It’s quite common for people who are interested in a more natural lifestyle to experiment not only with food, but beauty products as well. While I largely don’t belong to this camp, I do care about looking good, and at least in terms of haircare this has led me down some experimental paths. By accident, today I stumbled upon a particularly interesting thing that relates to this whole natural haircare phenomenon. Two things, actually — but they are related.
The area of natural lifestyle promotion tends to be chock-full of odd misconceptions about how things work. Take shampoo, for example. A basic, ‘commercial’ shampoo is basically a detergent intended to strip hair from excess oil accumulated on it. You lather up, the soap dissolves the oil, you rinse it all out. It’s pretty straightforward, but sometimes people find that detergents strip the hair too much, and in comes conditioner — essentially a moisturiser that adds some of that stripped natural oily coating back on in synthetic form. However, the movement that swears off regular shampoo is on a perpetual quest to find something that helps clean the hair without all the ‘toxic chemicals’ that in their mind cause disease, cancer, liver problems and every other ailment you can think of.
Thus there are homemade alternatives to shampoo, which often contain baking soda, apple cider vinegar, egg yolk and other stuff in all kinds of combinations. Today I saw perhaps the most unusual one yet, and it involves… rye flour water. People who have tried it swear by how soft, nice, manageable, shiny, amazing their hair is after using it. And while that might be true due to some reasons such as it simply not being soap, natural haircare lovers are not satisfied with this explanation alone. It also has to do with all the vitamins and minerals that are found in rye.
A quick search will also reveal that there is a related fad that involves crushing tablets of prenatal vitamins — a combination of folic acid, vitamin D, iron and some other stuff beneficial for pregnant women — and putting them in your shampoo (or conditioner, the legion that resides on Yahoo answers wasn’t quite sure about that). These prenatal vitamins will then supposedly stimulate hair growth and health. However, there is one huge problem with this perception, just like there is with the idea that rye flour gives your hair useful minerals and vitamins. Hair consists of dead cells that cannot absorb or metabolise nutrients. You can feed your hair anything you want, it won’t do a thing. Vitamins, as I wrote a couple days ago, are needed in the body for particular functions. If you want to feed vitamins to your hair, you will have to ingest them first.