How to combat itchy scalp, dandruff, brittle hair and hair loss? Nature offers us precious allies in the form of powders obtained from plants, vegetable oils and essential oils, to make delicate and sebum-regulating shampoos but also soothing and nourishing masks. Let's see some tips, always based on scientific research.
Shikakai is a powder obtained by crushing the bark and pods of the Acacia concinna plant. It is an Ayurvedic remedy known and used for centuries for hair beauty and nowadays also appreciated thanks to its properties proven by scientific studies. In fact, shikakai is used, for its foaming and cleaning power, as a natural shampoo (Dubey et al, Ancient Science of life, 2004). The use of shakikai has been shown to reduce itchy scalp but also to rebalance the production of sebum, counteracting both dry and oily skin, to help fight dandruff, to make the hair soft and shiny and to promote hair growth (Ediriweera et al, JAHM, 2014). Mix 100 grams of shikakai powder, which is easily found online and in specialized stores, and 1 tablespoon of white clay, with a sebum-regulating and antiseptic action. Add distilled water, or boiled and cooled tap water, as much as you need to make a smooth cream. Stir with a teaspoon until foam forms. Apply to the scalp and hair, massage and leave on for 5-10 minutes, then rinse with water. The cleaning cream obtained can be kept in the fridge, in a tightly closed bottle, for a maximum of a couple of weeks. Be careful only if you have very light or bleached hair, in fact, the constant use of shikakai could have a mild darkening action but in any case reversible. For this reason it is better to do a test on an inconspicuous strand and see how your hair reacts.
Argan oil counteracts hair protein loss, split ends and dry hair, helping make the hair healthy, soft, nourished and shiny (Villareal et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2013). Argan oil also helps reduce the damage caused by hair dyes (Paludetti et al, JCDSA, 2013). Pour a couple of drops of argan oil onto the palm of your hand and rub your hands together. Take a lock of hair and run it a couple of times in your hands, continue with the rest of the hair as well.
Rosemary and lavender
Lavender has an antiseptic action, useful to counteract itching, dermatitis and consequent hair loss. Not only that, lavender stimulates hair growth (Lee et al, Toxicol Res, 2016). Rosemary is astringent, antioxidant, antifungal and antiseptic, stimulates microcirculation, counteracts hair loss and promotes hair growth, not only that, rosemary is an aid in case of oily scalp and greasy hair (Ezekwe et al, J Clin Aesthet Dermatol ., 2020 - Hosking et al, Skin Appendage Disord., 2019). Before shampooing, apply a little aloe gel to the scalp or spray a floral water, such as lavender or rosemary water. Then prepare a mask with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, one of the best vegetable oils able to show a great affinity to hair proteins, therefore capable of penetrating the hair and repairing it, preventing damage and loss of proteins (Rele et al, J Cosmet Sci, 2003), 2 drops of lavender essential oil and a drop of rosemary essential oil. Apply to the scalp, insisting well on hair roots, and then distribute over all lengths. Leave it on for fifteen minutes, then rinse with shampoo.