Emily Baines
March 13, 2016 2:57 pm
20th Century Fox

Many of us were warned us about the importance of a good skin routine, but something a lot of people don’t figure out until later in life is how to have equally healthy hair. Unhealthy hair can cause a million problems, from breakage to greasiness, but there are some surprisingly easy ways to take care of it that don’t involve dumping a bottle full of chemical ingredients on your head.

Unsurprisingly, a good diet is the foundation of healthy hair. According to WebMD, experts agree that “a healthy diet with the right mix of protein, iron, and other nutrients can help improve the health, look, and feel of your hair.”

“To a doctor,” dermatologist Amy McMichael, MD,explains, “healthy hair is hair that’s growing appropriately out of every follicle, not easily broken, and connected to a healthy scalp…. it’s hair that’s as long and full as you’d like it to be. It’s bouncy, shiny, and manageable.”

Yet if you eat right and still don’t have Disney-level locks, there’s a few natural solutions that can make a huge difference. Here are four easy-to-find herbs that can up your hair game in a totally natural way.

The oil of Lavandula angustifolia is a powerful anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antiseptic.

This super-herb is a real multi-tasker: It can increase blood flow to the scalp, make new hair stronger, and balance oil production, which makes it an amazing herb for all hair and skin types.

As an added perk, lavender oil can also repel yucky bugs, like fleas, ticks, lice, and other critters you want nowhere near your hair. Need an extra-extra-credit reason for using it? It may also soothe stress and headaches.

Basil is not just a delicious addition to pizza, it has plenty of health benefits, too. Basil is rich in magnesium, a mineral that is essential for hundreds of chemical processes within the human body– including your hair.

When used as an herbal rinse, basil toughens up hair against breakage and can even potentially increase hair growth, as it brings extra blood to the scalp. The scent is green and refreshing, but if it makes you want some pizza, we’re not going to say that’s a downside!

The licorice root has been used by Egyptians since 3rd century B.C., and can be especially soothing for dry, irritated skin. Many of the properties found in licorice soothe the scalp, ridding it of irritations such as dandruff and scabs. It’s alleviating properties also open pores.

Hair experts claim that, “the glycosides, triterpene saponins, and flavonoids naturally occurring in licorice root work to nourish the scalp and heal damage caused by fungal infection, eczema, environmental allergens, and chemical exposure.” So if you live in an area with heavily treated water, licorice could help reduce some of the drying caused by chemicals that keep your water safe. Well, that sure sounds useful.

Althea officinalis, aka the roots of common marshmallow plant, contain an all-important compound called lauric acid. If you’ve ever wondered why coconut oil is so good for your hair, lauric acid is exactly the answer, so for those with coconut allergies, marshmallow might be the solution! Marshmallow root also contains the yucky-sounding but super-useful mucilage, which works as a natural hair detangler. Thanks, nature!

Well, it sure sounds like it’s time for me to run to the local farmers market and pick up some herbs! I can’t wait to try out these new healthy alternatives.

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