Look... Different cultures have certain "secrets" that are usually not intentionally hidden from other folks. It's just what they do.
Someone that comes from another culture, or another way of living might think your family has a "secret" to cooking the BOMB food after smelling and then tasting your Grandma's macaroni & cheese or sweet potato pie.
But it's not really a secret, it's simply something they weren't exposed to because they grew up in a different area and in a different way of "normal" life.
Well, it's the same with the 15 exotic hair products & secret remedies from around the globe!
These unique hair health and growth "secrets" may be completely new to you on your side of the Earth, but in other lands like India, Haiti, Asia & Jamaica, these women grew up knowing to how to use these products, potions and remedies for healthier, thicker hair that grows fast without a lot of breakage.
So let's get right to it!
Ginger For Hair Growth - Asia & the Caribbean
Ginger is native to Asia and the Caribbean. This aromatic, pungent root is liberally used in Asian kitchens. In India, ginger infused tea (adrak wali chai) is a household favorite, and it’s also a great antidote for cold, cough, and headache.
During the 13th and 14th centuries ginger spice was VERY expensive in Europe and was out of reach of the common woman – one pound of ginger would cost the equivalent of one sheep. Ginger was so expensive because it had so many uses. One of its uses is increasing hair growth.
The warming and stimulating effects of ginger work to increase the scalp circulation and encourage healthy hair growth. Ginger contains antioxidant gingerol, which helps to fight the free radicals that damage your hair cells, and cause hair thinning and extreme breakage.
Ginger is also a great hair conditioner. Rich in minerals and essential oils, it makes your hair softer, more manageable and shinier.
You have dandruff problems? Ginger is a useful remedy for dandruff and dry, itchy scalp too. It contains natural anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties that help keep scalp healthy and clean.
You will need…
- 3 Tablespoons finely grated Fresh Ginger Root
- 6 Tablespoons Coconut oil or Sesame oil
You can also blend the ginger into a fine paste, then squeeze out the juice using a muslin cloth or sieve and use that.
Combine ginger and coconut oil (always use extra virgin coconut oil) together until well mixed.
If your coconut oil is in a solid state, place the bowl in hot water until it turns to a liquid. Then add ginger juice and stir well.
To use: Massage the mixture into your scalp. Leave the treatment on for 1 hour. You should feel a slight warming effect on your scalp. Then wash it out as usual.
Repeat once or twice a week for best results.
Advanced oil selection options:
To specifically improve hair growth you can use sesame oil, olive oil, or avocado oil.
For specifically stop current hair loss you can use sunflower oil, coconut oil, olive oil or avocado oil.
Shikakai (Acacia Concinna) – A Natural Shampoo
The word Shikakai literally means “fruit for hair”. Shikakai, a shrub native to warmer regions of Asia, has been used for thousands of years as an herbal hair cleanser and hair loss preventative. The fruit pods are dried and crushed into a powder which is then made into a paste and applied to hair. By itself, Shikakai powder added to water or oil can be massaged into hair and scalp to promote new growth, strengthen roots, and clear up skin conditions like dandruff which may cause hair-loss.
Shikakai, Soapnut powder, and amla can also be combined to create a moisturizing, nourishing natural cleanser.
Sometimes shikakai is referred to as a herbal powder although it really is not herbal. It is known to contain saponins which are very common in plants and are detergent like in behavior, foaming up when added to water. These saponins could be the reason that shikakai is regarded as a cleanser.
Hibiscus Flower for Hair Growth
Hibiscus is a flower that is being studied as a hair growth promoter, it is also being studied as a contraceptive, so do not start sipping on that tea if you are trying for a child. For hair growth, you actually have to use both the hibiscus petals and the leaves. Make sure you collect a lot of leaves and petals of hibiscus because you have to crush it and get the juice out of it. Traditionally people have used a mortar and pestle to crush it.
However, if you want it fast, you can also use a food processor or get it already powdered or crushed. Once you have created a paste out of crushed hibiscus flower and leaves, simply mix it into your shampoo. Apply it to your hair and lather it like you would normally do for the normal shampoo. Leave it on for about 5 minutes then rinse off. If you want, you can also mix the hibiscus paste into your conditioner.
Coconut Milk Conditioning Treatment - Jamaica
This is a popular hair hydration trick that Jamaican women use, coconut is sometimes called "dread nut" in Jamaica. Dread coming from the Rastafarian dreadlocks and nut being of course that coconut is a nut (technically a drupe, but we can say nut)! There is a long history of coconut products being used to maintain natural hair and coconut milk is definitely up there in the list.
It is made by adding water to the crushed coconut meat (white part) to extract a mix of oils and proteins from the meat. You can purchase prepared coconut milk in a can or even make your own from desiccated coconut. Coconut milk is great as a conditioning treatment for kinky hair because of its high oil content. It is often used as a final rinse after washing hair as well.
Moelle de Boeuf (Bone Marrow) - Trinidad & Haiti
Moelle de boeuf is French for bone marrow. There are tales of grandmothers stirring up bone soup , cooling it down to allow the beef jelly to form and adding that to oil to create an amazing hair and skin moisturizer. Commercially, there are hairdressing pomades available with the highlighted ingredient moelle de boeuf.
So, what is this miracle ingredient?
Well, beef jelly derived from bone marrow is essentially gelatin! Commercially, gelatin is produced from boiling bones much like the grandma story! The gelatin is actually hydrolyzed protein and that protein treatment strengthens, moisturizes and contributes to healthy hair.
L’huile Mascreti (Haitian Castor Oil)
It seems almost every Haitian will have seen or used L’huile Mascreti which is Haitian castor oil. It can be cold pressed with a yellow color or have ash added to make it Haitian black castor oil. Admittedly, many reviews say that it has a really strong smell (some even say it stinks) and so it's recommended to add an essential oil to it. If you are a fan of castor oil then this may be a variation that you may like. As is common with castor oil, there are many who say it can help hair regrow your hair as well as serve as a thick sealing oil for longer lasting moisture.
Rooibos Tea - South Africa
Rooibos tea was used on hair traditionally in South Africa where it originates. It is a very, VERY popular caffeine-free tea drink.
Scientific studies have shown that rooibos tea contains antioxidants and even has antimicrobial effects.
It is gaining popularity among naturals who want to use tea rinses on their hair for these reasons.
Rooibos tea has been shown to help increase hair growth, prevent hair loss and add brilliant shine to your hair.
Marula oil - Mozambique & South Africa
This is a traditional oil from Mozambique and South Africa. It is popular as a skin moisturizer but can certainly also be processed to a food grade standard and eaten. Like pretty much all natural oils, it contains a large amount of oleic acid and is not ideal for people with scalp problems (e.g eczema, dandruff). It is also known to contain antioxidants.
Rhassoul Clay - Morocco
Rhassoul clay, also commonly known as Ghassoul or Moroccan Red clay, is more than just any other ordinary hair cleanser. This Morrocan nutrient-rich clay has many uses which are beneficial for your hair.
Rhassoul clay is rich in minerals which include: silica, magnesium, iron, calcium, sodium and aluminum. As compared to other minerals, Silica takes the highest share of the minerals (58%) followed by Magnesium (25%),
Research has shown that silica stimulates hair growth. Professor Adolf Butenant, after conducting a research on Silica in 1972, came to one of these conclusions “Silica helps to prevent baldness, stimulates healthier hair growth and assures beautiful shine, luster and strength.
An increase in magnesium in the body builds up strong hair follicles and strong hair. On the other hand, a deficiency in magnesium causes hair loss. Ghassoul clay contains 25.2% of magnesium. Therefore, when Rhassoul clay is used as a hair cleanser, it helps to add magnesium in the hair follicles and thus making hair strong and able to grow. In addition, magnesium cleans calcium deposits off the scalp that may be blocking hair follicles. When these calcium deposits are cleaned off the scalp, hair follicles are aerated enabling the growth of hair. Rhassoul clay contains 25.2% of magnesium!
Rhassoul clay is effective in hair growth in that it is able to clean hair without removing all of its protective sebum. This is very important for women that are Water Only Washing for ULTIMATE black hair health.
African Black Soap - West Africa
African black soap is a traditional soap from West Africa and is commonly made from oil (shea butter commonly) and plant ash. It is gentler than traditional soap and can be used in various shampoo recipes to prevent breakage.
Avocado Butter - Dominican Republic & Trinidad
This Caribbean treat nourishes your hair and scalp with vitamins and minerals thereby helping to keep it both healthier and in good condition to grow longer without breaking. Avocado butter also has moisture sealing properties thereby keeping hair softer for longer.
However sealing is not the main benefit, all liquid oils (except coconut oil and jojoba oil) can seal your hair better than butters because they have a higher proportion of polyunsaturated fats – the type of fats that don't easily penetrate the hair cuticle.
Avocado butter penetrates the hair cuticle to nourish and strengthen from the inside, avocado oil is excellent for that because it has a higher amount of saturated fats and monounsaturated fats.
Ghee Butter - Ethiopia & India
The use of Ghee butter (as in real actual edible butter) for hair care in Ethiopian communities is very popular. Thanks to a documentary on traditional people there, many have realized that the butter the Ethiopians & Indians use is what we refer to as ghee which is a type of clarified butter that you can find in many Indian food stores. The butter is used to help moisturize and/or seal in moisture. Additionally, it’s used to strengthen hair which is possible in part due to the fat in Ghee butter.
Amla - India
Amla, an excellent hair tonic, has played a key role in the long, thick, and beautiful hair of women from India. This wonderful berry acts as a natural conditioner, minimizes hair loss and graying, and encourages strong and healthy hair growth.
Amla promotes hair growth because of its unique array of antioxidants. Amla supplements can help get rid of cell damaging free radicals that can cause hair fall, graying, wrinkles, heart disease, and other age-related problems. Antioxidants play an important role in neutralizing these free radicals and act as protective and preventive agents.
Besides, the phytonutrients, minerals, and vitamins present in the amla help strengthen hair follicles, increase scalp circulation, and stimulate healthy new growth.
Amla also reduces hair graying, premature graying usually occurs due to excess pitta in the body – some of the signs of excess pitta include, skin rashes, burning sensations, peptic ulcers, excessive body heat, and heartburn. Amla, a natural coolant, is an excellent remedy to pacify pitta conditions, and thereby reduce graying.
Amla also helps to renew pigmentation in hair and makes it darker and thicker. It has been used as an effective ingredient in natural hair dyes and other hair nourishing products.
How to make amla hair rinse: Soak 1 tablespoon dried amla in 1 cup water for 6 to 8 hours. Transfer this infusion in a pan. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover, and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes or until cool, then strain and use.
Neem Oil – India
Neem oil is popular in India for promoting hair growth and scalp health. Because of the extraordinarily high levels of antioxidants – a lot more than those found in blueberries or spinach – neem oil protects the scalp skin from ongoing damage that is caused by the free radicals. Neem oil also has regenerative properties that support healthy cell division and stimulate hair follicle growth and function.
Regular application of the neem oil will promote thicker, stronger, and more luxurious hair growth.
It also helps with dandruff and itching. Neem oil is effective against several human fungi including candida, which is one of the major cause of dandruff. Also when you have dandruff there is some underlying inflammation going on that makes the scalp red and irritated. Inevitably, neem oil will take care of everything as along with anti-fungal properties, it also has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic effects that help with redness and scalp irritation.
Use this potent oil to get rid of dandruff or even as preventive measure, in case you are prone to getting it. But be warned, this oil stinks so go find a quiet spot alone when using this treatment.
Kokum Butter - India
Used traditionally in India, Kokum butter tends to fly under the radar - but it shouldn't. Rich in essential fatty acids and non-comodegenic (non pore-clogging), Kokum Butter is perfect for stimulating the scalp for healthy hair growth. It helps cell oxygenation, making nutrients more readily available for use by scalp/skin tissues - which helps promote hair growth. It also supports and enhances hair elasticity, helping to ward off breakage.
Wrapping It Up
I hope you learned atleast 2 or 3 new things today. That's what the BlackHairOMG hair blog is all about, thinking outside the box and getting results for great black hair.
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~ Melissa Lee