14 ingredients you’ll need to start your organic journey
Going organic is a process. It’s done in stages.
Just as you know the foods you’re allergic to or those you don’t agree with, you have to acquaint yourself with the ingredients that best work for you, your diet and your personal chemistry.
If you’re ready to take your first baby steps into the world of homemade beauty, here are a few staple hair and skin ingredients to get you started:
- Apple Cider Vinegar. Known to balance the body’s pH and lower blood pressure, of all the vinegars, ACV not only balances and moisturizes your hair’s pH, it removes product build-up while gently cleansing your scalp. Use it as a rinse combining 1 part ACV to 3 parts distilled water.
- Distilled Water. I prefer distilled water because it’s free of certain trace minerals found in tap or spring water. It’s also sanitized.
- Honey. What can I say? The perfect food. I’ll soon dedicate a whole post to the merits of honey. But, until then, suffice it to say, it’s one of natures best humectants. It exceeds the need for a good moisturizer.
- Olive Oil. In large or small amounts, virgin olive oil quickly moisturizes the hair shaft. The quintessential carrier oil for both hair and skin, it has been a staple of ancient beauty treatments around the world since mankind discovered how to press olives.
- Coconut Oil. Again, I’ll dedicate a post to this one. When olive oil is too heavy, coconut oil will do the trick. In fact, it’s my go-to moisturizing oil. I mix it in my all-purpose oil. I use it as a moisture balance for my protein treatments. It’s a perfect hair and skin conditioner.
- Shea Butter. There are other butters that work well, but to get started, try shea butter. Smooth a little on your face and it forms a protective barrier. Regular use can eliminate dry, flaky skin. Mix it with coconut and olive oils for a pomade for dry hair.
- Hydrolyzed Gelatin. Unlike eggs, the protein molecules in hydrolyzed gelatin (such as Knox gelatin granules) are small enough to pass through the hair’s cuticle and bond with the cortex. So, it’s a far more effective protein treatment than eggs. But, it’s an animal protein — the gelatinous residue after boiling animal bones. This may not be the choice for vegetarians.
- Whey Protein. If animal protein grosses you out, whey protein is a nice alternative. It’s still an animal protein — made from milk. Yogurt packs, milk rinses, milk baths … all carry the benefits of whey protein. It’s molecules are also small enough to get through the hair cuticle so it’s an ideal protein hair treatment alternative.
- Eggs. Eggs are not to be ignored. They’re great sources of vitamin B and Biotin — an essential nutrient for hair and skin. Use the whites only as a tightening facial mask. It’s strong drawing motion helps to minimize pores for oily and combination skins. Nothing beats an egg-mayonnaise-honey hair pack to restore body, shine and elasticity.
- Flax Seeds. Flax seeds are known as great source of omega-3 fatty acids. When boiled in distilled water, they yield a soft gel that defines curls like nothing else.
- Clays. Take your pick: bentonite or rhassoul. Both have unique properties that are worth exploiting. While I’ll talk more about them later, clays are also one of those ancient ingredients with all-purpose uses. Clay and muds are believed to help rheumatism and joint pain. Bentonite is the top pick as a face mask or body wash, but it’s clarfying effects on hair are stellar. Rhassoul has a finer grain and cleanses more gently than bentonite while depositing nourishing minerals.
- Essential Oils. The list is endless and many books identifying them and their properties have been written. For hair and skin, I recommend tea tree, lavender, peppermint, sage, rosemary and ylang ylang to start. But, as you go along, expect to dedicate a whole cabinet to them.
- Aloe Vera Juice and Gel. Aloe is the safest natural moisturizer for hair and skin there is. I spritz it on my hair after I co-wash and before I work in my oil mixture. I use a diluted version with distilled water and a few drops of lavender to freshen up my hair. It’s a great base for protein and clay treatments as well.
- A gentle conditioner. You’ll need a safe all purpose store-bought conditioner you can trust as an alternative hair co-wash.It may be the only one in your cabinet but it’s worth having. My favorite is Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle.