Healthy hair is an attractive attribute to have. It looks great, feels great and it makes us feel super confident. But healthy, lustrous hair doesn’t happen by accident. Healthy hair needs to be cared for and it comes from caring for ourselves. If we are in good health it reflects in our hair and skin. But what characteristics does healthy hair have?
Healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp. If you use harsh products on your scalp or it is dry and irritated from exposure to the sun, this is not a healthy breeding ground for beautiful hair. Hair that is healthy usually feels soft.
The hair shaft is well nourished and has plenty of moisture, so the cuticles of the hair lie flat which gives the hair a soft, shiny feel and appearance. When the cuticles are smooth and lying flat, your hair will reflect the light and will appear much shinier. People with healthy hair naturally lose about 50-100 hairs per day, so there’s no excessive shed of hair in the hairbrush or in the plughole. Healthy hair is more resistant to damage and breakage because it is hydrated and has more elasticity, and it does not appear tangled when the hair is wet. Hair that is dry and damaged will not react well to humidity, instead the parched cuticles will ‘swell’ and the hair will appear frizzy.
- 1 What can affect hair health?
- 1.1 Steps to styling for healthy hair
- 1.2 Try not to use too many products.
- 1.3 Use the products in the right order.
- 1.4 With products, less is more
- 1.5 Read the instruction label
- 1.6 What is sesame oil?
- 1.7 The Health Benefits of Sesame Seeds
- 1.8 They make skin beautiful
- 1.9 They are a valuable source of protein in a vegetarian diet
- 1.10 They are great for oral health
- 1.11 They can prevent diabetes
- 1.12 They reduce blood pressure
- 1.13 They promote heart health
- 1.14 They can prevent cancer
- 1.15 They keep bones healthy
- 1.16 They keep the digestive system healthy
- 1.17 They relieve rheumatoid arthritis
- 1.18 They can prevent asthma
- 1.19 Benefits of sesame oil for your hair
- 1.20 How can I use sesame seeds and oil to get the benefits?
- 1.21 Final thoughts
What can affect hair health?
Damaging styling techniques- using excessive heat on the hair with the use of straighteners, curlers and hair dryers can damage the hair and dry it out, as can constant use of chemical dyes. The way we style our hair can cause hair loss and breakage too, so don’t tie ponytails too tight as this can cause alopecia!
Using the incorrect products for your hair type- using the cheap drug store ‘suits every hair type’ shampoo? Well, there’s no such thing as a product that suits every hair type because everyone’s hair is different. Would you use an ultra-rich conditioner on your fine hair? Of course you wouldn’t, unless you wanted to walk around looking like an oil slick. Choose gentle products specific to your hair type, that are derived from natural ingredients if possible. These work with your hair and help it retain its natural oils.
Unhealthy diet- healthy hair requires nourishment and moisture, so you need a good intake of protein, whole grains, vitamins and minerals to nourish hair from the inside. A poor diet will reflect in the hair and skin. And forget yo yo dieting, as this can affect the hair by depleting the body of vitamins and minerals.
Hormone imbalance- an imbalance of hormones can cause hair loss, which is why many women find that their hair appears thinner after pregnancy. Issues with the thyroid and excessive stress hormones in the blood can cause hair loss, so learn to relax and see your doctor if you feel that something is not quite right with your health.
Steps to styling for healthy hair
These days there are so many hair care products on the market and we buy into the idea that every product is going to give us the perfect hair we long for. Of course, this is a fallacy and we can just end up with a bathroom shelf full of things we don’t use. So how can we best use the products we do buy?
Try not to use too many products.
Think about your hair type and what style you want to achieve. Do you want to get rid of frizz, do you want shine? Determine what your needs are then invest in a few key products.
Use the products in the right order.
After washing, apply a leave-in conditioner or heat protection product to lock in moisture, then when your hair is about 80% dry, apply mousse or volumizing products to add oomph to your style and lastly when the hair is dry, finish with serum and/or hairspray.
With products, less is more
Start with a small amount of your hair product then add more if needed. Keep products away from the roots of your hair to stop it getting greasy. Apply products from the ends of your hair upwards.
Read the instruction label
Instructions are there for a reason. If you are spraying any product onto your hair, such as dry shampoo or hairspray, make sure you hold the container about 30cm from your head. Any closer and you won’t distribute the product properly and you risk irritating the scalp.
Whatever products you invest in, natural is best. Products derived from natural ingredients are gentler on the hair and are less likely to cause irritation. The use of oils on our hair has become very popular in recent years, as we all strive to attain that shiny, healthy look. There are numerous oils that get used on our hair for this purpose. You have probably heard of or used products containing argan oil or something similar. Now there’s a new oil that Is fast becoming a hair hero- Sesame oil.
What is sesame oil?
Sesame oil, also called gingelly oil, is vegetable oil which is extracted from sesame seeds. It is a popular cooking oil in Indian cuisine and is used as a flavour enhancer in Asian and Middle Eastern dishes. The oil has a distinctive aroma and there are two kinds of oil available. Cold pressed oil is derived from raw sesame seeds and is light in colour. This oil has a mild flavour. Toasted sesame oil is made from toasted seeds. This oil is darker in colour and has a nuttier taste. Sesame oil is rich in nutrients and is used in alternative medicines, massages and skin treatments because of its health benefits.
The Health Benefits of Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds are very rich in nutrients, particularly in copper, manganese, calcium and magnesium. They have been used for many years to treat various health complaints because of their disease fighting attributes and nutrient content. Here are some of the health benefits that sesame seeds are known to have.
They make skin beautiful
The seeds are chock full of zinc, which is known to give the skin its elasticity and helps skin heal. Sesame oil is a common remedy for burns and skin disorders.
They are a valuable source of protein in a vegetarian diet
The seeds have an average of almost 5g of protein per ounce, making them an ideal snack choice for vegetarians who worry they are not getting enough protein in their diet.
They are great for oral health
Oil pulling with sesame oil can whiten teeth, remove plaque and freshen your breath. All you have to do is swish some of the oil around in your mouth like mouthwash.
They can prevent diabetes
Because sesame seeds contain blood sugar balancing nutrients like magnesium, the oil has been shown to combat diabetes. A study showed that patients consuming the oil as well as their antidiabetic medications suffered from less adverse effects associated with their illness. The oil appeared to make the drugs more effective. A further study found that consumption of the oil lowered blood pressure and reduced the amount of glucose in the blood.
They reduce blood pressure
The magnesium in the oil has been shown to help lower blood pressure, particularly in diabetics with high blood pressure.
They promote heart health
The oil contains a compound called sesamol, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which seem to keep the arteries healthy.
They can prevent cancer
Sesame seeds have an anti-cancer compound called phytate. The magnesium in the seeds also has anti-cancer properties. A study in the U.S. demonstrated that risk of colorectal cancer reduced by 12% for every 100mg of magnesium consumed.
They keep bones healthy
The zinc in the seeds increases bone mineral density. Studies have shown that there is a link between zinc deficiency and osteoporosis. Sesame seeds are also rich in calcium, which is another mineral that is essential for bone health.
They keep the digestive system healthy
The seeds are rich in fibre, which prevents constipation.
They relieve rheumatoid arthritis
The copper content in the seeds is known for reducing swelling and pain in the joints.
They can prevent asthma
Magnesium prevents constriction of the airways so it may reduce asthma attacks in sufferers.
Benefits of sesame oil for your hair
The plentiful nutrients in Sesame oil, plus the protein nourishes and strengthens hair from the inside. Sesame oils has numerous benefits for hair, here are just some of them;
- It can minimise the appearance of grey hair
Massaging your hair with sesame oil can make it look darker. It works best if you combine it with carrier oils like coconut or olive oil.
- It can promote hair growth
Sesame oil nourishes the scalp and increases circulation, boosting hair growth. Because it penetrates the hair shaft and nourishes it from inside, any growth will be strong and healthy too. You can use the oil as a hot oil treatment to further boost hair health. The fatty acids in the oil will nourish the hair and scalp promoting healthy hair growth.
- It protects hair from sun damage.
Sesame oil acts as a natural sunscreen. Applying it to your scalp and hair protects you from sun damage and pollution by forming a protective barrier.
- It can treat head lice
When mixed with other oils, sesame oil can be used to treat head lice. Massaging the scalp with the oil prior to shampooing has been found to be effective. Sesame oil has natural antibacterial and antifungal properties.
- Sesame oil protects the hair from heat damage
Sesame oil acts as a coolant on the hair, and locks in moisture, preventing dryness and damage.
- It gets rid of dandruff
It seems that if you massage your scalp with the oil and leave it on overnight, you can get rid of dandruff. Repeat this for a few weeks if you can.
- Sesame oil treats dry hair
A mixture of lemon juice and sesame oil applied to the hair and left on overnight works wonders for dry hair. If you apply the oil to your hair and wrap your hair in a hot wet towel for 30 minutes, this will also make the oil more effective in moisturising your dry hair. Say hello to hydrated hair.
- It makes hair ultra-shiny
The oil works as a leave-in conditioner if you apply a few drops to the palms of your hands then apply it to the lengths and ends of your hair. The oil will seal moisture into your hair and leave it with a mirror shine.
- It can act as a deep conditioner
Add some of the oil to any conditioning treatment and leave it on the hair for an hour. Leave it on overnight if your hair is in extra need of tender loving care.
- It can bring damaged hair back to life.
The oil penetrates each strand of hair and nourishes it from the inside, restoring hair back to its former glory.
- It can combat hair loss
Heat damage, harsh products and styling techniques and poor nutrition can all cause hair damage, breakage and loss. The oils coats and protects the hair from further damage and hair benefits directly from the application of the oil’s nutrients onto hair. If we consume the seeds in our diet, we can nourish hair from the inside too.
- It can enhance your natural hair colour
Brunettes rejoice! Sesame oil can make your hair appear darker and shinier. It’s like getting a hair dye but without the chemical damage.
How can I use sesame seeds and oil to get the benefits?
You can eat a handful of seeds every morning to get the maximum benefits. You can sprinkle them on cereal or in yoghurt. You can also use the oil as a cooking oil, and it’s versatile and easily available.
Massaging it directly into your hair and scalp along with another oil like olive oil will nourish the scalp and seal the hair shaft. This will really help if your hair is coloured, chemically treated or otherwise dry and damaged. Warm the oil before you massage it onto the scalp, then apply the excess to the lengths and ends of your hair. Cover your hair with a towel and leave for up to an hour. Rinse your hair and shampoo and style as normal. Repeat this 1-2 times per week. The oil can also be mixed with hair masks or other deep conditioning treatment.
We all want beautiful hair. Beautiful hair does not happen by accident. We have to keep hair in good condition by not using harsh products or styling techniques, eating a good diet and managing stress. There are many advanced hair products and treatments on the market these days but they will not make up for a lack of basic good hair care or a diet full of junk food.
The products we use need to be right for our hair, they need to be based on natural ingredients and not full of chemicals which upset the natural balance of our hair and scalp. If we subject our hair and scalp to chemicals regularly, we will experience irritation, dryness, breakage and even hair loss. Beautiful hair needs moisture and nourishment. Natural products work with the hair not against it.
The use of oils as a hair treatment has become commonplace as we search for that elusive shiny lustre in our hair. Many oils are used, like Moroccan argan oil and coconut oil, but sesame oil is the newest oil on the block for hair. It has so many other benefits to our health, but the benefits to hair are visible and undeniable. Sesame oil is a product of nature. It won’t cause irritation or undesirable effects on our health, and when used correctly will go some way to giving us the moisture and shine in our hair that we crave.
It’s important with oil to use it sparingly, however as too much can make hair look greasy and unhealthy, the opposite of what you are trying to achieve. Use a few drops, don’t be heavy-handed, you can always add more later. There are many ways you can gain the benefits of sesame oil, use it with other hair products for an extra-moisturising treat, use it alone on hair as a leave in hair glosser, combine it with other oils to create an oil treatment for the hair or simply eat the seeds or cook with the oil. This way you get the skin loving and disease fighting benefits too. Sesame oil has been used for thousands of years, and it is being included in more and more treatments for the hair and for the skin as more people discover this natural wonder. Mother nature provides us with more and more riches every day, and she always leaves us wondering, what next? The cure for cancer? A cure for the common cold? A cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Current research suggests that this idea is not too far-fetched.