There is a story that always comes to mind when I think about hair. Legend has it that during the Vietnam War, the CIA recruited Native Americans because they were known for their remarkable ability to track animals in even the densest vegetation. However, once the trackers got to Vietnam, they weren’t able to do their work at all. They had lost all of their ability. Why? Because the government had forced them to cut their hair, and with their hair went their power.
I do believe that our hair is connected to our intuition. Our hair is both our antennae and our tail, and a strong communicator. From the Kundalini perspective, the hair is a vibrant source of creative life force that helps to funnel powerful sun energy into the frontal lobes of the brain. Your hair’s health, much like your skin’s, can alert you to changes in your overall health— specifically hormonal imbalances, thyroid issues, and toxicity buildup—before symptoms are manifested elsewhere in your body.
From queens to beauty icons, women have always used their hair to express themselves and their intentions. Whether it’s Jean Seberg’s pixie cut, Lalita’s thick, dark locks scented with champaca flowers, or Cleopatra’s blunt-cut bangs, hair is a source of feminine power, and keeping yours healthy and lustrous will also help your aura shine. Use these treatments to deep-condition your hair before shampooing and conditioning as you normally do.
Lustrous Lakshmi Mask
All hair types
Once a month
1 tablespoon fenugreek powder
1 tablespoon shikakai powder
2 tablespoons amla fruit powder
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
Named for the Hindu legend of fortune and prosperity, this mask adds some love to your locks as it conditions, stops dandruff, and makes your hair grow longer, stronger, and faster. It’s a tridosha mask. Fenugreek seeds are an Indian spice known for their sweet smell and helpfulness in treating hair loss and baldness.
Shikakai powder comes from a common Asian shrub and is high in antioxidants like vitamins A, C, and K. It helps to balance the pH of the hair and make it shiny. Amla fruit has three times more vitamin C than an orange. It nourishes hair from the scalp to the ends. If you are having trouble finding these herbs in your area, you can order them from Banyan Botanicals or Dual Spices. Soak the powders in water (5 or 6 tablespoons should be enough, but add as much as you need to thoroughly wet the powders into a pastelike consistency) in a bowl for a few hours. Stir in the yogurt and let sit for an hour. Apply to your hair and scalp. Leave on for an hour, then lightly shampoo.
Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse
All hair types
Once a month, as a nice reset for the hair
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (I love Bragg and Fire Cider)
8 ounces water
A few drops of an essential oil, such as rosemary or lavender, to stimulate the scalp and help mask the pungent scent of the vinegar
Glass jar, cup, or spray bottle
You’ll be amazed at how soft and shiny your hair can be when you rinse it with apple cider vinegar, which acts as a detoxifier. The acidity of apple cider vinegar helps to balance the pH of your hair, and it also strips off the residue left by traditional hair products, leaving the hair unbelievably silky. It has zero harmful chemicals and a price tag far lower than anything you could buy at a salon. Combine the vinegar, water, and essential oil in the jar, cup, or spray bottle and stir or shake to mix well. Pour over or spray through clean, wet hair. Leave it on for 1 to 2 minutes, then really rinse it out. If you like, apply a traditional conditioner on your ends afterward.
Powerful Locks Mask
Those with thinning hair
Once or twice a month
2 to 3 teaspoons bhringaraj oil
2 to 3 ounces coconut or almond oil (depending on the length of your hair)
As they age, many women experience a decrease in thyroid production. This affects the level of testosterone their bodies produce, which can in turn affect hair growth and thickness. This mask helps to stimulate hair growth and can also give your mane a boost if you have hair loss after pregnancy. In Ayurveda, bhringaraj, one of the main ingredients in this recipe, is known as the “king of hair” for how well it promotes hair growth, reduces balding, and stops premature graying. In a bowl, mix the bhringaraj oil and coconut or almond oil with enough warm water to form a thick paste. Cover the scalp with the paste, then massage the oil through the hair, from the scalp down to the ends. Leave on for 20 minutes, then lightly shampoo
Silky Tresses Mask
Dry, dull, or damaged hair. Also great to use if you regularly straighten or blow-dry your hair.
Once a month
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons raw honey
1 tablespoon olive oil (optional; use only if you have dry hair)
Egg yolks are rich in fat and protein. They moisturize, fight frizz, and leave hair gleaming. You can put egg yolk directly on your hair for a quick shine boost, or make this simple mask with enzyme-rich honey to also help thicken your hair and leave it gorgeous and bouncy. I love to imagine the golden rich yolk of the egg penetrating and seeping into my being as a healing golden serum. Puree the banana in a blender (or give it a good mash with your hands), then transfer to a bowl. Fold in the egg yolk, honey, and olive oil (if using). Apply to the hair, starting at the scalp and working down to the ends. Leave on for 20 minutes, then wash out with your favorite shampoo. You may follow with conditioner if you like.
All hair types
As often as you typically shampoo
¼ cup coconut milk
¼ cup liquid castile soap (I like Dr. Bronner’s)
20 drops of rosemary or peppermint essential oil
½ teaspoon olive or almond oil
Glass jar with stopper
Most traditional shampoos foam up because they are full of sulfates, which can irritate your skin (as you well know if you’ve ever gotten shampoo in your eyes!) and strip your hair of much-needed moisture. This nontoxic shampoo is easy to make. Store it in a glass jar and it will last for a couple of months. You’ll also find that the healthier your hair becomes, the less often you’ll need to shampoo. Combine the coconut milk, soap, essential oil, and olive oil in the glass jar. Shake well before each use, and shampoo as you normally would.
Gracious & Divine Moisture Mask
Dry to normal hair
Once a month
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup plain yogurt
Olive trees are some of my favorite trees, because they’re so ancient and possess a beautiful simplicity; they look equally at home in the hills of Tuscany or the backyards of California. Just as the earth dries out, we as women can also—stress and depleted diets leaving us brittle. When faced with stressful situations, we crack and break instead of bending with flexibility.
This mask helps to replenish us with much-needed moisture so that we can be like the olive branch—supple, abundant, and a messenger of peace. Olive oil is high in fat and oleic acid, which is wonderful for your skin as well as your hair, helping to nourish the strands from the inside out. In a bowl, mash the avocado, then mix in the olive oil and yogurt, stirring until smooth and creamy. Apply to the hair, starting at the scalp and working down to the ends. Leave on for 20 minutes, then lightly shampoo.