So many people struggle with achieving healthy hair and finding the right balance. I know I was one of them! For years I struggled with scalp irritations, itchiness, excessive oil, dandruff, hair loss and frizzy hair. It took quite a while for me to heal my body as well as my balance my hair out to looking healthy and manageable. So I’m here today to share what has helped me as well as my clients heal their scalp and hair issues!
When changing your lifestyle to a healthier one, whether it is to heal yourself from a disease or to improve how you feel in your body, many people often forget that changing their body care products is extremely important to do. Whatever we put on our skin, we directly absorb into our blood stream. When you are looking to detoxify your body, the main objective is to clean your entire life - including the products that you use. We must make sure that every avenue of chemistry coming into the body is that of clean and healing. What you eat, drink, breathe, and put on your skin affects the world within you. All your cells absorb this chemistry you come into contact with. Life is chemistry. It surrounds us and is us. A healing protocol and healthy life will account for these things. If you want to get as natural as possible with your body care products, I always say, if you aren’t willing to directly eat the product, then why put it on your skin?
When I was introduced to living a more natural lifestyle back when I was 16 years old, one of the first changes I made was in the body care products I used. I remember fondly when I first changed my toothpaste to a fluoride free toothpaste when I learned that this particular heavy metal likes to accumulate in the brain and glands. My entire family called me weird, but to me it made sense to make this switch because most commercial toothpastes had a clear warning to “Contact poison control if ever swallowed.” The harmful ingredient present in the toothpaste was fluoride and required the warning on the label. This simply didn’t sit right with me, but most people just don’t know how harmful fluoride is. I was also very much into spirituality and meditation back then and what helped me open up my mind to new ideas and become more aware was to decalcify my pineal gland. (I will have to get more into this in a future post because a lot can be said on this subject!) The same can be said with all commercial body care products that most of the population uses. They are chemical-ladden filled with parabens, heavy metals, and sulfates that have been proven to cause cancer, disrupt hormones and accumulate within the body. At this young age I switched my soap, deodorant, and hair products among other things and never looked back! One of the very first shampoo/soap combinations that I ever tried was Dr. Bronner’s All-in-One soap. It was the most natural soap on the market with only a few ingredients and boy was it an excellent hair cleanser! Even after working at the Whole Foods Body care department for several years and having tried hundreds of natural products, I still stand by Dr. Bronner’s as an excellent soap and shampoo (there are a lot of different scents/essential oils in their line but my favorite has always been peppermint). Now, while this was a fantastic shampoo to wash my hair with, overtime I did notice that my hair was becoming dry. I did not know how stripping this shampoo was to my hair if used by itself, so I never followed it with a moisturizing conditioner or any good conditioning. Nor did I know how to wash my hair the correct way (yes, believe it or not - there is a right way to wash hair!) I made all these mistakes in the beginning but have learned through the years through trial and error. I made the mistakes so you don’t have to! :)
Needless to say, my hair changed quite a bit when I made the switch from using chemical laden shampoos and mousse to simple ingredient shampoo and coconut hair cream. It was something that I had to get used to, but to be perfectly honest I wasn’t too caught up with how I looked at this time in my life (I was not your average teenager.) If it weren’t for my strong values of striving to live a natural life though (this was around the time I first became vegetarian), I would have quit long ago and went back to chemical products. This is where I see a lot of people make this mistake. Like with any new change, you must give things a chance and make adjustments to learn what your body likes because just as everyone has different health issues to heal that take time, everyone also has different hair with specific needs. A lot of trial and error will have you learning so much about your body. It becomes the definition of self-love. Putting in the extra effort to care for your body and care about what you put on it does pay off! Health shows in how you feel in your body and it shines to your outer being!
Even though I had made the switch from using chemical products to natural ones, I was still damaging my hair in a severe way with - four letters - HEAT.
I was one of those girls in high school that had to have their hair as straight as humanly possible. With being in high school and becoming friends with the “emo” kids during my sophomore year I discovered the “wonders” of the flat iron. Like I said before (I wasn’t your average teen - I was oblivious to most beauty related things because I was more of an introvert who loved studying, getting A’s and watching cartoons.) Now, when I was younger I had amazingly straight shiny hair up until the age of 11, but as I grew into my teen body my hair changed with it. Now maybe it was the fact that my mom started using the blow dryer on my hair, or maybe it was the many short hair cuts I got when I was in elementary school, but my hair became frizzy, wavy and un-manegable. I had lost my straight hair and forever was trying to get it back with heat and styling products. Only when I was around 20 years old did I realize the damage my hair had been exposed to what with using the flat iron on my hair almost every single day. One day I decided to start using less and less heat on my hair and embrace my wavy hair. I hated how dependent on the flat iron I had become and then one day I decided to cut out the heat all together. My hair went through a tough time adjusting to this but after a few months, my hair was as healthy as ever, just like when I was young! I no longer needed heat styling to feel comfortable with my hair. It was full, bouncy, shiny, frizz-free and smooth. I was so happy that I had cut heat out of my hair regimen because let’s be honest - I never enjoyed the pain-staking hours of sitting down and applying a high setting of heat so close to my face. I can’t tell you how many burns to my fingers, arms and face I’ve gotten over the years because of the infamous flat iron. I was also so happy I no longer had to worry about flat ironing my hair during hot summer months especially! My frizz was disappearing and my hair was growing more and becoming straighter. Whereas a lot of the people my age that I grew up with were losing their hair and struggled to keep it healthy and long, I felt that I was among the few that had mastered my hair care.
Then I got really sick. In 2013 my body just stopped working. It was such a difficult time in my life, every time I write about it Im honestly amazed that I survived all the physical and emotional pain from that time. I had been afflicted with Fibromyalgia (a widespread Chronic musculoskeletal pain disorder of the entire body). Accompanied with chronic fatigue, anxiety disorder, IBS, depression, and many more unsettling symptoms, it was the darkest period of my life - one that I thought I was doomed to experience forever. Ironically, my hair was looking fantastic (just goes to show - you can look great on the outside but feel really sick on the inside; physical appearance can be deceiving when it comes to matters of health - and that was the case for me.) After years of searching for the answer to healing my illness by some miracle I found the answer - detoxification. Detoxification involved cleaning up my diet quite a bit - just as I had cleaned up my body care products - I was now finally cleaning up my diet. I was someone that ate out at restaurants often and I would say I ate a great amount of cheese and dairy products (like your average American). With following a detox diet and protocol I had cut out all cooked foods from my diet and made the switch to eating raw vegan foods exclusively overnight. This meant predominately fruits with some greens and vegetables in their raw form. With cleansing and healing the body comes the natural removal of that which is weak - which meant possibly looking and feeling worse before getting better. I was prepared for whatever was to come. At that point, I was willing to do anything to get out of my pain that was destroying my quality of life. Being bed ridden and not able to follow my dreams was not a life I wanted to live and so I started my journey.
Sure enough, with this drastic diet change came the detox symptoms. I experienced cold and flu like symptoms as my body was purged of all the congestion I had built up within unknowingly since I was young -from all the dairy products and processed foods. I also lost quite a bit of weight and with this also came hair loss. Now, I know a lot of people would be scared of these changes. To me, I was not scared because my body was finally out of extreme pain and I knew I was doing the right thing for myself. I understood that these detox symptoms were temporary and I would build my body back up with new healthy cells this time around. Thankfully for the majority of my detox journey I was in another state living alone away from family and outside influences. When I would go visit family though, you can bet that they took the chance to tell me how different I looked and they thought that what I was doing was unhealthy. Even the medical doctor in my family said I looked like I was anemic. I did my best to shrug it off, because deep down I knew that they were just uneducated about detoxification. I did my best to not let it bother me. Yes, at 5’3” I had went from 125 pounds when I first started to 93 pounds (my lowest weight) when I was fasting. Most of this weight though was mucus and impacted matter released from my colon (I released bucket loads over the course of a few months). However, when I was fasting during juice cleanses and mono fruit fasts, the cleansing effects were so deep that to the outside world I looked sickly - I experienced loss of energy, foggy brain, fever, paleness of skin, and hair loss. I had gotten a bald patch that was very hard to hide right in the front part of my scalp and at one point I was embarrassed by it. With my study of detoxification though I learned that the body got rid of that which was built on acidic foods to make room for the new cells that would be built on alkaline and healthy foods. Although I felt vulnerable during my fasts and I immediately regretted being around family during these times, I embraced these cleansing effects and did not let the opinions of others keep me from doing what I had to do to heal myself.
During some months of my detox, my once “healthy” hair had become dry and brittle, and I noticed major hair loss. However, I kept on going with my detox and persisted - and to my mother’s surprise she noticed I was growing new hairs again. My hair started to rapidly grow back in the places I had lost it with the same raw healing diet! All it took was time and herbs and my hair fullness was starting to return. However, something that I still struggled with was hair dryness. Now, I am one of those people that does not get regular hair cuts. Maybe it is because I have grown attached to my hair in some way. In some way, I see it as an extension of myself and my nervous system. I feel that hair makes me more in tune with my surroundings. As I aged out of my teen years I found that I looked and felt better with longer hair. For the past few years, if I had to get a hair cut, it was probably once a year due to split ends becoming more noticeable. I guess I also avoided getting routine hair cuts because I noticed everyone around me did so for years and they were always struggling to grow their hair long - as much as they wanted to. I’ve always been someone to hold strong to my convictions even for the smallest things. I never followed the crowd to fit in - I always had to stay true to myself so I didn’t get many hair cuts.
What was the missing link? What did I do to repair my hair to keep it strong, frizz free, and finally soft and smooth? What I was missing was simply better hair care habits. I started using oils, herbs, and essential oils, masks, scalp massages and hair masks for my hair again. Just once a week of doing this has transformed my hair overnight. Now, since I have had dry hair for a long time, I had learned to avoid washing my hair every single day for the past few years. Since my diet was and is til this day very clean, I have kept the habit of washing my hair about once a week, sometimes I can go longer than this. If you are someone that washes their hair every single day or every other day, then slowly wean yourself out of this habit. The natural hair oils in your hair condition it and you definitely want to move towards washing it less. If you wash your hair often because of oiliness in your scalp then certain tweaks to your diet, detoxing your body in general, and trying cleaner products can help correct this. With that being said, for my hair type (combination - dry hair and dandruff/oil prone scalp) doing a scalp treatment and nourishing my hair was just what I was missing from my life.
Once I started using Dr. Morse’s Healing Salve on my hair, I really started to see results. I love this salve. My hair routine and the health of my hair has completely changed because of it. Like I mentioned before, I used to get dandruff and an itchy scalp just a day after washing my hair and would suffer with these irritations. I used to also have really frizzy hair and dryness on my ends for the longest time after detoxifying my body. Dandruff was definitely one of my worst issues I would say and this salve has corrected this issue. To get rid of dandruff, one must understand what dandruff is! Now, while I was detoxing and eating all fruit, I rarely got dandruff. But after the detox phase of my life when I had to balance out my diet to focus on detoxing my clients instead of myself, my dandruff would return at times. This was because of the build up of the acids in the foods I would eat sometimes - like cooked vegan foods and some vegan proteins like hummus and tofu. I keep these foods to a minimum and eat mostly raw for the most part, but still my dandruff would come back. Dandruff can have many causes - it can either be the dry kind where the scalp is dry and the skin is being shed, or it can be a fungal issue, or it can actually be the lymph waste coming out through the scalp (the latter kind is the one that burns and itches your scalp if you don’t wash it off). This is the kind that I had. Finally though, I cracked the secret to great hair. I do this hair routine the day before I want to wash my hair. I do this about once a week. Keep in mind that this is my current hair care routine after having tried many natural hair care products over the past 10 years.
My Hair Care Routine:
I start off with combing my hair. I have been using a wooden brush for many years now and attribute it to my hair growing long. Using a wooden brush stimulates circulation in the scalp by working on acupressure points and also helps reduce breakage and frizz. *I love the brand Bass, which can be found at Whole Foods, online and I have also found it being sold at places like TJ Max. After this I then start by taking some Dr. Morse’s healing salve, melting it in my palms and massaging it into my scalp - making sure I cover every area on my scalp and applying a bit on the driest parts of my strands. This salve is really an all healing salve! I have used it for sun burns, scars, pimples, bug bites, rashes and it works immediately to heal the skin! I highly recommend it. The salve has a wonderful smell and is very rich - a little goes a long way but you get plenty of this salve to last you a while in each jar!
The ingredients in Dr. Morse’s Healing Salve are ideal for healthy hair. Not only does it contain high quality oils that nourish your hair, but it also has an impressive list of healing herbs that are rich in silica and nutrients straight from the source and have powerful healing and repairing properties. These herbs are most powerful when used together such as in this formula. Here are the ingredients of the healing salve:
*Goldenseal Root - increases circulation and used in chronic skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, etc.
*Horsetail Herb - the most abundant source of silica in the plant kingdom. It is anti-inflammatory and demulcent.
*Calendula Flower - a skin hydrator, heals irritations, regenerative properties.
*Plantain Leaf - strong astringent action known for pulling and cleansing upon tissues.
*White Oak Bark - excellent for skin conditions, one of the greatest herbs - a cell proliferator.
*Comfrey Leaf and Root - promotes the formation of epithelial cells and strengthens tissues - a powerful skin healer.
*Slippery Elm Bark - pulls toxicity out of tissues, also soothes inflammation, high in nutrition.
*Aloe - heals ulcerations, amazing for burn healing and tissue repair, known as the “first aid plant”, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial.
-Organic Olive Oil - packed with anti-aging antioxidants,
-Organic Grapeseed Oil - anti-inflammatory, conditions dry hair, addresses hair loss and dandruff.
-Organic Coconut Oil - stimulates hair growth, adds luster and shine, anti bacterial, anti fungal.
-Organic Hemp Seed Oil - hair structure improvement, a strengthener high in lipids, omegas, and amino acids.
All these ingredients combined create the perfect scalp elixir and hair treatment that you would want, addressing any hair issues you can have with all its healing herbs! The combination of these oils create the perfect consistency for this salve, it is not too heavy but hydrating and light to be absorbed - it is perfect. This is what you want for your hair as single oils sometimes do not work as well, but a combination of oils will do the trick.
*When I don’t use this healing salve, I use 100 % Black castor oil and neem oil to massage into my scalp which is another alternative (but Dr. Morse’s healing salve is my favorite)!
After massaging my scalp I then take some of Uncle Harry’s Hair and Scalp elixir and put a few drops to my roots and start massaging it in. The ingredients contain apple cider vinegar and essential oils of eucalyptus, niaouli, lemon, rosemary, camphor, tea tree, clove, peppermint, and oregano. This invigorating elixir encourages new hair growth by promoting blood flow circulation to the scalp and keeping the scalp healthy. I love Uncle Harry’s Products. They are amazing. I personally use their teeth care line as well, but that is for another future post.
After that I then take my John Master’s Argan Oil and run it through the ends of my hair. I love John Master’s Argan oil because it is 100 percent organic and one of the few argan oils that I have found with a pleasant smell. Other brands have a rancid smell so I stay away from those. I personally prefer argan oil for my hair as opposed to other oils like coconut oil because argan oil is light and non irritating (In some people 100 percent coconut oil can be irritating for example) and argan oil most closely matches the consistency of the skin’s natural oils it produces so it does not weight your hair down.
Next, I take my newly oiled hair and I toss it up into a bun and secure it with a clip or I’ll put it in a braid (I always use a soft scrunchy for hair styles to prevent breakage; never hair ties!) I leave my hair treatment on overnight, but you can also leave it in for a few hours if you are in a rush. These hair styles are a great way to protect your hair from damage. I use these hair styles often especially when I go to bed. They help your hair grown long, protect it from breakage and even give you some nice heatless waves for a beach hair look. :)
The next day I wash my hair. Currently l alternate between using Dessert Essence’s Coconut Shampoo and Conditioner and Acure’s Argan Repair Shampoo and Conditioner. You can try different natural shampoos and see what your hair likes. Make sure your shampoo is as natural and organic as possible and free of harsh chemicals, sulfates, dyes, and parabens. Also make sure that it is vegan. If you have trouble pronouncing an ingredient - chances are that it is not good for you!
*A good website to look up the safety of ingredients in body care products is: www.ewg.org
I personally only like to use ingredients that have a low score of 1. Better safe than sorry!
Now, there is a correct way to wash hair. Most people apply their shampoo all over their hair and lather the ends. I say don’t! This is a mistake I made for many years. You only want to shampoo your hair on the top to clean your scalp. Then as you rinse your shampoo out, the shampoo will go down your strands and do all the cleansing it needs. :) Shampooing your ends almost always leads to dry hair so break this cycle and only shampoo your scalp. Next I apply conditioner to all the dry parts on my hair which normally means my ends and some parts of the middle back section of my hair (everyone is different in this area). Then leave your conditioner in for a few minutes. I like to comb through my hair with my fingers in the shower at this point to get rid of any knots. Afterwards, you can use this time to shave, sing in the shower, or whatever you please. After I rinse my hair out I then like to do a particular hair rinse. This rinse leaves my hair extra shiny and smooth and also encourages hair growth.
Here is what you need for the rinse:
Pour a few table spoons of 100% organic apple cider vinegar into a jar. Then add 1-2 drops of rosemary essential oil, and fill the jar with water.
Put the ends of your hair into the jar to soak in this rinse and then finally pour this rinse over your scalp and hair and leave it in your hair. Do not rinse it out. When your hair dries you won’t smell the apple cider vinegar but your hair will be incredibly smooth and shiny! :) I like to then put my hair up in a bun with a clip and wash the rest of my body before I step out of the shower.
So that is it! Remember, your diet is the most important thing you can pay attention to for healthy hair. The root cause of hair issues can vary from absorption and utilization issues of certain minerals, to fungal and bacterial issues, to circulation issues, to toxic heavy metal issues, to heavy congestion issues, etc. The diet is the first step in correcting all of this. Raw foods, fruits and herbs are the healers of the body! Acidic and congestive foods like animal products, wheat, processed foods, etc are the culprit! Raw foods, herbs, and the best natural hair oils/products are what helped me regain my healthy body back with detoxification and also what helped me regrow my hair! Let me know if these tips help you and what healthy tips you incorporate in your hair care! :)
If you liked this blog post about how to achieve healthy hair then be sure to check out our other blog posts on detoxification and health! You’ll definitely want to subscribe to my emailing list to receive the latest in free healing vegan recipes, future promotions, and detox articles from SpiritrawpicalHealing!
-Ailin Duran D.S.