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Uncommon (But Totally Natural) Things That Are Great For Hair Growth

Your hair and scalp will love you for it.

Hair

As I'm currently on a journey to grow out this hair of mine, a part of me feels like I'm back in school again. I say that because I am constantly—and I do mean, constantly—researching products, tips and naturalistas who can help me to achieve my ultimate goal: longer hair than I've ever had that is very healthy and totally natural.

As far as the naturalistas go, some of my faves include (these are their IG accounts, by the way) naturallytemi (who I believe I recently saw in a Suave commercial—big ups!), naturalneiicey, torichloemiller, univhair.soleil, sadoraparis, evaniwithav and maryamjhampton. All of them have fabulous hair, super-informative YouTube channels and are proudly natural. As far as the products go, I'm actually not that much of a product junkie; at least, not when it comes to commercial brands. But what I will do is find an herb, an essential oil or some sort of other natural item and test it out. Doing that is what inspired me to provide you with this list.

If you've never heard of any of these before, don't feel bad. I honestly didn't either until not too long ago. But if you are looking for some super-effective-even-if-they're-not-mad-popular all-natural things for hair growth, I'd be totally shocked if you and your hair and scalp do not fall in love with all of the following.

1. Moringa Oil for Hair Growth

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Moringa oil comes from a plant that is mostly found in the Himalayan mountains. The cool thing about it, from its seeds to its bark, is it's edible and packed with antioxidants. As far as your overall health, moringa oil is good for you because it contains three times more iron than spinach (good to know if you're anemic or you have heavy-flow periods). Moringa oil also contains amino acids to keep your cells in good shape. It's also got a great reputation for giving you an energy boost, healing ulcers and reducing arthritic pain. Plus, if you're a new mom, it's an oil that has the ability to significantly increase the flow of your breast milk.

What makes moringa oil so good for your hair is because its high amount of Vitamin A will strengthen your hair follicles, its high amount of zinc will prevent your follicles from experiencing atrophy and, all of the Vitamin E that is in it, will increase blood flow to your scalp so that your hair follicles will get all of the nutrients that they need. Healthy follicles mean healthier hair from root to tip. As a bonus, if you massage your scalp a couple of times a week with the oil, you'll see less split ends too. You can learn more about it in oil form here.

2. Chebe Powder for Hair Growth

I am pretty intentional about not abusing the word "love", but when it comes to my hair, if there is something that I am absolutely falling in love with, it's Chebe powder. If you've got any kind of 4-type hair, you will too because it has been hailed for decades as being an ingredient that will help you to grow tailbone-length tresses.

Chebe comes from an African shrub known as Croton Gratissimus. If you commit to using it 1-2 times a week, it will remove fungus (including the fungus that causes dandruff) from your scalp, restore the pH balance of it as well, and deeply moisturize your hair to the point that breakage will truly be a thing of the past. For women with 4-type hair, it is a highly-praised solution for gaining length retention. It really is!

I won't lie to you, Chebe powder is not the cheapest stuff on the planet; but I choose to see it as an investment—a very worthwhile one at that! As far as the best way to apply it, I recommend making a paste out of it and applying it to your hair on a wash day. Oh, one more thing—in order to get the best results, it's a good idea to leave it on for 4-6 hours before rinsing it all out. Hey, I never said it wasn't high-maintenance; what I am saying is it's a total game-changer. (Learn how to make a Chebe powder hair mask here.)

3. Arnica for Hair Growth

Arnica is a European flowering plant that is pretty popular in homeopathy. Some people take it as an herbal supplement while others prefer to apply it as a gel directly onto their skin. Although it is used to treat muscle pain or to help to heal the swelling process following a surgical procedure, too much Arnica can prove to be toxic (when taken internally), so make sure to speak with a doctor, health practitioner or homeopath before consuming it.

Arnica's super strong anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties are what make it a great hair remedy. As an oil, it will strengthen the protein of your hair strands, reduce dandruff, slow down premature greying, help to eliminate split ends and increase the lifespan of your hair overall.

I had a hard time finding a naturalista doing a video featuring this oil, but if you'd like to purchase an organic brand of it, you can find a good one here.

4. Red Palm Oil for Hair Growth

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If clean eating is one of the goals that you set for yourself this year, add some red palm oil to your diet. It's an oil that is derived from the oil palm tree that is able to fight heart disease and promote weight loss. It's got a lot of Vitamin E in it and more antioxidants than tomatoes or carrots. Many health professionals also credit it for healing asthma, treating liver disease and protecting your skin from UV ray damage, making it an ideal oil to cook with.

Red palm oil is also the kind of oil that you can put on your hair. We already touched on what Vitamin E can do, but two additional bonuses are this oil can prevent greying and slow down hair loss. You can get a wash day routine tutorial here. (Head's up, the oil is literally red and can stain, so don't use it while watching television in your living room. You need to be able to apply it where it won't stain your stuff!)

5. Brahmi for Hair Growth

Something Ayurvedic medicine uses quite a bit is the plant Bacopa monnieri, also known by its "nickname" Brahmi. It contains compounds that reduce bodily inflammation, strengthen brain function and is even known to treat ADHD-related symptoms. Also, if you're someone who struggles with stress and/or anxiety, Brahmi is the kind of herb that will naturally reduce your cortisol levels while boosting your mood.

If you happen to deal with excessive shedding, Brahmi powder is definitely something that you should try. It protects your hair's roots, strengthens your hair follicles, and can also relieve dandruff or dry scalp flakes. For a walkthrough on how to make this particular kind of hair mask, click here.

6. Beef Tallow for Hair Growth

If you're vegan, this is a hair solution for hair growth that you'll probably want to pass on; if you're not, this is one to definitely consider. If you don't know what beef tallow is, it's a healthy form of fat that comes directly from grass-fed cows. It contains loads of vitamins A, D, K and E; so much that a lot of people apply it directly onto their skin. It's great for your hair because it reduces itchy scalp, smooths out any frizz and, it's able to give your hair some really amazing shine.

A young sistah sells the concept of using it pretty darn well here. What she uses is a combo of whipped beef tallow and Chebe power as her night haircare routine. Not sure how you can go wrong there!

7. Hibiscus for Hair Growth

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There's a pretty good chance that you've at least heard of hibiscus before; especially in tea form. If you are an avid tea drinker, it's a cool one to add to your collection because it's got lots of antioxidants in it. Not only that, but hibiscus can help to lower your blood pressure, improve the health of your liver, fight bacteria and free radicals, and it aids in weight loss.

As far as what hibiscus can do for your hair, the benefits are kind of endless. It encourages regrowth in thinning areas, strengthens your hair follicles and slows down the appearance of greys. And, thanks to all of the Vitamin C that is in hibiscus, it can boost collagen levels so that your hair has less breakage. Hibiscus can also trigger dormant hair follicles so that they can start growing again. To learn how to make a DIY hair rinse, click here.

8. Bhringraj Oil for Hair Growth

When the Indian herb Bhringraj is used in powder form, it is able to strengthen your vision and even improve your hearing abilities. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, Bhringraj is also able to relieve joint and muscle discomfort and, when applied directly to your temples, reduce the pain that is associated with headaches and migraines. Also, because it is used heavily with Ayurveda treatments, Bhringraj also considered to be a very powerful liver cleanser.

But perhaps what it's best known for is how it can improve the quality of your hair. When applied as an oil, it is able to immediately relieve dry scalp, reduce hair fall, add shine, reduce greying and, if you massage it onto your thinning areas three times a week, it can even fill in bald spots too. One YouTuber shouts out how the oil has worked for her hair here.

9. Organic MSM for Hair Growth

The technical name for the dietary supplement known as MSM is methylsulfonylmethane. Some people consider it to be a "miracle supplement" because it decreases joint pain, restores muscle damage that is associated with working out, reduces the pain and stiffness that's associated with arthritis and it can boost your immune system as well.

Organic MSM is fabulous for hair growth because it contains a sulfur compound that is naturally found in the body. It's the type of compound that makes hair stronger and can even help with hair growth too. The best way to get the most out of MSM is to take it in supplement form (500 mg, twice a day) or pour a couple of teaspoons of MSM powder directly into your hair conditioner.

10. Hops for Hair Growth

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Hops is a flowering plant that is used for insomnia, restlessness and irritability. Sometimes it's also used for bladder infections, post-menopausal symptoms and even underarm body odor. Skin-wise, hops can help to improve skin discoloration over time. Hair-wise, it's really powerful when it comes to reducing dandruff and hair fall. If you want to learn how to DIY a potent hair growth oil that includes hops, click here.

Apply it 1-2 times a week, preferably at night, and watch how much longer and fuller your health becomes by year's end!

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

This Is Why Your Natural Hair Ain't Growin'

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Thinking About Going Back To A Relaxer? Ask Yourself This First.

One But Not Equal: Natural Hair Is Not The Same

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You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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Feature image courtesy of Elisabeth Ovesen

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