You can create blond highlights naturally. Steep six chamomile tea bags in 8 ounces of water. Spray damp, freshly washed hair with the tea, and let dry.
“Gimme a head with hair, long beautiful hair. Shining, gleaming, steaming, flaxen, waxen.” The lyrics to the rock-musical revival Hair venerate healthy tresses, but climate, pollution, styling abuse, and dietary imbalance can cause your hair to look
“Snaggy, shaggy, ratty, matty. Bangled, tangled, spangled, and spaghettied!”
Hair is shiny and healthy when the scales that make up the cuticle, the outside layer of the hair, lie flat and reflect light. When the hair shaft is damaged, these scales separate, and hair becomes dry, dull, and tired. Here, some hair gurus offer insider tips on how to turn drab hair to vibrant, lustrous, healthy hair:
“Your hair is like a sponge, so condition it every time you shampoo,” says Scotty Geddings, stylist at Aveda Salon & Spa in Honolulu. “Choose conditioning agents that are organic whenever possible. Look for ingredients that include plant proteins from quinoa or soy to strengthen hair; natural plant oils, like jojoba, coconut, and palm, to moisturize; and barley extract to help smooth the hair cuticle.”
Hair is mostly composed of keratin, which is an insoluble protein. Adding natural plant proteins to lifeless, dull, or tired-looking hair will add strength and shine to your tresses. Hair can also lack moisture, leaving it dry and tired looking. Plant oils attract and bind moisture to the hair shaft.
“Don’t overshampoo,” Geddings warns. “Lathering up every day removes your natural oils, drying out your hair. Shampoo every third day. On days you don’t shampoo, rinse with warm water to release the natural oils that fight frizz, and apply a little more conditioner.”
“Hair is an appendage of your skin, and you need to treat it with the same care you do your face,” says Aniko Kaye, owner of Salon Aniko in Beverly Hills, Calif. “Hair can be eaten up by chemicals from bleaching, overlapping color, and shampoos containing sulfites. Many hair products contain too much alcohol, which dries your hair, and not enough ingredients to nourish it. Dull hair is often the result of buildup of too many products made from harmful ingredients.”
Brushing your hair might feel good, Kaye says, but it does not add more shine. “Shine comes from good nutrition and from quality, natural ingredients, like vitamin E, in the products you put on your hair.”
The idea of healing your hair with nutrition is gaining more credence. Studies have shown that deficiencies in essential fatty acids, B vitamins, protein, and zinc may cause dry, brittle, weak hair that lacks luster.
“Eating a healthy diet that includes foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, including walnuts, almonds, and fish such as salmon, will help bring life to dull, tired hair,” says Pam Kelly, director of Technical Services for Fantastic Sams salons. “If you want a more immediate result, use apple cider vinegar mixed with water (1/4 cup vinegar to 3/4 cup water) as a final rinse after shampooing. Vinegar is acidic and will close the cuticle of the hair, creating shine.”
For deep conditioning, Kelly recommends breaking open a few fish oil capsules and coating freshly shampooed hair. Leave on for five minutes, and rinse with warm water. “The natural oils from the capsules will add incredible shine to the hair,” says Kelly.
Problem: Thinning and/or dry hair; dull skin; weak nails that peel and break easily.
Natural Solution: Try Irwin Naturals Healthy Skin & Hair Plus Nails softgels. This formula has everything you need to promote healthier hair growth, strengthen your connective tissue (important for collagen production), and defend against free radical damage. All the essential beauty nutrients are here, including silica, biotin, zinc, vitamin C, copper, gotu kola (great for the skin), and citrus bioflavonoids. Take one softgel twice daily.
Product Examples (below from left)
Restore moisture to thirsty hair with Avalon Organics Olive & Grape Seed Moisturizing Conditioner. Antioxidant-rich organic olive and grape seed oils are blended with sunflower and jojoba oils for optimum repair and replenishment without weighing hair down. The fragrance-free formula will not irritate sensitive scalps.
Tame and restore brilliance to dry, dull hair with Jason Plumeria & Sea Kelp Moisturizing Shampoo, which hydrates and fortifies hair delivering shine and manageability while reducing frizz.
Turn straw-like strands into silk with Alba Botanica Rainforest Cupuaçu Deep Hydration Conditioner. It combines creamy cupuaçu butter, one of the rainforest’s most effective moisturizers, with jojoba oil and cocoa butter to
leave hair soft and smooth.
Rescue thinning, dull, stressed hair with Peter Lamas Chinese HerbsRevitalizing Styling Cream. The leave-in styling aid adds definition, moisture, and brilliant shine with exotic botanicals and Chinese herbs, which also protect hair from breakage caused by thermal styling and UV rays.