Radiant Hair Health Secrets

I have been a hair obsessed nature girl since I was 12. I began collecting rain water in buckets (my dad buy me a shower filter? He would've kicked my fanny if I dared suggest it!) and used herbal baby shampoo from the health food store to wash my hair. I soon added organic masks and oils into my routine. Each Sunday I'd do a hair treatment. I would rub some healthy goop into dry hair. wrap my head with cellophane and warm towels and let it steep a few hours, or overnight.

Well now I know all about acid rain and can afford my own shower filter-so no more rain buckets! I've also received some valuable hair advice that has helped me take hair care to a whole new level.

I wrote to my wonderful hair colorist Bryan Thomson DiPalma in NYC. I was concerned about finding a good colorist in LA. He e-mailed his thoughts and added, in his brilliant, intuitive, and unders- tated way, "Don't stress about your hair. Think Happy thoughts! :)

You know what? Those words totally worked! I had been stressing about having to get my hair done on the road from time to time. You see Bryan is just that good that he has spoiled me for settling for less. But then he wrote those magic words and I knew he was right. You should never stress about your hair for an instant. Everyone knows that stress constricts our auras and yoga tells us that the magnetic field around our hair is 10 times stronger than around any other part of the body! Care Free is Hair free - FREE NOT TO WORRY! Hair should be fun! It's our crowning glory and also our most versatile accessory. We can color it pink, blue, black, red, or blonde, We can cut it long or short. We can ponytail it, braid it, shave it, shag it, bob it, pixie it, or use extensions to fake it! We can top knot it - men can "man bun" it - I do that one on Ravi a lot! :)

The fact is hair grows. Had a hair disaster? No worries. It''ll grow back, and with the radiant hair tips below-it'll grow back healthier than ever! In the meantime your creative ingenuity will kick in and you will find styles that you can rock that you might never have discovered otherwise.

A favorite Hair stylist Norman from Space Salon in NYC who is another wonderful person and hair philosopher said, when I questioned him about "bad hair days" ... "there are no "bad hair" days. There's just "different hair" days. He went on to explain that HAIR ISN'T SUPPOSED TO BEHAVE THE SAME WAY EVERY DAY. You just have to be accepting, flexible, and carefree enough to go with it" Those are not his exact words but that's the jist of it. And you know what? When your hair is healthy - its flexible! Its up for anything! :)

Healthy hair is happy hair and even though I color mine, I also nurture it with gentle sulfate free shampoos and organic masks and oils as well as treat it with gentle care and my hair is as silky and soft as it was when I was 10. I have been lucky enough to work with some of the top people in the hair biz and you know something that I've found that almost all of the ones at the top have in common? They all LOVE the natural products! So, I have been able to gather lots more excellent advice along the way that I want to share with you this month. These things have helped me keep my hair aura bright!

1. Trying to make your hair look "perfect" all day everyday is going against nature and will produce diminishing returns. I had heard so many good things about a popular hair product line from models and stylists I wondered why one of my colorists, whose salon stocked this particular line never used them on my hair, or recommended them. "They make your hair look good," she told me "but they don't do anything to actually build hair health."

The truth is hair product companies LOVE silicone. All the quick-fix hair product lines rely on this ingredient. Cones are cheap and they deliver instant results. Whats not to love? Women use them and go "Wow this works. My hair looks great." That's fine if you like an instant fix. I have learned to be patient with my hair and not want instant results. Nothing is for free. Silicone's coat the hair shaft and gives the appearance of healthy shine. This is why, if you try to add nourishment or moisture to your hair after applying silicone, your organic products won't have any effect. You can only add more cones to cones. They do a great job of sealing out moisture to prevent frizz but they also seal out any healthy form of moisture from getting in to nourish hair. Silicone also builds up quickly and hair gets weighted down and lank. When that happens, the only type of shampoo that can remove them is a sulfate rich one. Sulfates strip the hair and dry it out. Now your hair is a dry frizzy mess so you reach for more cones and start the cycle over again. Please note that If you are ready to give up silicone you will need to re-balance your hair, i.e., remove all silicone before your healthy products can have a good effect. A very effective silicone remover that may be in your kitchen cabinet right now is apple cider or white vinegar (about 1 Tbls. to 1 cup of water). Be patient with the process as your hair readjusts to your natural products and soon your hair shine will be the real deal and not a chemical overlay!

That hairdresser instead recommended the silicone free sulfate free Leonore Greyl line of products. She got me hooked on their Magnolia Oil. Which I have used almost daily for years. It is my single best styling tool.

2. Want to avoid frizz, broken hair, and sleep creases? Get yourself a real silk pillowcase. Not satin-100% pure silk. Silk breathes satin does not and no self respecting Kundalini Yogi wants to sleep with a non-breather! I have used silk pillowcases for years and am completely IN LOVE! To prolong the life of your pillowcase wash it in cool water with gentle soap. Trust me, I used to throw mine in the wash with warm water and detergent. It completely disintegrated. In fact silk pillowcases and our hair have a lot in common they both like cool, even cold, water and gentle non-sulphate sudsing. Treat them the same.

3. Finish with a cold rinse. If you color treat your hair cool/cold water will keep your color fresh. Cold water also closes the cuticles of our hair the same way cold water closes the pores in our skin. When the cuticle lies flat, hair appears softer, shinier, and sleeker. Closing pores and cuticles also helps to protect hair and skin and helps them do what they naturally do, act as a barrier to harmful substances that can sensitize. Unfiltered shower water is full of chlorine and other chemicals which are more readily absorbed when pores and cuticles are open to it. Another reason to plunge into the Kundalini Yoga Cold Shower lifestyle!

4. Invest in a shower filter. Did you know that there is usually more chlorine in our tap water than it takes to clean a swimming pool? Chlorine shoplifts radiance from our hair (and skin!) leaving it dry and dull.

5. Do a weekly mask with a silicone free, moisturizing hair mask (or something from your kitchen!). Put on your mask and cover it with a shower cap and a warm towel or wrap it in an old tee and do some fire breathing to heat things up!

6. Forget drying with your bath towel - they don't do a great job with drying and worse...they can make hair frizz. Instead, dry your hair with paper towels, specifically, the non bleached organic ones from your health food store. Squeeze your hair with the paper towel from roots to tips to get all the moisture out that you can. This will help hair dry sleeker and shorten drying time if you use heat styling.

7. After washing, comb gently from the ends up with a wide tooth comb. Yogi Bhajan suggested we use a wooden comb. Or try a Tangle Teezer (pictured above), I love the Tangle Teezer because it has more give. Never ever pull or stretch wet hair. Its too vulnerable and pliable when damp and this can seriously weaken your hair.

8. Be willing to let your hair dry naturally. C'mon you know you want to! Save all that arm work and torched shoulders for your Kundalini Yoga practice! To air dry: once you paper towel dry your hair apply some nice moisturizing silicone free serum or even a little organic oil through the ends. And then don't touch it again! Let it dry and it will be smooth and frizz free. Or, you can sleeken any left-over stubborn frizz with a little more of your oil used very sparingly. Note: Yogi Bhajan said the best thing for your hair is to dry it in the sun (don't forget sun screen!).

9. Change your part every so often or every day. Change the placement of your ponies. It's not only fun to experiment with different looks but its less wear and tear on your hair. I love the Twist Band hair ties because they're so gentle on hair. Doing yoga? Tie it up in a topknot! Yogis do this to draw energy up to meet the incoming cosmic inflow. Its a matching grant magnified!

10. Eat your way to a radiant head of hair. Hair loves protein! Nuts and seeds are a good source of protein. Hair also loves healthy fats i.e., avocados and olive oil, etc.. Another thing hair relies on is iron so be sure you have enough of that in your diet (please be careful supplementing iron - you don't want to take more than you need!). MSM, silica, lecithin, and biotin are popular and effective hair helpers. Many people swear by the supplement called Viviscal. It never did anything for my hair but if it worked for you, or something else did, I would love to hear about it!

11. Navel Power helps to keep gray at bay! Navel Power represents our regenerative capacity. I have often been amazed that Ravi has hardly any gray hair and I am sure its his long term So Darshan Chakra Kriya practice that is his secret!

Ana's Favorite Hair Products:

Leonor Greyl Huile De Palme (Palm Oil): Smells fabulous and just a little dab on dry hair and I have model off duty hair - seriously! Her stuff isn't cheap but one bottle lasts me more than a year-and you need such a little bit. Its also a great pre-shampoo treatment. And just a little bit adds shine and sleekness to dry hair. Another way to use it is to add a drop to any hair mask to up moisturizing power.

Bryan Thomson DiPalma Hair Products. 100% organic. Sulfate & silicone free. I feel so comforted and nurtured when I use these products. Bryan is a hair color/herbalist genius and his commitment to purity ensures us that his products are of the highest quality. When it comes to hair Bryan (who is a fellow Aussie) really has our back. His products are Australian for nourishing hair care! You can even use his new children's shampoo as a gentle face wash!

Coconut Oil: It took me awhile to come around to coconut oil. I don't like smelling like butter. But, I have to admit when hair crisis strikes and its feeling brittle - it totally works!

Jojoba- This is technically not an oil-but an ester. I search this out in hair product labels (Bryan uses this one a lot in his products). It is super moisturizing but light at the same time and mimics closely our own natural oils. Starting in my teens it was the the first beauty ingredient that I noticed really made a remarkable difference for my hair. It gives me bouncy, shiny radiant hair every time I get near it!