Legends exist to make you dream, because real and myth often merge, getting lost in the folds of the story, as in the fantastic legend of Berenice, narrated by the Greek poet Callimachus in the 4th century BC. Berenice was a queen of Egypt, the wife of Ptolemy III. Her husband, shortly after the wedding, had to leave for a bloody war against the Seleucid empire. Berenice, who loved her husband, turned to the goddess Aphrodite asking for her husband to return safe and sound, promising that if this happened, she would give her hair to the goddess. Ptolemy returned from the war and so Berenice cut her wonderful braid and placed it on the altar of the temple dedicated to Aphrodite in Alexandria in Egypt. But the braid disappeared and Ptolemy, furious, had his wife's hair searched in every corner, but it could not be found. It was a wise old man and student of the sky to restore peace to the kingdom of Egypt. In fact, the elderly astronomer pointed out to everyone that a new constellation had appeared in the sky, right next to that of Leo. Berenice's hair had been liked so much by Zeus that he had wanted to take it to heaven so that it was possible to share such beauty with all human beings. This constellation, which took the name of Coma Berenice, that means Berenice's hair, exists and we can admire it in the clear nights of April. We do not know what treatments Berenice used to dedicate to her beautiful hair, we like to think that she took care of it with masks and rinses prepared with herbs. So let's close our eyes and enter the realm of myth, legend and dream with small remedies and tips to pamper our hair too, with rinses, masks and packs to make our hair brighter and softer, soothe the itching but also to counter hair loss!
Lemon balm rinse
Lemon balm contains rosmarinic acid, which has been shown to have a high power of regeneration of the hair and to be able to stimulate its growth (Li et al, J Nat Med, 2018). Not only that, lemon balm is antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory and helps to counteract itching, irritation and dermatitis as well as rebalance sebum production (Ramanauskienė et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med., 2015). Bring two cups of water to a boil, remove from heat and add 2 tablespoons of dried lemon balm, let it rest for fifteen minutes, then filter. Pour onto your hair without rinsing with water.
Rice extracts have shown anti-inflammatory properties useful in soothing irritations. Not only that, rice also contains a special substance, called gamma oryzanol, which has been shown to promote hair growth by stimulating the hair follicle to remain in the anagen phase (Kim et al, Food Nutr Res, 2017). The anagen phase is the first phase of the hair life cycle, the phase in which the hair grows. Take a cup of rice and rinse well under running water. Pour the rice into a bowl that you previously poured a cup of water into. Stir until the water becomes cloudy, filter the rice and store the water. Cover the water with a lid or cling film and let it rest overnight, but no more otherwise there is a risk that it will spoil. Then keep the water in the refrigerator until it is used, for no more than two or three days. Use the rice water after shampooing and conditioner, massage it onto your hair and scalp. Leave on for five minutes, then rinse with water.
Aloe vera pack
The aloe vera gel helps in case of dry and irritated skin. Not only that, this gel improves the integrity of the skin barrier, strengthening it, counteracts inflammation and possible hair loss linked to these inflammatory conditions, reduces dandruff and makes hair soft, shiny and silky (Zaid et al, BMC Complement Altern Med, 2017 - Umar et al, Wellness Blog, 2020). You can apply the aloe gel directly to the scalp, leave it on for ten minutes then rinse with your shampoo.
An application of green tea on the hair helps reduce dandruff and sebum production in the case of oily skin (Nualsri et al, J Cosmet Sci, 2016). Brew a tea by heating two cups of water to 70° C and steeping 5 teaspoons of green tea for ten minutes. Filter and once warm pour onto the hair, massaging the scalp as well. Leave on for ten minutes, then rinse with water.
Acid rinse with apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is antibacterial, helping to counteract itching and irritation (Yagnik et al, Sci Rep, 2018). Not only that, apple cider vinegar helps reduce the pH of the hair. It has been observed, in fact, that products with alkaline pH can damage the hair, increasing the negative charge between the surface fibers and therefore their friction. This situation leads to a breakdown of the fibers that make up the hair. Instead, using products with an acidic pH, such as apple cider vinegar, reduces the pH of the hair and thus also the frizz effect (Dias et al, Int J Trichology, 2014). Hair immediately appears brighter and softer. Pour a liter of warm water into a bowl and add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Pour all over your hair, do not rinse with water again! The acid rinse is the last step and will not leave unpleasant odors on the hair!