How to get long, healthy, shiny hair with natural home-made remedies
Updated: Jun 28, 2018
My hair has been through hell and back. I've dyed it once a month since I was fifteen (that's ten-ish years), used cheap dyes, harsh chemicals, bleach, extreme colours, it's been ripped out at festivals, over-heat treated, burned and cut with blunt scissors... if my hair was a person it would be Elizabeth Fritzel. So as you can imagine, I've had to go to some pretty extreme lengths (lol) to bring my hair back to life. I've never really been one for salons, (my hairdresser readers are invariably all rolling their eyes and saying "well obvs"), favouring a budget home-job over a professional's hand. But if theres anything thing this has taught me, it's you can learn a hell of a lot from youtube videos, and anything a stylist can do, I can do messier. Don't get me wrong folks, my hair is no trending instagram boomerang, but considering the length and history of abuse, she's in pretty good shape. People often ask me; "What's the secret to having long hair?" to which I usually answer sarcastically "Not cutting it." But admittedly, against all of my wit, there is a bit more to it than that. So I'm here today to share with you my secrets to long, shiny, beautiful hair, without the need for salons, expensive products or harsh chemicals- and using only natural methods.
As you've probably already guessed, this all-round wonder product features a LOT on this blog, and it's not entirely down to affiliate marketing. I literally fly through buckets of the stuff a week, I have a kitchen jar, a bathroom jar, a bedside jar and a bag jar- it really is endlessly versatile and useful. It can be used for a plethora of tasks, but today I'm focusing solely on the benefits for hair. Coconut oil is rich in antioxidants, and has antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. It can improve scalp health, fight fungal infections, prevent dandruff, split ends, grey hair and lice, improve hair health and strength and overall luminosity. Coconut oil helps reduce protein loss in hair, which is the leading cause of hair damage. It has a low molecular weight, completely penetrating the hair shaft and nourishing it with all its' lovely stuff like vitamins, minerals and fatty acids. I use coconut oil on my hair around twice a week, both of which the day before washing. Living in a categorically cold country, my coconut oil is usually pretty hard, so it can be tricky to apply evenly to the whole head from root to tip, so I find the best way is to have a bath with a TON of the stuff melted in, then submerge your head entirely. This not only helps it penetrate the scalp, but also the rest of you gets a skin makeover and you come out of the tub feeling like a newborn seal. While this is the easier way, it doesn't penetrate the hair as well, since the hair also gets filled with water, so for a more intense treatment just apply it directly to dry hair, brush through and leave overnight. Once you've washed your hair the next day, it will be as if all that straightening and blowdrying never even happened.
You can buy your coconut oil here: https://www.buywholefoodsonline.co.uk/rewardsref/index/refer/id/177179/
Raw apple cider vinegar
This is becoming a pattern you will notice. Many of the products I use have hundreds of uses, namely coconut oil and ACV. This similarly all-round wonder product is packed with enzymes and beneficial bacteria which can help all manners of follicular woes. First off, it can re-balance the PH of your scalp (the thing which controls the condition of your head and the amount of oil it secretes), reversing the damage that shampoo does. On top of this the acetic acid in ACV make is a potent microbial, which kills fungus and viral infections which can lead to dandruff and hair loss. It can also remove a build up of product on your scalp, which leads to dull, lifeless hair, by breaking down the molecular structure of the chemicals. It's also great for styling as it gives curls more definition and bounce, and adds shine to the hair by flattening the cuticles and managing the porosity of the hair. It's also a great leave-in conditioner and de-tangler when sprayed to freshly washed, dried out hair.
I keep a spray bottle on my bedside with a 50/50 mix of ACV and rose water, and a few drops of tea tree essential oils to add some extra oil control for the scalp. I find that come morning, it adds definition to my hair, shine and it slows down the greasification of my hair, meaning I now only need to wash my hair twice a week. And it doesn't leave a lasting vinegary smell either- the pungent acidic smell is the alcohol in the tonic, and evaporates after around 15 minutes (still enough time for my boyfriend to complain about it though.)
You can buy raw apple cider vinegar here at: https://www.buywholefoodsonline.co.uk/rewardsref/index/refer/id/177179/
Aloe Vera Gel
I discovered this recently as a styling tip for afro-hair; using aloe vera gel can help define curls, add shine and control frizz- something which almost all of us need. I then discovered it has a load more hair benefits, just like ACV and coconut oil. Similarly to the other two it contains proteolytic enzymes which stimulate hairgrowth, has anti fungal properties which prevent and cure dandruff, restores hair's natural PH balance, preventing an over-oily scalp, it has anti-inflammatory properties which can help scalp burn in the summer, and it provides a protective layer around the hair which prevents environmental damage, heat damage and gives it overall body and shine. I use it a couple of times a week when I want a style that's a little more volumous and requires a bit of hold. When I want princess type ringlets, I brush my hair through at night, smother the ends in argan oil, put it into neat little space buns then spray it with a mixture of ACV and aloe vera gel and leave it to dry overnight. Then when I take them out in the morning my hair looks like I've just stepped out of a Disney movie- and the curls stay in all day.
You can buy your aloe vera gel here at: https://www.buywholefoodsonline.co.uk/rewardsref/index/refer/id/177179/
A light natural hair oil
Aswell as using coconut oil as a hair treatment, it's also great to use other, lighter oils as leave-in conditioners. This protects the hair from heat, adds shine and moisture and leaves it smelling like a moroccan palace. Your hair type will depend on the type of oil necessary for your needs, which won't leave your hair feeling greasy or weigh it down. So a great all-purpose oil to use is jojoba. It's actually not an oil but a liquified wax from a plant native to South America, which has all kinds of moisturising and healing properties. It's also lightweight, making it the perfect stylising oil for all hair types. It's also really great to add a couple of drops of rosemary oil to the jojoba carrier oil when applying to hair. This is great for cleansing as it contains loads of vitamin B, iron and calcium which nourish the hair and help prevent age-related drying and greys.
After washing I usually douse the ends of my hair in oil while brushing it through, which helps it dry without frizz plus adds more definition.
You can buy both oils mentioned above at: https://www.buywholefoodsonline.co.uk/rewardsref/index/refer/id/177179/
Natural, gentle shampoo
Did you know that the purpose of conditioner is to reverse the damage that shampoo does? Did you also know that shampoo is the cause of many scalp issues and dry hair? After reading an article about the creator of Bumble and Bumble who claimed that "everyone needs to stop washing their hair right now", I realised there was somewhat of a hair-spiracy going on. The companies who manufacture shampoos make them deliberately damaging for your hair, meaning you need to buy their conditioner, and then their hair serum, weekly hair masks, and as a result of the harsh chemicals stripping all the oils from your scalp- dry shampoo and scalp treatments. These companies literally have market monopoly, and have you all wound tightly around their manipulative marketing ploys. So I decided I wasn't giving another penny to these evil hair giants, and boycotted the entire industry in favour of to making my own. It took several attempts, a lot of wasted product, and a few days of hair disasters, but eventually I found the right recipe for me. And here it is:
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup liquid castille soap
4 drops essential oils of your choosing (rosemary, tea tree and lavender I find are best)
1/2 teaspoon almond oil
The fact that the mixture doesn't dry out your hair means you use less conditioner, your hair is in better condition, it's easier to style, and with the added tea tree oil it can prevent it from getting greasy as quickly. So basically it does everything shampoo doesn't!
Aswell as all of these treatments for, preventative methods are also key to hair health. Having regular trims, applying appropriate protection before heat styling, avoiding harsh chemicals and dyes and not washing your hair too frequently is also very important. And as always; what has worked for my hair might not necessarily work for yours! But I would welcome your feedback on my methods as learning the effects on different types of hair is really interesting.
Good luck all on your journey to princess locks!