Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Herbal hair loss shampoo for use post-pregnancy

On Saturday I attended an advanced hair care course run by Aromantic, learning how to make natural therapeutic products for treating hair loss, dandruff, itchy or sensitive scalp, and more! Needless to say I've come back with lots of samplers, and even more ideas for new products. :-) 

The first challenge for this new knowledge is a friend who is losing hair post-pregnancy. I wanted to make her a shampoo to help prevent hair loss and stimulate hair growth, however some of the classic herbs for this purpose - rosemary and sage in particular - are not advisable for use during pregnancy or breast feeding. The shampoo I've made contains the following herbs/ active ingredients:

Horsetail (Equisetum arvense) if you search for horsetail on Google, most of the results will tell you about how to get rid of it as an unwanted weed. As a (wanted) herb, it is generally used for urinary problems. It is a natural source of silicic acid which is essential for the hair, nails and skin. It is said to work well combined with nettle as it opens the pores of the scalp to allow the mineral in the nettles to penetrate. I made a decoction of horsetail for the shampoo.

Nettle (Urtica dioica) is high in minerals. In hair care it can help with dandruff, hair loss, and general hair condition. It's a fantastic ingredient and I've used in in other recipes such as my nettle and rosemary shampoo. Apparently a tea of nettle can also help prevent hair loss. I made an infusion of nettle for the shampoo.

Bio-energiser (Propylene Glycol, Aqua, Pelvetia Canaliculata, Laminaria Digitata) according to Aromantic's website this is "a natural remedy for temporary hair loss... a red-brown liquid made from two brown algae (Pheophycaes) found in the Brehat archipelago in Brittany, France and extracted by a hydroglycolic solvent. Activity tests have shown that when used in Hair Care products (twice a day for two months) it increases the number of hairs by 10% while increasing hair growth by 27%"

Pro-Vitamin B (also known as panthenol) is a popular ingredient in hair care products for strengthening and moisturising the hair.

I've also used a small amount of lavender essential oil to give it a pleasant aroma as well as being a good general ingredient for a hair loss shampoo. If it wasn't for use during breast feeding I would also have added rosemary essential oil (and probably rosemary in the infusion).

Sources: Bartram's Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine, Herbs for Shampoos & Conditioners (Aromantic)
Photo: Flickr 'bornin1945' photostream

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  1. Sounds great, Elizabeth! Interestingly there has been a recent discussion on Henriette's herblist about flaky itchy scalps and hair difficulties around menapause. The advise was to increase minerals - magnesium, selenium etc and good fats and to use nettle and horsetail in a final hair rinse and perhaps as a tea while you wait for the minerals and fats to do their job.

    The thing to remember about post pregnancy hair loss is that it's perfectly normal, you're just losing the excess hair you built up during pregnancy and nothing to be worried about, although I know it feels scary at the time. If the hair loss continues towards alopecia, then you know that there is extra stress around and you need to be doing nourishing herbs and stress resolving ones. (bone broth, more nettles, nettle seed and maybe ashwaghanda, but check with a qualified herbalist about using the latter when breast feeding).

  2. I tried Zulvera and I am really satisfied with the results. It is a herbal shampoo and it is not that expensive. So you can try and see for yourself without taking high risks.