Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Ayurvedic Hair Care Adventure

I wanted to write an in depth article about hair powder. I have an unusual type of hair which has an oily scalp during summer and dry ends, then during winter the entire length becomes Sahara desert dry and the scalp gets gunked up with sebum.

I tried shampoo after shampoo and conditioner after conditioner.

Several things thwarted me. First off I was allergic to Sodium Lauryl Sulfate which meant almost every shampoo was off limits. Second place was my recent veganism. Which meant I could not use quite a few conditioners either!

After the third caveat of giving up on silicones and dimethicone slip agents I was desperate for an easy hair routine that didn't take a masters degree in herbology to complete!

First I tried Condition only washing with VO5 and suave conditioners. The point of this is to put the conditioner on your hair and let it sit for an hour. Then rinse it out and voila clean hair.

This worked really well! my hair was soft and sweet smelling and shiny. Two things became deterents. I actually stopped doing things I enjoyed because I had to "wash my hair" and also found myself buying boatloads of conditioner because of the sheer amount of conditioner one had to use!

There had to be a better way.

Finally I decided to let nature guide me. I found myself one night staring at a Indian wedding party. There were women EVERYWHERE with waist length shiny soft GORGEOUS hair! I quickly found a gaggle of girls and started telling them about my hair woes.

They knowingly surrounded me and started literally pawing through my hair.

"Do you use henna?" one said.

" I don't want red hair." I said.

They all looked at me and started laughing.

"You don't have to have red hair to henna! None of us have red hair!" the leader of the women chuckled.

They proceeded to tell me that black henna is bad. Then that neutral henna is not henna at all but a different herb. They told me that if I wanted my henna to look more brown to add certain herbs and liquids. They also recommend that you should leave it soaking overnight and add pectin (which they told me how to make from green apples)

Finally they told me the holy grail info. Home made shampoo!

They told me that Soapnut was a staple. Neem would help to exfoliate the scalp and AMLA and hibiscus would add moisture and slip to the hair powder.

I spoke to friends made on and talked about the things I found out. I then took out to try to find the herbs they told me about.

I did research on soapnut and found everything ELSE I needed to make the hairwash but couldn't find the darn soapnut!

Now usually I am the master of finding substitutes and tracking down local herb slingers. However, this soapnut stuff was driving me crazy!

SO I found a recipe for hair powder:

3 parts Shikaikai
1 part Neem
1 tbsp AMLA Powder
1 tbsp fenugreek powder
Liquid from Hibiscus Flower petals

This stuff took a little bit or prep to get it ready but it goes on and rinses out like magic and my hair has never looked better!

I think I may make a large squirt bottle of hibiscus tea. I make the hair powder in advance and keep it in a narrow neck bottle in my shower and make the hibiscus tea before hopping in the shower.

Still. I was going through the research trying to find the damn soap nut! then I literally stumbled across this:

Latin Names: Acacia sinuata (Lour.) Sapindae
English Name: Soap nut
Sanskrit Name: Three leaf Soap Berry
Hindi Name: Shikaikai

Catch the last part? Shikaikai. The ingredient I had been looking for was what I had been using all along.

That my friends is Roguewriter research.

1 comment:

djh/texas said...

cool blog.
i also have started to use these herbs after having a similar hair experience as yours - going from s&c to co-washing and now the herbs. lately i've been experimenting with using only amla rinses and not oiling my hair first but using a tiny bit of lavender oil afterwards. i like doing this - but it does not get your hair as clean as using shikakai - but it is milder. i think that it took my hair sometime to get used to the amla - at first it seemed dry and now it does not. i also use the amla on my face and body. this way i can use only one herb for everything! this and virgin coconut oil make up my whole cosmetic wardrobe.
ratgirldjh/austin, tx