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7 Steps to Healthier Scalp and Hair

7 Steps to Healthier Scalp and Hair

 

Firstly, healthy hair starts at the scalp

The hair grows from follicles on the scalp.  If those follicles are being stripped by harsh detergents, like sulphates found in mainstream shampoos, or clogged with product build-up, it can eventually lead to a dry, itchy scalp or under-nourished unhealthy-looking hair.

 

Instead, choosing shampoos with naturally derived ingredients can gently cleans the scalp without stripping it of its natural oil sebum, which is vital for a healthy scalp.

 

Masking the problem

Widely available non-natural hair products contain ingredients like silicones to create the slip needed to detangle and give hair a silky shine and manageability.  These silicones seal the hair cuticle, preventing moisture from getting in.  This is because the silicone “sticks” to the hair surface, creating a plastic-like film, preventing strands from absorbing water or nutrients.

 

Through sealing the hair cuticle, silicones mask the problem, making hair seem smooth and silky, but in reality, it is most likely in need of moisture and hydration.

 

Natural hair products do not contain silicones but instead use naturally derived ingredients that provide hair with the nutrients needed to nourish hair properly.  While it can take a few months to see results, hair will become much healthier in the long run.

 

So now that you know why the scalp is vital for healthy hair and what to avoid, what can you do to achieve healthier hair?

 

Here are 7 easy steps

 

Step 1 – Choose a PH balanced natural shampoo with key botanicals that support an environment for healthy hair

Shampoos that are pH balanced are the optimal cleansers to use because they do not strip too much of the natural oil sebum from the hair and scalp.  Additionally, a PH balanced natural shampoo can help reduce frizz, dryness, maintain the hair’s natural shine and keep the hair’s cuticle sealed.

 

But the PH level alone is not the only thing to look for – choose products that contain these five botanicals, which have been known to support healthy hair growth for centuries. 

 

Gingko Extract – This plant is known to stimulate blood flow and improve circulation. It can help with increasing the blood flow that follicles need to encourage new growth at the root level.

 

Horsetail Extract – This plant is a hugely popular natural solution for promoting hair growth and a healthy scalp. It works by stimulating blood vessels that supply oxygen to hair follicles.  It is known to improve the strength of hair and can help make hair less brittle. 

 

Nettle Extract – This plant is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and amino acids essential for healthy hair growth. It is rich in sulfur, a mineral that helps lengthen your hair follicles in the growth or anagen phase and silica, another mineral that helps shine and strengthen hair strands’ quality.

 

Rosemary Extract – This plant is vitamin-rich, anti-bacterial, anti-oxidant and one of the most popular and effective herbs for scalp health and hair growth. It can help stimulate the roots, soothe an irritated scalp, condition and moisturise the hair.

 

Lavender Oil – This plant has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that can improve hair’s health. It provides deep nourishment for the hair and can protect it from environmental and heat damage.

 

Step 2 – Wash sparingly

Washing your hair less is not only good for the environment, but it is also good for your scalp and hair.  We have been trained to wash hair too often when in actuality, you can go a few days without a wash and allow the natural oils on the scalp to condition the hair.  

 

And of course, when you do need a wash, choose products with naturally derived ingredients to ensure they are gentle on your scalp and hair.

 

Step 3 – Brush hair before showering  

Hair is in a fragile state when it’s wet.  To avoid breakage and damage, try brushing before you get in the shower with a wide-tooth comb to get rid of any knots and always be gentle.  Start at your ends and gradually work your way up to the roots.

 

Not only is it good for detangling but it also helps in distributing the natural, healthy oils, from the roots of your hair to the ends.

 

Step 4 – Pre-soak then shampoo

Pre-soaking your hair is very important.  If you wet your hair thoroughly, you will need less shampoo, and applying too much shampoo can cause your hair to look dull and is also a waste of product.

 

Pour the shampoo onto the palm of your hand, rub your hands together and then smooth the shampoo over your hair.  Massage your scalp with your fingertips in a gentle kneading motion.  Then rinse.

 

Step 5 – Apply conditioner

Pour the conditioner onto the palm of your hand, rub your hands together and then smooth the conditioner over your hair.  Massage your scalp with your fingertips in a gentle kneading motion. 

 

Before rinsing, use your fingers or a wide-tooth comb to distribute the conditioner throughout the hair thoroughly.  Then rinse.

Leave the conditioner on the hair for 3 to 5 minutes for extra hydration.

 

Step 6 – Finish the last rinse with cold water

Before stepping out of the shower, do your final rinse with cold water.  Rinsing with cold water can help seal the hair cuticles and give hair a better chance of staying shiny, healthy and frizz-free.

 

Step 7 – Do a natural hair treatment once a week

There are two great natural and sustainable options, depending on your hair type: Aloe Vera or Virgin Coconut Oil.

 

If you tend to have thin or oily hair, an Aloe Vera treatment straight from the plant is a perfect way to hydrate and moisturise the hair.  The enzymes in Aloe Vera can help dissolve dead skin cells and excess sebum on the scalp and assist in treating dandruff.  It can also help in keeping the scalp moisturised and PH balanced. 

 

Extract the thick, gel-like substance from the plant and rub it onto dry hair and scalp.  Let it penetrate the hair follicles on the scalp by leaving it on for 30 minutes.  Then rinse off with water and wash with a natural shampoo.

 

If you tend to have dryer hair, a Virgin Coconut Oil treatment can help soften, add sheen, and help repair dry hair.  Coat dry hair with a glob of Virgin Coconut Oil, avoiding the scalp.  Start applying from the bottom of the hair and work your way up to the middle section of your strands.  Leave it on for 30 minutes, then shampoo and condition as usual. 

 

The bottom line

A healthy scalp leads to healthy hair, so paying attention to your scalp is essential.  If you notice any itching, redness, flakiness, irritation, pain, or excessive hair loss and these symptoms bother you, see a dermatologist.  They can help determine if there is an underlying health problem or if you should change your hair care routine.  You can also support a healthy scalp through everyday habits.  This includes using gentle, natural and PH balanced products and being kinder to your hair with less washing, gentle brushing and natural scalp and hair treatments.

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What are the benefits of Australian native botanicals?

What are the benefits of Australian native botanicals?

 

First, let’s understand the Australian landscape.  Australia is the oldest continental landmass on Earth. It formed 100 million years ago when it broke away from Gondwana (the ancient supercontinent). Its size gives it a wide variety of landscapes and climates, with deserts in the centre, tropical rainforests in the east, and mountains to the south. Throughout the continent, many native plants evolved, adapted and flourished. As a result, over 24,000 unique botanicals emerged through some of the hottest, driest and most severe climates.

 

Indigenous Australians understood early on the benefits of Australian native botanicals.  Their lives and cultural identity interwove with the natural landscape. For example, aboriginal cultures traditionally used ‘bush medicine’ as part of a holistic approach to healing and wellness and all aspects of tradition tied to the land and its rich and diverse native species. 

 

How does the Australian landscape make native botanicals so special?

 

Australian native species adapted to the most demanding environments. Because of this, they contain more antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals than other typical flora and fauna and are becoming sought after for their skin and hair care benefits.

 

How can we use these botanicals for hair care? 

 

The plant compounds found in Australian native species could provide rich nutrients to feed the hair and help it fight against dehydration, high temperatures, UV exposure and more.

 

According to Native Extracts, a leader in Australian native cellular extraction, has identified key Australian botanicals with “powerful Phyto-compounds that could promote and lengthen the hair growth cycle.” 

 

The hair growth cycle is comprised of different stages. According to Native Extracts, “External aggravators such as excessive heat and UV radiation, as well as internal processes derived from oxidative stress, hormones or genetics, interfere with the natural cycle…Phyto-compounds hold potential to reverse these damages leading to prolonged growth periods associated with increased density, length and diameter of scalp hair”.

 

According to Native Extracts, these specific compounds are Quercetin, Kaempferol, Procyanidins and Epigallocatechin-3-gallate [EGCG].  

 

And they could support the following:

Quercetin: Activates hair cells.

Kaempferol: Supports development and maintenance of hair cells, counteracts thinning/weakening.

Procyanidins: Improves hair density and diameter.

Epigallocatechin-3-gallate [EGCG]: Protects hair cells against environmental toxins.

 

So, where can I find these Phyto-compounds in hair care products?

 

More and more hair care companies are adding Australian native botanicals into their formulas, and for good reason.  For companies that want to avoid synthetic ingredients and seek natural compounds beneficial for the hair, Australian native botanicals are essential.  This year Pure Earth launched its first hydrating shampoo and conditioner duo enriched with Lemon Myrtle and Emu Apple, which combined deliver the four Phyto-compounds needed to create the optimum environment for robust and healthy hair.  You can view Pure Earth’s Hydrating Lemon Myrtle and Emu Apple hair care duo here.

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Plastic Free Living Tips Products

What is natural shampoo and conditioner? And why is it better?

What is ‘natural’?


By ‘natural shampoo’ we mean products that contain plant-based ingredients, is SLS free and Paraben free, and use gentle, non-drying cleansing agents. 


Conventional shampoos and conditioners use SLS and Parabens because they are great cleaning agents, but they can also strip the hair and scalp of everything, including its healthy natural oils.  SLS and Parabens can also be irritating on the skin and scalp and cause dryness or dandruff. 

Using conventional shampoos and conditioners may feel great at first, but give a false sense of healthy hair.  Many typical shampoos and conditioners may also contain different forms of silicones which smooth the hair initially. However, after continuous use, your hair may feel drier and drier and damaged.  The silicone can be damaging because it completely coats the hair and builds a layer that prevents moisture from penetrating the hair.  Eventually, this can dry out the hair.  It may be hard to notice because this coating gives the feeling of silky-smooth hair.


What to look for:

Reading labels is essential when switching to natural shampoo and conditioner. Look for products that contain natural ingredients. It takes time and effort to identify unnatural ingredients, so as a simple general rule of thumb, try to look for a minimal ingredient list with items that are easy to pronounce. Look for ingredients that are naturally derived or made from things found in nature.


What to expect:

The main difference you’ll notice about natural shampoo is that it doesn’t lather up the same way your old shampoo did, since those foaming agents aren’t there. Less foam does not mean it’s not getting your hair clean, or that you need to use more shampoo than usual.

It can take a few days for your scalp and hair to adjust when switching to a natural shampoo. In the beginning, it may feel like your hair is oilier and heavier than usual.  One important trick is to make sure you rinse your hair well, as any residual shampoo can make your hair feel heavier.  In the beginning, your hair may also feel less silky than usual without the silicones, however, over time, your hair will become softer and healthier. After a few washes, your scalp will adjust, and you’ll probably find that your hair’s texture is more well-balanced with less oil at the roots and healthier, moist tips. You may even notice your hair is fuller, as some people may experience better hair growth as a result of switching.

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Plastic Free Living Tips

Why Every Day Should Be Plastic Free Day

The mass production of plastic has resulted in 8.3 billion metric tons over the last six decades – some of which can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade.  Scientists predict that the rate of production will continue to rise – most of it as single-use, which will likely end up in landfills, rivers or oceans as only 9% of it gets recycled. 

 

So, what do we do as a global society to fight plastic waste?

 

Refuse, reuse and recycle.  Refuse any new single-use plastic, reuse items you already have instead of buying new and recycle where possible.  Here are a few more tips to get you started.

 

 Choose reusable cups.  Take a reusable coffee cup and reusable water bottle wherever you go.  Try Keep Cup, which is easy to clean and maintain. You can also do this with takeaway containers.  Many restaurants and cafes are now allowing you to take away your reusable container rather than get a throwaway plastic one.  Make it a habit to place your reusables in your purse, backpack or car first thing in the morning so that you don’t forget it.

 

Avoid pre-packed fruit and vegetables.  Instead of buying pre-packed fruit, buy them loose and reuse a produce bag.  You can also buy a reusable mesh produce bag  Or even better, purchase your fruit and vegetables from your local farmer’s markets or find out which ones are offering weekly mixed fruit and vegetable boxes with delivery options.   

 

Refuse the straw.  Sip don’t suck.  If you do require a straw, try a reusable glass, stainless steel or silicone one.  A silicone option from Everco is excellent for kids because they don’t break and are soft and safer to use.

 

Aim for waste-free lunches.  Use stainless steel containers, glass containers or bamboo containers.  Or use reusable beeswax wraps for sandwiches, wraps, sushi rolls, quiches, etc.  You can even use safe, reusable plastic lunchboxes – the idea is to refuse single-use plastic.

 

Say ‘no’ to packaged snacks.  If you must, buy them in bulk sizes for less packaging, such as potato chips, crackers, cheese etc. and put it into smaller containers for kids. You’ll save money by buying in bulk too!  Or better, learn to make your snacks.  Some great, healthy and easy to make options are bliss balls, muesli bars, veggie muffins and chia pudding with fruit.

 

 Use reusable grocery bags.  At the start of every grocery list, write down ‘grocery bags’ so that you don’t forget them and leave a few in your car.  Or have a special place for them near the door or wherever you keep your car keys.

 

 

Buy a stainless steel razor.  Rather than a disposable razor get a reusable one with disposable blades.  Reusable razors are better quality and can last for decades.

 

 

Choose a biodegradable toothbrush.  For centuries, the basic toothbrush was made from natural materials until the plastic industry took off.  Today, many people are making the switch to bamboo toothbrushes and cutting out a portion of the billions of plastic ones that go to waste every year.

 

 

Buy cleaning products in bulk.  Buy in bulk means less plastic or refill wherever you can.

 

 

Use a wooden comb.  Many bamboo options are lightweight and easy to carry.

 

 

Skip the plastic cleaning brush or scrub.  Buy wooden cleaning brushes and biodegradable sponges or scrubs.  They work just as effective.  Scrubs made from coconut fibres last longer and do not grow mould as quickly as the plastic alternative.

 

 

Buy meat and cheese from the deli.  Check if your local butcher will place meat or cheese into a reusable takeaway container.

 

 

Don’t buy toilet paper wrapped in plastic.  There are a lot of great new plastic-free toilet paper companies that deliver.  Try, Who Gives a Crap.