Goddess Hair, Naturally
A look through history at how women have used natural ingredients in their everyday beauty routines to care for their hair and skin, and which of our luxuriously green icons still do. Written and Researched by Femke Gow. Edited By Alison Jane Reid
Natural-looking hair in a plastic bottle – a paradox. Surely your most natural-looking hair, the hair that is most you, does not come from a plastic bottle but is already on your head; it’s dampened by the weight of product that claims to look just like it. Let your hair out, let it breathe, let it dance.
Emerald princesses through history
That doesn’t mean your hair has to be greasy to be natural. Men and women cleaned their hair long before modern day shampoos entered the hair care scene. During the early stages of haircare, Chinese women used crushed seeds from the Cedrela tree to extract oils from their hair just a few times a month. Filipino women used aloe soaked in water as conditioner to treat dry hair in hot climates. The traditional remedies are endless, even including a European hair gel recipe that used lizard tallow blended with swallow droppings, but I won’t try to make that sound sexy.
Be A Modern Cleopatra
Lets consider Cleopatra, a pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, celebrated for her beauty and love, a goddess among women in her day and ours. And that beauty came from no plastic bottle. Her baths were clouded with milk and honey with but a few drops of almond oil for moisture, followed by a scrub made of sea salt and cream. Her facial complexion was a result of cream comprised of aloe vera, rose essential oil, almond oil and beeswax, a mixture which once heated and cooled down can be stored for a week. For shampoo, Cleopatra whipped three eggs with water, applied as normal shampoo, then rinsed with a conditioning hair treatment of almond and castor oil. Beauty products come from our earth; they are luxurious and available.
Why should I?
But today, we are bombarded with products that bear no resemblance to nature. Modern shampoo strips the hair of its natural oils due to sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), which is a surfactant used in industrial cleaning agents such as engine degreaser. It is also used as a skin irritant when testing products used to heal skin conditions. SLS is what makes shampoo foamy; it is cheap and very effective in doing so. However, it promotes the scalp to generate more oils to replace the oils it strips away. This results in a cycle of needing more shampoo to rid ourselves of this grease, thus promoting the overproduction of scalp sebum.
The modern green goddess
So why not follow in the footsteps of the green women of this world, from Cleopatra to Jessica Alba, Gwyneth Paltrow and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley; they practice organic hair and skin routines and are deified for their beauty. So let’s get creative! For the most simple recipe, dilute the juice from one lemon in one cup of water, and rinse it through your hair as normal in the shower. Or for a more invigorating wash, try a mixture of water, liquid castile soap, tea tree, peppermint and jojoba oil, which, used on a more regular basis, is a dynamic refresher. And you can still add that gorgeous shine at the end with a vinegar rinse mixed with a drop of your favourite scented oil. For most homemade shampoos, castile soap is a great base, then just vary the oils and herbs to get which ever boost of energy you’re after. It’s cheaper, it’s creative and smells incredible.
Be sustainable, be kind, go emerald slow.