There are lots of natural ways to love your locks.
The first step to proper hair care is learning what type of hair you have. Hair type exists on a complex matrix of textures, but there are a few characteristics that help narrow it down.
Hair Types & Hair Care
Characteristics: Dull, frizzy, and prone to split ends and dandruff.
If you have dry hair, avoid washing too frequently and limit or avoid heated styling tools including straighteners. Look for hair care products that include herbs like calendula and chamomile. Essential oils that benefit dry hair include sandalwood and rose. Supplements like vitamin C, omega-3 fatty acids, and biotin may also be helpful.
Characteristics: Dull, limp, with a tendency toward dandruff.
Oily hair benefits from conditioning at the tips only and a light touch when it comes to brushing. Lemon balm, mint, rosemary, and sage are great herbs for oily hair. Look for products that include essential oils from cedarwood, grapefruit, lavender, and tea tree. To treat oily hair from the inside out, try supplementing with vitamins A and C, as well as zinc.
Fine or Thin Hair
Characteristics: Limp, flat, frizzy, tends to break or split easily, often looks dirty.
If you have fine or thin hair you’ll want to avoid styling products like gels and sprays, and limit the use of heavy conditioners that weigh hair down. Look for products with oat straw, lemongrass essential oil, and seaweed. Avocado and evening primrose oils are also great.
Characteristics: Coarse, frizzy, may show surface damage.
Thick hair requires a gentle touch to prevent frizz, so avoid brushing when wet and also avoid blow drying or coloring with permanent hair color products, which have thickening effects.
Look for shampoos and conditioners that contain aloe vera and thyme, as well as essential oils of geranium and orange. Moisturizing ingredients like shea butter as well as almond, coconut, and jojoba oils can also help thick, dry hair look its best. Consider purchasing Fair Trade Certified products whenever possible.
Natural Beauty edited by Rebecca Warren and Shannon Beatty ($25, DK Publishing, 2015)
Recipes for Natural Living Essential Oils Handbook by Amy Leigh Mercree ($14.95, Sterling, 2018)