Long before we were here, our ancestors took great care of their natural hair. They did not have access to all the scientific information that we now have, but they did very well in terms of personal hygiene, beauty routines, and hair care.
For example, the ancient Assyrians wore their hair in masses of curls and sprinkled gold dust on their heads to enhance their hair colour. For those who did not have naturally curly hair and could afford it, tongs were used to achieve that perfect look.
Ancient Egyptians shaved their heads, wore wigs for special events, and made a red dye from the henna leaves to dye their hair indigo.
So, why not take a walk back in time and check out some of the traditional “old-fashioned” treatments our ancestors used to cultivate beautiful heads of healthy hair? You’d be surprised that you’d find a lot of the ingredients commonly used in your pantry.
In ancient times, eggs were used as a hair cleanser. Now that we know the science behind it; egg yolk contains lecithin, which is an emulsifier. The lethicin in eggs emulsifies the oil with water, which is then rinsed out. In simple English, the egg yolk cuts through all the dirt and grease in your hair, leaving it very clean and shiny.
Egg shampoos are great for thin, fine or oily hair, as the protein in eggs add body and texture to hair, while strengthening the hair shaft. Also, eggs are packed with biotin, vitamins A, D, E, and B12, pantothenic acid, selenium, and iodine.
Here is how to make and use your very own egg shampoo
Crack an egg or two into a bowl and whisk very well. Consider adding some optional ingredients such as honey (to moisturise), peppermint oil, lime juice (adds extra shine), henna powder (to condition), aloe vera juice (to moisturise), or olive oil (if your hair is coarse).
If the optional ingredient you are adding is a dry one, you want to mix it with a little water to form a paste before whisking it into the eggs. Make sure to mix all ingredients well, and that nothing is lumpy.
You can use egg shampoo in two ways. The first way is to use it on dry hair. This helps to emulsify the oils better and will get your hair really clean. You can also wet your hair first before applying the egg shampoo if your hair is not too oily.
Whichever way, massage the egg shampoo into your hair and scalp just like you would any other shampoo. Let it stay in your hair for about ten minutes, and then wash it out with lukewarm water. If your hair has a tendency to dry out, use a leave-in conditioner when done. Otherwise, no need to use conditioner, because the fatty acids in the egg also act as a very effective conditioner.
Herbal hair rinses have been incorporated into DIY hair care routines for centuries.
Loaded with antioxidants, nutrients, and minerals that keep hair strong and healthy, herbal hair rinses also help to improve blood circulation to the scalp and remove product build-up from hair.
If you have been looking to go natural, herbal rinses are a great alternative to chemically-formulated shampoos and conditioners.
The ingredients for herbal rinses are easy to find, and you can easily prepare them at home.
Here are some of the herbs you may want to include in your personalised herbal rinse
Sage: The natural oils in sage strengthen hair and stimulate new growth.
Neem: If you can get past the smell, neem extracts help to minimise hair dryness and frizz, and also treats dandruff.
Horsetail: Contains high amounts of silica that helps reduce breakage. It is also used as an anti-dandruff agent.
Nettle: Can help with hair loss and supports new hair growth. Also has antifungal properties that help with dandruff and scalp itchiness.
Rosemary: Can help to treat androgenetic alopecia and other itchy scalp conditions, such as dandruff.
Calendula: Helps to hydrate and soothe, thus relieving scalp itchiness and flakiness.
Parsley: The dried variety of this herb contains rich deposits of apigenin, which elongates the hair follicles.
Tea: Green tea, black tea, or rooibos tea is great for a herbal rinse. Green tea, in particular, contains EGCG, which helps to stimulate hair growth.
How to make your own herbal hair rinse
The first step would be to choose the herb or combination of herbs you want to use for your herbal rinse. Mix the herb(s) with some water, and bring the mixture to a slow simmer over heat. Allow the mixture to cool. Strain the herb(s), then pour the strained mixture on shampooed hair. Let this sit for a few minutes before rinsing with lukewarm water.
Hot oil treatment
It would surprise you to find hot oil treatment listed amongst traditional haircare treatments. They have been around for ages, a protective and nourishing treatment for dry, brittle hair. Our forefathers pressed oil from plants such as coconut, almonds and olives primarily for cooking. They also realised that these oils could be heated up and applied to hair to strengthen it.
Today, hot oil treatments remain as popular as ever, and we now have the choice of doing this treatment at home DIY style or visiting a salon for it. You can also buy a hot oil product that is already-made.
Hot oil treatments help with dandruff relief, reduce frizz, reduce scalp and hair dryness, increase hair strength, and increase blood flow to the scalp.
How to DIY a hot oil treatment
The first thing is to decide which oil you will be using. These days, popular options include coconut, argan, avocado, jojoba, almond and olive.
Wash your hair, then heat up three to six tables of your chosen oil. It probably took our ancestors quite a while to get the oil hot, but microwaves can do it in 10 seconds.
Test a small amount of the oil on your wrist to ensure it’s the right temperature. Once you have determined that it is, apply the oil to your hair. You may want to place a towel over your shoulders or apply the oil in the shower.
Make sure the oil is applied evenly throughout your hair and massaged into your scalp. Then, cover your head with a shower cap and let all the goodness of the oil seep into your scalp for 20 minutes. Once done, rinse the oil out of your hair, and follow with your conditioner.
Now that you’ve learned about three amazing traditional haircare treatments you can incorporate into your hair care routine, what next? It is time to incorporate them. Don’t just learn new things. Implement them too.
As you do, here are a few pointers we want you to take away from this article:
Take care of your hair just as you would your face. This means conditioning, treating and protecting your hair with the best natural products with the same care that you do your face.
Eat a hair-healthy diet: Vegetables, herbs, fruits, spices! These are the ingredients meals you can eat for hair health. Eat lots of nutrient-dense foods that encourage growth and shine. In a nutshell, do your best to get all the vitamins, protein, minerals, antioxidants, and fatty acids you need for optimal hair health from your diet.
Burning hot showers are a no-no: Cold water is usually best for hair care. When cold water is not the best, lukewarm water is a great option. But a burning hot shower is a no-no.
Go natural: In conclusion, do your best to use all-natural hair products. All three traditional haircare treatments we looked at today are firmly rooted in nature. Centuries ago, people only had natural ingredients and products at their disposal, and these served them extremely well. If you are looking to go back to natural ingredients for hair care, what are you waiting for!