Chocolate hair benefits- too good to be true?

It's Easter weekend- the only accepted time for scoffing down Easter eggs "just because".  We're obviously all aware that chocolate isn't the best for our health, but hey, it's a one-off (just like Christmas, birthdays, Halloween, weekends, days off work...), and we all deserve a treat from time to time.

But what if we said to you that you can indulge in your favourite cocoa treat without feeling completely guilty afterwards? What if chocolate was actually proven to have numerous health benefits, including benefits to the hair?

Before you dash off to stock up on all the chocolate you can get your hands on in celebration, stop and listen: your standard Dairy Milk bar isn't the sort of chocolate we're talking about. Milk chocolate is loaded with sugar and other nasty stuff that helps it to taste so sweet (ironic, huh?). White chocolate, our personal favourite, is even worse. It countains around 60% sugar, which is a bit crazy, when we think about how easily we can get through a crate of it.

Dark chocolate, on the other hand- that means anything containing 70% cocoa solids- is actually very good for you in sensible portions, in the same way that a handful of almonds of a spoonful of nut butter is. The darker the chocolate, the better the health benefits, with dark chocolate being a proven good source of antioxidants, improving brain function and reducing the risk of heart disease.

Curious to know how dark chocolate can specifically benefit the hair? Here's how:

High in antioxidants

As mentioned above, dark chocolate contains a wide variety of antioxidants. These include polyphenols and flavanols, which have been proven to promote hair growth and protect the scalp against UV damage. 

Rich in magnesium, zinc, selenium and iron2

Chances are, the minerals magnesium, zinc, selenium and iron2 do nothing more than bring back vague memories of high school chemistry, but trust us when we say they're vital for the healthy functioning of our bodies. Magnesium in particular, of which dark chocolate is a good source, helps to nourish and sooth the scalp, preventing dandruff and ultimately encouraging hair growth. 

Contains minerals for hair quality-boost

The minerals in dark chocolate don't only encourage hair growth. They can also improve hair quality by strengthening hair strands, reducing breakage and split ends and giving hair a thicker, shinier texture. 

Proven anti-inflamatory benefits

Another benefit of dark chocolate's antioxidant content is its anti-inflamatory agents. These prevent infections from forming, reducing dandruff, greasiness and itchy scalp, and ultimately preventing hair loss. 

Boasts copper to maintain natural hair colour

Copper, aside from providing energy to the brain and improving the functioning of the nervous system, has been used extensively in the past and present to treat hair loss. Not only do copper peptides increase the size of hair follicles, therefore increasing strand thickness, they also help to produce melanin, which prevents the graying of hair.

If you really can't get enough of chocolate to the extent that you're not happy with just consuming the stuff, you'll be happy to know that chocolate shampoo is a legitimate thing that actually exists. We don't literally mean shampoo made from melted chocolate- although that would be cool- but the stuff contains cacao bean extracts that are said to boost circulation in the scalp and encourage hair to grow. 

While we probably won't be running to the shops to purchase all-organic, 80% cocoa Easter eggs any time soon, it's good to know that chocolate in its less processed form is actually pretty good for you. But for now, we're off to enjoy our highly-processed Creme Eggs, Malteaster Bunnies and other giant hollow things. We hope your weekend plays out just the same.


Laura Shallcross
Easter Basket Hair- the latest holiday-themed hair trend

In today’s world, one of the most important questions is this: if it wasn’t for Instagram, would half the people actually bother to do the things they do? Whatever the answer to this question, we’re glad the photo-sharing app exists- namely because it means we can pick up the good, the bad, and the downright weird hair trends.

As many parents may know, Easter’s on the horizon, which means (aside from breaking into your child’s Crème Egg multipack in a moment of weakness) the dreaded school Easter bonnet making. This has become pretty popular recently, and essentially involves the “child”- i.e., mostly the parents- making an Easter bonnet and bringing it in to parade around school on the last day of term.

It’s no surprise that these events can often get competitive. And it seems that alternative ways to stand out are already being practiced on our good old go-to social media platform for inspiration. Meet: the Easter bonnet hair trend.

The source of the creation could stem from anywhere, as is the case with most things you’ll find on the internet. But the woman who made it big is Erin Balogh, hairdresser, mum of three and the woman behind the @braidboxbyerin, a monthly box subscription for all number of children’s hair accessories.  

Erin posted a tutorial video to her account right in time for the Easter bonnet preparations. The video, which has made it to 423 likes and 79 comments already, demonstrates the lengthy, but surprisingly simple, process of making the hair Easter basket.

First, the hair is separated into two equal high bobbles and braided. Next, a plastic headband is rooted into the top of each high bobble, and hair is wrapped around it, to create the “handle”. Finally, the braids are wrapped around the head, halo-style, then secured in place, and the accessories (Easter eggs, et cetera) are added for the final touch.

If you want to take a more in-depth look at the tutorial yourself, Erin suggests you visit her YouTube channel, where the full-length video can be found. We have to say, the end result is impressive. It’s certainly a look that requires some skill, and lots of practice, to get it looking as polished as Erin does.

If have a daughter of primary school age and can just master how to nail the ‘do in time, you’re guaranteed to win the Easter bonnet comp with this inventive alternative. It’s just mastering it that might be the difficult part.

While Erin may be the first person to showcase this particular hairstyle in 2018, there is evidence on the ‘gram to suggest that she’s not the only one who’s tried out the look in the past. @missys_braids tried out a similar version in the same year, except with a narrower, taller basket, and @hairdesserts shared a stunning version of the basket with pastel-tone hair and no handle, the creation of an account that unfortunately no longer exists anymore.

And who said Easter basket hair was the only Easter trend circulating the web? We’ve also come across a fair few Easter bunnies, hats, egg-incorporated braids, and even the outline of a rabbit parted into the hair. We say keep the creations coming!

Laura Shallcross
DIY hair masks- 5 ingredients or less

In case you hadn't heard, hair wellness if officially a thing. It's not actually as crazy as it sounds, either: when wellness is defined as "the state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal", it makes sense that hair wellness- actively maintaining good hair health- is a thing.

The worst of the winter seems to finally be behind us, and there's no better time than the present to give our hair some much-needed TLC as a thank-you for getting through the difficult season with us. The harsh winds and icy temperatures of winter can leave hair dry, brittle and dehydrated, and you can combat this with the honourable hair mask.

There are plenty of hair masks available from every respected brand out there these days- in fact, there seems to be a hair mask for every hair type, colour, tone, mood... you name it, there's a mask for it. But here's something you might not know: DIY at home-hair masks are not only just as effective (sometimes *gasp* even more effective) as their shop-bought alternatives, but also cheaper.

We get that nobody has the time to faff around brwwing bits and bobs like a witch over a cauldron- which is why you don't have to. We've found three of the most beneficial hair masks you can make at home that are just five ingredients or less. Now that's what we're talking about.

The Mask: Coconut Oil and Honey

The Benefits:

What doesn't coconut oil do to hair? Namely, it stimulates hair growth, promotes scalp health, prevents dandruff, adds shine and softness the hair, and prevents breakage and split ends. The antioxidant properties of honey prevent damage, strengthening hair follicles and maintaining hair health.

The Need-to-Knows:

We're starting simple with a basic two-ingredient hair mask for giving hair that ultimate shine. Combine 2 to 4 tablespoons of coconut oil with 1 tablespoon of honey (make sure the oil is melted to liquid form for the sake of convenience), then apply to damp hair. Leave in for 30-60 minutes and then wash out, followed by your usual shampoo and condition.

The Mask: Egg Yolk Olive Oil

The Benefits:

Eggs are a good protein source, full stop, whether you're eating them or applying them directly to an area of your body (in this case, your hair. Anywhere else might be a bit weird). The idea of letting your hair anywhere near egg yolks might not be super appealing, but it's worth it: they work as a hair superfood, adding moisture and strengthening strands. Olive oil revitalises the scalp, nourishes the hair roots and promotes the growth of hair strands.

The Need-to-Knows:

Again, this is an easy mask to put together, and you probably already have the ingredients in your cupboard. Blend 2 tablespoons of olive oil with 2 egg yolks in a bowl, then apply to damp hair. Leave on for 30-60 minutes, rinse off, and continue to wash and condition your hair as usual.

The Mask: Avocado and Banana

The Benefits:

Being high in vitamins B and E, avocados help to repair damage to the scalp and strengthen hair from the roots. They rejuvenate and moisturise dry hair, leaving it soft, shiny, and smooth. Bananas are rich in potassium, natural oils, and vitamins, helping to soften hair and prevent dandruff. Apple cider vinegar restores the natural pH level of the scalp, preventing moisture loss.

The Need-to-Knows:

Combine half of an avocado, half a banana, and 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a food processor and mix until a delicious, gooey-looking substance forms (add water if not liquidy enough, but be sure not to make it too runny). Massage the mask into your scalp and leave on for at least 20 minutes before rinsing and conditioning.

Laura Shallcross
Should I Change My Spring Haircare Routine?

The blossom's out, the birds are tweeting, and we're even getting the odd semi-warm day here and there. Yep, spring is officially on us, and about time, too.

It's no secret that winter temperatures, icy cold winds and the occasional sleet storm don't make for the kindest hair experiences, and spring is all about re-nourishing your locks and getting things back to maximum health. With the spring sun comes additional hair protection, too, so don't be afraid of slightly switching up your hair care routine to cater for this.

If you want to know how you can bring your hair back to its pre-winter glory, whilst helping it to adjust to the new season, read on below for inspiration.

The Spring Trim

The cold winter temperatures can often cause a decrease of moisture, leaving your hair on the dry side. Without enough moisture, hair will struggle to retain its elasticity, and there's a good chance your ends will snap and break easily.

It usually only takes a post-winter trim to get your hair looking thick, neat and healthy once more. Ask your hairdresser to cut off the bottom two or three inches of your hair, which tend to suffer the most damage from dryness, and you'll be good to go again.

Brightening Things Up

If you live in the UK, your winters most likely consist of mainly clouds, and very little sun. Our hair needs sunlight to stay healthy and strong, and without it, colour can become dull.

If you're looking to boost your shine, spring time is the best occasion to liven up your colour with a dye job- a balayage is a great sunny shade that's ideal for the warmer season.

The Essential Hair Mask

After all that winter dryness, your hair is likely in high need of a decent moisturising hair mask. Hair masks are very effective in conditioning hair, giving it shine, and leaving it clean and strengthened.

There are plenty of high-quality hair masks available to buy from the popular drug stores, but it's easy to make your own, too. Common cupboard ingredients that make great hair masks are coconut oil, eggs, avocado, honey, bananas, and apple cider vinegar. While we feel a bit funny about rubbing egg yolks into our hair, the health benefits are aplenty.

Remember That Sun Protection

It might seem a bit dramatic to suggest protecting your hair from the spring sun's rays, but in the same way that even the smallest hit of UV rays can do damage to our skin, our hair can be affected, too.

Exposure to UVB radiation is actually responsible for multiple changes to the hair, including hair protein loss and colour changes. Similar to the drying effects of winter, prolongued time under the sun can lead to brittle strands, broken or split ends, and thinning and frizziness.

If you're outdoors for long periods of time, make sure you've got a hat or cap to put on. There are also plenty of hair products available that have been specifically designed for sun protection, such as sprays and oils, which you can use to keep your hair and scalp safe from the worst of the sun's rays.

Prepare For Spring Showers

Okay, nobody is really ever prepared for when April showers hit, but it's wise to keep a hair band in your bag for in case the occasion arises. It's easiest to scrunch your hair into a neat bun to prevent the inevitable flatness and tangles that results from a free-haired dash through a storm.

It's common for some hair types to frizz in the rain, and if you want to avoid this from happening, it's all about locking in hair's moisture in preparation. Again, applying a hair mask the night before your busy day outside will help nourish dry tresses and keep them frizz-free should the heavens open.

Laura Shallcross
The top 5 flowers for hair appreciation- spring edition

We've finally made it to spring! Okay, it doesn't feel like it, with the usual gale force winds outside, but trust us, it's coming. And what better way to celebrate the season of all things floral and blooming than by taking a look at the top five flowers and plants that are beneficial to hair health? You may be surprised to discover just how many of them are used in hair products, proving yet again that there really is no need for an excess of artificial add-ins- we've got a whole natural world of goodness at our hands...

Hibiscus

Found in warm and tropical regions around the world, hibiscus flowers come in a variety of sunny colours, and are often used for making anti-anflammatory teas. Hibiscus doesn't just benefit internal health, though. It's been used in hair products for years and is cited as most renowned herbs used for hair growth. It is rich in vitamin C, which produces collagen that can stimulate hair growth even from dormant hair follicles in bald patches. Pretty amazing stuff, then. 

Popular hibiscus-based hair products include hair oils, masks, shampoos and conditioners. You can also make your own hibiscus tea hair rinse if you're into the whole DIY beauty thing. 

Lavender

You know the purple stuff your nan’s bathroom smells of? That’s lavender, and there’s a reason why it’s been used for so many years in hair and beauty products. Speaking generally, lavender can help with pain relief, migraine relief and even freshening and cleaning. For hair, though, lavender is most commonly used in oils, and helps condition the hair while promoting growth at the roots. Its antimicrobial properties ward off bacteria and fungi, which is said to prevent dandruff and common itchy scalp problems.

Lavender is easiest to find in oil form, but can also be found as an ingredient in shampoos and conditioners. An effective DIY hair mask involves mixing coconut oil with lavender essential oil and leaving it in for fifteen minutes before washing it out. This works as a great treatment for dry or damaged hair.

Argan

The argan tree might just be one of the greatest all-time saviours when it comes to health hair. Back in the day, a clever person extracted argan oil from its plant source, and discovered its multiple benefits to the hair and skin. If shampoos, conditioners, masks, sprays, creams- in fact, any type of hair product- contain argan oil, chances are, they’re going to be wonders in a bottle for your hair. Namely, argan can act as a moisturiser for the scalp, effectively fighting dandruff. It can also promote the growth of healthy, strong hair.

Again, argan is most popular in oil form, but it’s not hard to find it in whatever form you most prefer. There are plenty of DIY oil recipes out there, too- but we think it’s easiest to stick with the oil in its simplest form.

Rose

You might be more used to seeing roses in your garden, with them being of the most common plants in the UK. Rose has been used for its scent for years, becoming the token natural ingredient in many perfumes, moisturisers and body washes. But, unsurprisingly, its benefits stretch far beyond its sweet fragrance. Rose water, specifically, can do a whole lot of good for the hair, including promoting hair growth, conditioning hair, reducing scalp inflammation, and reducing oiliness of the scalp.

The rose water hair DIYs are all fairly complex, so if you’re considering giving the benefits of rose a go, you’re probably best buying from your local health and beauty store.

Sunflower

To save the least expected until last, who knew that sunflowers were used at all in the hair department? They’re undeniably a popular plant in the garden, and there’s now even more of a reason to get planting- for the health of your scalp. Although sunflower oil- and we’re not talking the stuff you use to fry food, before you go running to your kitchen cupboards- is a less common essential oil, its hair benefits are numerous. Regularly using the flower’s essence is said to stimulate hair growth, reduce bacteria, eliminate friziness and prevent water loss.

Sunflower oil can be found online with a bit of searching. It is also often mixed with other oils, such as argan and coconut, for all-round hair heaven in a bottle.

Laura Shallcross
“Paint gun” hair- the most colourful trend of 2019 yet

It’s no secret that we love a hair trend- the crazier, the better. When it comes to scouring the web for the best trends out there, Instagram is our number one go-to place to find the real gems that we just know we have to talk about.

Our latest find from the photo app is one of our favourites so far, and certainly the most colourful trend of the year: “paint gun” hair. First debuted by married couple and hairstylists Andrew Collett and Kat Collett, “paint gun” hair is, literally, as it seems. Small water guns are filled with paint and carefully squirted onto the hair, creating a multidimensional colour explosion.

Andrew and Kat are calling the look “Splash Kaleidoscope”, which, when you see the pictures themselves, makes a lot of sense. Since their first post to Instagram, the popularity of the look encouraged them to post similar “Splash Kaleidoscopes” to their accounts, using all manner of vibrant colours, from vivid indigos, to bright turquoises and hot pinks.

And Andrew and Kat aren’t the only ones to have given the look a go, either. Since sharing their first image, many other hairstylists have posted their own versions of the look on their Instagram accounts, using paint guns to experiment with visual effects.

It seems the couple have always had an interest in the brighter hair looks. Kat herself, who has racked up an impressive 62,000 Instagram followers, boasts an account bursting with her vivid and mesmerising hair projects, and seems to have been experimenting with multiple colours for a long time. While Andrew’s account is a little more toned down, it’s still very much on the rainbow scale.

So what was it, other that love for colour, that encouraged Kat and Andrew to give “paint gun” hair a go? Speaking in an interview with Allure, Kat said: “We were inspired to create something both Andrew and I could fully plan and apply together.”

Apparently, Andrew found the water guns at a local Walmart. Kat explains: "We chose them as a way to express our inner child while living an 'adult life’. You are never too old to have fun."

They were a good find, too- in the hairdressing world, it makes sense why using paint guns would create such an enthralling visual appearance to the hair. The overall almost three-dimensional effect of the “Splash Kaleidoscope” hair, the deep, detailed texture that is created, would be fairly difficult to do with the usual brush method.

Initially, the Colletts decided on three different paint-gun looks: the first was a simple rainbow-inspired creation, while the second focused on the warmer orange and pink tones, and the third combined purples and blues.

In her interview with Allure, Kat said that they chose to initially experiment with rainbow colours because: “We had the 'go-big-or-go -home' mentality, so a rainbow seemed fitting." We have to agree that in a look as experimental as the “Splash Kaleidoscope”, going big is probably the way forward.

So, how achievable is this look? It’s certainly possible, but this is no at-home dye job, before you jump onto Amazon to purchase your own paint guns. You’ll need a hairstylist who’s incredibly talented in the colours department- make sure they have some evidence of this for you to take a look at- and who’s willing to test out an, er, unusual new method of application.

As with all brightly-coloured ‘dos, the dazzling effects of “paint gun” hair will fade fairly quickly- and that’s where things get a bit tricky. You can’t just touch up the roots when needed, either, so it may not be the most practical hairstyle in the world. Still, there’s no doubting its captivating appeal, and while it may be a little too bright for some people, we’re not sure we’d say no…

Laura Shallcross
Autumn 2019 Runway-Hair Trends

You might be thinking Autumn 2019 is still months away- but may we remind you that we’re already nearing mid-March, and it feels like we were only drinking our cheeky New Years’ tipple yesterday.

Time goes quickly, there’s no denying that, which is why we’re letting you know this year’s hottest autumn runway hair trends while they’re still at their freshest.

We’ve seen New York, London, Milan and Paris fashion weeks, and with a little help from Vogue, we’ve got a pretty good idea of which new, imaginative looks have been rocking the runways over these past few months. For early autumn hair inspo, take a look at the list below…

Futuristic Shine

We’ve covered the slicked-back hair look several times already, and it’s clear to see that there’s a love-hate divider when it comes to the look. While some people might think applying copious (and expensive!) amounts of hair gel and literally slicking your hair into any wet-look style that takes your fancy looks terrible, other people- the biggest designers included- seem to love it.

This year’s Autumn 2019 runway saw an explosion of futuristic slick-backs, with Alexander McQueen and Fendi opting for high-shine ponytails, Burberry showing off wet-look knots gelled to models’ foreheads, and Richard Quinn defying gravity with the ever-popular gel-styled quiff.

While the wet-look shine is yet to make trends off the runways, perhaps come September this year we’ll be seeing every other person causally sporting the look. As for us, we’re not so sure about the trend ourselves. It’s a little reminiscent of the high school days, when twelve-year-old boys would go mad with a tub of wax and come to class with their hair sticking up at all odd angles. Still, maybe this year will finally be the year to convince us otherwise.

Sky-High Ponytails

The high pony might be a look you only reserve for days your hair’s at its greasiest, but judging by the fashion week runways, it’s set to make its return this autumn. Models at Emilia Wickstead boasted sky-high ponytails at New York Fashion Week, accessorised with equally out-there red velvet bows.

Hairstylist Benjamin Muller, parted the models’ ponytails into two sections, then smoothed the ends along either sides of the models’ heads, tucking the ends of their strands behind their ears.

It’s a look anyone can replicate, certainly, although you’ll have to get creative with how exactly you achieve the pony tail’s height. It seems Muller used more than just a thick bobble to pull off the sky-high affect. An empty loo roll holder might do it?

 Hair-rings

We had to end it with the most bizarre fashion show trend of the year, courtesy of Ports 1961, whose models donned earrings made out of (luckily) synthetic hair on the runways. This, er, interesting accessory was the brainchild of hairstylist Guido Palau, who also debuted a few necklaces that mimic thin ponytails of the real stuff.

While we’re not exactly certain hair earrings will be the most popular look of Autumn 2019, if you fancy getting creative with your leftover cut-offs and a bit of metal, we say go for it. Maybe there’s potential for an Etsy store for the more entrepreneurial of us out there?

Image credit: Vogue

Laura Shallcross
How your hair can benefit from your Shrove Tuesday indulgences

Ah, Pancake Day. If it isn't the perfect example of how the British can get weirdly excited over a "celebration" dedicated to a certain food, we don't know what is. We'll definitely be jumping on the pancake trend, and, even though we're not sure our pancakes will be exactly Instagram-friendly, that's okay, because we'll be smug in the knowledge that the staple food of the day will be doing wonders for our hair. That's right, we're talking about pancakes for hair growth, strength, health and all that other important stuff. 

Bear with us on this one: you're probably wondering how scoffing your face with pancakes can make the slightest difference to your hair. And we're right there with you. It won't. But even if your actual pancakes (homemade or from-the-packet- we won't judge) don't exactly contain those hair-strengthening nutrients, you can get really creative with your toppings... and that's where you've got the chance to munch on the ingredients that your hair really loves. Who wants boring old sugar and lemon these days, anyway? 

Chia seeds

You've probably seen these in the healthy section of the supermarket recently and thought, WTF? But trust us when we say that even though Chia seeds look like the black bits in the fat balls you feed to birds, they actually taste pretty nice- and they're loaded with nutrients, antioxidants and all that other good stuff. Specifically, they’re high in protein, known for promoting healthy hair growth, as well as essential minerals zinc and copper, which prevent hair strands from splitting.  

With chia seeds, a little goes a long way. Including just a couple of tablespoons in your recipe is enough to meet half of your dosage recommendations for the day. You can choose to sprinkle chia seeds on top of your pancakes for a nice crunch, but we'd suggest actually adding a spoonful to your batter mix.

Chia seeds are incredibly absorbent, and are actually used as egg substitutes in vegan recipes, so they're great for thickening a runny batter- a potential Pancake Day disaster, we're sure you'll agree. And don’t worry, they won’t compromise the flavour of your pancakes. In fact, if anything, they’ll make them taste better. They have a subtle, nutty flavour that works well to compliment sweet and savoury dishes, but if you’re anything like us, you probably won’t even notice you’ve added them.

Honey

You might be more familiar than using honey in homemade hair masks than eating it for hair-growth purposes, but it turns out adding honey to your pancakes might just be the way forwards when it comes to healthy, strong hair. Unlike many artificial pancake sweeteners out there, honey is rich in antioxidant properties, which prevent damage to the hair and keep your scalp healthy. It is also an emollient, and seals moisture in hair, keeping it hydrated and conditioned for longer.

We don’t really have to tell you how to add honey to your pancakes, do you? The easiest way is to drizzle a little on the top- don’t worry about adding it to your batter mix or anything fancy like that. Top with some nuts for extra hair-based brownie points. Remember, although honey is a natural alternative, it’s still high in sugar content, so we suggest using it in moderation (although we can’t be certain we will follow our own advice come Shrove Tuesday).

Bananas

We appreciate that bananas are very much a love-it-or-hate it when it comes to tropical fruits, but it’s time we all started loving them- seriously. Bananas are incredibly high in folic acid, which makes hair sleek, shiny and moisture-rich. They’re also a great source of potassium, which has been found in multiple studies to reduce hair loss.

It’s become something of a trend in the fitness sphere recently to include bananas in your pancake batter mix, alongside egg, milk, oil and all the other usual ingredients. Bizarrely, it’s also possible to make pancakes our of just bananas and eggs. This is said to be good for health (high in protein, low in fat, et cetera), and useful for people with food intolerances (gluten free, dairy free and all that jazz). If health and fitness is your thing, give the two-ingredient banana pancake recipe a try for us, would you?

Failing that, it is, of course, totally acceptable to say, “Who’s got time for that fuss?” and simply chop up your banana to decorate your pancake as is traditional. And then drizzle with your honey. And sprinkle with chia seeds. Sounds perfect to us.

Laura Shallcross
Washing your hair in wee? All you need to know about the most bizarre 2019 hair hack

Do you ever wish you could un-hear something traumatic? Well, that was us this morning, when we found out about the latest “secret” to getting the shiny locks you’ve always dreamed of: washing your hair in wee.

Yes, you heard us right. This bizarre trend (we’re not sure we can call it that yet, as unsurprisingly, it hasn’t taken off) was instigated by British athlete James Cracknell’s wife, who, according to The Sun, claimed that her locks had “never been silkier” since she started practicing the habit.

Beverly Turner took to Twitter to announce her unconventional beauty hack plans, saying, "about to get in shower where I will wash my hair in a cup of pee....I'm genuinely not kidding.

"Who needs costly shampoo when you can shower in your own urine?!"

We have so many questions. First of all, what made Bev decide to give the wee-wash a go the first ever time? It’s a bit like the farmer who milked the first cow- what was going through her head? Unfortunately, there’s not yet a single interview with her out there regarding this fascinating subject, so for now, our questions remain unanswered.

Scarily, though, a bit of research has unearthed that while washing your hair with wee isn’t common by any means, people around the world have been doing it for years. From weird hippies, to random reality TV stars, to even a couple of beauty experts, wee-washing has been practiced by them all. But the craze really jumped up a notch when a woman called Miriam was seen washing her hair in her own urine on reality TV show, New Lives in the Wild.

According to Ten Daily, Miriam lives a nomadic lifestyle, and has done so for the past 12 years. Part of that lifestyle includes the regular hair-wee-wash, in which Miriam leaves the, er, product in her hair for up to 20 minutes before rinsing it out.

Despite usually being flushed down the loo and forgotten about, wee apparently has some surprising benefits to the hair and body. A study at the University of Newcastle, New South Wales, found that that urine is rich in melatonin, the hormone involved in producing circadian rhythms. It discovered that drinking a cup of wee first thing in the morning can calm and refresh the system, giving illusion that you’ve had a good night's sleep. Hmm, something says we won’t be trying it, nevertheless.

As for actual benefits to your hair, “urine therapy” for hair growth is a thing, according to the website Beauty Glimpse. They list wee as a “natural hair remedy”, saying that it is “full of essential elements”, and that benefits include:

·         Rejuvenating the hair follicles, which treats hair loss effectively and stimulates hair growth

·         Ridding of a number of scalp problems including infections and dandruff

·         Nourishing hair fibres from all aspects, creating shine and lustre

·         Boosting the volume of hair

·         Helping retain the natural colour of hair and reducing premature greying

Okay, okay, it all sounds very impressive, but certainly more research is needed before we jump on the wee-wash bandwagon. We’d like these benefits to be scientifically proven, please, before we consider saving our own wee to douse our hair with. Still, we’re intrigued to hear more about this and will keep an ear out for any updates.

Until then, we think we’ll stick to our regular shampoo and conditioner.

Laura Shallcross
Shampoo bars: what are they, and are they any good?

Once upon a time, when the hair industry was far more boring then it is today, you only had a choice of less than ten hair shampoos, and all of them came bottled and in liquid form.

A lot has changed since then. Just like liquid soap and soap bars exist, shampoo bars are becoming something of a trend, and we can see why. With all the worry about how plastic use is damaging the environment, it is now more important than ever that we try to cut down on packaging where we can. Shampoo bars don’t need any sort of packaging- you can simply pop one in your bag and take it home as it is.

But, beneficial to the environment or not, we have to step in to ask the all-important question: do shampoo bars actually work? Are they worth a try, or are they actually worse for our hair than a regular bottle of hair shampoo? Naturally, we had to get investigating. Here’s what we found…

Appearance

Shampoo bars tend to look and feel exactly like bars of soap, and come in a variety of different colours, shapes and sizes. They’re pretty easy to slip into a pocket or a small bag, and are great for travellers wanting to take a non-liquid form of hair treatment abroad with them.  

Scent

Again, shampoo bars know no limit when it comes to scent. You can expect typical, more traditional shampoo flavours, such as lavender, tea tree, chamomile and aloe vera, as well as the more unusual: coconut and lime, orange, and seasalt. If you like a good smelly, you won’t be let down.

Ease of use

It takes a good while to work up a decent lather with a shampoo bar, but perseverance is key. Shampoo bars become slightly more liquid under water, just like bars of soap, so running yours under a tap might help to give an easier application. Just keep rubbing it on your hair until there are enough suds to work through from root to tip.

Price

As with all hair products on the market, there are shampoo bars selling at all sorts of prices, depending on which business you’re buying from, as well as the size of the bar and how may washes it’s expected to give. You can expect to pay more for a shampoo bar from independent businesses, but generally, bars are priced between £2.50 and £5.00.

If you fancy trying out a shampoo bar yourself, you might be curious to know where is stocking them. While the bigger stores are beginning to recognize the demand for the bars, you won’t find a big selection. Your best bet is to shop online, where there are plenty of options available- just make sure you buy from a trusted, positively-reviewed brand.

Another alternative is to nip into your local Lush, which has a plentiful collection of all things good-for-the-environment, including hair bars of a number of scents and flavours (charcoal, anyone?). If there’s anyone who’s been doing shampoo bars the longest, it’s Lush.

So, verdict time: would we choose to use shampoo bars over liquid shampoo? Maybe one day… but perhaps not yet. Having tried both ourselves, we don’t think the majority of shampoo bars quite have the lather to match up to the sudsy feel of liquid shampoo. That said, there is definitely the potential for shampoo bars to make it big in the future. This one is definitely a case of “watch this space”.  

Image credit: Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve

 

Laura Shallcross