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Herbs for your hair - with bonus herbal rinse recipe!

Staying away from harsh chemicals is a must if you want luxuriously soft and wavy hair. Commercial shampoos and conditioners can strip your hair of all its good oils while drying out your scalp. Thank goodness for mother nature and the amazing natural hair rinses it provides. These plants will allow you to make nontoxic herbal hair rinses with little to no effort, and the best part - you can grow them right now in your own garden!

Why herbal rinses are better than commercial products

Commercial hair cleaners such as shampoo and conditioner can contain toxic chemicals that could induce serious health risks. Research has shown that some of these chemicals can lead to memory loss, eye and skin irritation, hair follicle damage that can lead to hair loss, and even cancer. Although some "all-natural" hair products claim to be environmentally friendly, there are still ingredients such as lathering agents, emulsifiers, and synthetic fragrances that contain harmful toxins. These chemicals are looked over by the producers and overseen by consumers as the "all-natural" label steals your focus.

Additives in shampoo and conditioner that are potentially harmful include:

Propylene glycol - Being the main ingredient in anti-freeze we should always question putting it on our skin. Also found in some toothpaste and makeup products, propylene glycol can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions.

Sodium lauryl sulfate and ammonium lauryl sulfate - These two chemicals are common causes of eye irritation. The real problem is not getting it in your eyes but through the constant absorption through the skin, they have been found to lead to asthma attacks. Beyond this they have been found to damage hair follicles, leading to hair loss and slow hair growth.

Synthetic fragrances - Hundreds of chemicals are found in synthetic fragrances, some of which can be the cause of headaches, dizziness, rash, hyper pigmentation, coughing, and vomiting.

Diethanolamine - Although, by no means does M.A.D Organics support the following experiment and does not in any way agree with animal testing the results of The National Toxicology Program found that applying diethanolamine to a mouse’s skin induced liver and kidney cancer. DEA is absorbed through the skin and has been found to be toxic to the brain.

Although these are the main concerns when it comes to chemical hair products they are not the only ones. To find out more about the hazardous ingredients you can read the following article that points out the dangers of using non-organic shampoo.

Because of their all-natural ingredients, herbal hair cleaners are non-toxic and gentle on the skin, thus leaving no negative impacts on the body or hair growth.

Environmental impacts of commercial hair products

Plastic containers - production has become a major topic for environmentalists around the world. We are all aware of the war on straws that took the world by force over the last few years, but the problem does not lie entirely there. Most hair products are sold in single-use plastic containers.

Let's run a hypothetical analysis: If an average person goes through a bottle of both shampoo and conditioner every two months that's only 12 plastic bottles a year. Now let's take that number and multiply it by the current world population which is 7.8 billion people. We end up with an unbelievably high number of 93.6 billion plastic bottles due to hair products being thrown away every year. Even if we only use half of that number to account for people that do not use, or do not have access to hair cleaning products that is still 46.8 billion hard plastic bottles wasted each year. To put that in another way - 46,800,000,000 plastic bottles due to shampoo and conditioner alone.

Homemade natural hair rinses can be stored in reusable glass jar or containers, completely cutting out the excess need and usage of plastic.

Production of chemical ingredients - Taking into account the factories required to produce the ingredients required for shampoos and conditioners there is no way they can be truly eco-friendly. Each year the carbon emissions we create increase and continue to destroy the planet's biodiversity and air quality. Above this, there is a major worry about the waste products of these processes which are polluting our freshwater sources and killing wildlife. The destruction of natural water sources such as rivers and lakes is one of the major environmental issues we are currently facing on a global scale.

Growing your own organic herbs does not only have no negative environmental impact but adds positively to our surroundings by increasing biodiversity, providing homes and food for pollinators, reducing carbon dioxide, and rejuvenating soil.

Herbal plants that can be used to clean your hair

Neem - Due to its antibacterial anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties, Neem promotes hair growth, reduces hair fall, and stimulates the scalp, thus combating dandruff. Neem is also known as one of the best natural treatments for head lice as it contains azadirachtin which is toxic to the lice and their eggs.

Lavender - Lavender is a favorite when it comes to antic-bacterial herbs. With its naturally calming effects and soothing sensation, lavender is known to soften your hair and promote healthy growth in hair follicles. Using a herbal rinse made from lavender brings a sweet soothing smell to the scalp and has been shown to aid in the removal of head lice.

Rosemerry - A legendary plant when it comes to a healthy head, rosemary is a well-know herb amongst grandparents. As an anti-inflammatory, rosemary has been found to stimulate hair growth and relax the scalp. Because of this, it is a fantastic treatment for strengthening follicles and preventing dandruff. Rosemary has also shown a significant reduction in the greying.

Nettle - Perhaps one of the best solutions for hair loss, nettle contains magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin B, vitamin k, potassium, silica and calcium as well as omega 3 acid. By reducing inflammation and blocking DHT stinging nettle leaves, roots and stems are an amazing organic treatment.

Peppermint - Besides its amazing menthol aroma, peppermint leaves and oil are an amazing stimulant. A healthy stimulated scalp is essential for hair growth and strength.

Containing antimicrobial, insecticidal and pesticidal, analgesic and anesthetic, vasodilating (and vasoconstricting), and anti-inflammatory properties peppermint will soothe itchy heads and stimulate healthy hair growth.

Camilla Sinensis (Black tea) - Possibly the most surprising herb on the list, black tea rinses have many natural benefits. Not only is Camillia Senesis another DHT inhibitor but it is also an amazing plant to keep your hair silky soft, stimulate blood flow, and add a natural shine.

Easy homemade herbal hair rinse recipe

Now that you know a few amazing herbs that you can grow easily in your garden I am going to share with you a simple yet incredibly effective recipe to create your own herbal hair rinse at home with only 3 ingredients.

What you will need:

1. Approximately a forearm length and width of fresh lavender (The stems, flowers, and leaves can all be included.

2. A matching amount of rosemary stems, leaves, and flowers to that of the lavender.

3. One lemon

The simple process:

1. Find a large pot in your kitchen. I use a cast-iron pot but any will do.

2. Fill the pot about 3/4 full with fresh water and bring it to boil (the fresher the better, I like to use fresh stream water but of course, any sterile water will work).

3. Once the water is boiling turn off the heat and simply place all three ingredients into the opt and cover with a lid (the lemon should be cut into two but does not need to be squeezed).

# Note that it is important to turn off the heat as the high temperature will destroy many of the good properties that we are trying to extract from the plants.

4. Leave the pot covered overnight to allow the herbs to infuse with the water as it cools down.

5. When you uncover the lid you will get a strong aromatic smell of lavender and should notice that the water is slightly silky and smooth to the touch. This is a sign that the plants have properly infused with the liquid.

Now you can simply use a sieve to filter out the bits of the plant leaving only the clean herbal rinse behind. Place the rinse in a jar or bottle of your choice and use it when you are ready.

Final notes

The above herbal rinse can be used either as a shampoo and conditioner replacement or as a simple hair rinse that is left in the hair until dry.

Staying away from harsh chemicals is a benefit to our health as well as that of the environment. Not to mention the benefits of growing your own plants to encourage biodiversity and save some extra cash on the side. As a side note for those with very oily hair, adding a little bicarbonate of soda to your hair rinse is another eco-friendly and non-toxic alternative. Baking soda has so many uses and is certainly a benefit for healthy skin care and hair growth.

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