Many people choose to press their hair weekly press or opt for a Dominican blowout and flat iron style.
Check out the transitioners forum on http://www.nappturality.com. I don't think I would have made it through my journey without the inspiration of that site.
With Winter fast approaching in North Carolina, a cold weather healthy hair care regimen that I recommend includes:
Cowash (Yes to Tomatoes) Deep condition with heat (AOHR, Elucence MBC, or Yes to Cucumbers) Apply leave-in (Yes to Cucumbers) Moisturize (Qhemet AOHC mixed with OHHB) Twist/braid set while wet using styler (AO MMHMJ or OHM SHP)
Because I am already natural, as added step, I ALWAYS seal my ends with castor oil, which is especially important in the cold weather months due to the various coats, hats, scarves, sweaters that your ends may come in contact with on a daily basis.
When my single strand knots get out of control I'll coat my entire hair strand.
My Hairstory - I began my transition to natural hair August 24, 2007.
I transitioned for a little over five and a half months and did the BC (Big Chop) on Sunday February 17, 2008.
My hair is what is defined as type 4a with very little 3C in the front top.
My hair album is located at http://www.fotki.com/new2naptural