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7 Essential Oils All Naturalistas Need For Their Hair

Hair

Ever since my late fiancé pulled out a pair of clippers during my second year at college, my hair has pretty much been some variation of short. If it wasn't a fade, it was a TWA with a mild texturizer in it, if it wasn't that, it was some sort of mini Frohawk. But around 18 months ago, I took my clippers and shaved my head bald in the hopes of starting anew and actually getting a little length. Let me just say from personal experience that if you ever want to learn a few lessons in patience, commitment, and consistency, don't only attempt to grow your hair out, attempt doing it in its natural state. WHEW-HEE.

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As I've been in the process of figuring out what works for me (Jamaican Mango & Lime Rosemary Castor Oil) and what doesn't (wetting it all of the time), there are some essential oils that are truly my tresses best friends.

So if, like me, you're trying to make this natural thing happen in a really BIG way, I'm here to tell you that if you stock up on the following oils (and mix them in with a carrier oil like sweet almond, coconut, olive, grapeseed or avocado)—you will notice a healthier scalp, stronger hair and (what I'm personally after right now) a good amount of length retention too. Ready?

7 Essential Oils Your Natural Hair Needs

1. Lavender

In my humble opinion, every woman should have at least one bottle of lavender oil in her possession. Health-wise, it calms your nervous system, relieves headaches, heals acne, induces sleep, and, if you apply it to your abdomen during your cycle, it can make your cramps more tolerable too.

As far as your hair goes, it's the kind of oil that stimulates hair growth. Also, because of its powerful antimicrobial properties, lavender oil also reduces scalp inflammation while treating dandruff (and lice) too.

Hair Regrowth Tip: Mix ½ teaspoon of lavender oil with ½ teaspoon of rosemary and five drops of grapeseed oil. Let the oil combination heat in the microwave for five seconds and then massage your scalp with the solution every other night. It's a great way to pamper your scalp, stimulate your hair follicles, and also heal your scalp if you happen to have alopecia.

2. Rosemary

A lot of people sleep on rosemary oil, but they shouldn't. It does everything from improve brain function and alleviate stress to reduce joint inflammation and increase blood circulation. It's actually the oil's ability to help in the blood circulation department that makes it an awesome hair growth potion.

The more blood that flows to your scalp, the more nutrients your hair follicles are able to receive and the faster your hair will grow over time. Also, if you happen to struggle with patches of hair loss, rubbing some rosemary over those areas can heal them within a matter of 4-6 months.

Hair Mask Tip: Crack one egg. Then add to it one teaspoon of raw honey, one teaspoon of olive oil, and five drops of rosemary oil. Use a small whisk to blend everything together and then apply it to your freshly-washed hair. Let it sit on your hair and scalp for about 30 minutes, then rinse with lukewarm water first, cool water second (to seal your cuticles). Your hair will instantly feel much softer.

3. Peppermint

Neither one of us has the time to get into all of what peppermint oil can do. But just to give you a brief rundown—peppermint oil relieves muscle pain, treats seasonal allergies (because it acts as an expectorant), increases workout performance, protects skin from sun damage, alleviates headaches, freshens bad breath, and effectively treats irritable bowel syndrome too.

Your hair and scalp will love this oil because (thanks to the menthol that's in it) it fights the yeast the causes dandruff, nourishes damaged tresses, and it even makes hair thicker.

Hair Conditioner Tip: Add 4-5 drops of the oil into your conditioner. Let the conditioner sit on your hair and scalp for 20 minutes before rinsing and styling as usual. You should notice less dandruff and thicker hair within a couple of months (tops).

4. Thyme

This is another kind of oil that's well worth the investment. Thyme essential oil is a cicatrizant which is a fancy word that means it promotes the healing of scars. Thanks to the antibacterial and antifungal properties that are in thyme, it also can boost your immune system. Plus, the carminative properties in this oil reduces gas while its expectorant and antispasmodic properties can help to speed up the symptoms that are associated with a cold or the flu.

It's a great oil for natural hair because it's another one that promotes hair growth. There are even studies to support that if it's combined with grapeseed oil, it can reduce the symptoms associated with alopecia areata after about seven months.

Hair Growth Tip: If you mix 10 drops of thyme essential oil, one tablespoon of raw honey and ½ cup of raw apple cider vinegar together in a plastic spray bottle and spray it on your hair and scalp daily, not only will it stimulate hair growth, it will soothe your itchy scalp and clear up dandruff as well.

5. Ylang Ylang

It might not be the most common essential oil on the market, but don't let that stop you from picking up some. Ylang Ylang (pronounced EE-lang EE-lang) contains properties that make it an antiseptic, aphrodisiac and sedative all in one! If you're feeling a little depressed, you've got high blood pressure or you're looking for the kind of oil that will give your libido a bit of a boost, Ylang Ylang's got your back. Word on the street is that it's even used to treat arthritis and pelvic inflammatory disease.

How can it help your natural hair? For one thing, with regular use, it can help to reduce hair fall. It's also a great way to treat thinning tresses. Also, if you suffer from chronic scalp dryness, Ylang Ylang can moisturize your scalp without clogging up your follicles in the process.

Hair Spritz Tip: Add five drops of Ylang Ylang and ½ teaspoon of vegetable glycerin to a bottle that is filled with distilled water. Spray your hair throughout the day. It serves as a wonderful humectant spritz.

6. Ginger

Ginger oil has the reputation for being the "gut-friendly oil"; that's because it's able to soothe motion sickness, nausea, diarrhea, stomach aches, and vomiting. It's also the kind of oil that kills bacteria, reduces inflammation and strengthens the heart. Thanks to all of the antioxidants that are in ginger oil, it can fight free radicals in the body. And, it's another oil that increases sexual desire (it even helps to treat erectile dysfunction).

The antioxidants and nutrients in this spicy oil make it another one that increases blood circulation to the scalp. And, if your hair is dry and brittle, it can make it much softer after just one application.

Scalp Massage Tip: Add six drops of ginger essential oil to three tablespoons of organic coconut oil. Pop the combination into the microwave for five seconds and massage your scalp before going to bed. It will help to heal your scalp and restore hair loss too.

7. Clary Sage

Clary Sage is a flowering herb that has a great reputation for reducing stress and also treating menstrual and menopause symptoms. If you rub the oil directly onto your lower abdomen, it will decrease the intensity of your cramps. As far as menopause goes, the sclareol that's in it mimics the estrogen. This results in fewer mood swings and hot flashes.

If you're looking for the kind of essential oil that not only stimulates hair growth but also balances out the oils on your scalp, fights dandruff and helps to keep your hair shiny, clary sage will do it for you. It's also known for helping to balance out the hormones that could lead to excessive hair shedding.

Hair Thickening Tip: Mix 25 drops of rosemary, clary sage and cedarwood (it's another oil that promotes hair growth) to three ounces of grapeseed oil. Put it in a glass bottle, shake well and massage it onto clean damp hair. Let the mixture sit for 25 minutes, then rinse and style as usual. It will condition your hair will giving it more natural elasticity too. All that you need for long, healthy NATURAL hair!

Featured image by Getty Images.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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