Thursday, May 26, 2011

Herbs for hair

Yesterday I got all motivated to try a totally herbal hair treatment.   It had been a week since my last wash.   The hair was slightly oily near the scalp and was showing signs of mineral build-up at the ends  ~  the water filter had lost its effectiveness over the last few weeks, but by yesterday the filter was replaced, so no chlorine, less gunk.

Shampoo: Shikakai and Fenugreek
Chelator: Wheat bran
Rinse: Chamomile and lime

In a stainless steel pot on the stove, I heated water with shikakai powder, then ground some fenugreek in the spice grinder and added that.   It was not the consistency of yogurt (advised for deep-oil treatments).   This was a few tablespoons of shikakai in less than a quart of water, plus maybe a tablespoon of fenugreek for its mucilage.   Came to a low boil, kept warm on a low simmer while I got other things ready.

In a stainless steel bowl, I heated 20 ounces of chamomile tea: bulk chamomile flowers in a fill-your-own tea bag.   When the tea became golden and seemed well-steeped, I poured it into a glass bowl to chill in the fridge.  

Next, using the same steel bowl, I simmered wheat bran ~ about a quarter cup in a quart.  

Then came action over the tub.   I brushed my hair upside-down so it was hanging down in front of me.   Bending over, I dunked the back of my head into the shikakai/fenugreek mix, which I had poured into a big steel bowl.   I like to use steel in the bathroom so if it slips it won't shatter.   Then I applied it by the handful to the scalp and got it very soaked.   Remember that I did NOT wet my hair before soaking with the mix.   When I got the scalp hair soaked, I moved along the hair, soaking it in the remaining mix until all the mix was gone.   The very ends were still dry, but they had not been oily, so that was okay.   I wrapped it around in a coil and clipped it with hair jaws, then wrapped a plastic grocery bag around like a shower cap, draped a brown towel around my shoulders, and rinsed out the tub.   Now I could go back to the kitchen and do other work while the shikakai/fenu did its work.   It was drippy, but the towel caught the drips.   Drips were dark brown, so they would probably leave stains on a light towel.

I fried up some eggs for supper for the three of us (three batches in the pan ~ we were hungry!) and then went to rinse out the shik/fenu.   Since the shik/fenu warming pot was free, I poured the water off the top of the wheat bran into it so I wouldn't have all those wheat flakes in my hair.   Brought the warm wheat bran water into the bathroom along with the cooled chamomile tea.   I had planned to put the cooled tea into a plastic 20 ounce bottle, but forgot.   So I rinsed out the shik/fenu.   The fenu makes it somewhat slippery and easy to tell when it is rinsed out ~ plus the flakes of fenu are easy to see, too!   I rinsed and rinsed (all upside-down under the tub faucet), and since the water filter was new, I felt some confidence that it was doing good things.   The feel in my fingers did not have the slick or squeak of a conventional shampoo.   Felt kind of coated.

Then I squeezed the water out.   The hair seemed like strands of fabric.   I've been going no-cones for a while, and I think that's part of the new no-cone feel.   With most of the water squeezed out, I poured the wheat water over the back of my head to drain into the big steel bowl on the tub floor, and soaked the ends in the water that drained into the bowl.   Then squeezed out the water, put the drained water back into the small pot, and did it again, and a third time.   The last time, I didn't squeeze out the water.   I coiled the hair onto my head, clipped it, dumped the last of the wheat water over the coil, let the excess drip for a while, and wrapped it in a different plastic shopping bag.   Rinsed out the big steel bowl.

With my hair all up out of the way, I showered as usual while the chelator went to work on the mineral build-up.   At least, I hope that's what it was doing.   After showering, I took down the hair and rinsed and rinsed with warm water until it felt like the wheat water was gone.   Then a thorough cold water rinse.  

The final rinse was cold chamomile tea.   I had forgotten to put lemon juice in it, so I called out for a bottle, but we were out of lemon juice.   Used lime juice instead ~ just a bit, less than a tablespoon.   Poured that through the hair using the big steel bowl to catch it, squeezed it through, poured through again, squeezed, and then one more pour and a soak in the bowl.   Squeezed the excess out and wrapped in a towel.

I put waters and oils on my skin and dressed before taking the towel off my hair.  By that time the hair was not drippy.   I shook it out over the vinyl floor, and a bunch of fenu flakes fell out.   I saw almost no flakes after that.

Seems like a lot of work, but I was up for it that day.   That's not always the case ~ sometimes just thinking about all that process daunts me and I don't start it.  

Then I had to wait for it to dry to see what really happened.   That's today.  

My hair is fluffy and weightless, feels clean on my scalp.   Smells fresh.   It feels like there is some kind of coating on it ~ my wooden bristle brush doesn't slip through it like it does through coned hair ~ maybe fenu built up since this is the third time I tried fenu.   But the hair is soft and floaty and smells nice.   And I know that whatever the coating might be, it isn't a bunch of weird chemicals.

I think the chelator removed some of the mineral build-up.   The hair is softer and more pliable than it was ~ it may have a different build-up now, but it isn't as much mineral.

One more note: I had soaked a small spot on my scalp with castor oil and vitamin E oil.   The shikakai left that spot as clean as the rest.   No oil residues at all.

Through the Oven Door

Last winter I read a book about Feng Shui explaining that the wisdom area of one's home is just to the left of the entrance.   In my place, that's where the stove and a fridge are, and since I moved here two years ago, I've become somewhat obsessive about researching nutrition.   Not just any nutrition, but the kind that happens to use the stove and fridge.   My sudden passion for nutrition could be just a coincidence, but maybe Feng Shui is right on.   

After accumulating such an abundance of information, I'm afraid my urge to educate the people around me has begun to bore them.   I'd rather blog about it than monologue, thus the new tags "food" and "hair".   Yes: Hair Nutrition!   Use the stove to cook up teas for shampoo, conditioner, and rinse; use the fridge to chill tea for a final rinse.   I'm a kitchen chemist at best, not a cook, and this is a weird path for me, but this path is not narrowing or growing over with bramble ....   Feels like it's drawing me deeper into the shadowy mysteries beyond.

This path of the bagua leads me from left of my entry, through the oven door, and deep into studies of biology and chemistry.   Novel and exotic, unknown to nearly all my friends, this path impels me to feed my curiosity, and then to share my adventures.

OGM: You again

The OGMs have continued even though I haven't blogged them.   Here's the latest.
Don't know how to post a purr, but this OGM sounds like a smiley purr.

Mmmm ... it's you again.   Nice.