I hope you’re getting excited about your 3-Day At-Home Hair Rehab. Yesterday, in Part 2: Hair 101, we went over everything you need to know about your locks. Today, you’ll do a hair assessment, and I’ll share the four building blocks that comprise the program.
But first, I’d like to set up a framework for you: Imagine a hair strand like a tree trunk and damaging habits like an ax that cuts into the side of the tree. Imagine the tree had several sections hacked out. A tree-loving enthusiast stepped in to save it! If she wanted the tree to keep growing without dying, what would she do? She’d mend the open areas to restore its ability to stand, then she would give it everything it requires to regain its full strength. That is precisely what we will be doing over the next few days.
We are going to fill in the holes in your strands, naturally—then pack your hair/hair follicles with nutrients and love, just like that tree.
Assess your hair now, by asking yourself the following questions:
- Is your hair thinning in areas? Which ones?
- Is your hair dull, lifeless, or can’t hold a curl?
- Does it seem as though your hair isn’t growing?
- Does it feel like your hair is shedding too much?
- Is your hair frizzy and unmanageable?
- Do you find that products don’t penetrate your hair?
- Do you find that products weigh down your hair?
- Is your hair oily?
- Do you need to dye your hair often to keep it looking shiny?
- Do you have split ends, no matter what you do?
- Do you have itching or dandruff?
Write down all of the issues you’d like to change. I used a Hair Diary App to track my progress so I wouldn’t get discouraged. Take pictures. It will allow you to see your changes, no matter small. Capture the date and time you are beginning this process. If you are interested in hair growth, measure your hair.
Here are the tools, or Building Blocks, you will use to rebuild, restructure, and reinvigorate your hair in three days.
Building Block 1: Prime
The importance of priming your hair before you cleanse is analogous to a compromised hair strand and a dry twig. If I wanted to revive the strength of a dry twig, I would not wash it first because that would further strip its natural elements while in an already weakened state. Alternatively, I would prime it with nutrients before I began any further processes.
The first building block will be following that logic. We are going to prime your hair strands before we take the next step. Essentially we are layering in blocks of health. The primer we will use is oil—not any oil but a highly selected one. I vetted all the recommended oils that are extensively mentioned in articles and used in popular products. Some of the most common go-to hair oils (and butters, which are also oils) are argan, coconut, and shea butter. None of which met my standards or provided the depth of my needs. Additionally, I am leery when an ingredient saturates the market. Typically it’s because it is cheap, and the demand lessens the quality of the product. It took some time, but I finally found the holy grail of oils, and I could not be happier.
I recommend Cupuacu Oil or Cupuacu Butter. You can use it or opt for one of the substitutes I suggest. Use one or a combination of them if you prefer. You can learn more about Cupuacu and why it is optimal as a primer in the Ingredients section below.
Building Block 2: Cleanse
The next block is thoroughly cleansing your hair with a natural clarifying shampoo. Again, this is not a store bought shampoo—not even your favorite. You will be using a gentle but powerful cleanser that will not strip your hair but help the process of rebuilding. You will be using raw African Black Soap and Apple Cider Vinegar.
African Black Soap is antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial. It effectively cleans your scalp, leaving the perfect environment for follicle cells to grow hair. It’s an excellent cleanser to use for hair loss and other conditions like eczema and itchy scalp. It draws out toxins and increases hair growth.
Raw (or unfiltered) apple cider vinegar is simply the byproduct of the fermentation of apples. Apples have an abundance of potassium, pectin, malic acid, and calcium, and fermentation fortifies the end product with even more beneficial acids and enzymes.
It’s also packed with nutrients that are great for building luscious locks, including B vitamins, vitamin C and potassium. Because it is slightly acidic, it also serves to restore the natural pH of the acid mantle. Exposure to this acidity hardens the outer layer of the hair and flattens the cuticle, resulting in hair that shines, “slides” quickly, and is less prone to tangling or snagging.
Apple cider vinegar also contains natural alpha-hydroxy acid, which gently exfoliates the scalp and hair, allowing for removal of dead skin cells and buildup that can occur from sweat and the use of conventional hair products.
Building Block 3: Strengthen
The next block is filling the holes in your strands with protein. Since hair is made predominantly of protein, we need to substitute it with natural ingredients that will support its efforts for strong healthy hair. We will be using organic rice water and quinoa water tonic.
Rice water: Research confirms that rice water contains inositol, which seems to promote cell regeneration, making it an ideal treatment for hair that continues to provide benefits even after it has been rinsed off. A 2017 study credits rice water as having B vitamins, vitamin E, and traces of pitera, a yeast extract that contains over 50 micronutrients and is an excellent source of peptides, proteins, and amino acids. Pitera is said to have anti-aging and regeneration properties.
Quinoa tonic water: Because it is a complete protein and contains all of the essential eight amino acids, hydrolyzed quinoa has an enhanced ability to assist in the repair, protection, and conditioning of hair. Hair treated with hydrolyzed quinoa looks and feels smoother after one use, retains moisture better, is stronger, shows fewer signs of damage, and has better-protected cuticles. Hydrolyzed quinoa is also able to penetrate the hair, strengthening it from the cortex and along the surface. Studies show utilizing hydrolyzed quinoa improved hair health and strength after one use, but increased it substantially after five applications of products with viable amounts of the superfood.
Building Block 4: Elasticity
The final building block is a deep conditioner to ensure the ultimate elasticity. Elasticity helps your texture and maintains your length. Like a rubber band, you want your hair to snap back when it’s manipulated.
We’ve now primed the strands with oils, cleansed the scalp and hair from buildup, and filled gaps in the strands with protein. Next we’ll seal in moisture.
We will be using avocado, greek yogurt, and honey (you can also add in organic olive oil). Avocados aren’t just incredibly delicious, they’re also great for treating dry and brittle hair, as they are rich in vitamins, oleic acid, and other essential fatty acids.
Honey is a natural humectant. Combined with naturally moisturizing oils, it will help the hair to retain moisture, strengthen the hair follicle, and enhance the overall structure of the hair.
Greek yogurt serves as a light, natural protein treatment that will help strengthen the hair. It’s also full of fatty acids that will help fortify and add sheen. And it contains lactic acid and helps to hydrate dry, to prevent hair strand breakage.
Those are the building blocks. It’s all DIY. Tomorrow in Part 4, I will share your shopping list, recipes, and 3-day schedule for your at-home hair rehab. Get ready to be amazed!
Ingredients used in the building blocks above:
Cupuacu Oil (or butter): has powerful hydrating properties that naturally moisturize brittle hair and help it regain a natural smoothness and shine.
Cupuacu Butter, from the Rainforest, is prized for its rich content of phytosterols to benefit dry, damaged skin; polyphenols to combat free radicals in the tissues; and fatty acids to protect and moisturize. It’s butter that performs like the actives (natural, as opposed to synthetic, ingredients that have been scientifically proven to change the structure of skin at a cellular level), delivering true healing and restructuring benefits to the hair as it enhances the moisture barrier and offers pure hydration for improved elasticity.
Cupuacu butter can support up to 440 percent of its weight in water, hence its intense moisturizing capability. Suitable for dry, damaged, and dull hair, cupuacu butter acts as a natural conditioner. It should be applied along the length of the hair and on the scalp, massaged and left for at least an hour, after which the hair can be washed. Because of its nourishing action, it fortifies the hair, while the antioxidants in it protect against damage from the sun, chlorine in water, chemicals in hair products, etc. The unrefined butter helps hydrate a dry scalp, calms irritation, and gives dull hair shine. Just like any good conditioner, it makes hair smooth and easy to comb and style.
(Substitutes: Raw Virgin Macadamia Nut Oil, Raw Organic Kokum butter, Organic Baobab Oil, Organic Olive Oil)
African Black Soap
- Plantain Peels—Cooked bananas (or Musa paradisiaca) are a good source of antioxidants, protein, folic acid, thiamine, riboflavin, potassium, and vitamin C.
- Cocoa Pods—Rich in antioxidants, cocoa pods—or the shells that house the treasured cocoa bean—also have strong anti-inflammatory properties.
- Palm Kernel Oil—Obtained from the seed of Elaeis guineensis, palm kernal oil is rife with several types of fatty acids.
- Palm Oil—Derived from the fruit of the palm tree, unrefined palm oil (known as red palm oil) is abundant in vitamin E, alpha and beta carotene, and other antioxidants, as well as essential fatty acids.
Organic Rice Water
- Anti-inflammatory properties fight bacteria and scalp conditions such as eczema of the scalp.
- Antioxidant properties limit the effects of free radicals that contribute to aging cells.
- Bond repairing capabilities are made possible by the presence of protein and other minerals in rice. This aids in the strengthening of the strands, which leads to length retention.
- Elasticity enhancing capabilities
- pH balancing that matches our bodies
- Instant relief from dandruff
Quinoa Tonic Water
- A great detangler
- Improves shine in hair
- Eases both wet and dry combing
- Softens the hair
- Binds moisture to the hair
- Soothes irritated scalp
Ready for some R&R&R? In Part 4: Ready, Set, Grow! you’ll rebuild, restructure, and reinvigorate your hair with the 3-Day At-Home Hair Rehab.
A dynamic and creative executive, Audrey has guided household name brands in the health & wellness, travel & leisure, executive training and philanthropy sectors.
Her travel & leisure ventures include the launch of a Hawaiian island destination for Larry Ellison and the Four Seasons, taking a previously unknown locale to #1 in travel in the U.S. and among the Top 10 destinations in the world. The project included creating events and campaigns in partnership with Nobu, Jennifer Lopez, BMW, Serena Williams and various charities.
Audrey’s recent foray into the science sector includes working with Google Ventures, Amgen, Lilly, Genentech, Sanofi, Otsuka, Novartis, and AOBiome, through the recently launched biotech SaaS startup Science 37, which aims to disrupt and democratize the clinical trial process.
Her executive development experience includes building leadership models for trainers such as Tony Robbins, training over 30,000 managers worldwide and leading workshops on performance management to over 100,000 individuals across the U.S. She founded The HR Coach, which consults tech startups in training and developing remote management.
Audrey travels between Seattle, Los Angeles and Austin, enjoying personal time with her three xoloitzcuintles and her beau. Not to mention her total obsession with her big-bold-all-natural hair.