Herbal Hair Oil - Complete Buyer Information For Choosing A Hair Oil

Herbal Hair Oil - Complete Buyer Information For Choosing A Hair Oil

Herbal Hair Oil - Complete Buyer Information For Choosing A Hair Oil

Are herbal oils good for hair? There are a lot of conflicting and confusing opinions and conjectures about the goodness of herbs for hair and also a lot of profiteering in the name of organic/natural/herbal personal care products. We will try our best to steer through this debris of jargon and de-mystify the many myths surrounding herbal personal care products. At the end of this article you should be able to tell what is real and what is a marketing gimmick upon seeing a product and make informed buying decisions.

What is a herb?

Wikipedia defines a herb as "In general use, herbs are plants with savory or aromatic properties that are used for flavoring and garnishing food, for medicinal purposes, or for fragrances; excluding vegetables and other plants consumed for macro-nutrients." That means almost anything can be a herb (if we can find its use!) - as a wise man said, "a weed is a plant whose use man has not yet found!".

There are many excellent herbs all around us if only we know how to identify it, process it and use it. In fact, we are so addicted to civilization, that we have almost no exposure to wild plants. But simple plants like basil, dandelion, crab-grass, thumbai (Lucas Asperas) have all been re-discovered to have extra ordinary medicinal benefits.

An old coconut-tree-climber after going through our friend and organic farmer Mr Sethuraman's 8 acre organic coconut farm (where he does no weeding or tilling or manure addition) remarked in wonder " I can see over 80 herbal plants in this farm".

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Our obsession with exotic herbs But we miss the great wealth of bio-diversity right under our noses and clamour for exotic and unknown herbs like Moroccan argan oil or Jamaican black castor oil or Mexican Jojoba oil or Arnica flowers from Europe. This creates an opportunity for smart entrepreneurs to exploit our total ignorance of what is argan oil or what is an arnica flower and they create so much hype about such distant herbs that we pay a very high price to get the same benefit we may get from our local coconut oil or castor oil. The best option is "Stick to local produce"

Does our hair need oil? Scalp and hair roots need nourishment and cleaning.. they love fat, vitamins and protein nourishment. So if you want your hair to be dense, black and thick you are better off applying a good hair oil from a young age. But if you are like me and don't care about a bald crown or receding hairline, you don't need hair oil.

What is a herbal hair oil? What the cosmetic industry means by herbal is some oil that has added herbs in it. True herbal hair oil will have no additives and will be based on cold-pressed organic oil. If it contains ingredients like liquid paraffin or permitted colors or preservative or some confusing numbers like CI 61565 & CI 12150 then you are better off rejecting it outright.

Difference between Organic, Natural, Herbal and Pure The same kind of hype surrounds high sounding words like organic, cold-pressed, natural and herbal products. When it comes to oil, cold-pressed means : the oil seed is crushed at low-heat (meaning not exceeding 50 degree celsius) so the minerals and vitamins are preserved. But we should not go blindly for cold-pressed oils as being good for everything - for example, when castor oil is to be used as a cosmetic oil, it needs to be boiled so that the poison ricin that can seep into it during oil-extraction can be neutralized. Also for hair oil, saturated fat may be better than unsaturated - depending on the type of hair.

Herbal in marketing terms mean it contains herbs - that is all! One vendor sent me a hair oil sample (calling it 4 in 1 herbal oil) which had a few roots and leaves in oil in a 100 ml bottle - but the oil was a mix of liquid paraffin and coconut oil (no proportion mentioned)- And that 100ml had an MRP of 400Rs!! - so he is effectively selling liquid paraffin which costs 5 Rs for 100 ml at 400 Rs ! I am sorry for the customers who buy that thinking it is healthy.

Natural again is a loose term and means nothing - a vendor may call his oil "natural sunflower oil" or "pure sunflower oil" but may be selling oil crushed by using a hexane based hot process without any mineral oil being mixed. Of all these adjectives organic is the only one that you have to look for - if it is organic and contains no SLS, paraben, mineral oil (liquid paraffin) then it can be purchased. Here again you need to look at the price and see if they are profiteering (more about this later).

Some common herbs of South India that benefit the hair I am not familiar with the geography and agro-climatic zones of North India (especially the organic farms), so I can talk only about South India from first hand experience as an organic farmer . Some herbs that are proven to be very scalp and hair friendly are Bhringraj, Curry Leaves, Methi seeds, Brahmi, Henna leaves, Hibiscus flowers, Amla and Kalonji - these grow everywhere and are organic by default (unless you pick them from chemical-sprayed fields!)

(Information on the herbs below is provided by Purva Naturals )

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Bhringraj

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We Indians have used Bhringraj for centuries to prevent hair loss and greying. It is a very effective hair rejuvenator. Apart from being beneficial for hair, it also improves your largest organ of the body – skin. Bhringraj prevents skin infections and makes your scalp completely dandruff free. Bhringraj can improve the look and feel of skin making it appear younger and making skin healthier.

Hibiscus

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This is one magic herb for treating your hair well. Its flower along with its leaves is used in so many ways to fight hair fall, induce hair growth and also gives satisfactory results in bald patches at a young age. It strengthens the hair roots and strands. Apart from that it provides a natural coloring to your hair and prevents premature greying. It is rich in nutrients like Vitamin A, Vitamin C and essential amino acids. It is safe for all skin types and does not harm your skin in any way.

Henna

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(We are talking about natural mehndi leaves grown in an organic farm. Not some powder with chemical infused colouring). Henna is a natural dye, with excellent benefits to the hair and scalp. It is the best occurring natural material to seal the hair cuticles, thus preventing splitting and breaking of hair ends. It improves the shine in a non-intrusive way. It also makes the scalp totally free of dandruff. Henna treated in coconut oil is a good astringent.

Dwarf Copperleaf

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This is an ignored herb as it is considered a weed and thrown away. It is a wonderful complement to Bhringraj, enhancing its actions and augmenting the benefits multifold.

Amla (Indian Gooseberry)

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An exceptional source of Vitamin C & E, amla is nature's answer to ageing. Amla is rich in:

Vitamin C

Tannins

Phosphorus

Iron

Calcium

Topical application delivers these nutrients directly to your hair. This potentially results in healthier locks.

It’s also worth noting that vitamin C and other antioxidants can help skin cells regenerate. This may promote a healthier scalp, subsequently minimizing dandruff and resulting in healthier hair.

Curry leaf

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Apart from being the quintessential part of all our Indian curries, stews and what not, curry leaf is an excellent hair care product. Curry leaves act as stimulant on the hair follicles. This stimulation helps the strands to grow and become stronger. Therefore they are a key ingredient for hair care and healthy hair. The common cause of dandruff is due to fungal scalp infection. The fungus causes hair loss and makes the scalp flaky. Curry leaf has excellent anti-fungal properties. They are highly effective against the scalp fungus, and hence a natural solution to eradicate dandruff.

Now we come to the real crux of the article - making informed buying decisions and choosing the right hair oil

How to buy an organic herbal hair oil? A good hair oil should be eco-friendly - it should use local herbs and locally produced oils and should be affordable.

  1. Look if the base oil is certified organic

  2. Look at the ingredients - See if there are any additives, preservatives, liquid paraffin, SLS, Paraben or other chemicals (reject the oil if it lists anything like this or if it has no ingredients list)

  3. Look at the price - if the price of 100ml of an organic hair oil is around 100 rupees, and an organic herbal oil is around 150 rupees, then you are getting very good value for money. If not, the seller is simply fleecing you.

  4. Try to buy from small farms or small organic distributors - the larger your seller is, the less likely it is to be organic, because the area under organic produce is less than 0.01% in our country.

  5. Call the oil-mill or farm and ask if you can visit their manufacturing facility. If they say no then don't buy it! Ask them for traceability - who are the farmers supplying to them.

Conclusion In today's commercial world, oil is not oil. So whom to trust is the real question. The best way is to buy and use a trial. Everything else can be stage-managed : certification, customer testimonials, corporate social responsibility and so on. Personal experience is the best. So be warned and beware!


Author: Soap And Oil

The One Stop Place To Know About Plants, Uses, Organic Oils And Soap