The phone has been ringing off the hook this week with people looking for fresh neem leaf to make neem oil for their hair. I can’t find the link that’s promoting it but we say thank you (we would have appreciated more this summer when we had plenty of fresh leaf though!)
Neem – in almost every form – is amazing for hair. I started going gray in college (genetics) and color-treated it for years until I realized that the dye was part of my chemical sensitivity issues. At that point, it could have turned purple and I wouldn’t have cared because the sensitivity made my head hurt so badly. I started using neem oil in my hair more to chase away bugs than to color it – but went for another 20 years before it went really gray. (Now I use bronzer — the relatively benign stuff you use to tan your legs – on my naturally red hair.
The fun part is talking to people who use it and don’t realize what’s going on because it happens so slowly. One dear friend in New York has very dry hair, and started using the Anti-Itch Formula to de-frizz it during really cold snaps. Her long-time hairdresser was very upset when she saw her – she was sure my friend had found someone else to color her hair instead of using a natural product to treat it.
We ran a story on gray hair and oxidants – based on research published in the Federation of American Society for Experimental Research Journal – a couple of years ago trying to understand why neem work on graying hair. Turns out it’s probably the antioxidants neutralizing the naturally occurring hydrogen peroxide that actually removes color from hair before it leaves your scalp.
Even more interesting than the link were the calls from people who had already seen the results of neem on balding hair in the Journal of the American Medical Association Dermatology. It was back in the days before you could print reviews but he called to say: “I’d never really thought about it before but my hair looks better than ever, while my brother is balder every time I see him.”
We’re still not sure who (or what recipe) people are using with fresh neem leaf, but we’re growing it as fast as we can. And as I have told everyone I’ve spoken to or emailed, dry leaf is really better in an infused oil. It doesn’t have the water that you need to heat for long times to totally evaporate – which may destroy some of the active ingredients in neem.
For a limited time, while supplies last, we do have dried whole aloe that we had been infusing in coconut oil for salve – before we realized how many people were allergic to aloe. If you’d try the dry leaf, we’ll send a bag of aloe to add to your concoction. (Just make a note in the comment section and we’ll include it.)
And if you’re not into DYI beauty treatments, don’t forget that we make an entire line of easy-to-use neem products for your hair without ever entering your kitchen:
Neem Oil Shampoo and Neem Oil Conditioner – packed with antioxidants but made without sulfates, parabens, phthalates, sodium laureth sulfates or artificial colors or fragrances. It’s pH balanced so it’s safe for chemically treated hair and gentle on sensitive scalps.
Neem Hair Serum and Soothing Scalp Remedy – oil-based products made to be washed out in the mornings with key essential oils and rich botanicals for extra conditioning.
And this month, everything on the site is 20% off with our March Madness sale!