DIET AND THE HAIR

You must have noticed how your hair can go lank, lack-lustre and

greasy within a couple of hours if you are feeling off-colour. Hair responds to a good diet startlingly quickly. Foods rich in the B-complex vitamins, or 1 tablespoon daily of brewer’s yeast stirred into vegetable juice, or a generous serving of liver eaten several times weekly will all help to keep hair thick, stop it greying and prevent dandruff. Sugar, caffeine and alcohol, on the other hand, all leach B vitamins from your system. Anaemia results in brittle, wiry, thin, lack-lustre hair, but the iron to counter it is abundantly present in watercress, parsley and all dark-green leafy vegetables. Black strap molasses and yellow dock are particularly concentrated sources of iron. If taking yellow dock use two size *O’ capsules on an empty stomach morning and evening and do not neutralize its rapid effect in the bloodstream with tannin or caffeine. Iodine is particularly important for the proper function ing of the thyroid gland which in turn encourages efficient scalp circulation. All the sea vegetables are particularly rich in iodine, as is garlic. If you are taking kelp ensure that you take at least 2,000 mg daily. The effects may take three months to show, so be

persistent. Stress can play a large part in hair loss and I have treated alopecia areata (small bald patches on the scalp) in women particularly successfully using orthomolecular nutrition (medical nutritional therapy using mega doses of vitamins), nervines (herbs that are tonic and healing to the nerves), and herbs to assist the circulation and cleanse the bloodstream, together with scalp massage using essential oils of rosemary and sage and hair rinses of nettles, southernwood, marigolds and watercress.

HAIR CARE

1. Choose a brush which will move through dry hair as easily as a wide-toothed comb. Natural bristles tend to be too soft to stimulate the scalp and their closely packed formation will often tug at and damage the hair. The ideal brush has a flexible rubber base which can be easily washed, supporting well-spaced nylon bristles with uniformly rounded ends. 2. Use non-metal combs without jagged teeth which gouge and damage your scalp. Make sure the teeth are widely spaced. Wide-toothed aluminium combs are of use only if the hair contains a lot of static electricity. They help to calm it.

3. Encourage efficient scalp circulation by massaging vou scalp daily with firmly tensed fingertips. Begin at the base of your neck, working towards your forchead in small rotatine

circles.

4. Always protect your hair from the sun and from wind laden with salt (use a hat or scarf). Chlorine encourages the loss of iodine from the body, so if you are swimming in a chlori- nated pool wear a bathing cap. If you must swim in the sea without a cap remember to rinse all the salt out of your hair as soon as you come out. Failing this, towel is dry and protect it with a scarf.

5. Avoid chemical tints, rinses, bleaches and perms. There are gentle alternative herbal methods of changing your hair colouring. Their single drawback is that the results may be less predictable.

6. Shampoo regularly with a mild herbal shampoo and always follow it with an acidified herbal rinse or conditioner. Most of us use far too much shampoo. One or two teaspoons is usually ample and I find it helpful to dilute these in a quarter

of a cup of water.

Rinse, rinse and rinse again after shampooing. It is this single factor which is my criterion for judging just how good any hairdressing salon is. Most of them do not pay enough attention to this very important step. Contrary to popular belief, it is not advisable to use a shampoo down the low end of the pH scale which is highly acid as it is possible to over-acidify your hair.

7. Never use very hot hood dryers, and if you use a hand dryer hold it at least 4 in (10 cm) away from the hair and move it

lightly over the hair, changing its position constantly. Do not

use electric curlers or electrically heated tongs.

8. Never sleep with rollers in your hair all night. Besides stretching and breaking the hair shafts and gouging the scalp you will not get a very relaxed night’s sleep!

9. Never use metal-toothed rollers. Use plastic-foam or rubber ones and keep them as clean as your hair-brush and comb.

10. Use plastic-coated not rubber bands. Take advantage of all the pretty ribbons, combs and slides currently on the market and use those instead. u.

11.I would like to counsel you not to perm your hair but I appreciate this is probably unrealistic, so instead I would advise you never to experiment with a home perm. Go to as good a hairdresser as you can. If their perm strips all the sheen out of your hair condition it with a cup of black strap molasses, leaving this on for at least an hour more if you can spare the time. Admittedly it is messy and it sounds extremely unlikely, but it is remarkably effective. Follow this condition with a cider vinegar rinse.

12. Do not back-comb your hair.

13. A decoction of soapwort root is an entirely natural shampoo which makes an excellent gentle hair shampoo. Fumitory or marshmallow are also useful but not quite as effective. Follow any of these with a good herbal hair rinse.

HAIR RINSES

Prepare these before shampooing, making an infusion or decoction using one or a mixture of herbs appropriate for your hair

type, not forgetting at least one scented herb to make your hair

smell nice. Allow the water to cool to tepid, then strain out the

herbs, first through a nylon sieve and then through a coffee filter paper. This final step is especially important as it eliminates even the finest bits of herb, which you won’t want left in your hair. After thoroughly rinsing your hair with water, pour the herbal rinse through it, catching any excess in a small portable basin. Now keep pouring the herbal rinse from the basin back into your jug and through your hair again until your arms get tired. Blot the hair dry with a thick towel. Gently untangle your hair with your fingers. Do not pull it. Then use your wide-toothed comb.

HERBS FOR THE HAIR

Fair hair

camomile

cowslips

great mullein flowers

nettles

quassia bark

quince juice (extract it by boiling the fruit in water-stain, and use

the water) rhubarb root turmeric

Brunettes

cherry bark cinnamon

cloves

henna

Red hair

ginger

henna

juniper berries marigold

Very dark hair

elder leaves

henna

lavender

raspberry leaves

Dry hair

burdock root

comfrey

elderflowers

Oily hair

all of the mint family

horsetail

lemon balm

lavender

marjoram

parsley privet

red hibiscus petals sage

witch-hazel bark

rosemary

sage

southernwood

thyme

marshmallow quince blossom

sage

marigold

southernwood witch-hazel bark

yarrow

If you are hard-pressed a dry shampoo may get you through the day but this will never equal the thorough cleansing power of a proper shampoo with water, so only use it in emergencies. The only way a dry shampoo will work successfully is to brush it out of the hair really thoroughly. Spend at least five minutes doing this. Even after the most thorough brushing, dry shampoos seem to leave some people with a dry scalp so, I repeat, use them rarely.

It is possible to obtain from some suppliers very finely pow dered orris root which has a superb oil-absorbing capacity. Partsprinkle Rub lightly scalp your fingertips. brush brush. Finely ground almond ground meal alternatives good. White fuller’s grey, which leaves looking dingy) ground corn meal may used pinch. Lavender water excellent water works well hair. Soak piece cheesecloth waters. Force cloth over bristles brush.

brushing through hair. soon cloth accumulated amount grime rinse thoroughly water,

wring out, and repeat process until shiny.

Hot treatment for dry, damaged or  bleached hair

1.Brush the hair vigorously, bending from the waisthair and head fall forward. Hanging over

bed the most comfortable way this.

2. Heat natural oil until lukewarm. Add drops rosemary, lavender basil

3. Wet the hair well. The water will protect the shaft sensure that scalp that mainly absorbs the oil.

4.Part the hair sections with comb apply only, using gauze cotton pad. Massage the scalp gently with the fingertips. the hair apart from section you are treating, out the way.

5. Dip hand towel hot infusion (well strained) of herbs recommended oily hair. Wring excess moisture and wrap towel round the head turban fashion. Cover with shower-cap trap heat.

6.When the scalp cools repeat with fresh hot towel.

7. Keep replacing the towels least hour, have

the time. Do not attempt sleep

give you crick the neck!

8. Wash out with herbal shampoo hair. need two even three shampoos really hair.

9.Rinse with copious amounts barely tepid water final rinse any the appropriate herbal infusions.