Garlic in your hair?
Garlic contains vitamin B6, selenium and it is rich in sulphur. Sulphur is the building block of keratin, the protein your hair is made of. In addition, garlic also has antibacterial and antifungal properties. All these properties could mean that garlic can stimulate hair growth and prevent itching by removing dead bacteria. But is this true?
The positive effects seem to be supported by the existence of garlic shampoos. Where does this come from? Indeed, studies can be found where alopecia areata was treated with garlic extract and showed a meagre positive result. But alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder. White blood cells attack the hair follicles and cause temporary hair loss. The anti-inflammatory effect of garlic could possibly explain its effectiveness here. But more research is needed to make that claim.
Does this mean you can immediately raid your kitchen for some garlic? Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. The positive effects of garlic are better obtained by putting it in your food than smearing it on your head. The substances such as vitamin B6, selenium and sulphur are absorbed into the blood and thus transported to the hair follicles. Besides, garlic can have an irritating effect on your skin.
Lemon in your hair?
The classic. Many people tried this as a child, or at least heard of it. Apply lemon juice to your hair, lie in the sun and your hair is suddenly a lot blonder. In any case, it is not a fable. It works. The acid in the lemon bleaches the hair, making it temporarily more blonde. Incidentally, this only works for people with already lighter hair colour. However, it is not recommended to do this regularly. A lemon not only tastes sour, it is also an acid. A ph value between 2 and 3, makes lemon juice 10,000 to 100,000 times more acidic than water. And acid bites. This dries out hair and makes it brittle and fragile. This is because it is a chemical reaction that destroys the pigments in your hair.
Trying your hair bleaching with lemon juice once can't hurt. But doing it regularly is bad for your hair in the long run. Because it thus makes your hair dry and brittle.
Olive oil in your hair?
Olive oil contains ingredients with antibacterial properties. It is full of antioxidants, which can protect skin and hair. Olive oil also contains nutrients like vitamin E, Vitamin D, biotin and niacin. The substance biotin is a well-known in the world of hair growth, so does it help to smear olive oil in your hair?
Yes and no. Olive oil may keep your hair healthy, perhaps making it less likely to break down, but stopping hair loss is not proven. A 2015 review of studies indicated that oils in general can play an important role in protecting hair. This is because some oils can penetrate the hair and reduce the amount of water the hair absorbs, making the hair shaft less likely to swell. However, this says nothing about stopping hair loss.
So applying olive oil to hair is probably safe and easy. For most people, the only risk of putting olive oil on their hair is that the hair becomes greasy and heavy instead of feeling soft and silky.
Hair growth products are effective through long-term consistent use. Therefore, putting olive oil in your hair regularly is a bit impractical as a hair growth remedy. For this, you will need to ingest the vitamins contained in the oil to effectively reach your hair follicles.
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Apple cider vinegar in your hair?
Google on the term apple cider vinegar or apple cider vinegar and a wonderful world of the most fantastic claims come your way. It seems to be a panacea that is good for and against everything. Health gurus and celebrities swear by the healing properties of this ingredient that you might only know from your salads. What is this based on?
Vinegar is the result of a fermentation in which sugars, in this case apples, are broken down by bacteria and yeast. These sugars are converted into alcohol by the yeast, after which a bacterium converts the alcohol back into vinegar. Apple cider vinegar contains vitamins such as vitamins B and C, it has antibiotic properties and it contains certain good acids.
So it is an acid and, like lemon, it dries out your hair. Without knowing your own pH level, you don't really know what the consequences could be if you smear it in your hair. It can lower your high pH levels in the scalp, but too low a level is not good either. Because apple cider vinegar is so acidic, applying it directly to the scalp can also cause irritation. So not recommended.
Whatever you do with it, apple cider vinegar will not solve or treat hair loss. The reason it is often associated with hair care is that it is an old remedy for making hair shine and treating dandruff. Its only real benefit then is probably as a hair rinse, as it helps remove product build-up on your scalp. Build-up left behind by styling products or shampoo can clog follicles, leading to scalp conditions like dandruff, and - in extreme cases - can also cause hair loss. But there are also much better alternatives for this with good proven efficacy.
Hair has an ideal pH between 4 and 5, but many commercial shampoos can disrupt this. Since apple cider vinegar has high acidity, it could therefore help maintain the pH balance. However, it is risky and can lead to irritation. Then a wiser choice seems to be to adjust your shampoo that causes this disruption rather than smearing vinegar in your hair to compensate in the hope that it contains just the right values to restore the balance.
- Hajheydari, Z., Jamshidi, M., Akbari, J., & Mohammadpour, R. (2007). Combination of topical garlic gel and betamethasone valerate cream in the treatment of localized alopecia areata: A double-blind randomized controlled study. Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology, 73(1), 29. https://doi.org/10.4103/0378-6323.30648
- Qian, W., Liu, W., Zhu, D., Cao, Y., Tang, A., Gong, G., & Su, H. (2020). Natural skin‑whitening compounds for the treatment of melanogenesis (Review). Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, 20(1), 173–185. https://doi.org/10.3892/etm.2020.8687
- Zaid, A. N., Jaradat, N. A., Eid, A. M., Al Zabadi, H., Alkaiyat, A., & Darwish, S. A. (2017). Ethnopharmacological survey of home remedies used for treatment of hair and scalp and their methods of preparation in the West Bank-Palestine. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 17(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12906-017-1858-1
- Gavazzoni Dias, M. F., Pichler, J., Adriano, A., Cecato, P., & de Almeida, A. (2014). The shampoo pH can affect the hair: Myth or Reality? International Journal of Trichology, 6(3), 95. https://doi.org/10.4103/0974-7753.139078