Ever since my thinning hair issue (and I used to have really thick hair …), I’ve been extra careful about eating more proteins and managing stress. I also don’t use just any old shampoos on the market. I used to just grab anything that looks interesting at the Walgreens aisle and go with that.
Now that I’m in my mid-20s, my haircare (and skincare) regimen has changed a lot since. I basically blacklist products once I catch a sulfate ingredient as one of its first 5 ingredients, and I try to massage my scalp every time I remember to do it (it’s not every night …). While I still don’t use conditioners up to this day, I’ve been complementing a lot of DIY haircare routines to reduce hair fall, particularly this leave-in conditioner and ingesting adaptogens.
This one is something I don’t like doing but gives you the results. Why don’t I like it? Because it’s a long treatment and I have to get dirty. Like, really dirrrty. Some of you may steer away because it’s pungent too.
What you need
- ginger, ground (2 tsp)
- cinnamon, ground (2 tsp)
- turmeric, ground (2 tsp)
- fenugreek, ground (2 tsp)
- EVOO (6 tbsp)
- lemongrass essential oil (4 drops)
(See what I mean by pungent? The clean, citrus lemongrass smell helps to balance it all out)
- mixing bowl, small
- mixing spoons
- applicator brush
- hair clips
- shower cap
It’s one of the most common kitchen staples that’s overlooked. Ginger is anti-inflammatory, thanks to its volatile oils and powerful phenols like gingerol and shogaols. The herb has traditionally been used topically to treat burns and relieve pain, but it’s recently found to protect against UV rays as well. While I haven’t seen any significant effect of temulawak (Javanese ginger) for the skin, I can say that ginger’s a wonderful way to calm and soothe everything from your aching pimple to your intestinal tract. There’s a reason why it remains as one of the most popular herbs in ancient medicine.
Cinnamon makes your body slow down its production of AGEs (see under ‘Sugar‘). It’s why this sweet and spicy herb is often recommended for diabetic patients. Slowing down AGEs mean you enjoying skin elasticity and suppleness longer, and the same goes with your scalp as well. Aside from helping with blood sugar control, cinnamon also has anti-microbrial properties that keep bacteria at bay, preventing zits from popping altogether. NY-based dermatologist Francesca Fusco told Allure that she’s seen patients who reported healthier hair growth after massaging their scalps with cinnamon oil. So there you go.
Here’s the distant cousin of temulawak: It’s the spice that’s hot in neuroscience research right now, particularly for it being a possible treatment for Alzheimer’s and other chronic degenerative diseases (heart disease, metabolic syndrome, cancers). Turmeric is that bitter taste you get in curry dishes. It’s great for everything from your heart to your brain to your liver to your joints, and your scalp and skin (specifically psoriasis) and nails and even your teeth. It’s anti-inflammatory and full of antioxidants (namely the antioxidant curcumin, which gives it its yellow pigment), and that means better blood flow and lesser metabolic damage around your scalp and your dermis.
This spice smells, but it’s widely known for 2 things most women want: Fuller breasts and reduced appetite. It’s been shown to drastically lower blood glucose levels, so that reduces your body’s likelihood of forming AGEs. Honestly, I hate taking fenugreek internally because this is the level of bitterness I won’t tolerate (jiaogulan was hard enough), but it’s a tried-and-proven thinning hair treatment. I initially bought this because I want to regulate my menstrual cycle (I’ve been irregular since forever and for new readers, I’ve suffered 16 months without period in 2010-2011). But I ended up using it topically all the way. For centuries, fenugreek has been used for stimulating milk production in breastfeeding women as well as for treating inflamed skin conditions, but in my own experience it has lessened the hair strands that fall off my head in the past year. There have only been a handful of studies to show fenugreek’s effects on hair health and thickness12, but results are consistently positive.
Now mix all dry ingredients in the small bowl.
Yes, that’s a Singapore Airlines logo. It’s a KrisFlyer perk.
Time to pour the oils.
Here we go.
- Start with dry hair. Brush your hair to make sure nothing is tangled.
- Part your hair into sections with hair clips. I parted 5: 1 part for my bangs, 2 for upper left and right, 2 for lower left and right.
- Dip your brush into the brown goo, then apply liberally across your scalp. Take your time to work each section.
- Lose all clips. Apply the rest of the brown goo mixture on your whole head. Massage the scalp, roots, all the way down to the ends for about 5 minutes.
- Apply the rest of the mixture to your whole face.
- Put on this hideous face for at least 1 hour. (I put on for 3)
… and voila! This is after washing it all off and applying all the things in my 100% natural nighttime regimen.
As you wait the hour go by, you might feel little tingling sensations on your scalp and your skin. That’s the spices working.
This treatment is great way to prep yourself to glow before you doll up within the next 24 hours (and not lesser than that … because honestly, you’ll still stink). Just make sure you’re really washing away all the last yellow, orange, and brown goo in the shower. Like I said, you get really dirty in this treatment.
Dare to give it a try?
- Effectiveness test on fenugreek seeds extract hair tonic in hair growth activity [International Journal of Current Research] [↩]
- Effectiveness of fenugreek seed concentrate and micronutrients as a nutritional supplement [a clinical study by Arcon International] [↩]