Health, strength and beauty of hair depends primarily on its nerve vigor and the good circulation of the oily scalp secretion which gives it gloss and luster. Beauty is not so much a matter of color where hair is concerned. If your hair has a fine glow, a rich sheen, is thick and long, it will be beautiful irrespective of its pigmentation. Hair often makes an otherwise plain person beautiful. And practically every woman, if she cares to make the effort, may have beautiful hair.
SOME HAIR HINTS
If you have the least suspicion of a curl in your hair, brushing around rather than straight will bring it out. Do not worry if you shed your hair. It is natural for the hair to shed — and to keep right on growing in again. Only see to it that the in growth is equal to the loss by shedding.
No young girl should use a rat. Metal combs should be tabooed. Keep the hairbrush you use for dandruff stiff, the “polishing” brush may be softer. Use a hair net that matches your own hair color, and do not get too small a one. Remove snarls and tangles in the hair gently, with fingers, before brushing. The three-weekly or monthly shampoo is a good rule. If you wash your hair too often, it will turn dry and brittle and change color.
The hair should never be worn “done up” constantly. This is injurious because every part of the hair should have frequent air and sun baths. For normal shampoo employ Castile, tar or vegetable soaps, and Green soap for oily hair. A good egg shampoo may be made of an egg, thoroughly beaten, one tablespoon alcohol, four ounces bay rum, a pinch of borax, and four ounces of Castile soap mixed in a pint of hot water, to be used when cool.
Hair that is blonde or ruddy, as well as gray hair, may be washed with Castile soap jelly plus a quarter-teaspoonful of borax. Always comb and brush thoroughly, with finger-tip massage. After shampooing is the best time for scalp massage, hair pulling and skin loosening.
DRY SHAMPOO AND SCALP MASSAGE
The scalp and hair should be cleansed between shampoos. For this purpose the “dry shampoo” is necessary. It is actually a form of scalp massage. Preparations of orris, corn meal and other dry shampoo powders are not recommended. They stick, and it is hard to get them out of the hair. A vigorous rubbing of the scalp after the hair has been parted, using a small piece of muslin over the tip of the finger, is best. Hot and cold applications are good, with or without shampoo, especially if the hair is falling. Remember that the hair should not be “hot-air” dried. The hot-air cone used for the purpose in hairdressing establishments destroys the hair. Human hair should always be dried by hand.
Scalp massage makes the hair grow and prevents many hair troubles. A five-minute finger-tip massage, night and morning, is the one ounce of prevention worth a pound of cure. The electrical massage by a professional (after a shampoo), the violet ray, and the rubber-disk vibrator are all excellent for the hair. They strengthen and stimulate.
Massage is the first and best hair tonic. Though a good scalp lotion may stimulate circulation, massage always does so more directly. In general it will be wise to remember that tonics are meant for specific purposes of cure for hair disorders, rather than for common use. A little refined beef marrow rubbed gently into the hair roots is a good natural tonic (though an old-fashioned one) and together with plenty of fresh air and sunshine, does more for the hair than all the compounded tonics and “restorers” marketed. Every woman can keep her hair in good condition if she chooses to. If she cannot give it attention in the morning she should do so at night.
Most hair troubles could be prevented in the start by ordinary good care of the hair, and the maintenance of the state of general good health. Of course, various diseases affect the hair: fever dries it out and makes it fall; syphilis and other sex diseases poison and destroy it. Some skin diseases have the same effect. In general, if you are healthy, broadly speaking, your hair will be healthy too.
Dandruff—What we have to deal with in dandruff is a horny layer cast off by the scalp. This layer thickens, closes the pores, diminishes the hair’s oil supply, and prevents the perspiration glands from getting rid of waste. Soon the hair loses tone and color, and is covered with whitish powder. Then it starts to itch and fall. In an advanced state of the disease, the hair falls out, and blood crusts form on the scalp as a result of scratching. Digestive disorders, toxic elements in the blood or local irritation may cause dandruff, and it is communicable.
Daily care of the scalp, massage and brushing, if persisted in when the disorder first appears, are very beneficial. The crude oil massage of the scalp, not the hair, is excellent and often effects a cure. A massage every night, using olive oil, together with repeated shampoos, also helps to do away with dandruff. Although pomades in general should be avoided, a pomade with a precipitated sulphur base, mixed with glycerine, rose-water, lanolin, and soap, or a sulphur ointment or cream kills the dandruff germ.
There is an “oily dandruff,” also, though the disease is most commonly a dry scalp one. Shampoo with tincture of Green soap should cure this type of the disease in about a week’s time. If you have dandruff, observe a regular diet, and stick as much as possible to milk and fresh fruit.
Falling Hair—An acid condition of the blood encourages the hair to fall. Correct it and you will have removed the cause of your complaint. The use of the violet ray and the vibrator, which hold down the tendency to an oily scalp, is also valuable for hair treatment in this connection. So, too, are hot and cold applications.
HAIR DISEASES WHICH SHOULD NOT OCCUR
Favus, the development of yellow scalp crusts, accompanied by severe itching, bald spots and a musty odor, is a dirt disease, hence inexcusable in a woman, unless as a result of infection. To remove it the scalp must be soaked in olive oil for a few days, carbolic acid being mixed with it in a weak solution, the hair pulled out of the most infected areas, the crusts removed, and the whole scalp shampooed with an antiseptic soap.
Ringworm is usually a gift of those evil things, the “common property” comb and brush, or the patent hair clipper. Rubbing with sulphur ointment, washing with bichloride soap, or painting with iodine, to precede the application of a cleansing ointment, is the treatment. It is dangerous since it may result in baldness.
Head lice (which may be cured by saturating the hair with kerosene or crude petroleum at night, wrapping in a towel to retain fumes, and following by antiseptic soap shampoo) is a most disgusting trouble, and unless communicated cannot occur except as a result of neglect and uncleanliness. The possibility of contagion constitutes the menace of all three of these diseases.