Natural hair treatments

Want gorgeous tresses without spending a fortune? Skip the salon and start experimenting in the kitchen

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Did mum ever tell you that rinsing your hair in vodka will give it amazing shine? Or that dousing your locks in stale beer would make them luscious (not just make you smell like a brewery)? Hair experts say that raiding the kitchen cupboards and going back to nature – using items such as avocado, egg, lemon juice and natural oils – can help you discover that extra oomph factor and save you money.

David Salinger, director of the International Association of Trichologists, says there are lots of easy things to try if you’re after naturally gorgeous hair. One old wives’ tale suggests putting a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda on dry hair before washing reduces product build-up. However, Salinger recommends trying lemon juice instead. “Rinsing in water with a few drops of lemon juice makes it slightly acidic – just like the pH of shop-bought hair conditioners. This closes down and flattens out the outside cuticle layer of the hair, giving a shinier appearance.”

So, is it true what they say about stale beer being a miracle hair treatment? Seems like it’s worth a try if you have unruly hair, adds Salinger: “Stale beer was used in hairdressing salons years ago as a styling agent, as a setting lotion for a roller set, to give the hair texture, bounce and body – the same way we use mousse and other products in the hair today to give the hair texture and body, and to stop it from being too soft and fly-away.”

Want another use for that advocaat liqueur you have stashed away? Then try dousing your hair with it. “Vodka would dry the hair out because of the alcohol content,” says Salinger. “Advocaat is better because of the egg in it, which will supply protein to the hair. Apply as a treatment, leave on for a few minutes and rinse out thoroughly before drying the hair.”

Salinger says the benefits of using oils are to give shine and reduce resistance when you comb. “Neem oil and tea-tree oil are good antiseptics for the scalp. Almond oil is one of the better oils to apply to the hair and scalp, as it doesn’t go rancid like many others do. Coconut oil is also good as a conditioning agent, and olive oil gives the hair a good shine.”

Beauty myth: mayonnaise makes your hair sleek and glossy

You’d think the ingredients in mayonnaise – including eggs, lemon juice and oil – would help condition hair. However, applying mayonnaise directly to your hair is a messy, smelly process that is not worth the unconfirmed benefi ts. No scientifi c evidence exists to justify using this sandwich staple for sleek hair; it is diffi cult to rinse out and just leaves your locks feeling heavy. Treating your hair with mayonnaise is effective only if you have head lice, as the mixture suffocates them. For healthy, shiny hair, eat a well-balanced diet that is high in omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats, found in nuts, avocado and olive oil. Quality fats will help you maintain healthy, glowing skin and shiny, soft hair from the inside out – without the smelly, sticky residue!

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