By Caroltoo Latest Reply 2012-05-12 14:41:11 -0500
Started 2012-05-06 14:33:54 -0500

Several discussions recently have focused on hair health and the myriad of problems many of us who have diabetes have with our hair, primarily because hair follicles damaged by high blood sugar go into resting mode and don't always come out of hibernation when they should.

Alpha Lipoic Acid and Biotin (preferably together) when supplemented with B1 (Benfotiamine), B3, B6, and B12 have been helpful to me in starting new growth/reawakening hibernating hair follicles caused by diabetic stress and cell damage. Don't think it would work for male or female pattern baldness. These are all products which nourish the cells and stimulate the nerve and blood circulation through the small capillary system of the skin.

Because of my concern over my own thinning hair, I have been experimenting for a couple of months with home made products for conditioners. By creating my own, I know what is in it and that the products are really there (not just a drop or two so it can be listed on the label).

Our recent discussion of what unsavory oils are lurking in our wholesome peanut butter, led me to this article about toxic ingredients that are found even in some organic products such as hair conditioners. Yet another good reason to READ LABELS VERY CAREFULLY.

Here's what the article shared:
We were staggered by the parade of probable toxic ingredients listed. Here is a quickie primer on what’s wrong with many hair conditioners, and easy DIY recipes to safely soothe your summer tress stress.

Even among skeptics this may come as a surprise, but cosmetics DO NOT REQUIRE APPROVAL before they hit the market’s shelves. Here it is, straight from the website of the FDA (the agency that regulates the cosmetics industry):

“Under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic (FD&C) Act, cosmetics and their ingredients are not required to undergo approval before they are sold to the public…This means that manufacturers may use any ingredient or raw material, except for color additives and a few prohibited substances, to market a product without a government review or approval.”

Gulp. Well, there are those few prohibited substances…ten of them, to be exact—as compared to 1,100 ingredients banned in cosmetics by the European Union. And while it’s good to know that the FDA is protecting us from mercury compounds and chloroform—what about the long list of other problem ingredients that are prohibited elsewhere, but allowed in our creams and conditioners?

Although hair conditioners don’t ring in at the top of the toxic list (nail polishes and hair relaxers hold that honor) there are enough questionable ingredients to pose concern. Look to avoid these top offenders commonly found in hair conditioners (and note that products labeled “natural” or “organic” often contain these as well):

These chemicals often are disguised on labels under the generic term “FRAGRANCE,” which the FDA permits as “TRADE SECRETS.” The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a “body burden” study and published the findings that metabolized forms of dibutyl phthalates, used in nail polish and synthetic fragrance, were found in every person tested in their national study. BEST KNOWN FOR HORMONE DISTRUPTION, studies also show that phthalates can lead to LIVER CANCER and BIRTH DEFECTS.

Studies show a (strong and startling) POTENTIAL LINK between products containing parabens and increased BREAST CANCER—and most agree that they require further study. Parabens are commonly listed on product ingredient labels as methylparaben, propylparaben, ethylparaben and butylparaben.

The second ingredient in one of the leading kids’ 2-in-1 hair conditioners, SLS and SLES are used in the cleaning industry for GARAGE FLOOR CLEANERS, engine degreasers, car-wash soaps, etc. It is very corrosive and readily attacks greasy surfaces—good for oily hair, not so great for skin. Sodium lauryl sulfate is the predominant chemical used for clinical testing as a skin irritant—that is, they use it to hurt the skin to test healing solutions.

And then there’s the fact that 76 percent of conditioners contain ingredients that are known allergens. Needless to say, we’re making our own now….

Here are some natural (make them at home in your blender) recipes that you may want to try, if you are interested in soft, silky hair that isn't weighted down with potential toxicity.

1 very ripe, large banana
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 tablespoon honey
To Make:
1. Mash the banana. Add the cream and honey and whisk together
until smooth.
To Use:
1. Apply to dry hair from the roots to the ends, cover with a
shower cap, and then wrap your head in a warm towel.
2. Allow mixture to remain on hair for as long as possible–up to an
hour. Rinse thoroughly with warm water, then shampoo as usual.

2 ounces aloe vera gel
1/2 teaspoon oil (avocado, jojoba, or even olive oil will work)
2 ounces organic apple cider vinegar
1 ounce powdered milk
To Make and Use:
Combine ingredients in a bowl and apply to clean, wet hair.
Allow formula to remain on hair for 10 to 15 minutes, then rinse well
with warm water.

¼ cup aloe vera gel (available in health food stores)
½ of a lemon
3-5 drops essential oils of your choice
To Make:
1. Mix the aloe vera gel with the juice of half a lemon. Add the essential oils.
To Use:
1. Apply to freshly shampooed hair.
2. Leave on for 3 to 5 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.

1 cup rose floral water
1 tablespoon jojoba oil
10 drops vitamin E oil
To Make
1. In the top of a double boiler, gently warm the rose water.
2. Once rose water is warm, add jojoba oil.
3. Pour the mixture in a blender and add the vitamin E. Blend at high
speed for 2 minutes.
To Use:
1. Wet hair with warm water.
2. Pour the conditioner onto your hair and scalp, massaging in thoroughly.
3. For damaged hair or extra conditioning, leave on for several minutes,
perhaps while bathing.
4. Rinse thoroughly with warm water.
5. Shampoo lightly and rinse again with cool water.

8 fresh strawberries
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
To Make:
1. Mash ingredients thoroughly
To Use:
1. Massage into damp hair.
2. Cover with a shower cap and a warm towel.
3. Allow to stay on hair for at least 10 minutes, then shampoo as usual

Do you have any favorite recipes you would be willing to share for: hair conditioner or shampoo, facial masks, or bath oils? Be interested in any natural products you create that you would be willing to share with the rest of us.

MY FAVORITE PRE-SHAMPOO CONDITIONER: (all ingredients are organic)
2 T sesame oil
2 T coconut oil
2 T honey
2 T aloe vera juice (or buy a.v. gel & use less)
3-10 drops each: Jojoba, Kukui, vitamin E, almond, avocado, apricot,
and 2 capsules flax seed oil and
optional: lavender, lemon, or orange oil for scent
option #2: if ONLY using on hair, add 3-5 drops of tea tree oil
To make:
measure into a bowl and stir together
To use:
Apply to dry unshampood hair and wrap in hot towel.
Leave on at least 30 minutes or wrap carefully and leave overnight.
Shampoo out with mild shampoo and warm water.

Leftover oil mixture (without tea tree oil):
Add 1/2 avocado, equal amount of papaya, 1 T of coconut sugar and blend into oil mixture and apply to face and neck as a mask. Allow to remain on skin for 30 or more minutes, then rinse well. Um, so soft and tastes good. This is one of the few facials I don't mind getting on my lips.

Here's the link to the article on, if you would like to read more:

19 replies

locarbarbie 2012-05-09 08:55:17 -0500 Report

Carol…I plan to try your lustrous hair conditioning formula when I am next at home (at work now til Sat.) I have all the ingredients but my powdered milk is goat milk which should work great ( I use it in bath tea with lavender buds, honey, oatmeal and goat milk)
I can't wait to try it!

locarbarbie 2012-05-09 08:47:34 -0500 Report

I have stopped using commercial products altogether. I have known 2 women who were diagnosed with cancer and their doctors told them to stop using deodorants and lotions…also things that contained soy. The real wake up call was at my last mammogram…they always advise not to use any deodorant prior and for some reason this time I asked why not? The answer was that one of the components (aluminum or parabens, can't actually remember) penetrates the skin and moves into the breast tissue. I could not understand how if that is true, why just avoid before a mammogram, why not avoid altogether. I asked the mammogram technician if she uses deodorant and she said NO emphatically. I do know that what is applied to the skin does penetrate into the bloodstream.

I have acually begun to make my own health and beauty products…also all purpose cleaner. At this point I make healing lip balms, deodorants, body cream, therapeutic bath salts, skin softening bath truffles, facial skin care, gentle wipes (non-flushable baby wipes), and shampoo. I am working on formulating a foot balm for diabetic neuropathy utilizing healing components and essential oils. All of these products are completely natural…no gmo, no man made chemicals etc.
I am planning to at some point sell on etsy or the local farmers market.

Since using my natural shampoo ( I simply rinse with vinegar as my conditioner), I do believe that I am losing less hair durinng my shampoo than I did when using commercial products…I would end up with a large wad ever time! The best part though is that I have notiiced that my hair is less gray. It has been a while since my last cut and color so I have a lot of new growth…about 9 months worth!! I thought maybe I was just unable to see it so I had my grandaughter scrutinize my hair the last time she spent the night, and she agreed that I have a whole lot less gray than I did a few months ago! I am not sure if it is the apple cider vinegar rinse or the shampoo but I am thrilled!

Caroltoo 2012-05-09 12:01:18 -0500 Report

My mom taught me to use ACV for a hair rinse. Said brought out the red tones in my hair and lemon brought out the blonde. Used both until I was in my 30's, then gradually got away from the "old" knowledge and bought the commercials.

GabbyPA 2012-05-10 21:15:00 -0500 Report

We tend to drift from the old ways because we have to work at them sometimes. Even if it's not hard work, it's still more than a squeeze out of a bottle. I am so bad at this. I start and get excited and then loose steam on it. I hate that about myself...makes me nuts.

Caroltoo 2012-05-11 13:55:34 -0500 Report

I think part of it is that the younger people feel the need to break from what they learned at home as part of their individuation process. Unfortunately, a lot of very good information is sometimes lost in the process. It feels avaunt garde to use "the latest, sexiest hair product" on the market. Few realize it will effect their health and hormones in the years to come. Shampoo, conditioner, and hair spray doesn't come with a health warning: use at your risk!

meowbat 2012-05-12 13:20:41 -0500 Report

After trying (very unsccessfully) to save, or at least treat my hair, I gave up and accepted the fact that I have MEDICINE HAIR!!!!! I, with the somewhat help of my hubby, chopped it all off!!!! I now have about an inch of the rediculous stuff to look at. On a light note, every morning, I wake up PUNKED and SPIKED!!! Never a dull moment with D-2

GabbyPA 2012-05-12 14:41:11 -0500 Report

Well, at least you have a good attitude about it. My hubby would die if I cut mine off that way, but I have been tempted at times.

GabbyPA 2012-05-09 09:00:25 -0500 Report

When you rinse with vinegar how do you keep from smelling like a pickle?

locarbarbie 2012-05-09 09:25:23 -0500 Report

Great question Gabby! I keep my organic ACV and a large plastic bowl near the tub. I put about 1 tbsp or so of ACV into the bowl and add about 1 cup of warm water. I carefully pour onto all my hair and scrunch it around a bit, being careful not to get any in my eyes. I let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse, rinse, and rinse some more with clear water…voila, no smell whatsoever!
It makes it easy to comb through without any tangles and makes your hair shiny, and brings it back to the proper PH from what I understand.

GabbyPA 2012-05-10 21:13:51 -0500 Report

Thank you. That is great information to know. If you premixed it, would it loose it's effectiveness?

GabbyPA 2012-05-06 17:02:29 -0500 Report

I love these...printer on! Thanks so much

Caroltoo 2012-05-06 17:37:44 -0500 Report

Enjoy! Did you notice that the coconut oil did make it into this recipe of mine?

GabbyPA 2012-05-07 20:54:20 -0500 Report

Yep! I had a rainwater conditioner today. We just set out rain catchers and filled one in one rain storm. So I think I will try to use rain water in them too. That is so soft all by itself.