Back before I started my business, wrote my book or found my place in the modelling world, I was known for something else…. Baldness!
Ok, ok it wasn’t quite that extreme but I did spend a good 6 months sporting some golf-ball sized bald spots, patchy eyebrows and many a sideways glance wondering whether I was undergoing some kind of aggressive chemo.
It was winter 2011 (Aussie winter, not British) and I’d just lost my son; stressed doesn’t really begin to cover where I was in those months, but my body was definitely in enough of a state to start shedding unnecessary commodities – like hair.
My GP told me I was suffering from Alopecia (aka hair loss) and proceeded to give me a long list of symptom soothers (mostly pills) to help return my lush locks to their former glory. Fast forward several months and not only was my hair loss situation getting worse, but thanks to my prescription dosage I was wracking up a list of brand new issues!
Thank God for Katie!!!
Katie was one of my best beauty finds back in the day – a superstar with make-up, hairstyling and waxing plus she was some kind of crunchy granola hippy who had jumped on the ‘all-natural’ train before anyone else. At one of my afternoon sessions with her she mentioned that shampoo and conditioner can often cause hair loss and perhaps I should check the ingredients in case…
Sodium Laurel/Laureth Sulfate (SLS), sodium chloride (table salt), polyethylene glycol (PEG), formaldehyde, methylparaben, propylparaben, diethanolamine (DEA) and triethanolamine (TEA) all cause hair loss!
But wait that isn’t even the best part…
At least one of those ingredients is in EVERY big brand shampoo on the market!
Now how on earth could my hair cease its shedding with that kind of exposure?
Suffice it to say, my journey into the all-natural, DIY world began and within a year my hair was back to its former glory.
Hair Loss Survival Guide
In my quest for healthy hair, I didn’t just sub-out my traditional cleaners for the basic but effective Castile soap and baking soda (though now I do make a much nicer shampoo alternative), I also covered my scalp thrice weekly with a variety of hair helping concoctions, all designed to assist the healing process and nourish the scalp.
Aloe Vera has such amazing healing and nourishing properties. Try giving your follicles some extra TLC once a week by rubbing a palm-size amount of gel all over the scalp. Let sit 10-15 minutes then rinse and shampoo.
Keeping your hair follicles strong is essential for preventing breakage.
One of the biggest risk factors for hair loss is lack of protein in the diet. If you’re not a meat eater, you’re probably already aware of the different ways to infuse protein in your diet, but you can also create a protein mask for your hair! Just combine 1/2 avocado, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, and 1/2 teaspoon of honey. Apply to hair for at least 30 minutes and then shampoo to remove.
Olive oil is like hair’s best friend. Full of important vitamins, olive oil nourishes your hair from the scalp to the ends. It will also add body to your hair, which is a great trick if you have thinning hair. Simply combine the oil with minced ginger or ginger essential oil and massage the oil onto your hair. Leave on for 30-45 minutes and then rinse. Alternatively, you can leave it on overnight (make sure you wrap it up so you don’t get oil everywhere).
This combo can actually help thicken hair and promote new hair growth. Create a spritz with 3/4 cup fresh rosemary and 1 nettle tea bag to 1 cup boiling water. Remove from heat and steep for 1 hour. Strain and allow to cool completely. You can either pour over hair, combing through to saturate strands for 10 minutes and then rinse and shampoo, or pour into spray bottle and spritz on wet hair and leave on overnight.
Strengthen with Seeds
Ever hear of these magic seeds? Considered a legume, fenugreek is one of the oldest cultivated medicinal plants in southern Europe and Asia. To see benefits for your hair, soak two tablespoons of protein- and lecithin-rich fenugreek seeds overnight, then ground them into a paste and apply to the scalp. Leave on for 30 minutes before rinsing. The seeds are great for treating dandruff, too.
Condition with Coconut
This coconut milk mask is full of healthy proteins and essential fats, both of which boost hair growth. Combine 3 teaspoons of olive oil with 1/2 cup of coconut milk, warm slightly, if needed. Massage the mask into your scalp and through the ends of your hair. Wear a shower cap to allow heat to help with deeper penetration. Leave on for 10-15 minutes and then follow with shampoo to rinse the mask off.
And there you have it; the ultimate tool kit for healthy hair.
Lots of Love
Alex Brennan & The Model Handmade
If you make one of our recipes, don’t forget to tag us #themodelhandmade or #TMHhacks