How you can save your hair from years of chemical torture

I think it’s time for another hair care post, as many of you have been asking me solutions for hair fall issues and the like. Let us get straight into the problem. Choose the methods/ingredients from this post, as per your hair type and need. You can ask your doubts by posting comments here.

The most common hair related problems are dandruff, hairfall, frizziness or oiliness.

Reasons:

The above problems can be inter related. And the reasons can be many. Incase you have moved to a different city, most probably you will face a high rate of hair fall. This can be due to chlorinated or hard water, pollution, or even different climatic conditions.
Otherwise it could be because of your diet. You might not be drinking enough water, eating your greens or you might be taking too much caffeine or alcohol.
It can also be due to hormonal changes, illness, reaction of any product, stress or even because of your favourite chemical laden shampoo.

So how can you fix it?

There is no overnight fix for anything when it comes to natural skin and haircare. You have to be consistent and ready to invest time in yourself. Our goal is to get a healthy and balanced scalp and that + a healthy diet will give you solution for your hair problems.

The first step for a healthy scalp is getting rid of all your sulphate laden hair care products. DON’T EVER TOUCH THEM AGAIN.This includes products from The Body Shop and few SLS laden cleansers from Kama Ayurveda as well. The brand name doesn’t matter. Check the ingredients. Google will provide you more than enough resources on what to avoid.

Dandruff:

Tea tree oil is what you need. You can buy it from brands like soulflower, juicy chemistry, blend it raw beauty,Nykaa etc. I am talking about the essential oil and not any blend.Other alternatives are Frankincense and Peppermint essential oil. You can add few drops of one of these or all in your coconut hair oil or which ever hair oil you use and warm it up a little before applying on the scalp. You don’t have to keep it overnight. Just half and hour to an hour is more than enough.Do this regularly, atleast thrice every week in the beginning.You can also add a piece of camphor in the mix while warming the oil.

Please don’t soak your hair in oil. Applying more oil not only won’t give any added benefits but might cause break outs, incase you have oily skin. Use just enough to condition the hair and scalp.


If you need a hair oil suggestion, I would recommend the Krya Anti dandruff hair oil. for no sticky hair oils, try Kama Ayurveda Bringadi oil and Just herbs Japakusum oil.

Cleansing: You will get all the info you need from this post (6 types of hair cleansers are reviewed here). Natural hair cleansers are mild and will not dry out the hair and scalp. So no need of conditioners. But incase you feel you need something for your unruly hair, a few drops of pure almond oil (Not the bajaj variant which is just a mix)will do the magic. Just 2-3 drops at the ends while hair is still damp.

You can get pure food grade almond oil from mitti.se.

Home made hibiscus cleanser:
For those days, you don’t oil your hair you can make this hibiscus hair cleanser. Best prepared with red small hibiscus.
1.Pluck few hibiscus leaves and flowers
2.Clean it well in water
3.Crush it with your hand in water until it turns thick and sticky/ you can also use a mixer but using hands gives best results.
4.Sieve it so that you get the sticky pulp with no leaves or flower matter.
5. Use it on wet hair and gently massage for a light lather.
6. Wash it off with water.

Hair Drying :
Please towel dry the hair and do avoid electric dryers as much as possible. Also don’t rub your hair vigorously with towel. Just tie it up and leave for sometime and then leave it open to dry.

Hair mask for strong, smooth and shiny hair:

Let your imagination fly high. It is always best to buy pure ingredients and whip up a fresh mask. You can buy clays like kaolin, bentonite, pure aloe vera gel and essential oils and prepare your own masks.

1.Curd, egg white, lemon juice,honey, clay, aloe gel, tea tree oil, mashed ripe banana > You can mix aany of these ingredients to get very nourishing hair mask.
2. Another very interesting hair mask is using flax seed gel. You can buy flax seeds from any provisional store. Add 1 and half to 2 cups of water to a spoon of flaxseed in a bowl and keep it in low flame. Keep stirring untill you get a slight gel like sticky consistency. Let it cool and then strain the gel using a muslin cloth or strainer.
This gel is rich in omega 3 and can be stored in fridge. You can also use it as a styling gel. It gives shine and softness to hair and also promotes hair growth. It can be used as an alternative to aloevera gel in masks.

Now incase you want to just use a premade hair mask, you can try the ones from Krya and Juicy Chemistry.But why spend alot, when you can use a aloevera gel and tea tree oil mix.

Rinse:

Now if your hair loss is because of the bad quality of tap water, you can use a hair rinse at the end. This will help in washing off the residue from the scalp. Some options are :

1.Tea water(you can boil left over tea leaves from making tea in water and use it)
2.Rose water mixed with purified water(drinking water)/ you can boil rose petals in water and use
3.1 spoon apple cider vinegar in a cup of water
4.Neem water(Boil few neem leaves in water)

Water and Diet:

No one drinks enough water daily. Most of you just forget and might utmost drink just 1 litre or so in a day. There is no point in doing anything topically, unless you are well hydrated and eat a protein rich diet. So keep away from very oily and spicy food. Eat less salt and sugar. Eat sprouts and green leaves. Drink buttermilk instead of using curd. Eat curry leaves and amla. All this will help in hair growth.

Health issues:

Consult a doctor or dermatologist incase your hair fall is due to health conditions, skin issues like alopecia or reaction to any medicine. Don’t keep experimenting until it is too late.

Tips:

The transition to natural cleansers might weigh your hair down in the beginning. That is because it takes a while for also the chemical residues to get washed off and for your hair to get accustomed to the product. So don’t stop using the product in between and switch back. Use it for a while, and your hair will thank you.

Cover your hair when spending alot of time in sun or dust.
Use a wooden comb instead of plastic one to avoid air breakage due to static.
Avoid brushing your hair when wet. Use a comb with wide teeth if necessary.
Pleat your hair before going to bed.

Throw away your chemical bottles and let nature take its course in giving life back to your hair.Finally, be happy and don’t let stress and pollution take away your beautiful tresses.

Other hair care posts that might interest you:

Dandruff free silky hair and soft supple skin with simple DIY skincare recipes

Summer hair care with natural hair wash powders : Featuring Krya and JivaVrksa

My two favorite non-greasy, deep conditioning hair oils

My favorite hair cleanser from Gia

Moisturizers and face masks curated for summers : Introducing The Skin Pantry and Amara Organix

Skincare products should suit your skin type as well as the current climate. In summers it is best to you light skincare products with simple and all natural ingredients. Hope you enjoyed the last two posts on summer skincare and haircare. Here is anther one featuring the best chemical free products from Indian brands that you must try this summer for a happy smiling skin.

    The Skin Pantry

Whipped up in the pantry of Mumbai based graphic designer Collette, this brand has a lip smacking range of skin food made of certified organic, natural and pure ingredients. Skin smoothies, creme brulee, honey dew melon and citrus mousse is sure to give you dessert cravings, but these are just some of the skin care goodies from The Skin Pantry. The price range, quality of ingredients and packaging makes it a luxe skincare brand.

Almond and Aloe Whisper

I really love the names of the products and they are apt as well. This one the simplest, mildest and purest of moisturizers and can be used even by the most sensitive skin.
Ingredients : 100% organic cold pressed sweet almond oil, 100% organic apricot seed oil, pure aloe vera gel, pure vitamin E oil.
Price : Rs 1250 for 50ml

My take on the product :
This is everything I imagine a ‘whisper’ would be in the physical sense. Light, fluffy and white this one smells of pure apricot oil. Reminds me of Junaili apricot scrub. A little goes a long way and spreads easily on skin. It makes my skin look a bit dull immediately after application but keeps them moisturized for long without being oily. Apt for summers and suits all skin types.

Rhassoul clay face mask

Ingredients : Jojoba oil, apricot oil, vit E oil, organic rose hydrosol, organic rose otto essential oil and the star, Moroccan Rhassoul clay.
Price : Rs 850 for 50ml

My Take on the product : Suits normal to oily skin types. Smells like a rose garden. Comes with a cute test tube of solution that can be mixed with the clay when it dries up. The face mask comes in a cute little jar with screw cap. It has a mousse like texture and can be easily spread on face. The product can be taken out using the spatula provided or with clean fingers. It is directed not to bring the product in contact with metals as this can strip the clay off its mineral ions and hence its goodness. It dries in a jiffy after application and makes skin smooth, tight and controls oiliness.

Buy : The Skin Pantry

Amara Organix

    This Chennai based brand is the brain child of the lovely lady, Mehar. You name it and they have it, a wide range of skin care, bath and body products and exotic soaps that caters to all kinds of skin care needs.

    Brightening Face mask

    Ingredients: French green clay, french pink caly, moroccan rhassoul clay, sandalwood powder, turmeric powder, licorice powder, spirulina and lavender essential oil

    Price : Rs 250 for 25g

    My take on the product: Suits all skin types. It is in a powder form and has an earthy natural smell. Less than a tea spoon is surprisingly enough for the face and the product works best when mixed with rose water. I tried the mask by making the paste with water, curd and rose water and I could see the brightening effect of the mask only by using with rose water. Otherwise the mask just made my skin soft, smooth and supple. Unlike other clay based masks this doesn’t make the skin dry and on mixing with water you can see the green and pink streaks of spirulina and pink clay.If you have different textures in your skin, this mask will effectively even out the skin making it smooth and soft.

    Buy from : AmaraOrganix

    I used the zofla rose water to make this powder into a paste and this one is by far the most affordable organic rose water I have come across.

    JivaVrksa pure herbal face pack powder

      I love this simple and effective face pack from the brand Jiva Vrksa. I have reviewed the other products from the brand in my previous posts here and here. This is one is by far my favorite product of all.

      Ingredients :
      Multani mitti, sandalwood, rosepetals, orange peel
      Price: Rs150 for 75g

      My take on the product : Made with simple natural ingredients, this face pack smells predominantly of sandalwood. Apply a thick paste of the face pack powder by mixing with water. On washing off, the skin feels cleansed, toned and soft. It balances the oiliness and can be used by all skin types. This one doesn’t dry out the skin and is apt for summers for a refreshed and rejuvenated skin.


      Kama Eladi Moisturizer for combination to dry skin

    This is one of my favorite moisturizers and by far the only one that suits my combination skin well. This is thick but gets absorbed easily on skin without making the skin greasy. Read the detailed review here.

    In addition to this, make sure keep yourselves hydrated and do apply sunscreen before stepping out. Happy summer peeps.

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Multi-mask with easy DIY anti-ageing and black head removing masks

These days you see alot of brands coming up with masks with rare and exotic clays and ingredients from all over the world. It really makes you think at times that only those expensive ones can satisfy your mask cravings. But let me tell you that, with simple ingredients from your kitchen, you can make amazing masks that brightens, tightens, lightens and clarifies the skin and can even provide anti aging benefits.

You can also muti-mask with these 2 DIY recipes. Use the first mask all over the face and the second one as a black head removing strip on nose and cheek area.

So without further adieu let us see my the recipe of two of my favorite masks. Also remember, these masks are made of pure natural ingredients.So make it fresh and do a patch test before applying on face. Even natural ingredients can cause irritations and redness if it doesn’t suit your skin.

Anti aging & anti pimple mask

Ingredients : Cinnamon powder, honey and lime extract (I use organic products to be safe)

Mix half a tsp of cinnamon powder with 2 tsp honey and 1 tsp lime extract. Vary the quantity accordingly to make a paste of slightly runny consistency. Adding more cinnamon may cause redness, irritation and burning sensation, so be careful and do a patch test.
Apply this mix evenly on your face and neck avoiding eye and lip area. This gives best results when used as an overnight mask.

Benefits of honey-cinnamon mask :
1. Cinnamon plumps the skin by stimulating blood vessels and thereby reduces fine lines over time
2. Honey hydrates the skin without making it oily
3. This mix helps to dry out acne and it fades away blemishes fast
4. Studies shows that Cinnamon seems to increase collage expression on the skin through cinnamaldehyde, its main chemical component.
5. It unclogs open pores and removes dead skin and excess oil.

Peel off mask for removing black heads, skin brightening and removing tiny facial hair

Ingredients : Gelatin powder, milk, turmeric(not the one used for cooking, you need to get kasturi manjal(Wild Turmeric)

This is a very versatile mask and you can try this with different ingredients like lime juice, activated charcoal powder, honey, cinnamon etc.Turmeric brightens the skin and behaves as an antiseptc so I like using it. Now you need to use your intuition and adjust the quantity of ingredients here to get the right consistency. I use about 1 tbsp of gelatin (for just the face), 2 tbsp of milk and half tsp of turmeric.

> Apply this mask on a clean face with no makeup
> Keep a straight face and do not talk while this mask is on, for it to give the desired benefits.

Mix the milk(room temp or warm) and turmeric and add it to unflavored gelatin powder. You can either microwave this mix for 10sec or dip the small bowl with the mix to another bowl of boiling water and mix it continuously until it is a lump free mix. Do a patch test before applying it on face. If the mix cools down you can warm it up again. The mix should be warm and not hot. Now apply it on your face avoiding eye, eyebrows and lip area. This step should be fast and the mix tends to cool down and harden fast. Apply it in the same direction as hair growth. Wait until the mask cools down completely (10-15min). Now grab an edge of the dried mask and slowly pull it in upward direction. Be gentle and careful.

Benefits :
1. Removes blackheads, whiteheads and tiny facial hair
2. Unclogs pores and makes skin squeaky clean
3. Instantly brightens up your face
4. Gives the effect of a facial with visibly smooth skin
5. An inexpensive and effective alternative to commercial pore strips
6. Tightens skin and smoothen out fine lines

If you have sensitive skin please try this out on a small patch on face before using it. Do not use soap or any chemical products after using this and if stepping out, use a sunscreen.

* Agar-agar is the vegan alternative for Gelatin. You can also apply this mask just on the nose area as a black head removing strip.

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Eat healthy,live healthy : My favorite organic food stores

Our skin problems are mostly related to our lifestyle and food habits. What we eat directly reflects on our skin. Many skin related issues can be fixed by just eating right. So I have made it a habit to eat organic and chemical free food as much as possible.There are many online sites and local stores that sell chemical free produce and food products these days and here I am going to list down my favorite ones in Bangalore.

1. QTrove

Qtrove is a curated marketplace that exhibits and sells non-mass produced items from small entrepreneurs across the country. These products are natural, sustainable, not easily available elsewhere, enhance the well-being and social currency of todayโ€™s discerning consumer.

I regularly buy organic products from here. Few products I love are Gulkand,choco-chip pancake mix, fresh fruit preserves, organic ghee, hot chocolate blends, Caramel and chemical free detergents and dish wash liquid. They have an amazing collection of products covering food items, bath and body products, household items, pet care products and even a women exclusive collection.

The delivery is very fast, sometimes even the next day and products are packed neatly. Most of the food items are made to order and hence cannot be returned. There are frequent offers for particular products.

Check out my haul post for details here

I am sure that these days one can find organic food stores every where but you need to make sure that the products are certified organic and not fake. In Bangalore, there are two Organic stores that are my recent finds. Actually when I searches for an organic store near Indiranagar I found so many in the same area.

2. FRESH EARTH ORGANICS

You will almost miss this store in CMH road, unless you are looking for it in particular. This small store stocks groceries, veggies, bath and beauty products and even chocolates and nut butters.

Products I love : Pomegranate dark chocolate, organic eggs and ghee, Apple cider vinegar
Find them Near-Mayur Technologies, Chinmaya Mission Hospital Rd, Indira Nagar 1st Stage
Timings : 9.30am to 7.30pm


3. HAPPY HEALTHY ME

HappyHealthyMe is Indiaโ€™s first 100% certified organic food brand and grocery store. Our locally sourced products have been carefully selected to promote health for the mind, body and soul.

I love this store because the store itself is like a food boutique and it feels like each product is specially curated and put in packs with designer labels. The packing is so appealing and eco-friendly.

They have a wide range of products including super foods like chia and flax seeds,groceries, exotic herbs, spices and their special salads.

Read about the bamboo brush here
Products I love : Almond mylk, Cacao nibs, Bamboo toothbrush, Seeds from Super food range
Find them @ 660, 1st Cross, 11th Main road, Indiranagar
Timings :10:00AM – 8:00PM

Eating healthy organic produce that are seasonal, can bring great improvement in your health. Including greens in the diet helps in flushing out the toxins and improving the bowel movement. But having pesticide laden food does more harm than good. So even if you buy produce that are not organic, make sure you soak the veggies and fruits in vinegar+salt water for at least 2 hours before using them.

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Decadent body scrubs for all skin types

Using a body scrub (or even a dry brushing technique where you use soft body brush to brush the body) is beneficial in many ways.
1. It sloughs away the dirt, grime and dead skin.
2. Buffs the skin and makes it smooth and soft.
3. Massaging the scrub on the body boosts circulation and helps in draining the lymph nodes.
4. It aids in the cell turnover that gets slowed down with age
5. Using a natural body scrub at the end of the day, is very relaxing and can even uplift your mood.

DIY body scrub

You can easily make a body scrub at home. You need to mix a scrubby/gritty ingredient like cane sugar/rock salt powder/oats/flax seed/coffee powder with a moisturizing base like olive oil,almond oil or honey. Add a few drops of essential oil like lavender,orange,rose for relaxing fragrance.

But if you are a lazy bum, you can just buy any of these amazing body scrubs listed below, based on your skin type. Make sure you don’t use much pressure while massaging the scrub as this can cause redness. Do a patch test to make sure the ingredients doesn’t cause irritation.

1. Oily skin : Vedic Line Choco Deli sugar scrub with Jamaican sugar

Price : Rs180 for 65g
Ingredients : Water, Cocoa Butter, Caramel, Cocoa Powder, Sesame Oil, Natural Granules and vitamin E.
This scrub is thick and creamy with a strong cocoa fragrance. It is brown in color with a golden shine to it. The particles are gritty and a small spatula full of product is enough for entire body. You might need to follow it up with a moisturizer as this scrub can be a bit drying. Fragrance is a bit heady.It spreads well on moist skin and is a good scrub at affordable price. Unlike other sugar scrubs, the scrubby particle doesn’t get dissolved easily on wet skin which is a plus.
Buy @ Nykaa


2.Normal skin : Junaili Apricot scrub and Juicy Chemistry Orange Cinnamon scrub


This is an amazing affordable scrub with just 1 ingredient and it ticks all the boxes for me. Read the detailed review here

Another option is the orange, cinnamon and honey sugar scrub from Juicy Chemistry. As rightly said, it smells like Christmas in a jar.It has a warm citrusy cinnamon fragrance and dry crumbly texture.Massage it directly on wet skin. The sugar gets dissolved on wet skin on massaging and hence don’t mix it with water before applying. It doesn’t dry out the skin. Read this post to know how to use it effectively for smooth skin.

Price: Rs 250 for 35g
Ingredients : Organic Demerara Sugar, Organic Cane Sugar, Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter,Natural Vitamin-,Extra Virgin Olive Oil,Jojoba Oil,Sweet Almond Oil, Wild Forest Honey, Cinnamon Essential Oil,Sweet Orange Essential Oil

3. Dry/ Sensitive skin : Juicy Chemistry Rose Almond and Shea body scrub

This is the most moisturizing body scrub I have ever used. The nourishing butters and essential oils in this one makes skin moisturized and you don’t need to follow it up with a moisturizer. Hence it is suitable for dry to normal skin types. I can’t stop raving about the amazing fragrance of this product which is a blend of almond meal and rose and geranium essential oils.

As you can see, the scrub is like a dense almond meal paste, but it still does the job well along with nourishing the skin. This gentle scrub is suited for sensitive skin as well. It is priced on the higher side though.
Price : Rs 300 for 35g
Buy here or from Nykaa.com

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Junaili apricot body scrub : Simple and pure

This is the review of the simplest and purest body scrub I have ever used.For those of you, who are new to this brand, here is a small brief.

Junaili makes cold pressed apricot oil with the finest apricot grown in Himalayas, maintaining high quality. They make pure cold pressed apricot face and body oil apart from the scrub. It is a family owned brand and the products are made in small batches.

Coming to the review, I am quite impressed at how a scrub from an Indian brand, made of one pure ingredient can be so effective, when compared to a whole bunch of other scrubs in the market boasting exotic ingredients from all over the world. For starters I am not a big fan of sugar scrubs. Mainly because the sugar tend to dissolve away in a jiffy when rubbed on wet skin.I like to massage the scrub for a while for maximum benefit and nut shell scrubs like walnut kernal ones tend to be harsh at times. If not any of these, the scrub can be a bit drying for my already dry skin.

But the junaili scrub doesn’t belong to any of the above category. Read the specifics below:

I received it in the December reverie box. You can also buy it individually from their site.

Buy from : here
Price : Rs 275 for 125g
Ingredient: Cold-Pressed Apricot Kernel Scrub
Texture and fragrance : This product reminds me of the classic malt horlicks. The smell is slightly similar as well, pure and ‘apricoty’. The scrub is a gritty powder.
Packing : The scrub comes in a travel friendly plastic jar with a metal screw cap. There is foil seal on the mouth of the jar for protection from spillage. I have just made a small hole in the foil, and all I got to do is shake the jar to get the powder. This ensures that the product doesn’t get contaminated with water when kept in bathroom.

How to use this scrub to suit your skin type


the scrub in its dry form and when mixed with Gia ginger lilly body oil

1. For oily/sensitive skin : Combine the scrub with water to make a paste.Massage it all over the body or on those dry areas. Water makes the scrub smooth and mushy like oats and hence doesn’t irritate sensitive skin.
2.For dry/flaky skin : Mix the scrub with body oil (any light body oil like almond, apricot,olive oils),it stays gritty and helps slough away all the dead skin without having to use more product (as oil doesn’t make the scrub mushy). Using a body oil also gives that extra boost of moisturisation. I generally mix it with Gia body oil (read the review here), which is a very light oil with mild floral fragrance. I wash the scrub off and without cleansing with soap, as this oil moisturises skin without making the skin oily.

Inshort why I recommend the Junaili scrub:

1. It is as pure and natural as it gets
2. So easy on the pocket and affordable for everyone
3. Is versatile and can be used as mentioned above to suit your skin type
4. Light weight, travel friendly
5. Very effective as a body scrub