There are endless amounts of exotic oils, flowers, fruits etc. hyped as the secret ingredient to give you healthier, smoother looking hair. But the reality is that there’s only a handful of natural ingredients that can actually make your hair healthier... and here’s the secret; they’re not the ones on the front of your bottle. Here is a quick list of some key ingredients that you may not have heard of, that are 100% natural and equally (if not more so) powerful to their synthetic counterparts.
Yep, you read that correctly. Seaweed in shampoo. Research shows that seaweed helps to control oiliness on the scalp and may assist with hair loss. A new study in the journal Archives of Plastic Surgery suggests that a mix of two seaweed extracts (Saccharina japonica and Undaria pinnatifida) stimulates hair-growth-promoting hormones in as few as two weeks. Even just small amounts of seaweed in a shampoo can have positive effects so look for it down at four or five on the ingredient list.
Not just your least favorite pudding flavor (it’s not just me...right?) any longer. Tapioca is a starch which makes it perfect for second-day hair. Tapioca is extremely good at absorbing oil, even more so than talc which is found in many dry shampoos. While talc absorbs just over three grams of oil, the same amount of tapioca pulls in four and a half grams! So if you’re looking for a dry, “second-day” shampoo that helps control oil perhaps tapioca is your new favorite flavor.
Going tropical (take me!!)? Well then you should look for Tamanu Oil on your ingredient list. Tamanu oil has been shown to have terrific antioxidant as well as some UV blocking properties. Now don’t go crazy, it can’t replace your favorite sunscreen, but it can provide some added protection from the sun. Apply tamanu oil to your scalp at night and follow up with your sunscreen in the morning. Instead of turning your hair into an oily mess, tamanu oil actually calms the inflammation that makes oily scalps worse. Plus, it’s antibacterial, which can help with flaking and dandruff (bonus!). So don’t forget Tamanu oil (and me!) on your next trip to the tropics.
From facial masks to a delicious toast accoutrement, Avocado is everywhere! Oh, and it’s amazing for hair. Avocado oil is a good source of vitamins B and E, and can be a great leave-in conditioner creating soft, shiny hair. If you have dry and/or damages hair, it’ll help to replenish strength, moisture and shine. A bonus is that it’s easily spreadable and will coat the hair without weighing it down.
Olive oil has as many uses for hair as it does in the kitchen. Olive oil is very similar to the natural oils of the hair and scalp, and helps to replenish the oils that are missing in dry, damaged hair. It can be used as a pre-shampoo treatment by popping some in the microwave for about 30 seconds (be careful!) and then massage it into the hair starting from the scalp and working your way to the tips. Olive oil works great as a conditioner for hair as well, adding relief to dry or damages hair.
Typically natural oils will sit on top or your hair, which is great for adding shine, but coconut oil goes a step further- it’s the natural oil that’s been shown to best penetrate hair. In other words: Coconut oil makes your hair stronger from the inside out! Studies have shown that coconut oil decreases the protein loss that comes from brushing and blow-drying. We prefer coconut oil infused treatments over the raw stuff. There’s nothing bad about the raw stuff, but you may end up over-shampooing to get the pure coconut oil out, and then you’ll end up drying your hair and undoing any benefit!