Herbs serve many purposes. They protect, strengthen, and soothe the body. They help relax tired muscles and invigorate sluggish systems. Some herbs are especially suited for use in beauty products. Natural bath salts, skin creams, facial moisturizers, cuticle lotions, and foot scrubs are easy to make and fun to use. Home-made beauty treatments are effective and most of the ingredients are inexpensive.
The hair and scalp respond beautifully to herbal treatments. Natural hair rinses are simple to prepare. Start with these easy recipes and experiment to see what works best for your hair type.
For normal hair simmer 1 cup fresh elderberries in a pint of water for 15-20 minutes. Strain and apply to hair. Wait 15 minutes and rinse again with vinegar water (1 tablespoon vinegar to 1 cup water). Hair will be shiny and luxurious.
For dry and processed hair add 1 teaspoon of borax to 6 pints of warm water. Add 1 teaspoon of cider vinegar and 6 drops of chamomile essential oil. Shampoo hair and rinse with borax mixture.
For limp hair steep 1 tablespoon of rosemary in 1 cup of hot water. Add the juice of 1 lemon and 2 tablespoons of beer. Use as a final rinse after shampoo.
For blonde hair, rinse with equal amounts of lemon juice and water. Leave in for 15 minutes, then rinse with plain water. Infuse 4 ounces of dried chamomile flowers in 2 cups of hot water for 30 minutes. Rinse again.
For brunette hair rinse with cinnamon water. Add 4 sticks of cinnamon or 4 drops of cinnamon essential oil to 1 cup boiling water. Leave to cool and apply to freshly washed hair. A coffee rinse may also benefit brown hair.
For red hair rinse in the cooking water left over from boiling fresh beets. Rinse again with red wine.
For black or dark brown hair simmer 1 ounce of sage leaves in 1 quart of water for 30 minutes. Steep for another hour and apply to hair. Leave on for 30 minutes and rinse again in plain water.
Sage is the traditional remedy for dull, gray hair. Drink sage tea and use as hair rinse. Sage, rosemary, and nettle may be combined if desired.
For itchy scalp or dandruff prepare this ancient Roman recipe. Bring 2 cups of water to almost boiling, add 2 ounces of fresh nettle tops. Remove from heat and steep for 15 minutes. Strain and apply to clean hair and scalp. (May substitute 4 teaspoons of dried nettle or 2 nettle tea bags.) Add birch leaves for extra benefits.
Another treatment for itchy scalp is a mixture of 2 tablespoons cider vinegar and 6 drops of chamomile oil. Pour over wet hair and massage gently. Do not rinse out. Repeat three times a week.
These rinses may be rinsed out or left in depending on hair texture. They may temporarily or permanently lighten, bring out highlights, darken, or change the color of your hair. Test on a hidden section before using on whole head to avoid unexpected results.There are many natural ingredients that make excellent hair and scalp conditioners. Thyme adds shine and luster. Fruit pulp, especially avocado is good, too. Comfrey is soothing for most scalp irritations. Calendula adds body to hair. The list goes on and on.
*Always treat herbs with respect and use common sense. If irritation develops discontinue use. Avoid sage if pregnant or epileptic. Never use hot water on the hair or scalp. Longer hair probably requires conditioner to prevent tangles and breakage.
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