In my postnatal state, there is one thing that horrifies me (well, as much as stretch marks), it’s brushing my hair and seeing handfuls fall off. This is a perfectly normal experience in pregnancy and afterwards, and it usually resolves itself within the first year, but it really makes you realise how gruelling pregnancy and labour are for the body, and how important it is to take time to recover, rest and restore yourself to full health. I am going to share a quick, basic hair oil recipe to stimulate hair growth, and hopefully it will also be an opportunity to look after yourself and reconnect with your body.
First of all, there are many different natural products that can be used to address hair loss. I originally tried Amla oil, which is widely used in India and Asia more generally, but it can darken hair and it wasn’t the best fit for my thin Caucasian hair. I therefore created a recipe that is more adapted to my hair type, based around three simple ingredients.
For this recipe, I used ingredients that I already had at home: fresh rosemary, a herb that stimulates circulation and is also used to deal with dandruff, jojoba oil (because it also encourages hair growth and it is easily absorbed by hair and skin), as well as lavender essential oil (which I use for everything and anything. All three elements have benefits for the hair, and the combination has a pleasant herby smell. You could easily adapt this recipe depending on what is easily available to you, and your hair type ( if you have a dry scalp for example, you may want to use ylang-ylang essential oil).
I love making using infused oils because they are such an effective way to extract a plant’s chemicals and they can be used in many different ways. They are also quite easy to make! There are many ways to make infused oils: you could simply live them on a sunny windowsill (but sun in a rarity right now in the UK), and I am told that a slow cooker is particularly efficient too. Personally, I use a vintage double boiler (or bain marie), which needs to left on very low fire for at least a couple of hours. I actually leave mine for a few minutes until the water starts simmering, and that I switch off and cover, as I don’t have a setting that is low enough to leave for a long while.
What you will need:
- a handful of fresh rosemary
- 100 mL carrier oil ( I used jojoba but it could be replaced with almond oil for instance)
- an essential oil of your choice, here lavender.
- a double boiler ( or slow cooker, or plenty of sun!)
- a piece of muslin cloth to strain the liquid
- a clean bottle or jar for storage
I made a very small amount, as I only use a few drops a day and it is a temporary measure, but feel free to double the measurements.
Cover the rosemary with your oil (you might need to chop the herbs a little bit). Bring your bain marie to simmer and leave for 4-6 hours on the lowest setting if possible. The oil should never boil. After that time, you can remove the rosemary and repeat the process with another fresh handful, which will create a more potent oil.
Once you are satisfied with your oil, leave to cool before adding a drop of essential oil. It is important not to add it when the oil is hot, as it will affect the potency of the essential oil. You only need a drop or two (around 1% of your final product), as it it a very concentrated liquid, and too much could be toxic.
Finally, strain the liquid through your muslin or a thin sieve to make sure you collect as much oil as possible, bearing in mind you will lose some during the infusing process.
Use this oil to massage your scalp and damp hair every day and leave in for best results; the massage will also help stimulate your hair follicles so turn this into a relaxing, feel good time for yourself.
Enjoy and let me know about your herbal creations!