Hair loss home remedies: the normal and the not-so-normal

Losing your hair can be frustrating, especially if you’ve always had thick, enviable locks. The sad truth is, all of us will experience hair loss as we age, with some people losing the thickness of their hair as early as in their teens. Understandably, the market for hair loss products is more competitive than ever these days, and it’s not unusual to spend a fortune on a product that promises to work miracles but actually makes no difference whatsoever to your hair. For that reason, we’ve searched out the best- and most unusual- home remedies for preventing hair loss, so that you can save a bit of money and try a natural alternative. Here’s what we found:

Eat your protein

This isn’t so much of a home remedy as a daily essential. A poor-protein diet may result in limp or weak hair that breaks and splits easily. Hair strands are made up of a strong protein called keratin, and it’s important that this protein is maintained through diet in order for hair to stay healthy and not fall out. Good sources of protein include eggs, chicken, fish, and nuts. You don’t have to eat meat at all to get your protein intake; if you’re a vegetarian, you can still consume the daily required amount of protein in brown rice, beans, lentils, soya, tofu, grains and Quorn.

Use oil masks

Oil masks, such as argon oil or coconut oil, contain vitamins and essential fatty acids that nourish the scalp and help to remove sebum build-up from hair, keeping it healthy and less likely to split. An oil mask will require massaging into the scalp on application, which will stimulate hair growth by increasing blood flow to the hair follicles. You can make your own coconut oil hair mask by warming a palm-sized amount of the oil and gently massaging it into your hair. Leave for thirty minutes and repeat once or twice a week.

Eat Indian gooseberries

Never heard of them? Nope, us neither. But Indian gooseberries- grape-sized fruits with a sour taste- are apparently a superfood for hair. This is because the oil in Indian gooseberries has anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties which strengthen your hair follicles thereby facilitating hair growth and strengthening of the hair. If you don’t fancy eating the berries, you can grind them to a paste and apply it to your hair as a mask, leaving it for twenty minutes before washing off with a mild shampoo.

Fenugreek seeds

Fenugreek seeds might not be something you happen to have lying around in your cupboard, but chances are, you’ve read somewhere about the wonders they can apparently bestow on your hair. Fenugreek seeds contain hormone antecedents that enhance hair growth and help rebuild hair follicles. They also contain substances that stimulate hair growth. If you want to give these a chance, unfortunate the process is a little less simple- you have to take two tablespoons of fenugreek seeds grind them as powder, adding a tablespoon of coconut oil or olive oil to it. Then mix the both ingredients well and apply this paste on the hair loss and hair damaged area. From all of our research, fenugreek seeds were the most highly-acclaimed hair-loss home remedies, so if you’re serious about growing your hair, it might be worth giving them a try.

Laura Shallcross
This weird hair DIY treatment promises to be the secret to glossy, shiny hair

How do you like your mayonnaise? In a neat blob on the side of your plate, or recklessly squirted all over everything? Maybe you don’t like it at all? Or perhaps, you might prefer it when it’s in your hair?

That’s right: mayo is apparently the answer to all of our hair’s problems, according to the reliable old internet. We even found tubs of the stuff especially manufactured for hair application selling on Amazon. Apparently, it’s the ingredients in mayo- egg yolks, vinegar, and oils- that work together to nourish and moisturise your hair. It also contains an amino acid called L-cysteine, which promotes healthy hair growth at the scalp.

Mayonnaise also removes hair lice- gross, we know, but if you cover your scalp and hair with large quantities of mayo, it will, perhaps unsurprisingly, suffocate and kill the things. Furthermore, it acts as a conditioning treatment, because of its rich content of amino acids and nourishing oils, and with regular use, it can apparently smoothen frizzy hair and make it easier to tame.

So now we know that mayo is the thing from the gods for hair, how do we go about giving a mayo rinse a go ourselves? All you’ll need is a cup of the stuff and twenty-or-so minutes of time. Simply dampen your hair and work the mayonnaise through from the roots to the ends, as you would a hair mask. Give your hair a good massage and let it sit for twenty minutes before rinsing off, and- voila! Your hair should be smoother, shinier, and tangle-free.

Don’t fancy going to your fridge and pulling out your own tub of mayo just yet? Don’t worry; you don’t have to. Because as is the case in the modern world of bloggers and beauty enthusiasts, many, many people have already tried it for you, and broadcast their results online.

Take Melodi Erdogan, for example. She documented her mayonnaise-hair-washing journey for a week in a detailed blog post which pretty much put us off testing out this weird remedy for life. Despite admitting that after her first mayo wash, her hair felt “smoother than it's ever been”, Melodi then went on to say that “something about how my hair was clumping and sticking to my head just didn't sit right with me”, and that it “looked wet, as if I had just gotten out of the shower”. Oh, and that her hair carried with it an “intense stench” that was impossible to mask. That’ll be the egg.

Yeah, we think we’ll give this one a miss, thanks. But if you’re curious about the benefits of mayo for hair and want to give a mayo rinse a go yourself, we’d recommend starting small. Adding a huge dollop to your hair that you can’t rinse off for days probably isn’t the best idea. Try with a small, penny-sized droplet, and work your way up until your hair is nicely covered. If you notice any smoothness, good for you! But it’s not something we’ll be rushing to try in a hurry.

Laura Shallcross
Why you need to ditch the perfume for a hair mist this summer

We’ve all done it before- we’re getting ready for a night out, and after a spritzing of our favourite perfume on our wrists, we add a couple of pumps to our hair for good luck. In case you didn’t already know, spraying perfume in your hair won’t do it any favours, owing to the high concentration of alcohol, which dries hair out and can leave it brittle and more likely to suffer breakage. But what if you want your hair to carry a natural, lasting smell without causing it harm? The answer is hair mists.

Hair mists are especially designed to liven up your locks and leave hair smelling fresh and fragrant. Unlike shampoos and conditioners, the fragrances in these mists are long-lasting, but unlike perfumes, they don’t contain any harmful components that are damaging to hair. In fact, many mists are actually enriched with vitamins and other beneficial properties, so if anything, you’ll be doing your hair a favour and making it smell good, which is a win-win if you ask us.

It has even been suggested that hair mists might actually be better than perfume when the two of them are compared against one another. Apparently, hair holds fragrance more effectively than skin because it is more porous, so it evaporates more slowly, allowing the scent to last the longest.

As is the case with all hair products, when it comes to hair mists, there are a variety of brands offering their own versions of the stuff. Luckily, there’s something to suit every budget, so if you can’t afford to splash out more than ten pounds worth of cash, that’s okay. That said, you should know that most hair mists are produced and presented in the same way that perfume is, so you should expect a premium price for the better products on the market.

So, now you know why it’s worth ditching the perfume and buying your hair its own dedicated scent- here are our top two budget and blowout pics from our online research:

Budget

Rituals' The Ritual of Happy Buddha Hair and Body Mist- £16.50

Rituals' The Ritual of Happy Buddha Hair and Body Mist is a delicate, water-based mist that leaves hair and skin beautifully fragranced.

Infused with Sweet Orange and Cedar Wood, the invigorating hair and body mist can be spritzed onto hair, skin and clothes to bestow a warm, fragrant scent.

Blowout

Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium Hair Mist- £35.00

Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium Hair Mist is an enhancing hair mist laced with the unmistakeable scent of Black Opium.

Delivering a light hair touch and energising fragrance, the hair mist contains Argan Oil for a nourishing effect, and combines signature notes of Black Coffee with White Flowers and Vanilla. After use, hair feels silky and glossy, and is left with an unforgettable scent. Housed in a glam rock, glitter-frosted bottle.

 

Image credit: dotella

Laura Shallcross
How often should you really wash your hair?

After it hit the news this week that a 27-year-old mum has somehow managed to not wash her hair for 8 months- and it doesn’t even look greasy- we’re sure the question on many people’s lips is: do we actually need to wash our hair? And if so, how often should we be really doing it?

Virginia Tapp pushed through the awkward greasy stage after not washing her hair for so long, and now says it looks healthier than ever. She cites helping the environment as her motivation, writing on her blog: "In a nutshell, I started doing this because I wanted to use less stuff on my body and send less stuff down the drain. Isn't it just a little bit strange that we have to use three different types of soap when we wash?"

According to Virginia, she barely experienced any grease during the six months of no washing, apart from a little oiliness at the scalp, which she soon sorted out with a home remedy of bicarbonate soda scrub, which completely removed the oil. Since then, she has only washed her hair with warm water, and claims she gets less knots now and that her hair is “neither oily or dry”.

So it sounds like no washing worked for Virginia, but the question is, can it work for everyone? We’ve all heard the theory that if you stop washing your hair, it eventually self-cleans. This is true to some extent. Normally, when you wash your hair with shampoo, it will naturally strip some of the oils off your hair. Hair is supposed to be a little oily, so your hair follicles produce additional oil to make up for this removed oil, which results in grease. So you can see how washing your hair can become a bit of a cycle.

It seems that if you don’t wash your hair, the follicles will produce the right amount of oil, and you won't end up with greasy hair. However, from our research, many individuals who have tried this experiment have found that although their hair does not become horrendously greasy as time goes on, there is still a slight greasiness, and some even mentioned a slight dry, straw-like texture to the hair. This is likely because they’re missing out on the benefits of a good shampoo, such as less end breakages, a healthier scalp and growth encouragement.

In short, yes- the theory is true that if you don’t wash your hair with shampoo, after a while it will “self-clean” itself. However this isn’t necessarily the healthiest option for your hair- shampoos were invented for a reason, after all. If you’re finding your hair goes greasy almost immediately after shampooing, consider changing your shampoo or switching up your hair routine so you’re washing less regularly. This should train your hair to last longer without the need for a regular oil-strip.

We recommend that if your hair is normal-greasy in texture, you should wash it twice a week, three times at the most, and in the days between washes, simply rinse hair with water.

(Image: bush_bambinos/Instagram)

Laura Shallcross
How to give your hair the skincare level of attention

Skincare: It’s been drummed into us for as long as we can remember that we need to look after our skin on a daily basis. We all know of the importance of keeping our skin healthy and hydrated, and most of us will use at least one skincare product every day to achieve these results. It’s not uncommon for the more skincare-obsessed of us to perform a complicated routine involving an endless range of products every day just to keep our faces looking and feeling good. The question is: why do we shower our skin with so much attention, but forget about our hair? It’s time we all learnt how to give our hair the TLC it needs.

Hair masks

Hair masks don’t have to be investment in time or money. If your hair is dry, dull, damaged or all of the above, it’s probably badly in need of this sort of treatment. The easiest way to incorporate a hair mask into your routine is to buy one that you can apply to wet hair, meaning you can just put it on after your conditioner (or between shampoo and conditioner, depending on the product). Gone are the days when hair masks would only be used by top models and actresses and no one really knew how to use them; they’re now as regular as shampoo. It’s usually unnecessary to use a hair mask every day of the week, so that’s less work for you already. Most products will recommend you use them two-to-three times a week, so just give yourself some set days and make sure you keep to it. Your hair will love you for it.

Shampoos and conditioners

We all (hopefully) use shampoos and conditioners anyway, but in the same way you wouldn’t just scrub your face with water and hope for the best, it’s not a good idea to buy the cheapest products available and think that’s good enough. If you want to give your hair a little more love, search for products that contain aloe vera if you can, as this repairs dead skin cells on the scalp and acts as a great conditioner, leaving your hair smooth and shiny. Avoid products containing parabens, alcohol, or synthetic fragrances, as they will wreak havoc on your hair over time. Making a simple switch from a cheaper shampoo and conditioner to something more accredited is one of the best ways to look after your hair. You don’t have to spend a fortune on products, just shop around and search the internet for products that have the best reviews from both the public and professionals in the industry.

Heat protectant

If you use heat tools on your hair, it goes without saying that you should be applying some form of protection before doing so. We’d never put our skin through such extreme heat application, and just because our hair can withstand it, it doesn’t mean it’s doing it any good at all. There are hundreds of heat protectant sprays and creams out there; make sure you buy one that’s worth the money and make a regular thing of using it before you apply the heat.

Protein products

Some people might not think a protein-rich hair product is worth using on a daily basis, but we actually lose some of the vital protein in our hair from chemical processes and heat and the strain of day-to-day life. Protein helps to both strengthen and grow our hair by rebuilding the areas of our hair, so it’s vital that we keep our hair as protein-rich as possible. Again, there are hundreds of protein-containing products to choose from, all of which will keep your hair healthy and strong, allowing it to grow with less damage to the ends.

Laura Shallcross
Dying your hair silver/blue- what to know

He changes his hair more times than we change our bedding, so it's no surprise that Zayn Malik has stepped out with another new 'do- and this time it's that silvery-blue shade that's proved so popular since it first came around all those Christmases ago. We're not surprised Zayn's gone for this particular shade; when it's done right, the colour has the most appealing mermaid-like sheen. If you're tempted to join Zayn soon and go silver, here's everything you need to know:


Choosing your shade of silver


Yes, there are hundreds of shades of silver to choose from. The shade of gray you choose should depend on your skin tone, complexion and the depth of your eye colour. Go for the colour that will be the most complimentary, making you look the opposite of washed-out. If you're unsure what would suit your own skin tone, your hairdresser will be able to help you. 


The dye process


If you're attempting a non-natural colour (such as silver), you really shouldn't opt for a packet hair dye. Without the right prep, it can turn hair the ugliest shade of dull blue/green. If you do choose to use a packet dye and your hair is dark blonde to brown, you'll need a good application of bleach put on first so the colour shows up properly. And we've all heard the bleach disaster stories, if you haven't experienced it yourself. Trust us when we say it's just best you go to the hairdresser's for this one. Not only will they make sure to do a good job on your colour, but it'll last far longer than a packet dye will.


Looking after the colour


Once you're resembling the silver mermaid of your dreams, it's important to look after your locks so you get the most out of your new colour for the longest time period. Silver is actually a bit more difficult to maintain than blonde, because any hint of brassiness will ruin the silver look. To keep this from happening, look for shampoos and conditioners that are made specifically for silver hair. There are plenty of products around these days. If you use your silver products at least once a week, the colour should stay consistent for longer. Be careful about using purple shampoo- silver is light enough to pick up other colours from products, and the last thing you want is for your hair to turn a pale lavender. 


When to return to your hairdresser's


All hair grows at different rates, but after a couple of months, take a mirror to the back of your head and inspect your parting. If you've got an unflattering circle of different-coloured new hair growing, it's time to book in for a quick toning session at your hairdresser's. The colour will have likely faded after a couple of months too, as silver is one of the most difficult colours to maintain in the long run. Hey, we never said it was easy going grey.

Laura Shallcross
How to look after your hair at a festival

It’s no secret that festivals aren’t the sort of events you would attend if you were expecting cleanliness, hygiene and luxury for a weekend. With showers few and far between, the only attention your hair is going to end up getting is a dousing by the occasional cup of warm beer. Obviously, your hair is not your main priority at a festival, when you’d rather be stuffing your face with burgers, jumping around to bands and, ahem, maybe having the odd tipple. So how can you make sure you’re still looking after your locks with the most minimal effort possible? We’ve done the research for you- here’s everything you need to know:

Pre-festival prep

First thing’s first, you’ve got to give your hair an extra bit of lovin’ before you cut it off from everything familiar for so many days in a row. This should include working in a hair treatment or mask between your shampoo and conditioner. If you want to keep your hair extra smooth and protected, try an overnight hair mask the day before you head off to the fields. This will work as a sort-of high-powered conditioner that will add moisture to your hair and give it the nourishment it needs before it inevitably gets bombarded with hairspray, beer, spray-on hair colour, glitter and whatever else you and your mates will think is a good idea at the time. You’re best washing your hair at the last possible minute (note: not two days before you leave) in order for it to look its best while you’re there. You know how many pictures you’re going to be included in; don’t let your hair ruin your outfit.

When you’re there

If you can make yourself do it, bring a hat to wear for when you’re watching the live bands. We know it’s not very cool, but there’s always a festival hat trend every year, so do your research and find something that you will at least see other people wearing too while you’re there. If you’d rather keep your pride and endure the occasional beer shower (and occasionally worse than beer- yes, it’s not just a festival myth that people wee in cups), go hatless, but don’t say you weren’t warned. Dry shampoo is your best friend for the inevitable build-up of grease. The ingredients inside it soak up the excess oil and grease in your hair, giving it a cleaner, fresher appearance. Just spray a little on in the morning and you’ll be good to go. Other than that, try not to touch your hair too much, as every time you do, you’ll be transferring all the dirt and oil from your, let’s face it, not-so-clean festival hands onto your ‘do.

If you don’t want to have to bother combing out the knots once your hair is sticky with things best left to the imagination, braids are the answer. Plait your hair in two tight braids over your head, and you’ll be good to leave it like that for the rest of the week. Luckily, braids are always the ‘in’ festival hairdo every year, so you only need to do a quick browse on Instagram for inspiration. If you ever reach the point of feeling so disgusting that you need a shower immediately, you can always improvise outside your tent with a bottle of water. It’s not ideal, but even if you can just get your fringe wet and combed out, it’s better than nothing.

Post-festival restoration

Phew, you’ve made it back home, and your poor hair is feeling rattier than a horse’s mane. It’s time to treat it with some of the best detangling spray and give it a brush through. We recommend doing this before you shower, or you risk getting it even more knotty once the water hits it. When you finally experience the bliss of warm water again, make sure you do two shampoos- one to wash all the nasty substances away, and one to clean your hair. If you want to go all-out, after your conditioner, apply another hair mask. Your hair should then be back to its normal state. Sort of.   

 

Laura Shallcross
Mastering the retro bob like Selena Gomez

It’s already one of the summer’s hottest hair trends, thanks to Selena Gomez revealing her new ‘do in her "Back to You" music video earlier this month. That’s right, the retro bob is back, and it’s bigger than ever. Selena's hairstylist, Danielle Priano told Popsugar: "Selena is super hands-on with all of her creative endeavors. She always has an idea of what she wants. She wanted the look to feel dated [but] with a modern twist."

It’s fair to say all of us have probably sat down at one point and seriously considered getting all our hair chopped off into this quirky style. But how do you know if it’s for you? And what about the upkeep? The styling? Will you regret it? We’re here to answer all of your questions.

Although anyone can rock a bob, there are certain face shapes that certainly suit the style better than others. If you have an oval-shaped face with high cheekbones, a short and sharp bob will complement your features perfectly. There’s no need to worry about playing it safe with your hairstyle. A retro bob would also suit a round face, providing the cut isn’t too rounded or geometric. Adding a side fringe may be an idea to consider. If you’re square faced, textured bob cuts which fall onto the face are your best friend.

Now onto the nitty gritty: the commitment. Because of course there’s some commitment that comes with having a bob like Selena’s, especially if you decide to opt for the fringe and the layers. Apparently the ‘do takes about twenty minutes to style, and involves applying a dollop of volumizing mousse from the root to ends of your hair. To shape the hair, brush inwards towards your face with a round brush. If you’re having an off day, you’ll need a good supply of scrunchies and hair clips. Depending on your length and the number of layers you add in, it will most likely be difficult to tuck your hair behind your ear, which is where the hair clips come in.

To try and keep your choppy, one-length bob sharp and blunt, it’s best to have a trim every 3-6 weeks, or things might start to look a bit straggly. In terms of washing, shorter hairstyles need to be washed more often than longer locks, as they become greasy much more quickly. In all, it’s not so difficult to adjust to a bob, as long as you’re happy to keep up with the slightly more regular haircuts and washing routine. The best way to work out if it would suit you? If you’re not prepared to take the plunge (and we don’t blame you if not), there are plenty of apps for android and iPhone that allow you to upload a photo of yourself and experiment with different hairstyles. The results are surprisingly realistic, so it’s worth having a browse on your app store if you’re curious.

Laura Shallcross
The best purple shampoo for blondes... ever?

If you’ve got lighter coloured hair, chances are you use one of the purple shampoos especially designed for blondes. We’ve all been told purple shampoo stops dyed-blonde hair from turning that horrible shade of mellow yellow, because purple is the exact opposite of yellow on the colour wheel, enabling it to cool the yellowy-orange tones of dyed blonde hair down. But how many of us have actually seen results? At a push, maybe you’ve noticed that your hair is a little less vibrantly yellow in colour after using your shampoo for a while, but you probably haven’t achieved drastic results.

It seems that to actually be able to notice a change in your hair, like with most products, you need to do your research. Picking the first bottle off the shelf in Superdrug sometimes works, but you probably won’t be getting the best product. In fact, the best products might not even be sold in drugstores. So why tell me all of this information, you wonder, if you’re not going to help me? Fear not- our research has enabled us to discover a new gem on the market that’s supposed to be the best thing for sliced bread for keeping your blonde icy fresh and brassy tones at bay- the Blondage range from Redken.

The pictures speak for themselves when it comes to this product. Looking at the before and after, it’s hard to believe that there’s not been a touch of bleach or hair dye involved at some point in the process between each photo was taken. That, I guess, is because the results are so good that we’re doubting whether they’re actually true. But this is all legitimate, or at least Marie Claire say so, and we tend to believe them.

So how does it work? The Blondage range contains complex Triple Acid Protein tones and is enriched with ultra-violet pigment that work to strengthen the hair while depositing purple pigment to neutralise yellow tones and brighten the overall finish, leaving blonde locks looking seriously shiny and healthy. You use the products a couple of times a week, leaving them in for three to five minutes, and the job’s done.

You know we’re not ones to believe everything we read, so we took a look at the reviews of the products to see what other people had to say about it. We couldn’t find a single review that was less than four stars, which is pretty good going. Add that to the fact that you can buy the shampoo for £10.30, and the conditioner for £12.95, and we’re actually very tempted to try this out for ourselves. However, before you embark on a wild goose chase to buy this product immediately, we would suggest waiting until it's not so new, to see if reviews continue to stay positive, if you're reluctant to part with your cash. It's pretty unlikely that all hair types are going to achieve the results on the above picture, so bear that in mind as well. 

Image credit: Marie Claire

Laura Shallcross
The mystery behind uncombable hair syndrome

It’s an excuse you’ve probably made countless times as a child: “I can’t brush my hair mum, it’s too knotty!” But I bet you didn’t know that uncombable hair syndrome is actually a very real, scientifically-proved condition. Unfortunately, there’s certain criteria you have to meet to have it, so you probably won’t get away rocking up to work with an untamed bird’s nest anytime soon, unless you happen to possess all of the uncombable hair syndrome symptoms…

Taylor McGowan, an 18-month-old baby from outside Chicago, is the little girl responsible for bringing uncombable hair syndrome into the limelight, after her parents shared adorable photos of her on social media, sporting a fluffy, white-blonde afro of a hairdo. Taylor has a rare genetic mutation called PADI3, which, in short, means the hair shaft doesn't develop like it normally would. As a result, the hair shaft has grooves along its entire length, and it can be heart-shaped or triangular instead of round, resulting in the white afro appearance.

Taylor’s mother has since set up a Facebook page to showcase her daughter and her much-loved hair, and told BuzzFeed News: "Her hair looks amazing, like she's a mini Albert Einstein."

The McGowans first noticed that Taylor's hair was different when she was around 4 to 6 months of age. When they queried it with a nurse, they were told that the fuzzy hair would soon fall out, but it never did.

It certainly looks cute on Taylor, there’s no denying that. But what are the features that indicate uncombable hair syndrome? And what exactly is the PADI3 mutation, and how does it lead to the so-called “uncombable” hair?

Uncombable hair syndrome is sometimes referred to as "spun glass hair syndrome" because the hair of people with the mutation tends to be shiny, dry and frizzy, and sticks up from the scalp, making it difficult to comb. It is also usually blonde or white in colour. Taylor’s gene, PADI3 is one of three genes, including TGM3 and TCHH, that have been linked to uncombable hair syndrome. All of these genes code for enzymes that help form the hair shaft, but, when mutated, are unable to correctly code the enzymes, resulting in “uncombable” hair.

Some people with UHS outgrow the symptoms as they get older, so it will be a waiting game for Taylor to see if she ever grows out of her funky ‘do. But it seems mum Cara wants to touch as many people’s hearts with images of her daughter’s hair while she can, saying: "Our message that we would like to spread is one of accepting diversity, loving oneself, and recognising bullying and what it looks like and making it stop,"

"Being different is OK, being different is acceptable, and it should be celebrated."

Wise words, there- so maybe it is okay to rock that bird’s nest to work, after all.

Laura Shallcross