|Five Natural & Affordable Hair Care Products|
By Todra Payne
Salon specialty hair products are sometimes worth the high cost. But most times, I found myself wondering if I was paying for the hype and the fancy packaging, instead of quality. And then I discovered how easy it is to care for my hair with natural food items found at my local health food store for a fraction of the cost. Unless I’m attending a special event, a wedding or a formal birthday bash, where professional styling is needed, I’ve learned how to save money on the day-to-day upkeep of my mane and still look great.
Five simple food grade products have transformed my hair routine. I’m passing this wisdom on to you.
1. Baking Soda
With all the styling products and chemicals many of us use to control, sleek or change the texture of our hair, it’s no wonder we get product build-up. You can pay top dollar for a high end clarifying shampoo, or you can simply mix one tablespoon of baking soda into two tablespoons of your favorite shampoo. Apply to damp hair and wait four minutes. Rinse and voila! You’ll see your dull, limp hair come to life as the baking soda removes what shampoo alone can’t touch. This is a great trick, but like anything, use moderation. Doing this too often will dry out your locks.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
If you’ve ever used a good final rinse after your conditioner, you know what a difference it can make. But did you know most commercial hair rinses contain apple cider vinegar? Apple cider vinegar helps hair to look shiny and healthy because it restores the hair’s pH balance often disturbed by harsh shampoos. It also makes the hair cuticle lay flat, resulting in smoother looking strands that reflect light. So instead of shelling out double digits for a final rinse with a fancy label, buy yourself a big bottle of organic apple cider vinegar. Mix ¼ cup of vinegar with 2 cups of distilled water and pour over your entire head. Leave on the hair and blow or towel dry as usual.
3. Coconut Oil
Curly-haired girls, like me, know how hard it is get that sheen so often seen on straight hair. That’s because the natural oils in curly hair have to travel around all of the bends and coils in our texture to reach the full strand. We all learned in school that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. The same holds true with hair. But there’s good news. Just a finger tip’s worth of coconut oil smoothed through curls will help curly hair stay shiny and soft. This also works for straight hair if it’s dry and very thick. Girls with fine hair may want to try jojoba oil instead.
4. Bentonite Clay
We’ve all seen the shampoo commercials with mounds of suds on a model’s head, but in honesty, that much shampoo is bad for your hair. And most commercial shampoos with their Sodium Laurel Sulfate (a harsh detergent originally used to degrease garage floors!) strip strands of all natural oils. I’ve got a better solution. Bentonite clay is available in bulk at most health food stores for just a few pennies per ounce. And it works wonders for cleaning hair! Just mix a few tablespoons of clay (depending on your hair length) with cool water and stir into a mask like consistency. Slather on damp hair and seal with plastic wrap for about 15 minutes. Unlike shampoo, this does not work by friction, so you don’t need to rub it into your hair. Bentonite clay (the only edible clay) draws dirt and debris from your hair and scalp. Rinse your hair thoroughly and follow with a conditioner and final rinse. You’ll have squeaky clean hair that isn’t stripped and dry.
5. Flax Seeds
If you eat healthy cereals, you’ve probably encountered flax seeds. They are touted as a great source of omega-3 and other body goodness when digested. But they also make a really great all natural, lightweight hair gel. All you’ll need are two tablespoons of flax seeds and one cup of water. Boil the seeds in the water for five minutes. A gel will form around the seeds. Drain the gel through an old stocking into a glass bottle. Let it cool before using as you would any other gel. You’ve created a product that will gently hold your hair in place without the drying alcohol found in many hair gels. Note: This is a bit tricky to get right on the first try, but keep experimenting. It’s worth it!
Todra Payne is a green beauty expert and the founder of HealthyBeautyProject.com