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Health & Beauty

D.I.Y. Tea Hair Treatments

While drinking tea has many health benefits, vitamin and nutrient rich tea leaves can also work wonders in a beauty regime. Brewing a cup of tea and letting it cool, (as one might normally do by accident!) can result in tomorrow's hair-pampering tonic. Tea can be used to enrich hair color, add softness and shine, prevent breakage, and promote hair growth. Which of these effects you want to achieve will dictate which tea to use in creating a concoction.

Did you know? Caffeine blocks dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone that is responsible for hair loss. Caffeinated teas can help prevent breakage and shedding. Additionally, the tannins, antioxidants, and vitamins, (including vitamin E) found in these brews can assist in thickening the hair shaft, strengthening strands, and keeping hair hydrated.

Just be aware that there is a limit — too much caffeine can have a drying effect. It is recommended to use a caffeinated treatment no more than once a week, as to not counteract the benefits. If the goal is to grow and strengthen hair, using a black, green, oolong, or white tea is a great place to start.

Another potential benefit of the treatment is the addition of highlights to boost hair color along with softness and shine. You can achieve this through choosing a hue of tea similar to one's current or desired color. Some of these teas and tisanes may not necessarily contain caffeine. Blondes can choose a chamomile or white tea; those with red or auburn hair can benefit from naturally-decaffeinated rooibos teas; and those with darker strands should opt for black or oolong tea.

Mixing the above base teas (according to personal hair needs) with an herbal tisane can enhance the regime further. Some herbs can aid in removing product build-up, gray coverage, and dandruff treatment. Rosemary, peppermint, and chamomile can soothe an irritated scalp. Sage aids in covering grays. Lavender can combat an oily scalp. Simply mix these herbs or tisanes in with your base tea, to craft a personalized tea hair tonic.

Overall, unless your hair is naturally on the drier side, it is not recommended to use a tea treatment as a replacement for shampoo. Ensure that your hair is comfortably clean prior to utilizing the prepared tea tonic.

Treat your hair right with a tea tonic.
Treat your hair right with a tea tonic.

To create the treatment:

1. Bring 2 cups (about a half liter) of hot water to a boil.

2. Measure your tea leaves of choice to steep. If loose-leaf is available, one tablespoon of a base tea per cup of water is ideal. If prepackaged teabags are all you've got on-hand, aim for two bags per cup.

3. When adding tisanes or herbs to the base tea, start with one teaspoon of fresh herbs or two teaspoons for dried herbs per cup of hot water.

4. As expected, those with locks longer than shoulder length should prepare an additional cup or two of water.

5. Steep the tea mixture in the water, and let it sit until it cools to room temperature.

For best results, refrigerate the mixture overnight and use the next day. Cold water helps keep the follicles open, allowing hair to reap the maximum of benefits.

Once you're ready to apply the mixture, you have two options for application.

1. Pour the brew into a spray or applicator bottle, or

2. Wear an old T-shirt and carefully pour the tea onto your hair over a bowl in the sink. This will allow you to catch any of the mixture that drips off.

Once hair is fully saturated, massage your scalp to integrate the mixture. Then cover your hair with a shower cap or plastic wrap. Keep the tea in for 20-30 minutes before rinsing with cool water.

If there is any tea left over, it will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Complete the treatment by applying a leave-in conditioner of your choice, and enjoy luxurious, silky, tea-infused hair.

Repeat once a week or as desired!