Posts Categorized: Hair Pantry

May 30, 2013

Pin Worthy – DIY Treatments for Healthy Natural Hair

I’ve been an avid Pinster for a bit over a year now and find that there is a a myriad of useful information geared for the DIY & natural hair masses. Heck, don’t have curls? Any which one of these recipes below would serve great in achieving a head full of healthy hair & skin. But with winter now past, a good many of us are heading outdoors and may find it a tad more difficult squeezing in those hardcore  treatments (I was a MESS this past weekend…Hellluuuur outdoor festivals!!).  So if you find yourself short on time but still want to treat your tresses & skin to something nourishing, jot down these easy recipes!







November 14, 2011

Preventative Care for Dry Scalp…

I feel as if I’ve mentioned more than a few times issues surrounding the ‘scalp situation,’ so much so that I often receive a few e-mails from you guys asking for help on how to treat your ‘situation.’ I’ve been dealing with dryness of the scalp associated with a mild form of dermatitis for a few years now, and the one thing that remains constant is that you must stay on your game! And if you’re wondering where to start, the easy answer is to begin with water.

It’s easy to forget that during the winter months, our skin needs just as much hydration as it does during the warmer months…perhaps even more so due to the lack of moisture in the air, so monitoring water intake is pretty important if you’re prone to scalp issues. Since the old pubescent years, I’ve made water intake sort of a daily ritual…making sure I incorporate at least a liter a day into my routine. On busy days when time does escape me, I make sure to quickly down at least an 8 ounce glass before heading to bed. Ironically, in the mornings…my mind feels clear and I have less of a hungover feeling. Don’t ask why…

But to stay on top of the scalp game, preventative care really is the best deal, and having a team of products in your rotation to help combat the itchies & flakes will do you good! Because the scalp tends to adjust to a few of the remedies I apply on the regular, I rotate and gauge what to apply based on scalp’s needs.

The aim really is to keep the scalp clutter free – free of buildup, flakes and anything else blocking hair health. During each wash session I apply either an easy hot oil treatment mixed with a few fav herbs that have anti-bacterial/antiseptic properties (typically lavender, hibiscus) mixed with essential oils (tea tree, peppermint, lavender, jojoba, avocado). Often when I’m not quick enough to replenish the stash, I turn to old favorites from the Jane Carter line. The Scalp Renew does well as a pre-cleanse treatment by exfoliating and stimulating the scalp. Because of the peppermint & tea tree oils…the slight tingly feeling tells you it’s working! What’s great about the Renew treatment is how little is needed to feel the affects…one bottle can easily last you anywhere from 5-6 applications when targeting specific areas of irritation.

To keep the scalp happy in between washes try not to over apply using various oils. If the scalp is already dry, adding your favorite oil will most likely not help. If the goal is to maintain the moisture level on the scalp, applying a light oil similar to the Scalp Nourishing Serum works to prevent dryness. Keys to applying oils, are to target areas on the scalp that are more prone to irritation as opposed to canvasing the entire head.

If your scalp has no favorites in the oil department, sticking to an easy remedy like Witch Hazel works amazingly well. I’ve been using Lavender witch hazel with a touch of aloe (alcohol free) for a few months and love the soothing effects. Apply with a clean wash cloth or cotton ball to areas that are often itchy or flaky and the scalp feels instantly refreshed. Witch Hazel is amazing for those who have sensitive skin because it doesn’t irritate the surface of the skin, cleanses effectively and moisturizes without the mess.

Feeling experimental? Dry Shampoos have always fascinated me, and while in Sephora a few months ago I lingered around Ojon’s Full Detox Dry Cleansing Spray, a ‘Rub-Out- cleanser that refreshes the scalp using Soap Bark Tree. Awesome because it goes on clear, leaves no residue and has the best cooling sensation once applied…this is a keeper if you’re traveling on the road, a frequent gym-goer or simply have  no time to do the Fro.

A few other factors do matter as well, including using a non-sulfate shampoo to cleanse the scalp. Monitoring your diet, noticing any allergens that might’ve crept into your life (lactose, dairy , wheat, gluten…etc.), stress. If you’re currently heading down the road to scalp recovery…do give it some time. For the most part, it’s an internal dilemma that expresses itself on the scalp, so allow yourself enough room (1-2 months) to notice any significant changes, and in the end, if seeking the help of a reputable dermatologist suits your needs, do it!

:More Reading:

May 22, 2011

Hair Pantry | DIY Rose Floral Hair Spritz

Because the Fro’s been in a state of two-strand twists for the better part of a few weeks, I’ve had to come up with all sorts of strategies to maintain moisture. Traditionally, I stick to sprays that are easily found in stores. A few favorites are the Jane Carter Revitlizing Leave-In along with Darcy’s Botanicals Hair Spritz. But lately needed something that was a bit more cost effective, especially with the warmer months approaching, and my goal to keep wearing my now go-to style.

Now, if you’ve ever taken a quick peek at the ingredient list of many of the other sprays on the market, you’ll find a whole host of common names (aloe vera, essential oils, glycerin, herbal infusions etc.) All easy to pronounce, recognize & find in most health food stores. To make an easy at home spritz, I chose few elements that would help maintain moisture without causing any build up.

Easy and works in a pinch! Proportions are what I call “eyeballer” because I tend to use less Aloe Vera in my mixes to avoid crunch. Overall you do want mostly Rose Water (75-80% vs. 10% Aloe Vera)Rose water works well on hair to not only soften, but helps to increase blood circulation of the scalp & helps to prevent hair loss (not to mention the incredible floral scent!). Aloe Vera does well in reducing dandruff by cutting back on a dry scalp. Grapeseed Oil is really one of my favorite carrier oils because it’s fast penetrating, treats a ton of skin ailments including those prone to eczema & dermatitis.  It’s non-sticky, non-heavy & the perfect compliment for a mix if you don’t want product buildup.

I spritz this on my twists mainly during the week (typically mornings ) then apply a light hair cream or butter to seal. My hair’s been thriving since doing this, softer & easier to take down once wash day rolls around again. The great thing about mixing your own spritz is the ability to combine & mix whatever ingredients your hair finds favorable. Many natural hair ladies have been getting down with DIY sprays for a long time, & if you need more of a guide check out the bevy of videos tagged on YouTube.

More reading:

*If you’ve recently mixed your own spray, please share your recipes! What oils are your favorites to incorporate?*

*NOTE* I do recommend using Aloe Vera Juice as apposed to Gel for a light moisture that won’t build up on hair. Also, when thinking of mixing in the kitchen, it’s important to strategize about preserving your product. Once a water substance is added to the mix, the shelf life decreases, therefore you need to add a natural preservative element (Grapefruit Seed Extract is a good example). I’ve traditionally stuck to Vitamin E (the Aloe Juice I purchase is formulated with it it), but in the video below you’ll find a ton more options. It’s very informative, and I always return to it when playing mixtress in the kitchen!


May 16, 2011

Hair Pantry | Manuka Honey Pre-Poo


As one who’s continuously on the hunt for easy at home remedies to help soothe a scalp that’s readily prone to irritations, I make it a point to stay on the lookout for ingredients that I can add to the weekly scalp treatment. A few weeks ago while patrolling the depths of Youtube & endless “related videos,” I found something hidden in what’s referred to as Manuka Honey, a natural alternative to traditional honey that offers even more antibacterial properties and overall health benefits.

Manuka Honey does well in treating affected wounds thanks to what scientists have called the high Unique Manuka Factor, an effectiveness that’s not normally seen in traditional Honey. In addition to having high antibacterial components that’s often used to treat infections & speed up the traditional healing process, Manuka Honey has been known to treat acne, eczema, arthritis, psoriasis, , burns & many other skin ailments. This made it a no brainer to incorporate into the weekly scalp treatments!

Here’s a simple recipe that I used this past week to keep the scalp inflammations at bay:

*proportions vary depending on skin condition and length of hair*

  • 1/4 cup of your favorite carrier oil ( I often use Grapeseed, Jojoba or Avocado)
  • 2 tablespoons of Vatica Oil
  • 1 tablespoon of Raw Manuka Honey (UMF 15+)

I used a double boiler to warm the mix over low heat, then used an applicator tip bottle to evenly distribute. The mix may appear sticky, but this is natural and shouldn’t hinder the outcome of the styling process. I usually take the time to also do a quick scalp massage, then don a conditioning cap for 15-20 minutes while doing other errands around my apartment.

There are countless uses and benefits of Manuka Honey, many of which I’m excited to try! I’ll be experimenting, trying it out on a few eczema flareups on my skin that’s been an annoyance for the past few months, as well as use it as a spot treatment on those monthly blemish marks that always seem to sneak in.

Manuka Honey is readily available in most health food stores, including local Whole Foods, Vitamin Shoppes (which is where I snagged mine), and if being used for at home medicinal treatment, should be purchased with a UMF index between 10-16. If you’re familiar with Manuka, please let me know how you use it, it’s effectiveness or which brand you prefer!

April 23, 2011

Hair Pantry | Clarifying ACV Rinse

Whether you’re prone to scalp irritations or enjoy a monthly clarifying detox session with your hair, implementing an Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse into your routine amounts to a host of hair health benefits. I’ve been using and remixing with this rinse for a few years now, and apart from the ‘special’ fragrance, it’s hard to ignore how well it rids both the hair & scalp of product residue and gunk from a week’s worth of manipulation.

Because it’s been a good while since playing mixtress, this go round I opted to add more than just water & essential oils. There really is no getting around the strong vinegar scent, but playing around with proportions will help make the weekly hair sessions a bit more bearable.

:In The Mix:

  • 1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar (found in most Supermarkets, Health Food Stores)
  • 1/2 cup Filtered Water (tap if you’re less fancy)
  • 1/3 cup Aloe Vera Juice
  • Rosemary Essential Oil ( I use about 8-10 drops)

You can use a multitude of different essential oils for this mix, though I find Rosemary to work well because it imparts shine to the hair, while helping to calm dandruff and scalp irritations. Ideally, you’d want to add your rinse after you shampoo & directly before deep conditioning. I tend to not go by the rulebook and apply both before & after I DC, making sure to seal with a cold water rinse.

:Lifted from Anita Grant:

ACV is GREAT for getting rid of scalp build up, residue, silicones (aka: polymer plastic) & curing dandruff!

ACV contains malic acid & enzymes that kill the bacteria called “bottle bacillus”.
Bottle bacillus works with silica & polymer based shampoos & conditioners to clog the hair follicles forming dry crusts & thick film to develop on the hair & scalp. ACV breaks down the film & crusts, dissolves excess fatty deposits that form on top of the Bottle Bacillus.

In addition to this, ACV has been proven to be very effective in balancing the pH levels of scalp tissues, removing product build up, dirt and controlling dandruff.

About synthetic silica & polymers:

  • Synthetic silicones are derived from polymers – a plastic soft gel like substance
  • Synthetic silica is derived from sand.
  • Both are used in commercial shampoos & conditioners and are hard to remove from hair & scalp.

If you do have extra time on your hands, adding different herbs & allowing them to steep for a few hours or even 1-2 days would increase the benefits.

Herbs To Try:

  • Lavender
  • Horsetail
  • Calendula
  • Burdock Root
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme (good for dandruff & found in most Supermarkets)
  • Peppermint (also found in most stores & helps stimulate the scalp)

More Reading:

*What do you use to Clarify & Detox your hair/scalp?*

April 10, 2011

Hair Pantry | Bentonite Clay Natural Hair Detox

I’ve been using Bentonite Clay as a natural hair detox & conditioner for about two years now & continue to find it’s benefits something that adhere really well to my hair. When my scalp is in the throws of another round of inflammation madness, I can easily count on a single treatment to get things back on track.

Because the scalp has been miraculously behaving these past few weeks, I’m relying on the clay this week to deep condition & help restore some curls that’ve appeared a bit limp & lacking in body. In the past I’ve incorporated different liquid herbs as well as powders when scalp’s been acting up, you can read more here. Bentonite is a natural detoxifier for both skin & hair, meaning it draws out impurities, i.e. oil, residue and buildup of both hair & scalp.

The best mixes are typically the ones that incorporate ACV, herbal infusions to help achieve a good enough consistency to apply to hair. Using lukewarm to hot water will result in a lumpy mess, so sticking to colder infusions will work best. Thanks to Reader, Trinette for reminding me of this awesome demo vid from The MopTopMaven.

I leave my mix in hair for upwards of an hour before fully rinsing clean. Following up with a gentle cleansing conditioner can help to restore moisture back in the hair if you develop an overly stripped feel.

This Week’s Mix:

This mix was the easiest to apply to hair once I achieved a rather creamy consistency. Try playing around with proportions if you find the end result is difficult to apply to hair, gradually adding the necessary liquid to avoid a runny mix. Readily available at most specialty stores, including Whole Foods & Vitamin Shoppe at a relatively inexpensive price, this is one of the best/easiest at home hair treatments you can treat yourself to & it works great as a multipurpose face toner & mask as well!

*Have you used Bentonite Clay on Hair? How’d you like it?*