natural hair care blog post

Natural Hair Care

For the vast majority, it’s our crowning glory. The natural hair care product market was valued at almost $9 Billion in 2019 and is expected to continue it’s upward momentum. Savvy consumers and new technologies are fueling the growth, as well as issues such as ingredient sensitivities and heightened awareness of the environmental impacts of their product choices.

Hair anatomy

A strand of hair consists of three layers – the innermost medulla, the cortex and the cuticle. The cortex, or middle layer, is where pigment resides, and it contributes to the flexibility of the hair shaft. We’ll be focusing on the outermost layer, or cuticle, for the purposes of our discussion. This is the layer that takes the most abuse.

Our hair consists primarily of keratin protein which is made up of 18 amino acids. It also contains lipids (like sebum) which provides hair with lubrication. The hair shaft itself is not “alive”, which is why it’s so difficult for us to reverse any damage done to the hair.

The cuticle consists of a layer of overlapping cells, which forms a protective layer over the cortex. Frequent use of chemicals is the primary cause of damage to the hair shaft. Things like bleaching, dying perming, heat styling, exposure to pool chlorine and other ingredients can damage the cuticle, leaving it torn, and leaving hair dry and brittle. It’s important to tailor your haircare routine to your hair type. Check out this informative Healthline article on hair types.

Products to avoid

Healthy hair, no matter how curly or how straight, has a closed cuticle – that is, the overlapping cells lie flat. There are many products and ingredients that can damage the cuticle;

  • hair dyes (even “natural” ones like henna can dry out hair)
  • chemical relaxers (anything that breaks chemical bonds is not good)
  • chemical perms (same as above)
  • high-heat styling tools (standard blow dryers and straightening irons)
  • direct sunlight
  • pool chlorine
  • salt water

Products that penetrate the cuticle like hair dyes and perms can cause the cuticle to raise up, making hair rough and prone to breakage. Heat styling can remove moisture from the hair, making it dry and brittle. There are also many hair care products on the market that contain ingredients that do not benefit hair; ingredients like

  • sulfates (e.g. sodium lauryl and laureth sulfate) which strip oils from hair
  • silicones (which can build up and leave hair drier)
  • alcohols
  • mineral oil
  • perfumes (containing hundreds of ingredients like parabens and formaldehyde)

It’s important to read product labels and to know what you’re putting on your hair and scalp, especially if you are allergic to many ingredients. The bottom line is that, much like your skin, you want to use products that provide benefits to your hair without side effects.

Oils and natural hair care

We’re great believers in the benefits of using plant-based oils to nurture hair. Oils penetrate the cuticle to add vital lipids and help slow down moisture evaporation. A few oils that have been shown to nurture dry, brittle hair include Olive, Avocado, Argan and Jojoba oils. Hot oil treatments have been used for quite some time to nourish dry, chemically treated hair. They work well as a treatment mask under a cap or mixed with your regular conditioner. (Before using a new carrier oil, it’s good to test it on the skin to be sure that you won’t get an allergic reaction. This is especially true about nut oils like coconut, almond and kukui nut.)

Dry oils came on the market as a multi-purpose solution for skin and hair. They are absorbed quickly with minimal residue. Some common oils used in dry oils include sunflower, safflower, jojoba, rosehip, olive and others. They can be applied without the need to rinse them out and they add antioxidants like Vitamin C and E, as well as leaving hair with a subtle sheen. They’re great when you are looking for a lightweight oil for regular use. An example is our All Purpose Organic Dry Oil. It’s great on hair, but many customers use it as a post-shower body oil or cuticle oil.

Other natural hair care tips

If you’ve been going “natural” and have avoided things like hair dyes, perms and blow drying, then you may not need to do much. But if you’re like many of us, you’ve spent lots of time and money covering grays, blow-drying and straightening your hair, with resultant damage. If the damage is severe, it may be necessary to cut off the damaged hair and start with virgin hair. For example, does your hair look “fried” with lots of breakage and split ends? Does it feel “mushy” when wet? If so, it may be best to get a good cut.

For the rest of you, seek out hair care products with naturally-derived ingredients that have a proven track record. You can begin your journey with this natural haircare product article by TheGoodTrade.com. Applications containing keratin can help. You can also try these natural hair care tips to keep your hair as healthy as possible:

  • When outdoors, wear a wide brimmed hat – sunlight can literally bleach the hair. This will dry it out.
  • When coming out of the pool or ocean, rinse hair out right away. Or before going in, apply olive oil to the hair to help keep chemicals from being absorbed.
  • Avoid using too many products at a time. If hair becomes dull, use apple cider vinegar or beer before shampooing with a sulfate-free shampoo.
  • Use a satin cap or pillow case in the bedroom. It will reduce surface friction while you sleep, keeping the cuticle intact and preventing static cling.
  • Avoid elastic hair ties or metal clips in the hair. They put stress on the cuticle and, if used often, can pull hair at the root, resulting in traction alopecia. The same goes for teasing and wet-combing.
  • Drink plenty of water. Our bodies need it, and our hair benefits from it, too.
  • Eat a healthy diet that includes adequate protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. If supplements are needed, try Vitamin E tablets. (We like plant-derived ones.) Extreme diets, sudden weight loss and certain diseases can cause hair to fall out. If this happens often, see your doctor.
  • Exercise regularly. This does more than put the rose in your cheeks. Increased circulation benefits the scalp, which makes your hair look better.
  • Control stress and anxiety. Constantly touching or obsessing over your hair can become a habit, and can be controlled with professional help. If you tend to over-wash the hair, this can dry it out.

https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/natural-hair-care-products-market

What Is Dry Oil?

What Is Dry Oil?

What Is Dry Oil?

You may have seen promotions for “dry” oils online and asked yourself what they are. Are dry oils used in hair, on skin, or both? Can people with oily skin and hair use a dry oil? These are all good questions, which I hope to answer below.

But first, what dry oil is: A lighter oil that is quickly absorbed. Many of the lighter oils are also high in linoleic acid, which are great for acne-prone skin. Linoleic acid is a polyunsaturated fatty acid that goes on clean without a heavy, greasy feel. Yes, it’s ok for people with acne-prone skin to use a dry oil, as long as they contain the right ingredients. Individuals with acne-prone skin have been found to benefit from using oils high in linoleic acid. Some examples of oils high in linoleic acid include:

  • Tamanu oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Grape seed oil
  • Rosehip seed oil
  • Black cumin seed oil
  • Sunflower oil

What makes dry oils particularly useful is that they are multi-purpose. They absorb quickly into skin and hair, leaving only softness behind. They are useful as a bath or shower oil as well as a lightweight hair oil to tame flyaways and nourish split ends. They are especially good for dry skin and hair, which soak them right up. They can also be massaged into the scalp to aid with flakiness and inflammation. If you’re looking for a lightweight product that absorbs better than a balm, then a dry oil is just the thing.

If you would like to try our all-natural multi-purpose dry oil, you can learn more about it here. We love making products that are naturally derived, cruelty-free, plant based, and biodegradable. It is scented with lavender and bergamot essential oils. Have you used a dry oil? We would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

References:
Minimalist Beauty article on dry oils and acne prone skin
Firstderm.com article on the best oils for your skin

Can body oils be good for all skin types? Naturally.

Can Body Oils be Good for All Skin Types? Naturally!

Here’s proof that what’s old is new again. Multi-purpose body oils have been on the scene for the past few years, and their popularity hasn’t diminished. From Dry Oils and Face Oils to Massage Oils and Cleansing oils, there’s no denying that an ancient practice is here to stay.

History is full of stories of ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians who used oils like castor, sesame, olive, and sweet almond to keep skin supple and beautiful. They were an integral part of their skincare rituals and some were even precursors to modern formulations like Pond’s Cold Cream.

Some might still believe that oil-based skincare is only good for dry skin, but that’s not so. The vast variety of plant-based oils available today promise benefits to all skin types, from dry to oily to problem skin. How can these oils provide benefits to the skin? I’ll begin with a few major carrier oils:

Dry or mature skin can benefit from olive, coconut, almond and sesame oils. Their fatty acids provide effective moisturization. Coconut oil may clog pores in some individuals, so test them with small amounts to find the one that works best.

Normal and combination skin can benefit from avocado, hemp seed, meadowfoam seed, argan, and babassu oils. These oils can penetrate the skin quickly and nourish skin with oleic and linoleic fatty acids and Vitamins C and E. Argan oil has been used in Morocco for centuries.

Oily skin can benefit from jojoba, pomegranate, flax seed and baobab oils. They help maintain the skin’s acid mantle and help prevent cell membrane breakdown. Jojoba oil is actually a liquid wax that closely resembles our skin’s own sebum.

Other oils that have come on the scene can treat specific skin problems. Rosehip oil is rich with antioxidants and can help restore moisture to stressed, tired skin. Black cumin oil is anti-inflammatory and can help with skin conditions like acne. Tamanu oil from Madagascar has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Oils can be good for the hair, as well. While the keratin structure of hair is different from living skin tissue, many problems with frizzy, dry, or flyaway hair can be remedied with just a few drops of a nourishing oil like olive, coconut, castor, or argan oil. You can also find oil combinations that lend various properties to a product. The secret is in experimenting to find what works best for your particular hair type.

There are many ways to use the new multi-purpose oils, which is what makes them so handy to have around. They can be used as gentle cleansers, for makeup removal, and to hair wet or dry. Our own Dry Oil with Lavender and Bergamot oils works as a multi-purpose oil – good for massage, to condition dry strands, or as an after-shower oil. A little goes a long way, saving busy consumers times and money. By trying them out, you’re bound to find one that you love. Find out for yourself why body oils can be good for all skin types.

Reference:
Intothegloss.com article on face oil

Prevent dry skin this winter

Prevent Dry Skin During Cold Weather Months

Are you looking to prevent dry skin?

During cold weather months, there is a tendency for many of us to develop dry skin and hair. We can blame this on forced air heating, tightly enclosed spaces, and/or a tendency to drink less water. A combination of factors can result in a humidity level of 40% or less. When this occurs, we risk drying out mucous membranes, as well, which can lead to a higher risk of developing respiratory tract and sinus infections. Our hair can also become drier which can lead to more fly aways or static electricity.

Fortunately, there are a few things that we can do to prevent dry skin and hair resulting from these and other factors. They don’t require fancy equipment or expensive products, either. Here are a few tips:

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

It may seem obvious, but colder weather often results in more sedentary behavior, diminished perspiration, and a tendency to drink less water. Alternatively, we may also drink more hot coffee, cocoa, or tea which have a diuretic effect. Alcohol has the same effect. The result is dehydration. To counteract this, it’s important for us to monitor our water intake and to drink a glass of water for every cup of coffee or glass of wine that we imbibe. We know we’re adequately hydrated when our urine is the color of light straw. This can also be affected by the foods we eat and drink (e.g., beets, cranberries juice). It is merely a rough measure of our level of hydration. If we pinch our skin and it does not retract immediately, it is also an indication of dehydration. Be sure to take into account the fruits and vegetables with a high water content that can also contribute to proper hydration.

Avoid hot water baths and showers.

This removes protective oils that keep our skin and hair pliable. Use lukewarm water instead and apply a barrier balm like our Body Balms or our Dry Oil to skin and hair immediately after bathing or showering. These products contain humectants like candelilla wax (trapping moisture) or glycerin (drawing water) which serve to trap water in the skin. Just lightly towel-dry and apply products while skin is still warm and damp. Natural oils can also help to preserve the skin’s acid mantle which can be impacted by harsh detergent cleansers and shampoos. A small application to dry hair can also help to preserve its cuticle.

Buy a hygrometer

It reads the relative humidity in any room. If the humidity level nears 40%, you have dry air that can sap moisture from skin and hair. To prevent dry skin, you can purchase a humidifier. Personal steam inhalers are also becoming popular and can help moisturize mucus membranes. We are undecided on facial mists. While refreshing during hot summer months, they are primarily water, relatively expensive, and the water evaporation may leave skin drier than before.

Use a natural moisturizer throughout the day as needed.

Be sure to read labels and avoid products containing silicone and petroleum by-products. These are neither nourishing nor earth-friendly. Products containing glycerin, castor oil, olive, jojoba, argan or other quick-penetrating oil can be beneficial for skin and hair over the long term. Coconut oil, while great to have on hand, can be drying for some when applied directly. And yes, even oily skin can benefit from oils. If you are acne-prone, try grapeseed or pumpkin seed oil. Oils that don’t clog pores (non-comedogenic) include argan and hemp seed oils. Results vary by individual, so you’ll need to experiment; a little goes a long way. Hemp, pumpkin seed, argan, and olive oil tend to become rancid easily, to it’s best to refrigerate them, or buy them in small quantities.

Moisturize while you sleep.

Many find it beneficial to use a hand cream or a foot balm with cotton gloves and socks. This gives the product a chance to sink in and soften rough areas overnight.

With a little effort, you can treat your skin to nourishing oils while preventing dry skin during the cold weather months. (Disclaimer: This information is not intended to prevent or cure disease. See your doctor if you are having respiratory, dermatological, or other symptoms of illness.)