Thursday, October 25, 2012

Store Bought Conditioners and Hair Treatments vs Natural Ingredients

When I purchase a deep conditioner or any hair treatment I have a habit of looking through the ingredients first. Usually there are a few ingredients listed that I cannot identify unless I look them up. Then there are the elements that really make the product worth buying, ingredients such as honey extract, avocado oil, coconut oil, egg protein, apricot oil, olive oil, grape seed oil and the list goes on. The problem is that usually when you purchase a conditioner, shampoo or treatment there are only miniscule proportions of these essential ingredients included yet they are the most beneficial and often the reason people purchase the product.

Some hair products can cost a lot of money and if you want good quality natural hair products with no harsh chemicals, sulphates and parabens then you probably have to pay a bit more. Organic products are usually even more expensive yet you are still only getting a tiny amount of all the essential oils and extracts that make the product what it is.

I have spent up to $40 dollars for one tiny jar of conditioner that boasts macadamia oil among other things as a part of its miraculous cure to heal and rejuvenate hair, yet a bottle of pure macadamia oil costs a lot less at my local grocery store.

I had an epiphany moment the other day, it seemed pointless to purchase these expensive products for the tiny amount of essential ingredients I want for my hair so I decided to start purchasing the ingredients themselves. I have now acquired a small stash of oils and honey that are all natural and the best part is I can use as much or as little as I want and the shelf life on most of these products are very long.

Here is a short summary of the oils you should consider:

Olive oil: Helps smooth hair cuticle, reduce dandruff and split ends, adds shine, softness and manageability
Coconut oil:  Helps reduce protein loss, adds shine, reduce dandruff, promotes hair growth, and reduces breakage (see previous blog on the benefits of coconut oil for more info)
Hemp seed oil: Aids in keratin formation, contains essential fats that nourish the follicles, and helps develop stronger thicker healthier hair.
Grapeseed oil: Moisturizes the scalp and hair, adds shine, and reduces brittleness, breakage and split ends.
Almond oil: Nourishes hair to help make it thicker and stronger. Cleanses the scalp and reduces inflammation. Helps get rid of dandruff and controls hair fall.
Argan oil: Penetrates to nourish hair, increases elasticity and helps with growth. Helps strengthen hair and repair damage and helps restore hair from environmental extremes.
Tea tree oil: Helps eliminate dandruff, helps seal cuticle and lock in moisture, helps prevent hair loss and promotes growth.
Rosemary oil: helps darken hair if used overtime and helps manage grey hair, helps stimulate follicles to aid in hair growth, slows down premature hair loss and balding, nourishes the hair and scalp and reduces dandruff.
Jojoba oil: Helps in hair growth and to counteract hair loss. Replenishes and stimulates natural oil production.
Shea oil: Coats the hair to help seal in moisture, softens dry brittle cuticles, conditions and strengthens hair.
Castor Oil: Adds shine, improves circulation, controls split ends, thickens hair and can aide in growth, helps treat dandruff and dry scalp.

Not all these oils can be found in the grocery store but if your grocery store carries a good range of products you may be able to find the following oils:
Grape seed oil
Coconut oil
Olive oil: Adds moisture and shine to hair.
Macadamia oil: Helps hydrate hair, reduces frizz and breakage, strengthens hair and improves elasticity, helps combat dry hair and skin.
Avocado oil:   Helps moisturize, nourish and strength hair while helping to prevent and reduce damage.  Helps stimulates blood flow to follicles which aids in new growth and the essential fats absorb into the scalp and protect against environmental factors.

Some other places you may find these oils are your local Whole foods store, organic markets and online.

And let’s not forget raw organic honey which isn’t oil but it is a new element I am adding to my conditioners and oil treatments for extra strength, shine, and overall scalp health so I thought it deserved an honourable mention.

As long as the oils are organic and 100% pure then you can try them on your hair and even on your skin as a moisturizer. Each of these oils have different properties and while some will have different benefits for your hair many of them will do similar things like add shine, moisture, softness and help with dry damaged hair. I should also mention that not all oils will work for every hair type equally. People who tend to have oily hair or hair that is easily weighed down may not want extra oils in their hair but people who suffer from hair loss, breakage dryness, split ends, dullness and damage may strongly benefit from the nourishment these oils provide. Some of you will prefer certain oils over others so the key is doing some research finding some oils that match your needs and then trying them out to find one you like best. Keep in mind that if you plan to use an oil for a hot oil treatment than you should find out how the oil reacts to heat, some oils lose some of their nutritional value after being heated.

 So the next time you are at a department store and you are browsing for a good conditioner or hair treatment consider going right to the source of what makes that product great and try the natural ingredients to treat your hair instead.

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