What is Silk:
Silk is a protein fibre produced by the mulberry silkworm’s cocoon. This natural fibre (thread) has a triangular prism-like structure which deflects light at different angles to help produce different colours. Sometimes silk is referred to as Mulberry Silk in reference to the leaves the silkworm feast on (less valuable silk are from silk worms that feast on Osage Orange and lettuce) for about 6 weeks to support its development and growth. Silkworms are caterpillars that descended from the Bombyx Mori moth. Once they reached their full potential growth of about 3 inches, they are then ready to spin their cocoons in a figure of 8 movements by raising their heads. They spin their cocoons around 300,000 times and the process can last anywhere between 3-8 days. A silkworm can produce a single strand of silk of about 100 meters long which is held together by sericin (Sericin is a natural produced gum). It takes around 2500 silkworms to produce one pound of silk.
History of Silk:
It is believed that the Chinese discovered silk around the 27th century BC (Before Christ) when the Chinese Princess Xi Ling Shi was the first to roll a cocoon of silk which had accidentally dropped into her cup of tea (allegedly). Since that incident the Chinese studied the life cycle of silkworm and became the biggest producers of silk whilst controlling the silk market (and keeping the silk making a secret) for 3000 years. There is evidence that silk does date back as far as 3000 BCE (Before the Common Era). The Chinese exportation of silk in the 3 century BC between Asia (where the Romans first discovered silk), Europe and Japan (by sea) is known as the silk roads.
The Chinese only allowed the women to farm silkworms and many women walked on silkworm farms. Silk was (and is still is) considered a luxurious item and was very popular amongst aristocratic and high society. The popularity of silk grew to a point where it had to be regulated for over a millennium for the use to only members of the imperial family. Silk had many uses outside of clothing, such as it was made into a luxurious paper where it was used to pay the governmental officials.
Around 500 AD (Anno Domini), Byzantium hide some silkworm in his walking stick made of bamboo, where the Byzantines were able to cultivate their own (this action marked the start of the silk Industry in the Eastern Roman Empire). The production of silk started to spread in Western Europe. Over time the Koreans and then later on the Indians were able to discover how making silk therefore making the Chinese lose their monopoly on producing silk.
Italian silk was far so expensive and the French started to make their own silk locally as they wanted lighter and less expensive materials. King Francis first of France approved a domination for silk production in the City of Lyon and so Lyon became Europe’s capital city of silk trade. By 1845 the European silk industry declined when the silkworms were hit with their first diseases and this increased the price of silkworm cocoons. Fashion was also changing in the aristocratic and middle-class circle which mean that the demand for silks in garment decreases. With all the mishaps happening in Europe, Japan became the world’s biggest silk producers up until the second world war. Today, China has regained their control and are now the largest producers of silk in the world.
The Making of Silk:
Once the silkworms have spun their cocoon and eventually enclosed themselves inside. To extract the natural silk thread, the cocoons are then placed into a boiling water. This softens the thread and dissolves the sericin. This step ensures that the full length of the thread remains intact and undamaged.
The threads are then unwind from the cocoon in individual long threads which are then wined to make a reel.
Once the threads are washed and degummed, they are then bleached and dried to prepare them for the dyeing process.
In the past silk dyeing techniques took dyes from nature and the local environment such as fruits and plants (like the indigo leaves) where the threads were placed and soaked in a boiling hot water of whatever fruit or plant, they want to extract the colour from. This process to repeated few times over days to get the desire tone and quality. However, in today’s most advanced technology, manufacturers opt to dye the threads with dyes such as acid dyes and reactive dyes. These dyes offer a far greater choice as well as to produce silk in a highly commercially demanding market.
The threads are then unwind on to a bobbin so that they lay completely flat to get ready for the weaving process. The process is call spinning and there are many different types of spinning such as: hand-spinning, mule spinning and ring spinning.
Weaving is where the silk comes together. There are many different types of silk weaving such as plain weave, open weave (most common weave), crepe and satin weave (please note there isn’t such material as satin and many materials/threads can be satin weave. Best to get silk woven into the satin weave).
If designers require special designs or pattern, then the Printing stage. Printing can take place as screen printing (this is traditional printing) or digital printing.
The silk is then treated using different chemical treatment which provides the lustrous sheen silks are known for as well as adding valuable properties such as crease-proofing and fire resistance. This final step is a most and it is known as the Finishing.
Benefits of Silk:
Silk is one of the softest, shiny, comfortable and breathable materials on the planet and it have many benefits to the skin and Hair.
Silk thread is very similar to human hair- It is 97% protein, 3% fat and wax and contains 18 amino acids, this makes it very kind and supportive to human skin.
Silk contains natural cellular albumen- this helps to speed up the metabolism of the skin cells.
Silk support the moisture in the skin and can support in the prevention of moisture loss in the skin or hair. This promotes the skin to rejuvenate, slow down the aging process (of the skin), relieves dry and/or flaky skin by locking in the moisture. It also encourages moisture balance in the hair.
Silk keeps the skin cool in the summer and preserve body heat during winter. It supports the body to regulate its temperature and provides thermal balance.
It can absorb moisture up to 30% its weight, it is very absorbent and dries very quickly by allowing good air circulation simply by the thread increasing in size. This property of silk makes the fabric great for perspiration whilst promoting the skin to breathe.
Silk keeps the moisture in the hair and doesn’t tangle up the hair as the hair simply glides over the smooth materials. Experts in the beauty field believe that it helps to keep the hair soft (it does this through the ability to balance the moisture in the hair).
Silk doesn’t create static electricity, so easily, so it keeps the hair strands in place, doesn’t cause frizz or breakage, doesn’t cling to the body and is very easy to iron.
Silk is very durable and will maintain its appearance and quality time.
Silk is very versatile and can be used for anything such as clothing, accessories, rugs, parachutes, beddings, just to name a few.
Silk is hypoallergenic, so it is a natural fungal repellant and doesn’t attract dust mites. Medical experts believe that it rarely causes allergic reactions.
Studies have shown that silk doesn’t cause the face to get wrinkled (on one side) at night when lying on silk pillows and beddings.
Balasa, O; Accessed on 05 November 2020; Great Benefits of Silk Fabric; https://www.ageberry.com/great-benefits-of-pure-silk-fabric/#:~:text=Great%20Benefits%20of%20Silk%20Fabric.%201%201.%20Silk,degree%20effects%20of%20aging%20and%20…%20More%20items
The Ethical Silk Company; Accessed on 05 November 2020; Benefits of Silk; https://www.theethicalsilkco.com/about-silk
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History of Black Seed Oil
Black Seed comes from the fruits of a small plant with pale purple, blue, or white flowers that can be found in Eastern Europe, Western Asia and the Middle East. The plant is called Nigella Sativa, but the seed has many different names such as Black Cumin, Black Caraway, Black Onion Seeds and Kalonji. This seed is also mentioned in the bible in Isaiah:27
Black seed has been used as remedies for thousands of years as well as used to spice food and drinks such as pickles, curries, salads, vegetable dishes and bread. The high quality of black seeds is used for food and drinks.
Black seeds have many benefits for the skin, hair and overall health of the body and form part of the ingredients for many beauty products, for example; Shampoo, Massage oils, fragrances, etc.
What is it?
Black seed oil is obtained from the seed using a cold compression method This allows the purest and highest potency nutrients from the seed retain in the oil; the darker the oil, the higher the purity. Black seed oil contains thymoquinone. Thymoquinone is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound that may have tumour-reducing benefits.
Black seed oil is also high in fatty acid, but low in Omega 3 and rich in polyunsaturated fat, which means it is great for the heart.
Benefits for the Hair
Studies have shown that black seed oil helps to grow and strengthen the hair shaft diameter (fight against thinning hair) as well as adding shine to a lacklustre and lifeless hair. Black seed oil reduces dandruff, soothes itchy scalp and help fight against greyness.
Benefits for the Body
Black Seed has many health benefits both in the application and when indigested (capsule).
A 2013 study shows that black seed oil reduces the severity of eczema compared to prescribed medication. It can also help with acne according to different research because black seed oil contains antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
According to recent studies, black seed oil may help with treating cancer as thymoquinone found in the oil may be able to kill off cancer cells found in leukaemia, breast and brain cancers. These researchers didn’t conduct on human, but on cancer uses cells. A research conducted on rats in 2013 shows that the oil may reduce liver and kidney disease complication and improve these organ structures. An article from the Journal of Endocrinology & Metabolism suggests that black seed oil may contain anti-diabetic properties and improve blood sugar. This sounds great for diabetics- but remember that these researches happen with animal participants and not humans. There is great news for men who want to have children but finds it hard. Research conducted in men found that the oil increases sperm mobility and sperm count. It may also help with Rheumatoid Arthritis and muscle spasms. The oil may aid in lowering Cholesterol (and supporting the health of the heart) as well as easing toothache
Black seed oil may cause a rash in some individual, so it is very important to do a patch test before using it.
The oil should not be used near the eyes, nose or other sensitive areas of the body.
Consuming black seed oil may cause stomach problems such as constipation, stomach upset and vomiting.
If you are pregnant or breastfeed, please seek medical advice before using.
Naturally Curly; Berley, S (2019); Natural Hair Growth Remedy: Black Seed Oil; https://www.naturallycurly.com/curlreading/kinky-hair-type-4a/hair-growth-remedies-black-seed-oil
Medical News Today: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322948#takeaway
Natural Food Series; Jessimy, M (2019); Black Seed Oil Benefits: For Health, Skin, Hair and Side Effects; https://www.naturalfoodseries.com/11-health-benefits-black-seed-oil/
Healthy Hubb: https://www.healthyhubb.com/black-seed-oil-benefits/
Beauty Best Care; Smith, J (2020); How To Use Black Seed Oil For Hair Growth; https://www.beautybestcare.com/black-seed-oil-for-hair-growth
Fresh, Body Mind; Ellie (2019); The Amazing Black Seed Oil Benefits for Hair; https://freshbodymind.com/black-seed-oil-benefits-for-hair/
Naturally Daily (2019); Black Seed Oil For Hair: 10 Benefits of Kalonji Oil; https://naturallydaily.com/black-seed-oil-for-hair/
Organic Facts; Staughton, J (2020); 5 Amazing Benefits Of Black Seed Oil For Hair; https://www.organicfacts.net/black-seed-oil-hair.html
NCBI; Yousefi, M, et al (2013); Comparison of therapeutic effect of topical Nigella with Betamethasone and Eucerin in hand eczema; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23198836
There are many methods of drying natural hair, but the three main methods are Heat Blow-Drying, Cool Blow-Drying and Air Drying. If one chooses to use a blow-dryer, the dryer needs to have different heat settings so that you can choose the right setting for your hair. Before we dive into the different methods of …
What is Grapeseed Oil
Grapeseed oil is a lightweight, mild cold-pressed oil extracted from the seeds of grapes using a hydraulic steel press. This method is said to retain the goodness and purity of the ingredients. Grapeseed oil has flavonoids, vitamin E, Procyanidin Oligomers, Proanthocyanidins (condensed tannins), Linoleic acid, many mighty antioxidants and several plant compounds to help fight free radicals and health benefits.
Grapeseed oil can range in colours from bright green to translucent and may have a weak sweet smell.
How grapeseed oil may benefit the hair
In 1998 an animal study shows that proanthocyanidins stimulate hair growth and these results could create a similar growth in humans. Other tests have shown (mostly in animals) that the procyanidin oligomers is contained in grapeseed oil can also induce hair growth in humans. These rich antioxidants found in grapeseed oil are believed to help treat hair androgenetic alopecia. Also, other researchers have shown if grapeseed oil is used as a carrier with essential oils such as Rosemary, Lavender, Thyme, and Cedarwood it may benefit people who suffer from alopecia areata (when the immune system attacks hair follicles) as it helps to grow stronger hair than just using grapeseed oil on its own.
Grapes have been used for medicinal purpose in Asia for thousands of years and in places like India, grapeseed oil is used to nourish and revitalised the hair as it contains oleic acid as well as linoleic acid and other fatty acids. Linoleic acid is an omega 6 fatty acid that helps stimulate hair growth.
Just like many other oils, grapeseed oil helps to seal in the moisture (water) on the hair strands and scalp and therefore keeps the hair hydrated for longer and helping the hair strands keep its elasticity and flexibility. Since this is a lightweight oil, it will not weigh down the hair like other oils such as castor oils, jojoba oils, etc.
Grapeseed oil contains leucoanthocyanins; these composites help to fight free radicals. Researchers believe that free radicals cause the hair to go grey and therefore this oil helps fight premature greyness as well as soothes inflamed scalp and reduces dandruff. Also, grapeseed oil contains a very high boiling point and have some anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties, making it a great heat protection for the hair (and skin).
How grapeseed oil may the skin
A 2002 study shows that the anti-inflammatory properties of grapeseed oil help to reduce swelling and redness of the skin. The oil also helps to lock in the moisture on the skin and leaves the skin soft, hydrated, supple and elasticated. Proanthocyanidin found in grapeseed oil is believed to even out the skin tone.
It is great a massage oil as it contains linolenic acid and vitamin E; these nourish the skin and absorbed easily by the body. Due to the anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties, grapeseed oil is believed to protect the skin from UV sun rays.
Disadvantages of Grapeseed Oil
At the moment there are very few risks associated with grapeseed oil.
When consumed (cooking) it is believed that grapeseed oil may be unsuitable for people who suffer from blood conditions; using blood-thinning medications such as Warfarin and those who are about to have surgery.
Even though there aren’t any risk factors associated with grapeseed oil for cosmetic use, it will be wise to do a spot test for any allergies to the oil.
Watson, K (2019); Grapeseed Oil for Skin: Benefits and Uses; Healthline; https://www.healthline.com/health/grapeseed-oil-for-skin
The North American Essential Oil and Aromatherapy Expers (08/03/2020); Grapeseed Oil Benefits and Uses for Hair, Skin, Face, & Where to Buy; Essential Oil Experts; https://essentialoilexperts.com/grapeseed-oil/
Curejoy Editorial (2018); 7 Benefits Of Grapeseed Oil For Hair Growth; CureJoy; https://www.curejoy.com/content/benefits-of-grapeseed-oil-for-hair/
Naturally Daily Team (2019); 10 Amazing Benefits of Grapeseed Oil for Hair; Naturally Daily; https://naturallydaily.com/benefits-of-grapeseed-oil-for-hair/
Chockyfoodie (2011); What Are The Advantages & Disadvantages of Grapeseed oil; Ifood.tv; https://ifood.tv/ingredients/283380-what-are-the-advantages-disadvantages-of-grapeseed-oil
What is Olive Oil?
Olive Oil is an oil that derives from its fruits rather than its seeds. This oil comes from the olive fruit which growths on the olive tree around the Mediterranean regions; Olive oil has been part of the Mediterranean lifestyle and beauty regimen since 5000BC (before this, the oil was used as a fuel to light the lamp and for religious ceremonies) as well as getting mentioned in the bible.
Why is Olive Oil good for the hair?
Olive oil has very high levels of monounsaturated essential fatty acids (the good, healthy fat) and vitamin E, it also has many great acids such as Palmitic acid, Oleic acid, Squalene and Terpenes; these acids act like balms which are believed to soften and smooth the hair by creating a layer on the surface of the hair that helps it to lubricate the hair. This decreases any tangles and snagging of the hair. These acids also naturally condition the hair.
Vitamin E helps to fight free radicals from the sun and the pollution in the atmosphere that may damage the hair.
Olive oil is great at alleviating itching and inflammatory scalp and reduce and flaky scalps, therefore reducing all symptoms associated with dandruff.
It nourishes, softens and locks in the moisture in the hair by penetrating the hair shaft and therefore reducing split ends and strengthen the hair. A softer hair can mean more manageable hair since the hair is hydrated.
Olive Oil may be able to aid hair retention and growth as it helps control the sebum on the scalp. Excess sebum can sometimes block the growth of new follicles.
Why is Olive Oil good for the body?
Olive oil helps to moisture the skin and keep its supple as well as (it may) prevent it from premature ageing.
It also helps to soften the dry skin and soothes some skin rash.
If store properly and consume (Extra Virgin Olive Oil), it has cardiovascular and liver-protective benefits and may prevent some cancer.
Olive oil goes rancid very quickly when exposed to oxygen and light.
If you want to learn more about the benefits of Olive Oil or and other oil in terms of food and the body, please check these links out.
Nagdeve, M. (2020); 10 Health Benefits Of Olive Oil; Organic Facts; https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/oils/health-benefits-of-olive-oil.html
Hirst, K.K. (2019); The Ancient History of Making Olive Oil; ThoughtCo; https://www.thoughtco.com/ancient-history-of-making-olive-oil-4047748
ExploreCrete; (17/02/2020); History of Olive Oil; https://www.explorecrete.com/nature/olive-oil-history.html
Leech, J. (2018); 11 Proven Benefits of Olive Oil; Healthline; https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-proven-benefits-of-olive-oil
Nall, R. (2018); Is olive oil good for your hair? Medical News Today; https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323581
Reward Me (17/02/2020); Count On Olive Oil For Common Hair Care Problems; Reward Me; https://www.rewardme.in/beauty/hair/10-amazing-hair-care-benefits-of-olive-oil
Lagadien, S. (17/02/2020); Benefits of Olive Oil for Hair; Leaf; https://www.leaf.tv/13714760/the-health-benefits-of-oil-pulling/
Cutler, N. (2011); Liver Pros and Cons of Olive Oil; Liver Support; https://www.liversupport.com/liver-pros-and-cons-of-olive-oil/
Billian, S. (17/02/2020); Olive Oil Advantages & Disadvantages; Live Strong; https://www.livestrong.com/article/375120-olive-oil-advantages-disadvantages/
Photo by Frank Albrecht on Unsplash
Photo by Frank Albrecht on Unsplash
What is Castor Oil?
Castor oil is a very thick and sticky oil that comes from the seed of the Ricinus Communis plant. The oil colour is between clear to very light yellow and, it has a very mild odour. The Ricinus Communis plant can be found in Africa and Asia and, it’s believed that the Egyptians were the first to discover the benefit of this oil. They used it not only in their beauty regimen and as medicine (eye irritation, stimulate labour in pregnant women) but also for other practical day-to-day activity and living necessity (such as an oil for burning their lamps). The oil is non-toxic, biodegradable and most importantly renewable.
Why is Castor Oil good for both the hair and skin?
Castor oil has many anti-fungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties that help to treat things like ringworm, dandruff, dry itchy scalp and skin. The Ricinoleic acid (12-Hydroxyoleic Acid) in castor oil consists of roughly 90% of the fatty acid; this helps to balance the pH of the scalp and creates an environment that is unsuitable for dandruff.
This oil is a humectant, which means it attracts and traps the moisture (water particles) from the air into the skin and hair. Just like all other oils, castor oil locks in the moisture (water) in the hair, which helps to keep the hair hydrated for longer; the longer moisture stays on the hair strands, the less like it will be prone to breakage and split ends as hydrated hair is flexible, manageable and, healthy. Castor oil penetrates the hair outer layer and fills in any damaged keratin on the strands. This locks in the moisture, keeps the hair hydrated and therefore, making the hair soft and manageable. It also adds shine and lustre to the hair as it forms a protective layer on the hair shaft; this helps to reduce frizz and premature greying, hair thinning and hair loss.
Castor oil is commonly used in today’s modern world as a laxative for constipation, uneven skin tone, acne and many other skin conditions.
How to use Castor Oil on hair?
Like with all oils, castor oil is best applied on wet or damp hair as it seals in the moisture. Due to the thickness of the oil, only the smallest amount needs to be applied to the hair.
Possible disadvantage of using Castor Oil?
Castor oil has few side effects if consume or absorb in a large amount such as:
- Muscle cramps
- Abdominal cramps
- Shortness of breath and chest pain
- Skin rash
- Throat tightness
- We highly recommend that medical advice should be sought as there might be underlying health issues when using castor oil for hair loss.
- Stained clothes (best to wear an old t-shirt or unwanted clothes)
Resources and References:
Tadimalla, R.T; 2020; 9 Side Effects Of Castor Oil You Should Be Aware Of; StyleCraze; https://www.stylecraze.com/articles/side-effects-of-castor-oil-you-should-be-aware-of/#gref
Kandola, A; 2018; Benefits of castor oil for the face and skin; Medical News Today; https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319844.php
Wong, C; 2019; Using Castor Oil for Hair Growth; Very Well Health; https://www.verywellhealth.com/using-castor-oil-for-hair-growth-4172190
Winney; 2019; Benefits Of Using Castor Oil On 4C Hair; LovingKinkyCurls; https://lovingkinkycurls.com/benefits-of-adding-castor-oil-in-your-4c-hair-care-routine/
Walton, N; 2014; How to Use Castor Oil for Natural Hair Growth; Naturally Curly; https://www.naturallycurly.com/curlreading/ingredients/how-to-use-castor-oil-for-natural-hair-growth
Hartfield, W; 2020; Castor Oil For Hair Loss Study Review; Hairguard; https://www.hairguard.com/castor-oil-benefits-for-hair/
Heather; 2012; 8 Benefits of Castor oil for natural hair & a warning!; Neno Natural; https://www.nenonatural.com/hair-blog/8-benefits-of-castor-oil-for-natural-hair-a-warning
Jostylin; 2019; My Experience Using Castor Oil to Grow Natural Hair | 4C Afro Hair Review; Jostylin; https://jostylin.com/how-to-use-castor-oil-to-grow-natural-hair-4c-afro-hair
Kelly AJ1, Kavanagh J, Thomas J; 2013; Castor oil, bath and/or enema for cervical priming and induction of labour; NCBI; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23881775
Photos by: CDC on Unsplash
These are summaries of oils that are great for natural hair and provides an excellent environment for hair growth, hair strength and thickness as well as length retention.
In the future, each oil will get explored in more detail.
Grapeseed Oil: This oil is lightweight and great to use as natural hair protection as it has a high boiling point.
Olive Oil: This heavy oil, is magnificent at conditioning the hair and with its anti-inflammatory property, it can help prevent dandruff.
Coconut Oil: This lightweight oil can penetrate the hair shaft with its antiviral, anti-fungal, and antibacterial properties it can help prevent hair loss.
Argan Oil: Argan oil contains omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin E; this lightweight oil absorbed into the hair, providing great shiny and manageable hair.
Sweet Almond Oil: This oil is full of so much goodness, such as fatty acids, magnesium, protein, vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin E, and antioxidants. It helps to seal in the moisture in the hair (keeping it hydrated for longer) and therefore providing elasticity without the greasy feeling.
Jojoba Oil: This is the only oil that is similar to the sebum oil (the natural oil the scalp produces). It is an excellent sealant as it locks in the moisture (water) into the hair.
Castor Oil: Castor Oil is a very thick oil that helps to thicken the hair strands and prevent thinning hair, breakage and hair loss.
Avocado Oil: This is another super oil that contains folic acid, amino acids, fatty acids, copper, iron, magnesium, proteins, and vitamins A, B, D, and E. It protects the hair from sun damages and good to use as a hot oil treatment.
Rapeseed Oil: Conditions the hair and helps to prevent hair loss, split ends and dandruff. It is rich in omega 3, 6 and 9 as well as vitamin E.
Mustard Seed Oil: This is another excellent hot oil treatment and support hair growth as it stimulates and encourages blood flow to the scalp.
Black Seed Oil (Nigella Sativa Seed): It has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant promoting a healthy scalp (creating a fantastic environment for hair growth) and reducing dandruff.
A young future entrepreneur (who kindly modelled Isabis for us with her straighten natural hair) explains how she straightens her natural hair whilst limiting heat damage. She talks about her regime, techniques and tools she uses to straighten her hair in the most time efficient way possible and how to keep it straight for a while.
If you are looking for the safest way to straighten your natural curls (coils or kinks), then this podcast is for you.
PS: This is Flourishing Crown first ever podcast and so we are producing the raw, unedited version as you can see our growth from our first every experimental podcast to future podcasts to come.
Apology for the outside noise
Henna is a popular plant used all over the world as part of a beauty regimen as well as medicinally use. In ancient Egypt, ointments made from henna were used to protect their skin from the sun and prevent sunburns. Indian women used henna products to cool off the skin during the warmest periods as henna contain cooling properties; these cooling properties can also help to reduce pain such as arthritis pain (by reducing inflammation), headache and other health ailments (such as draw out fever, detoxifying the body, boost hair health, speeding healing time etc.).
What is henna?
Henna plant is part of the Lawsonia genus species of plant and can grow between 12-15 feet high. Henna is a perennial plant- perennial plants and can survive many years in the wild. Henna first origin is heavily accredited to Ancient Egypt (Egypt is still the largest exporters of Henna for the world market) and is reported that Cleopatra used the plant as part of her beauty regimen. It is then used in the Middle East and in Asia countries such as India for Mehndi (they started to do elaborate designs on the skin after they discovered cools effect on the skin, as the Indian women were fed up with orangey/reddish colour hands). It grew in popularity in the Western world as a tattoo and now it is big in the natural hair community for all the hair benefits.
Henna oil, bark, and seeds are the most common elements of the used for medicinal benefits, and the high concentration of chemicals and nutrients in the plant provides the anti-inflammatory, astringent, antibacterial, hypertensive and antiviral effects.
Benefit for the hair
Hair Colour – Although most people associate henna’s effect on the hair to dying its colour which may not show on darker hair; it plays many roles for the hair as well. Henna has been proven to increase the strength of the hair and, therefore, represents a safe dye that doesn’t permanently affect the health of our follicles as it coats the hair cuticles, providing a protective shield on each hair strand.
Hair Health – Due to the protective shield the henna coats the hair cuticle, this prevents the hair from breaking as well as hair loss and increasing the shine and appearance of the hair.
Improves Scalp Health – Due to its cooling, antifungal and antimicrobial properties, henna helps improve and maintain a healthy scalp and can reduce and smooth things like itchy and aggravated scalp, dandruff, irritable scalp and any other fungal infections.
Enhances Hair Colour – Henna is a well-known natural hair dye, but it can also improve your hair’s natural pigment and prevent premature greying of hair or colouring out any grey hair.
Relieves Oxidative Stress – Oxidative stress causes an imbalance in the production of free radicals. It causes hair loss, hair damage, breakage, and premature greying of hair. Henna has antioxidant properties that help reduce oxidative stress.
Conditions the Hair – A study conducted in Palestine suggests that henna has hair conditioning properties. This is because henna helps shield the hair cuticle so that it can retain all that important moisture.
Promotes Hair Growth and Curbs Hair Loss – Henna benefits the scalp by improving hair follicle health; this, in turn, restricts hair fall and enhances the rate at which hair grows.
Repairs Damage and Strengthens Hair – Henna is extremely nourishing, which helps repair damage in the hair shaft and improves the hair elasticity and strength, therefore reduce breakage as the hair retains its flexibility.
Balances pH and Oil Production – Henna is one of the best ingredients you could use for oily hair. It helps calm down overactive sebaceous glands, thereby controlling oil production. It also helps restore the pH of the scalp to its natural acid-alkaline level. This helps strengthen the hair follicles.
Disadvantages of Henna
Side Effects & Safety – It can cause some side effects such as inflammation of the skin (dermatitis) including redness, itching, burning, swelling, scaling, broken skin, blisters, and scarring of the skin. Rarely, allergic reactions can occur, such as hives, runny nose, wheezing, and asthma. It is always advisable to conduct a patch test when using henna or any other product for the first time.
Colour is not guaranteed – As henna is a natural dye, there isn’t any guarantee of the end (colour) result as many elements can affect this, such as harvesting, weather condition, individual’s hair and where it is cultivated. Where the henna is placed and stored can also impact the result of the colour it produces on an individual’s head.
Removing Henna – Henna is very difficult to remove from the hair and requires a waiting time or around 3 or more months for it to be removed from the hair especially if you want to chemically colour the hair. It also may have undesired hair colour on a chemically colour processed hair if the henna is applied afterwards.
Dry Hair – Some people reports of dryness; dryness can be reduced depending on the other ingredients the henna is mixed with. Some people add some of their favourite oils and/or conditioners to help combat the dryness.
Allergic Reactions – Where the henna is not purely available, pre-mixed henna may contain lead and metals which can cause allergic reactions. Please read the labels of all pre-mixed henna.
Loss in Curl pattern – Henna may loosen the hair curl patterns as the weight of henna gentle hang the hair loose. Some people find this as an added benefit whilst others as a disadvantage.
Messy and Time-Consuming – Henna can be a very messy hair process as it is messy to apply and to wash off. Since it is a dye, it can stain anything, it lands on (especially white surfaces), so it is best advised to clean immediately once this happens. Also, it is time consuming when mixing henna as the active ingredient (Lawsonia) takes time to release. When applied on the hair, it also needs to be on the head for at least one hour for the same reason (Lawsonia takes time to release and coat the cuticle).
Jojoba (2017); Henna Cat; https://hennacat.com/blog/cooling-benefits-henna/
Stalnaker, H (2017); The Lotus Room; https://www.thelotusroomnashville.com/living-ayurveda/2017/9/25/healing-benefits-of-henna
Jennyogini (2012); Awakening Yogi; http://awakeningyogi.com/blog/the-cooling-and-healing-benefits-of-henna/
Robers, C (Access on 30 December 2019); Lush; https://uk.lush.com/article/what-henna
Study.com (Chapter 5, Lesson 7); Access 30 December 2019; https://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-a-henna-tattoo.html
Silk and Stone (Access 30 December 2019); https://silknstone.com/About-Henna.html
What is Aloe Vera (AV)? How does it benefit the body and hair and what are the pros and cons of using AV on the body and hair? This section on the blog will look at AV closer and will try to answer all the above questions.
What is AV?
AV is a plant that grows wild in tropical and semi-tropical climates from around the world (it can indoor as a plant as well) that derives from the plant species call Genus Aloe.
AV is a thick, short-stemmed plant that stores water in its thick pointed and very fleshy green leaves have slimy tissue. The water-filled slimy tissue is called “gel” and this “gel” is used in many cosmetic, medicinal and food products for hair and skin as well as internal well-being. The leaves can grow anywhere between 30cm to 50cm in length.
AV has many compounds that are very good for human health; these compounds include anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antibacterial properties which belongs to a range of substances known as polyphenols. Polyphenols help to inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria that may cause infections in the human body.
As well as inhibit the growth of bacteria, AV is also used on the skin to help accelerate the healing process of things like sores, sunburns and burns. It has a high collagen content and cooling properties which help to repair sun damage to both skin and hair. AV has a great ability to increase blood circulation, hence why it accelerates the healing process to sores and burn.
AV can also reduce the build-up of dental plaque and accelerate the healing of mouth ulcers as well as the pain that is associated with ulcers. Studies have shown that AV is just as effective as the Chlorhexidine (ingredients use in mouthwash) in reducing the build-up of plaque by destroying the plaque producing bacterium Streptococcus Mutan in the mouth and the yeast Candida Albans.
How does it benefit hair?
AV contains enzymes called Proteolytic Enzymes. These enzymes help to repair dead skin cells on the scalp which prevent itching scalp and help to reduce dandruff (Seborrheic Dermatitis). AV has fatty acids which have anti-inflammatory properties, these properties stop the scalp from inflaming (the cause of dandruff). A healthy scalp creates a healthy environment for the hair follies to grow.
AV contains many vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, B-12, C and E as well as folic acid. Vitamin B-12 and folic acid prevent breakage and the hair from falling out this may be because AV has a great ability to increase blood circulation whilst Vitamins A, C and E helps with the turnover of cells and therefore promoting healthy cell production and shiny hair.
Due to the slimness of the gel, AV is a great product to detangle the hair; it provides plenty of slip that would melt away any knots and tangles and can help to reduce your detangling time on wash day.
What are the Pros and Cons?
The Pros are all mentioned above in why you may use AV as part of your hair regime as well as part of your overall health. There are more pros such as it may help with weight loss, constipation (latex is the yellow sticky residue found just under the skin, which may help with constipation), improve skin elasticity and wrinkles or diabetes. These are not conclusive as the evidence isn’t strongly supporting these other benefits from studies done.
The Con of using AV is that some people might be allergic to it. So, it is important to do a patch test and see how your body and/or hair reacts to it. To do a patch test; rub a bit of AV on the inside of your wrist and wait for about two hours. If you react to AV, please do not use any AV products and seek medical advice if necessary.
If you are allergic to AV and if consume, AV may cause, blood sugar to drop, stomach cramps, irritation, dehydration (if taken in large quantity), uterine contractions (on pregnant women) and very low potassium levels (this may cause irregular heartbeat, weakness and fatigue). Skin allergies may include skin rashes, irritations, burns and redness to the eye.
Sources of Reference:
Cobb, C and Watson, K (2017); Healthline; www.healthline.com/health/aloe-vera-for-hair
Malik, K (2019); NDTV Food; www.food.ndtv.com/beauty/6-amazing-benefits-aloe-vera-hair-skin-weight-loss-1221869?amp=1&akamai-rum=off
Rana, S (2018); NDTV Food; www.food.ndtv.com/health/side-effects-of-aloe-vera-heres-why-anything-in-excess-is-bad-1882205%3famp=1&akamai-rum=off
Leech, J (2017); Medical News Today; www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318591.php
Bender The Bot (2019); Wikipedia; www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aloe_vera