I have battled with intermittent hair loss due to autoimmune disease for years. I’ve dealt with people insisting using chemical straighteners were making my hair fall out and not illness and I only realized that there was probably nothing I could do to prevent my hair loss after meeting more people with illness. I do appreciate, though, that many chemicals aren’t beneficial and that many natural products are more nourishing. So I began making hair masks from food several years ago.
I use several different hair masks recipes that I love. When discussing hair care, it’s important to acknowledge that all hair types are not the same. The mask I used today is generally one that can be used for all hair types. I have thick, curly, African American hair; it’s prone to dryness and frizz so I add natural oils to my masks that people with thin, naturally straight hair should omit.
In a bowl, mix:
½ an avocado
5-10 drops of tea tree oil
5-10 drops of lavender
½ tablespoon of castor oil (you may choose to omit the castor oil if you have thin, naturally straight hair)
Stir until it is thoroughly mixed. I part my hair and apply the mixture from the roots to the ends of my hair. I leave the hair mask in for at least 30 minutes; depending on what I’m doing, I may leave it in for an hour or more. I rarely use shampoo but this mask requires mild shampoo to wash it out.
*I buy avocados when they are on sale and I freeze them. The difference between my avocados I freeze for eating and the ones I freeze for my hair treatments is that I do not bother to mix in anything to preserve color. I cut them in half (because I only use one half for each treatment) and I toss them into a freezer bag.
See my milk and honey hair mask here...
Everyone who knows me knows that I have Chronic Daily Migraines. I am very sensitive to lights, sounds, smells and various chemicals. I also have Mast Cell Disease so as a rule I use as few chemicals as possible; most chemicals I use are odorless. I make many cleaners and moisturizers myself. I do, however, love trusted scents. I believe in the therapeutic power of a great smell. Unfortunately, my reaction to even my safe scents is sometimes unpredictable, My love for scents can be like the One Republic song, Counting Stars. Having 3 people with chronic migraines and 4 people with Mast Cell in our house, I know there is no one size fits all solution avoiding migraines, not having a Mast Cell reaction or soothing oneself. Here are some ways I use essential oils.
I have so many grooming tips so I’ll try to share my favorites of those I think are most beneficial to a wide audience. If I name a brand, please know that I’m in no way compensated for plugging the product; I just like it.
Body wash- I did a video a few years ago about my favorite bodywash and other bath items. That bodywash is still my favorite and I still stock up on it once a year. If you’re one of many people with chronic illnesses who has chemical sensitivity, sensitivities to fragrances, migraines, or so many other illnesses, the best advice I can give you is try to stick to the body wash or soap that you know works for you. Use that one and only that one all year long. One way I’ve saved myself a lot of stress is by buying my family’s bodywash before they run out. That accomplishes two things; I’m not force to go to the store when I don’t feel well and I’m not forced to buy a bodywash that may cause skin reactions or migraines.
Lotion- Many people get dryer in the winter. I use scented lotions and as long as I stick to a trusted brand and scent; they keep me reasonably moist, don’t cause skin flares nor give me migraines.
I do, however, swear by an unscented lotion that has tea tree essential oils in it; Melaleuca (brand) Renew. I have eczema and an unspecified autoimmune disease; both of these cause scaly skin and various skin flares. The melaleuca (tea tree oil) treats the flares and restores my skin. The scented lotion is nice but I must have my Renew constantly stocked. Sometimes I even stop using my scented lotion if my flare is bad.
Vaseline- I love Vaseline. I know some people insist that it clogs the pores but I don’t have this problem. Since I have autoimmune reactions on my face pretty much constantly, I love using Vaseline on my clean face to moisturize.
If you are not convinced or it is too oily for your face, you still need it. Here are some uses-
* Moisturize your cuticles. Rub a generous amount on your cuticles and let it sit for five to ten minutes then rub it in your hands.
* Moisturize your feet. First grab a pair of socks. Rub Vaseline all over your feet, even the bottoms, then put socks on. Some people do this before bed. I can’t sleep in socks. If you can’t either, do this for at least 20 minutes or as long as you can take it.
* Treat your elbows. Our poor elbows get the least amount of love on our bodies. Put a generous amount on your elbows to moisturize.
* Moisturize your décolletage, cleavage, and even your breasts. How often do you give your décolletage moisturizer? Your skin in that area is likely dry.
Underarms and bikini area (even legs)- I have had a policy since my teen years that hasn’t changed; winter is a season to give your skin a break. I grew up in a cold climate and now I’m in a state where it’s relatively warm all year but I stick to this. You are most likely live in climate where during winter; you wear long sleeves and pants/ trousers. Take advantage of this and give your body hair and the skin underneath it a break; put the razor down. Your skin will thank you. No one will see the hair anyway. One note: As warm weather approaches and you begin to expose skin again, allow several days before you expect or need clean-shaven skin. Get a new razor and gently remove some of the hair. Do not try to get a clean shave the first time. This will prevent frustration, skin irritation and cuts. In a day or two, try to get the rest of the hair off. I have to admit I’m not very hairy but even I need more than one session to remove my hair.
Your feet- I actually give my feet attention year round because I can wear open toed shoes all year but I have kept my years old routine of giving my feet special attention about a month before I start shaving for Spring. In addition to the Vaseline treatment, I used a pumice stone on my heels and other parts of my feet where the skin is thick. A good way to know where you need it is to think about the places that get caught on your socks or sheets. (Yuck, right? It happens to all of us) I don’t use a cuticle shaver on my cuticles but I find it useful on the tips of my toes next to the nail. I also have several buffing tools that I use not only on my nails but also on my feet and toes. Like shaving, don’t wait until the last minute to do this and allow several sittings to gradually buff off think, icky skin. If you have cracked heals, using Vaseline and buffing will gradually heal them.
I will be posting a separate article about hair treatments soon.
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