Sunday, July 18, 2010

Good For Your Tresses

Scalp Massage: Good For Your Stresses, and Your Tresses by Deborah Dunham

If you -- or your tresses -- feel worn out by the end of the day, why not try giving yourself a scalp massage?

It won't hurt.

Rather, in a matter of minutes, your fingertips can help melt away fatigue, tension and even headaches. Not only does it feel great, but a regular scalp massage can also increase blood circulation to the hair follicles which will nourish and strengthen your locks. And, because stress can be a contributing factor for hair loss, massage is a natural way to help hang on to those strands.

For the best tips on how to treat yourself to a relaxing and stimulating scalp massage, we consulted with Janice Cox, author of "Natural Beauty at Home" and co-author of "EcoBeauty" with her daughter, Lauren Cox.

Cox suggests the following moves for immediate relaxation:

1. Stroke your head lightly all over from the forehead to the back of the neck and from the temples, over the ears to the neck.

2. Make small firm circles all over your scalp, working from front to back with your thumb and fingertips. Pay particular attention to the area around your ears and at the base of your skull where tension can build up. Manipulate the scalp muscle and help loosen it.

3. Stroke all over your hair gently, and then grab a handful of hair at the roots and pull firmly, but gently.

4. Release the hair and then run your fingers through it. Pulling out tension.

5. Position your hand on either side of your head. Press your hands in gently for a few seconds and then release.

6. Repeat all over your head, neck and temples.

Coconut oil is the perfect accoutrement to a scalp massage. It leaves a protective coating on the hair after washing, which holds in moisture and provides a barrier against the sun and heated hair appliances. Olive oil and almond oil also work well. Use a small amount to avoid an oily scalp.

Here are a few of Cox's at-home, eco-friendly hair recipes that you can use to enhance your scalp massage experience:

Rosemary Hair Oil
Rosemary is believed to stimulate hair growth. Mixed with olive oil it makes a relaxing hair treatment.

4 drops rosemary essential oil
1 /2 cup olive oil

Mix together the olive oil and rosemary. Pour into a clean bottle with a tight fitting lid. To use: Massage a small amount into your scalp after shampooing and before going to bed.

Refreshing Summer Massage
During the summer months, some people prefer to use a lighter massage solution. This recipe is tingling, cooling and perfect for use at the end of a hot, humid day to refresh both your scalp and your spirit.

1 /2 cup witch hazel
1/ 2 teaspoon vegetable glycerin (available at most drug stores)
1 /4 teaspoon castor oil
1 -2 drops essential oil of lavender (optional)

Mix together all ingredients and pour into a clean container with a tight fitting lid. To use: Shake gently then pour a small amount into your hands and massage into the scalp.

Dandruff Cure
A clean scalp is also a healthy scalp. Use this simple recipe to cleanse and refresh your head and rid it of any dandruff. Fresh onions have the ability to draw impurities from the skin and destroy bacteria. Use this recipe before shampooing.

1 medium onion, chopped
1 /2 cup water
1 cup rum or witch hazel

Mix together the onion and water and heat them both until the onion is soft and steamed. Let the mixture cool completely, then add the rum or witch hazel. Cover the mixture and let sit overnight. Strain off all solids and pour the liquid into a clean container. To use: Massage a small amount into your scalp before shampooing daily and continue until the scalp is clear and your dry skin condition or dandruff is gone.

Give one -- or all -- of the recipes a try and tell us what you think!
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