Ayurvedic Herbs and Powders 101

Let me start by saying, I love Ayuvedic herbs and powders for my kinky hair these herbs/powders repair, thicken, strengthen and condition my hair.

Ayurveda means “the knowledge for long life” while Ayurvedic is the term used to describe a Hindu system of traditional medicine native to India and a form of alternative Medicine.

Ayurveda addresses the well-being of the entire person (physical, psychological and spiritual) in an approach to health & healing that is as relevant to the modern world as it was to the ancient world from which it emerged. Herbs and minerals, nutrition and purification, affirmative ways of living are a few of the ways in which Ayurveda treats not just the ailment but the whole person, emphasizing prevention of disease to avoid the need for cure.


Ayurvedic Herbs/Powers you should become familiar with that are good for wavy, curly, coily and kinky hair:

~ Neem – Is an antibacterial powerhouse, it helps correct scalp issues, as well as promote healthy hair growth

~ Methi [Fenugreek] – Prevents hair loss, promotes hair growth, helps strengthen hair shaft, light protein

~ Hibiscus Petal Powder – Conditions hair, promotes healthy hair growth, prevents hair loss, thickens hair

~ Marshmallow Root Powder – Nourishes hair follicles and scalp, conditioning properties, imparts shine

~ Amla Powder ~ Stimulates hair growth, has wonderful conditioning properties, strengthens hair at the root

~ Kalpi Tone –Promotes hair growth, prevents pre mature balding, light conditioning properties, imparts shine

~ Fenugreek Seed Powder – Prevents hair loss, promotes hair growth, helps strengthen hair shaft, light protein

~ Brahmi Powder – Strengthens hair at the roots, helps relieve dandruff, also purported to thicken hair

~ Bhringraj Powder – Promotes hair growth, prevents pre mature balding, light conditioning properties

~ Orange Peel – Imparts incredible shine, light conditioning properties

~ Nettle – Nourishes hair and scalp, imparts shine, light conditioning properties

~ Shikakai – Acts as a natural cleanser, and mild conditioner, whilst promoting hair growth

~ Aritha [Reetha] – Natural cleansing agent

~ Ashwagandha – prevents hair loss. The main reason why it helps to put an end to hair loss is that hair loss and slow hair growth is normally caused by a hormone known as cortisol. Ashwagandha reduces Cortisol (and it also stops anxiety).

Since Indian women have such beautiful hair, it is certainly worth giving these powders a try. You could also blend different powders together; however, before doing so, take time to familiarize yourself with Ayurvedic powders because certain powders do not work well when mixed together.

Before applying these powders to their hair, Indian women pre-treat their hair with a cold pressed oil such as extra virgin coconut oil, mustard oil, sesame seed oil or an oil infused with Ayurvedic herbs. They allow the oil to sit on the hair for an hour or overnight with a plastic cap.

Steps for Applying Ayuvedic Powder:

1. After you rinse the pre-treatment oil out, section your hair into four quadrants.

2. Place the required amount of Ayuvedic powder in a bowl then add warm distilled water and mix well to create a thick paste.

3. Apply the paste to one quadrant of your hair then massage the paste into the hair and scalp of that quadrant rotating with your finger tips. Repeat this process for each quadrant.

4. Wrap your hair in Saran Wrap and leave it on for 30-45 minutes.

5. Rinse well then Co-wash Rinse again with cool water.

6. Moisturize and Seal your hair with your choice of oil or butter.

BTW: You can add green tea, oils, and or a natural moisturizing conditioner to mix into your paste mix. Just make sure to keep the consistency thick like yogurt. Also,
prepared paste mix can be stored in the fridge for a week in a sealed container

Have you ever used Ayurvedic herbs, or powders? How do you mix them?


Should you use Apple Cider Vinegar for Natural Hair?

Should you use Apple Cider Vinegar for Natural Hair?
By Natural Hair Lovers

Do you co-wash your hair? Do you have an itchy scalp?Do you have overly porous or frizz hair? If the answer is yes, you should use an application of Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse every 2-4 weeks.

Rinsing your hair with ACV will rid the hair of product build up that co-washing can not remove. This build up results from the use of styling products, oils and products with silicones.

Rinsing your hair with ACV will help balance the pH of your hair and scalp which will relive an itchy scalp.

Rinsing your hair with ACV will close the cuticle layers of the hair which will reduce the porosity and frizz in your hair.

Shampoo removes product build up because most shampoos contain sodium lauryl sulfate which dissolves most silicones, oils and dirt but, and strips away all of your scalp’s natural oils. Natural hair is dry enough and harsh sulfates will just make things worse. This is why we co-wash; however, co-washing does not remove remove build up. Therefore, we need to clarify (remove product build up) on our hair and the application of AVC is good for this purpose.

ACV can be applied in three different ways depending on your hair’s need.

1. For reliving itchy scalp

Massage it liberally on your scalp “before” you co-wash your hair. Leave it on 3-5 minutes then co-wash it out.

2. For removing product build up

Massage it liberally into your hair and scalp “after” you co-wash and condition your hair. Leave it on 3-5 minutes then rinse it out.

3. For closing the cuticle layers on overly porous or frizz hair

Massage it liberally into your hair “after” you co-wash and condition your hair then “leave” it in your hair. The smell will disappear when your hair drys.

You can use one or any combination of these applications of ACV depending on what your hair needs. Most of the time, I use Application #3 because I have porous hair (colored-treated) that causes my cuticle to open. This ACV application closes my cuticles makes my hair shine.

However, ACV will cause some of your hair color to bleed (come out) so apply your ACV before your color. Sometimes, I will do the ACV application a day before my color, but, do what works best for your hair.

Apple cider vinegar is quite acidic. It has a pH of about 3. Wet hair has a pH of 4.5-5.5. If you add an acidic rinse like apple cider vinegar to the hair, it will further reduce the pH of your hair strands. Making your hair slightly more acidic will close the cuticles of the hair, making the layers of the cuticles lay down flat.

A smooth, flat cuticle will do four things:

1. Lock in protein and moisture.

Flat cuticles will not let out moisture and protein through evaporation which will keep your hair moisturized and healthy.

2. Adds shine to your hair.

Light reflects off of smooth surfaces. While you may not have as much shine as a person with bone straight hair, shine is an indicator that your cuticles are smooth and closed.

3. Flatten the hair for detangling.

Raised cuticles give the hair that jagged, rough feeling we often talk about with shampoos that “strip.” These raised cuticles are more likely to grab and snag on each other. This also helps with single strand knots.

4. Adds elasticity to your hair and makes your curls defined.

Remember that low pH substances have more hydrogen ions (as opposed to hydroxide ions). The more hydrogen bonds, the more manageable and elastic your hair will be over time.

Now, keep in mind that temperature of water affects cuticles as well. Warm water opens the cuticle so that co- wash and rinses can get the oil and dirt out. Cool water shuts the cuticle as conditioners (that are usually acidic) smooth the hair down and lock moisture in.

If your hair tends to get tangled or loses its luster over time, test out an apple cider vinegar rinse followed by a thorough conditioning and detangling session. After you’ve perfected your ACV mixture, it can be a very beneficial rinse for our wavy, curly, coily, and kinky hair.

Apple Cider Vinegar rinses should never make your hair feel hard. If the ACV rinse makes your hair feel hard or tangly after rinsing, your mixture needs to be diluted with more water. One part of apple cider vinegar to three parts of water is a good mixture to start with, i.e., one ounce of ACV to three ounces of water. Make adjustments by adding more or less water.

ACV is Safe and Healthy for your hair when used properly! *Note that ACV is an acid that is much more acidic than your hair. It can and will start to degrade your hair shaft with overuse. So, remember to be cautious and pay close attention to your hair’s reaction to frequent ACV use. Using ACV every 2-4 weeks is a good rule of thumb for almost everyone.

If you apply ACV frequently and get good results, then your mixture is most likely suited to your hair type. If not, then you need to make necessary adjustments.

How do you use ACV and how often?


Hair Color and Natural Hair

When you permanently color, lighten or bleach natural hair is becomes very porous. High porosity hair easily loses moisture, layering on products to retain moisture is a necessity. Many high porosity naturals, after co-washing their hair, apply a water based leave-in conditioner, then a thick water based moisturizer followed by a heavy butter. By layering your products, you are providing your hair with the moisture it needs from the leave-in and moisturizer, and ensuring that the moisture remains near the hair shaft by using a heavy butter or oil to act as a protective layer to prevent the moisture from being lost to the atmosphere. High porosity naturals may also find it necessary to moisturize often and some high porosity naturals moisturize once or twice daily.

Use products with a low pH, which are acidic, and will help tighten the open cuticle. Sealing with pure Aloe Veral after applying your leave-in will be extremely helpful. A regular apple cider vinegar rinse, diluted 3 parts water to one part ACV, will also help detoxify any pollution (from being so openly vulnerable to the elements) and help seal the cuticle.
Also, Oil Rinsing is excellent for color- treated hair.

Protein treatments are also recommended to temporarily patch the gaps. Try this one:

Protein Hair Conditioner

1/2 cup of plain unsweetened yogurt
1/2 ripe avocado
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of grape seed oil
1/2 teaspoon of honey
1 egg
Mix/whip mixture until smooth

Apply the protein hair conditioner to wet hair. Work mixture through the hair, making sure to coat the entire length of the hair from root to end.

Cover your hair with a plastic shower cap or wrap your head in plastic wrap. Leave the protein conditioner on for 30-45 minutes.

Rinse then Co-wash (conditioner washing) Then apply your usual moisturizing conditioner after the protein treatment.

Use warm/hot water to rinse the conditioner from your hair. Then use cool water to close hair’s cuticle layer.

I hope this helps!

Should I Transition to Natural Hair or Big Chop?

Transitioning is letting your hair grow out and keeping the ends trimmed until the relaxer is gone. Big Chopping is cutting off the relaxer. There are pro’s and con’s to both.

If you decide to Transition, keep your new growth moisturized. The area where your new growth and relaxed hair meet (the line of demarcation) is most vulnerable to breakage. Keeping that area moisturized is crucial. Don’t forget to moisturize your ends as well. Investing in a hand hand steamer like Q-Redew is a great idea (see link at the bottom of this post).

Low Manipulation/Protective Styles are best when transitioning. Styles such as: Braidouts, Twistouts, Rod Sets, Roller Sets, Buns, French Rolls, Bantu Knots, Flat Twists, Braid Extensions (not to tight), etc. are great transitioning styles. They are easy to do and easy on your hair. In addition, your natural texture will blend in better with your relaxed hair when wearing these styles.

There’s no set time for transitioning to end. The transition ends when the relaxed ends are gone usually by cutting them off or the relaxer grows out completely. This process is left up to the individual. Usually, the person who decided to transition chose to do so in order to be left with some natural ‘length’ before cutting the remainder of the relaxed ends. This can range from 2 months to 2 years or more.

If you decide to Big Chop, you will have a clean fresh start with your natural hair. Therefore, your natural hair journey starts immediately. One of the biggest benefits of big chopping is that you only have to deal with one hair texture, i.e., your natural hair texture. It’s very difficult to work with both natural hair and relaxed hair textures. Many women decide to big chop because of this issue.

It is very frustrating to deal with two textures of hair. Dealing only with your natural hair, you will gain a better understanding of how products actually work on your hair. You learn pretty quickly what works and what doesn’t work. Needless to say, a woman needs to carry a great deal of confidence and fierceness to big chop. Need I say more?

BTW: Continue to check out Natural Hair Lovers site for tips and information to help with your natural hair journey. I hope this helps…

Henna the good…the bad…and the ugly!

Henna the good…the bad…and the ugly!

Henna (Body Art Henna) is an excellent natural hair color and remedy that prevents hair loss. It is great to use in maintaining strong and healthy hair. It repairs and seals the cuticle which helps in healing the hair shaft. This prevents the hair breakage and helps the hair to shine.

Henna also balances the pH of the scalp and cures most scalp problems such as dandruff, dryness, etc. Sad to say, but I personally do not use henna anymore because I don’t like how it looks on my grey hair. Don’t judge me : (

Always use henna on freshly co-washed hair. This is how you can mix it.

Henna recipe
– 100g of Henna
– Green Tea (Start with at least 1 cup)
– Add 2 tbsp of raw honey
– Add 2 tbsp of amla powder

– Use a glass or ceramic bowl & wooden spoon.
– Place the Henna, raw honey, and alma powder in the bowl.
– Add as much green tea as necessary until it’s the consistency of yogurt.
– Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and let it sit until the dye releases from the henna (usually around 12 hours).
– Section your hair and apply like a relaxer.
– Thoroughly cover your hair with Saran Wrap.
– Place a plastic cap or two on your head.
– Leave on at least 3-4 hours (or even overnight).
– It is very messy so have lots of towels on hand.

Henna is a protein. So, for some people, henna may cause dryness of hair and scalp. If you already have a dry scalp, then you will need to moisturize. You can add moisturizing oils, yogurt, or a conditioner to your henna recipe, or use a good hair oil after your henna treatment.

BTW: Henna is permanent! Which means it has to grow out or be cut out of the hair. Also, it’s very difficult to use permanent hair color if you have hennaed. Bleaching the hair is the only method that removes the henna and that can be harsh and lead to dryness and breakage. I know this from personal experience. (sigh) If you’ve never used henna on your hair before, it is recommended that you perform a skin and strand test to see what color you will get or to see if you have any allergic reaction. Hope this helps!

Are you a henna head? What has your experience with henna been like?

Is Co-Washing Really Good For Your Hair?

Co-washing or Conditioner Washing, is cleansing your hair with conditioner instead of shampoo. Co-washing does not strip your hair like shampoo. If you’re transitioning or already natural, you should co-wash to keep your soft and moisturized, to prevent breakage, and to promote growth. Believe it or not, most conditioners contain some amount of cleanser so the act of wetting and massaging the scalp gets rid of oil and dirt.

The most common issue with co-washing is product buildup on hair. This is because conditioners contain silicones – an agent that gives hair “slip” and shine. Silicones come in two forms – water soluble and non-water soluble. It is best to use moisturizing conditioners with water soluble silicones (or no silicones) because product buildup will be unlikely. Water soluble silicones wash easily from the hair, but non-water soluble silicones do not because they are removed by stronger cleansers such as sulfates that are found in shampoo. Sulfates cause your hair to become dry because they strip the hair of all its natural oils.

READ the label to see if the conditioner ingredients contain these water soluble silicones: Dimethicone Copolyl and PEG Modified Dimethicone. If so, you’re good!

Some co-washing tips:

* Don’t use protein-based conditioners to co-wash, as they can lead to breakage.

* Choose an inexpensive product since you’ll be using more of it than usual.

* Make sure hair is saturated with water before applying conditioner.

* Use a good amount of product and finger comb through to distribute from roots to ends.

* Gently and thoroughly massage scalp to distribute product and cleanse roots.

Rinse hair to remove conditioner to desired amount. Some naturals prefer to completely rinse out the conditioner while others may leave a bit in for continued moisture.

Use a natural clarifier/detox like Apple Cider Vinegar or Mud washes to remove product buildup. Clarify your hair every other week depending on your usage of styling products (oils/butters/gels/leave-in conditioners/etc).

Here is a list of a “few of the Conditioners” that work well:

*Tresemme Naturals
*Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition
*Herbal Essence Hello Hydration
*Giovanni Direct,50/50
*Trader Joe’s Nourish Spa (Trader Joe’s)
*Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle (Trader Joe’s)

Take Away:
Co-washing helps your hair retain Moisture, Moisture, Moisture! It also creates softness and added manageability! Therefore, the end result is GROWTH!!!

Do you co-wash? Have you noticed a difference in your hair?