Like a fine evening gown, kinky hair neither requires nor can handle frequent washing. Most naturalistas recommend cleansing no more than once a week, and some go as long as four weeks between washes! Personally, I need to at least co-wash my hair every seven days otherwise the itching drives me bonkers. It must be a combination of product slowly building up coupled with the gradual drying of my scalp, because by the end of the week all I can do is fantasize about what new oil mixture I'll use in my deep conditioning treatment. But what if there was a way to extend time between washes?
I've been researching ingredients to figure out what can combat the effects of product build-up and dryness, and it turns out there are quite a few. The best part is they're all natural, so you don't have to feel bad using them as often as you like - or even eating them if you dare! So without further ado, here are the top six scalp refreshing ingredients that you can add to your spritzes, deep conditioners, and salads.
- Raw honey - The key to keeping your scalp clean is controlling the growth of bacteria. Honey is so antimicrobial that it can actually prevent babies' immune systems from developing properly! If you really want to rid your scalp of bacteria, add a teaspoon of honey to your deep conditioning mixture and let it soak into your skin for at least twenty minutes. Be sure to wash it out soon after, though, because honey is crazy thick.
- Lemon juice - There's a reason they put lemon in Lysol: it's a highly effective cleansing agent. It also mixes well with other ingredients and can be used in everything from pre-poos to rinses. Furthermore, the acidity in lemon cuts grease and kills microbes leaving your scalp squeaky clean. Some people also claim it'll lighten your hair colour, but I can neither confirm nor deny such allegations.
- Sesame seed oil - It doesn't seem like a whole lot of people use sesame seed oil in their hair, but it's actually a fantastic carrier oil for deep conditioning treatments. As an antioxidant packed with vitamins and minerals, it's great at protecting the scalp by preventing fungal and bacterial growth.
- Extra virgin olive oil - More and more naturalistas are turning to EVOO to keep their strands moisturized, but did you know it can also get rid of dandruff? This is because the oil is especially good at preventing dryness in skin. In fact, many lotions contain olive oil for this exact reason.
- Tea tree oil - This is the heavy weight of dandruff fighters. It's so potent that you can't even use it at full strength! Always dilute tea tree oil with other carrier oils, aloe vera juice, or water so you don't over-treat your scalp.
- Aloe vera juice - I don't make spritzes unless I have aloe vera juice handy. This is because AVJ is highly moisturizing in addition to being able to sooth scalp irritation. Because it's not exactly antibacterial, I always seal with our next guest: coconut oil.
- Coconut oil - If you've done your homework, you'll know nothing bad can ever be said about coconut oil. According to everyone on the Internet it's the only oil capable of penetrating the hair shaft, which means you don't need to moisten your hair before applying it. Moreover, coconut oil is both antibacterial and anti-fungal. The holy freaking grail.
I should mention that an oily scalp can still be considered clean. That's because your scalp needs a certain level of moisture in order to be healthy and facilitate hair growth. A clean scalp has just the right amount of nutrients to encourage growth without being so oily or full of product build-up that it starts to get itchy or flaky.
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