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Three Steps to Healthy Long hair...Long


New Member
I spotted this info on a haircare list-serv and thought it would be helpful to the forum ( especially new comers ).

Enjoy !!!!!!!!!!


Three Steps to Healthy Long hair

By Jennifer Bahney

First, some facts. Your hair's growth rate is related to the following
factors: your age, diet, genetics, hormonal status, blood circulation,
stress level, infections, medication, climate, exposure to hair
chemicals, and hairdressing techniques.

One dermatological theory says that increased hair loss, thinning, and
a short growth cycle are partially due to the body's inability to
provide the scalp with the nutrients required for the proper hair growth.
The follicles become prematurely dormant and growth shuts down. But, once
the follicles start to receive the necessary stimulus and nutrients,
new hair may start to grow again faster, longer, and healthier. With that
in mind, here are three important steps to growing long healthy hair:

1. Proper Nutrition and Illness Prevention through Food and Supplements

2. Stress Reduction through Aromatherapy and Massage

3. Gentle care of your growing hair
Step One: Proper Nutrition and Illness Prevention
The best way to provide hair follicles with the nutrients they need for
active growth is through the bloodstream. In fact, the hair is such a
good indicator of the health of the rest of your body that nutritionists
can tell whether you're deficient in particular vitamins and minerals
just by analyzing a snip of hair. There are certain foods you can eat
and supplements you can take to promote optimal hair growth. Let's start
with one of the top nutrients needed for healthy, strong hair:
Essential Fatty Acids.

Flax Seed Oil is an Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acid (EFA). EFA's include
Linoleic Acid (LA) and Alpha Linolenic Acid (LNA). Doctors around the
world recognize EFA's as essential nutrients for human health. The
problem is that EFA's aren't made in our bodies, so we have to eat them or
take them as supplements.

Linoleic Acid is considered the most important EFA. It is a necessity
for hair health and growth. Without it, humans suffer from hair loss and
dry scaly scalp and skin. Veterinarians are known to recommend LA to
improve animals' coats. The richest source of Linoleic Acid is flax seed
oil - a must for anyone wanting to grow gorgeous long hair. Flax is a
seed that can be eaten raw, used as an oil, and taken in capsule form.
Nutritionist Dr. Andrew Weil recommends eating whole flax seeds
sprinkled on food in his book, Eight Weeks to Optimum Health.

In addition to flax seed oil, nutritionists recommend the following
vitamins and minerals to bolster the EFA's positive effects: Vitamins A,
B3, B6, C, E, and the minerals Magnesium and Zinc.

Other supplements necessary for healthy long hair:

Evening Primrose Oil is a good source of Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA),
an EFA essential for cell metabolism and growth. This oil, also found
in capsule form, aids hair growth and restoration. Other outstanding
sources of GLA are Borage Oil and Black Current Oil.

Silica provides collagen essential for luxurious hair growth.

Lecithin is used by every living cell in our bodies. It helps purify
your system and aids in the absorption of vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Choline and Inositol are important for hair metabolism.

Calcium is important for actively growing hair follicle cells.

Vitamin E is an excellent antioxidant particularly good for
preventing the oxidization of Vitamins A & C, maintains cell membranes and
general health of the blood.

Zinc keeps hair follicles from atrophying.

Copper ensures hair pigment.

Manganese and Iron are essential for follicle growth.

Iodine is essential for optimum hair growth.

Niacin has been known to restore hair pigmentation when taken over a
long period of time.

Biotin has been called "the hair vitamin" because of its growth

Hair Growth Vitamins and Minerals in The Food You Eat
The quality of your hair reflects in part the adequacy of your diet.
Regular well-rounded meals are best for you and your hair. Iron
deficiency due to inadequate consumption of red meat or heavy menstrual bleeding
in women, could cause hair loss. So can crash diets and eating

Vitamin E Sources: polyunsaturated oils and margarines, green
veggies, almonds, sunflower seeds, whole grains, eggs, liver, oatmeal.
Fatty Acid Sources: fish (especially salmon and tuna) and
Beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A and helps promote healthy
skin, hair and nails. It's found in green and yellow vegetables and

Vitamin A Sources: liver, kidneys, eggs, milk, yellow & green fruit
& vegetables (carrots, spinach, apricots, peaches, broccoli, asparagus,

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) Sources: whole-grain and enriched cereals,
pork, beef, lamb, nuts, and legumes.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) Sources: green veggies, blackstrap molasses,
brewer's yeast, liver, nuts, whole grains.

Niacin Sources: liver, meat, fish, poultry, peanuts, and enriched
cereals. Restores hair pigmentation when taken over a long period of

Vitamin B6 Sources: liver, beef, lamb, pork, salmon, whole-grain
cereals, lima beans, carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, green leafy veggies,
bananas, avocados.

Vitamin B12 Sources: liver, kidneys, fish, eggs, milk, milk

Folic Acid: Dark green leafy veggies, liver, kidneys, milk and milk
products, salmon, tuna, dates, whole grains.

Protein is extremely important to proper hair growth. A diet too low
in protein can cause thinning hair or a retardation in the growth
cycle. Nutritionists recommend brewer's yeast, calves liver, dairy products,
fish, eggs, beans, yogurt, and tofu as excellent protein sources.

*Remember, it's never a good idea to drastically change your diet
without first checking with your doctor.

Step 2: Stress Reduction through Aromatherapy and Massage

Stress is one of the biggest reasons people are unable to achieve
optimal hair growth. When we get tense, the layer of muscle covering the
skull tightens up. This is why we get headaches when we're stressed out.

This same tightening restricts the blood supply to the hair follicles.
The follicles become undernourished and affect the condition of the
hair and the growth cycle. Stress can also lead to oily scalp and hair,
and dandruff flare ups.

Hair expert Philip Kingsley says stress causes an overproduction of
sebum which leads to oiliness and dandruff. Kingsley also says that stress
can cause your hair to turn white or gray because your body becomes
depleted in B vitamins, which are necessary for hair pigment.

"Laboratory tests with black rats have shown that feeding them a diet
deficient in the B vitamins turned their hair white," reports Kingsley
in his The Complete Hair Book (Grove Press).

"On reintroducing vitamin B, the hair regained its color. . . What's so
fascinating about all this," says Kingsley, "is that personal stress
demands more B vitamins because the body used more of them up. In fact,
the B vitamins have become known as the 'nerve vitamins.' So, it
wouldn't seem unreasonable to conclude from that that stress could be the
underlying cause."

Dermatologist Dr. Irwin Lubowe concurs with Kingsley's stress theory.
He cites extreme wartime cases where hair turns white when stress cuts
off the melanin produced by the hair's cortex. Dr. Lubowe has treated
stress-induced whitened hair by prescribing pantothenate and PABA, while
Kingsley prescribes B vitamins in the form of brewer's yeast and
defatted liver extract.

In extreme cases, stress can lead to complete temporary hair loss known
as alopecia areata. Alopecia causes the scalp to become inflamed at a
microscopic level which leads to patchy hair loss. Italian researchers
have found that stress lowers the alopecia patients' white blood cell
levels which leaves them vulnerable to the condition.

One of the best ways to relax and stimulate blood flow to the scalp is
through scalp massage. This promotes hair growth by increasing scalp
circulation and nourishment to your hair follicles, which in turn
improves the overall condition of your hair. Self massage while shampooing is
perhaps the easiest way to increase circulation in your scalp. Simply
move the scalp around as much as possible as you shampoo. You can also
give yourself a scalp massage on dry hair with the following steps:

1. Use your fingers to make small circles all over your scalp. Start at
your forehead and work back over your whole head.

2. Run your fingers through your hair and stroke your scalp.

3. Gently pull sections of your hair until you feel a tug on your

4. Release and repeat, concentrating on "pulling out" the stress.

Some high-priced spas perform a treatment called "shirodhara" where
warm oil is poured over the forehead to soothe the mind by calming the
central nervous system. The oil is then gently massaged into the hair. You
can also look into Craniosacral Therapy, a head massage used to treat
chronic pain, migraine headaches, TMJ and a range of other conditions.

Scalp Health and Hair Growth Through Aromatherapy
A normal scalp has between 24 and 40 layers of dead cells which are
constantly moving up to the surface where they are shed. The cycle for
each layer takes 28 days.

Scalp massage encourages blood circulation in the scalp and will help
alleviate tension that can contribute to hair loss. Some massage oils
help moisturize and stimulate the scalp by removing and preventing the
build up of dead skin cells.

Adding essential oils to your scalp massage is one of the best ways
available to encourage relaxation and stimulate hair growth. This is
because essential oils have the ability to penetrate the skin and reach the
subcutaneous tissues responsible for youthful, healthy scalp and skin.

Essential Oils and Aromatherapy
Essential oils have been used for thousands of years to remedy a
variety of health problems, including hair loss and slow growth. There are
approximately 400 essential oils distilled today with approximately 100
used in aromatherapy. The oils are extracted from a variety of plan
parts, including the flowers, leaves, wood, resin, and twigs. They have a
molecular structure similar to those found in actual human hormones,
which is why they provide actual stimulation when applied directly to the
skin and scalp.

Aromatherapy uses essential oils to treat and prevent maladies. It
works because our olfactory function leads directly to the brain where
chemical reactions take place. In addition, essential oils are able to
penetrate the skin and travel to the bloodstream where their chemical
components produce their desired effects. They are also eliminated quickly,
and leave the body between four and six hours after absorption.

Essential oils stimulate the body's own natural healing processes and
alleviates tension and stress. Dr. Susan Schiffman, a professor of
medical psychology at Duke University, concluded that smell can promote
relaxation better than visualization techniques.

Aromatherapy and Hair Growth
An exciting study in the Archives of Dermatology (1998; 134:1349-1352)
even finds that aromatherapy can safely and effectively treat temporary
hair loss due to alopecia areata and promote new growth. The study was
performed by Scottish researchers who had half of their patients
massage thyme, rosemary, lavender, and cedarwood essential oils onto their
scalps each day. The other patients massaged in "carrier" oils jojoba and
grapeseed oil.

After seven months of treatment, 44% of the patients using the
essential oils showed significant improvement in hair growth. The group using
carrier oils showed just 15% improvement. In addition, the aromatherapy
caused no significant side effects. Researchers concluded that not only
did the aromatherapy work, it was also far safer than traditional
alopecia treatments including conventional steroids. Following is a list of
essential oils used throughout the ages to stimulate hair growth.

1. Borage: Prevents scalp conditions and eczema.

2. Cedarwood: Strengthens the hair shaft. Excellent treatment for
dandruff and/or oily scalp. Also used to treat nervous and stress-related
conditions. Used in haircare, skincare, massage, diffusers, and as

3. Clary Sage: Alleviates stress-related conditions including high
blood pressure, depression, and anxiety. It can produce a state of euphoria
and has been used as an aphrodisiac. Promotes estrogen balance in the
membrane tissue around the hair follicle. Used to treat dandruff.

4. Geranium: Alleviates oily scalp and inflammations.

5. Jasmine: Acts as an anti-depressant, analgesic, and reputed
aphrodisiac. Often used to treat problems with the nervous system such as
anxiety and stress. An excellent scalp and skin tonic.

6. Juniper: Used as a hair loss treatment because it stimulates
circulation and detoxifies the body.

7. Lavender: Encourages scalp circulation and promotes hair growth.
Prevents headaches and hypertension.

8. Neroli (Orange Blossom): Excellent moisturizer for scalp and skin.
Soothes nervous tension. Also used as an aphrodisiac.

9. Palmarosa: Helps balance production of sebum. Very beneficial for
both extremely dry and oily scalps. Stimulates new cell growth, regulates
oil production, moisturizes, and speeds healing.

10. Rosewood: Used for general scalp and skin care. Alleviates
depression, stress, and dermatitis.

11. Sandalwood: Relieves depression and nervous tension. Heals dry &
chapped skin. Plays an important part in Ayurveda, the Indian system of

12. Tea Tree: Stimulates scalp circulation. Strong antiseptic,
anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, fungicidal properties.

13. Ylang Ylang: Used to alleviate a variety of hair and skin
complaints. In Victorian times, the oil was used in Macassar oil - a hair
treatment. Also acts as an anti-depressant.

Step 3: Take Gentle Care of your Growing Hair
Now that we've discussed what it takes to grow healthy, long hair, it's
time to discuss how to pamper the hair you already have to ensure it's
in top condition.

As we discussed before, hair is technically "dead" -- But that doesn't
mean you can treat it poorly or simply ignore it. Dr. George Michael, a
world-renowned long hair care expert, said long hair needed to be
treated like "fine, old lace."

That's because the longer your hair is, the older it is and the gentler
the care it requires.

There are ways to smooth the scales on the hair shaft to make it appear
shiny and healthy. There are also ways to properly hydrate your hair
and fill in the damaged gaps to make it appear thick and bouncy. It all
depends on what you put on your hair and how you treat it.

Shampoo comes from the Hindu word champo, which means "to massage" or
"to knead". The main function of shampoo is to remove the sebum that the
scalp naturally secretes, as well as to remove conditioning and styling

A safe shampoo for any kind of hair should have a pH of 4.5-5.5. pH
levels indicates how acidic or alkaline shampoos are. If shampoos are too
alkaline (high pH), it can cause the hair shaft to swell and damage the
cuticle. If it's more acid (low pH) it can tighten the cuticle, helping
the hair to feel softer and look shinier. Unaltered hair has a pH of

All shampoos contain water combined with a detergent or soap,
thickeners, detanglers, fragrance, and preservatives. One ingredient to watch
out for is Sodium Lauryl Sulfite, a harsh detergent. This chemical is
different from Sodium Laureth Sulfite, which is somewhat gentler to the

Some people claim that using the same shampoo every day can lead to
"buildup". You can tell you have buildup if your hair seems flatter and
less lively than usual. If this happens to your hair, switch to a
non-creamy shampoo for about a week. "Clarifying" and "Detoxifying" shampoos
can be harsh and drying on long hair, so you may not want to use them
for an extended period of time.

Shampooing Tips For Long Hair
1. Begin with a pre-wash conditioner such as Jojoba Oil or a heavy
cream conditioner. Leave on for 20-30 minutes if possible.

2. Make sure the shower water is tepid, not hot.

3. Spread a capful of shampoo between the palms of your hands before
working into your scalp.

4. Work shampoo into your scalp before wetting hair with warm -- not
hot -- water.

5. Use the pads of your fingertips -- not your nails.

6. There's no need to shampoo the length of hair below your chin. If
you must wash your ends, squeeze shampoo through, then rinse.

7. To prevent tangles, don't pile hair on top of head when washing.

8. Only lather up once unless your scalp is extra oily.

9. Rinse hair thoroughly, making sure to get out all remnants of suds.
Conditioners coat the hair shaft with ingredients that temporarily
close areas of the cuticle and seal in needed moisture. They also protect
against heat and environmental damage - until washed out. Most salon and
drugstore conditioners primarily contain water and emollients (oils).
The more oils, the more "intensive" the conditioner is. Watch out for
lanolin and mineral oil, which are hard to wash out and can leave the
hair looking greasy and limp.

Botanicals: Naturally derived oils and water extracts of plants that
replace manufactured additives.

Emollients: Vegetable oils such as jojoba, sweet almond, borage,
avocado, and olive.

Sun Protection: We use aloe as a natural sun blocking agent.

Vegetable Glycerin: One of the best water-binding agents.

Fatty acids: Lubricants and emollients that give the product and the
hair a soft velvety feel and keep water in the hair to prevent
dehydration in dry climates. We use flax seed oil.
Vegetable Oils: Leave a protective barrier that prevents dehydration.
Also extremely emollient, providing good water-binding ability. We use
jojoba, sweet almond, borage, avocado, and olive oils.

Vitamin E: May prevent free radical damage to scalp.

Panthenol: (Derivative of Vitamin B Complex Factor). Excellent
penetration in to the hair shaft. Gives hair a more substantial smoother
feel, keeps moisture in, improves movement, and imparts luster. Panthenol
(vitamin B5 derivative) The only vitamin shown to have the capability
to penetrate the hair shaft, panthenol works like most other
conditioning ingredients, helping to boost hair's luster and moisture-retaining

Soy Protein: Plant proteins are attracted to the hair much the same
way collagen is, with the same positive results. Plant protein can also
help bind water to the hair.

Conditioning Tips For Long Hair:

1. Thoroughly rinse all shampoo from hair.

2. Spread about a capful of conditioner between your palms (the amount
will depend on the length of your hair).

3. Apply to the hair from chin-length down.

4. Use a wide-tooth comb to carefully distribute the conditioner

5. Leave on for two to 10 minutes.

6. Rinse conditioner out thoroughly.

7. Do a final cold water rinse to seal the hair's cuticle.

8. Squeeze length of hair to remove excess water.

9. Wrap hair in towel or hair shammy for quicker drying. Don't wrap
like a turban -- this can cause tangles. Instead, drape the towel over
your head like a nun's habit.

10. Use a wide-tooth comb to remove tangles. Never brush wet hair or it
could break off!

11. For detangling and extra protection from heat and the elements,
apply a leave-in conditioner to the ends of your hair.

12. Let your hair dry naturally if possible. If you must use a blow
dryer, blow the air down the shafts.

A final word about treating your long hair gently. Be careful to avoid
hair accessories with sharp edges or sticky elastic. These can actually
tear or sever your long hair, which would make all the steps you've
taken to grow it a big waste of time. Treat your hair gently from the
inside out and you'll be rewarded with gorgeous long locks for life.


New Member
Re: Three Steps to Healthy Long hair

thanks for posting as a reminder to many of us who originally came from longhairlovers. if you go to the archives for ethnic hair, you will see many familiar names there with posts.


Fearfully Wonderfully Made
Re: Three Steps to Healthy Long hair

/images/graemlins/scratchchin.gif i think this has been posted before...