Silicones vs Mucilage
Do you like the “slip” of silicones in your conditioner to detangle, but find it hard to remove? There may be an all natural solution for you called mucilage without this problem, with added moisturizers as a bonus.
This is the “mucus” of a plant. Yes, I know this is sounding gross. Mucilage, according to Botanical Online’s website, serves to protect the plant’s wounds, aid the seeds germination process (keeping seeds moist), and promotes seed dispersal. Aloe vera gel is a clear example of this. (Personally, I don’t use this because when I buy it, it is cooked and mixed with mold inhibitors.)
Mucilage provides “slip” that I need to smooth my hair slick while moisturizing and helps me to ease those tangles right out. You probably have two of these already!
Top plants with mucilage:
- Comfrey roots have mucilage and softening abilities. I use this as a herbal decoction to pH balance my hair. In the future, I plan to try and use by grinding it into a powder and mixing with water, because I did not feel the mucilage property.
- Flaxseed gel seems very similar to oatmilk to me. Many people use this as leave in gel to set and define twists or braids, or slick it back. I will use this the next time, I have some official pictures (besides taking pictures for the site), like family portraits, it really holds my twist outs in place. Recipe is below.
- 1/2 cup flaxseeds
- 2 cups water
- 5 drops essential oil of choice (opt)
Add flaxseeds and water into a saucepan. Place the heat to medium high until flaxseeds start to boil. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl through a strainer. Use and place remains in refrigerator. Also make sure that hair dries completely, especially at the roots to get the full definition of your style. This takes at least a full day.
- Oatmilk is my new favorite for its convenience, availability, and price. It is a great conditioner for a co-wash. It has made my hair sooo soft after being near to straw dry. Store any leftovers in the fridge. Follow with a pH balancer.
Softening Oatmilk (Cooked oatmeal, oats removed)
- 1/2 cup Old fashioned Oatmeal
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar (pH balance) if you have pH strips, a 5 or 6 pH
- 1/2 tsp Amla (Amalaki) powder (opt)
- 2 tbsp Grapeseed oil
- 2 tsp molasses
1. I cook the oatmeal in the water until it is fully cooked, because it seems to be the time when the full amount of mucilage is released. I then, strain it into a bowl and allow it to cool a bit.
2. I then add the rest of the ingredients.
3. I usually separate what I will use and the leftovers before I begin because I have a good idea how much I need for the amount of hair that I have. I think it is good to do this to avoid adding bacteria that might make it spoil quicker. I store the separated amount in the refrigerator.
4. I section my hair (see previous post washing in sections) and apply it to saturate my hair. I twist each section and pin it in a ball, over entire head. Then, I place a plastic cap and allow it to sit for at least 20 minutes, but up to 1 hour. You can check and see if your hair feels that it is softer and has absorbed some of the moisture.
5. Rinse solely with water.
6. Dry hair with a soft t-shirt. To restore pH and keep the hair soft, I spray with water (usually 5 ounces) mixed with a little vinegar (usually 2 tsp or capfuls) - use a pH strip to be sure pH is between 4-5.5. This step has made my hair a lot healthier.
Note: I also used cocoa butter (melted) to seal my hair to prevent moisture (water) loss. It smelled wonderful!
Internal Nourishment for the Hair
I so often find that what is good for me externally is good for me internally as well.
Flaxseeds are good for you of course, rich in omegas and fiber. Oatmeal soothes the nerves and is rich in vitamins.
By hydrating your hair, you improve the chances of retaining and growing your hair longer. It also makes the hair easier to control and style.
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Have you tried a mucilage herb, what do you think?