Most of us consider hair our crowning glory, but until we start having problems with it, we tend to take our hair for granted. Having had a few of my own hair voes in the past, I always keep an eye on new haircare launches, within the natural & organic beauty segment in particular, so when a British brand Alchemy approached me, I was instantly intrigued.
Like our skin, hair reflects the state of our general health. However, as they are dead cells, hair issues like splitting ends, discolouration, dry scalp or dandruff can be indicative of past or ongoing illnesses or nutritional deficiency. If you leaf through many publications, including the glossies, you will notice that hair that is glossy and in top condition seems to be trending lately and it is the trend that I wholeheartedly embrace, as part of my own daily self-care evening ritual.
Each oil in Alchemy formulas is organic, fair-trade, vegan & cruelty-free (part of PETA’s beauty without bunnies campaign) and is sourced either from the UK or India
I don’t know about you, but I have white envy of real women who posses long, thick, glossy hair (please make no mistake, this doesn’t include me admiring magazine or tv ads where glossy hair is achieved by clever lighting & editing ). Fairly often women who have naturally glossy locks come from the Arab countries, Latin America or India, so the fact that Alchemy founders are of Indian heritage comes as a natural advantage. Amandeep Panglin, one of brand’s founders, alongside her two siblings, decided to create Alchemy after noticing a gap in the market for multi-tasking hair oils – ones that can remedy damage already inflicted on hair & scalp, while also acting as a styling product. Amandeep & her siblings have been using oils on their hair since the young age, which allowed them to combine their childhood practises with modern knowledge & to create a line of products based on natural oils (no gimmicky or complex formulas, reading through which you get lost) to benefit both hair & scalp. In a way, they have always been working towards setting up their own business & in 2015 a dream became a reality.
Alchemy launched with just three products, Peppermint Beard Remedy, Grapefruit & Amla Hair Remedies, recently adding the Peppermint Brow Remedy to their range (you can also purchase sample-sized versions of the products, as well as limited editions of the products for special occasions). The brand combines Ayurvedic practise of hair oiling from India, where oils are used much more often than in the West, for scalp massaging. There is a notion that oils will make your hair greasy, but you don’t have to worry, if you use good quality oils in the right way for your own scalp & hair needs – more on this later.
Each blend was formulated to stimulate hair growth, treat hair loss, promote stronger hair, soften it, fight frizz, add shine or make hair more manageable naturally. We often want what we don’t have, but it’s nice to have a product that allows you to achieve the desired result, factoring your hair’s unique qualities, while ingredients used have long-term benefits & don’t jeopardise your wellbeing.
Alchemy at its most basic means to convert base metals into a universal elixir & that’s a metaphor for this brand’s oil blends
I have been using Grapefruit Remedy for over a month now & am suitably impressed with how nicely it fitted into my haircare routine. It comes in a glass, apothecary-like bottle with a wood cork that’s quite easy to pull out or push in, allowing you to feel like your own hair magician. Start with opening the bottle, taking a few deep breaths, inhaling the subtly zesty grapefruit aroma and then use it to nurture your hair & scalp as and when you like, before or after washing your hair. Additional thoughtful ‘bonuses’ from the brand to its customers are the accompanying card that gives you tips on the best way to use the product & the fact that the packaging is 100% recyclable. All you have to do is find the best way for it to work for YOU!
Use: You can use it when & how often you want. I have been using it not just on my scalp & hair, but on my eyebrows, cuticles & nails too. It is suitable for all types of hair, including fine, thick, dry, greasy, frizzy or afro hair.
Directions: if you want to deeply condition your hair, irrespective of the season, apply a small amount of oil to different sections of your scalp by moving the tips of your fingers in small, delicate, circle motions, while applying light pressure. Don’t press too hard or pull – this process should nurture the scalp & hair follicles, while relaxing your mind. Giving yourself a regular scalp massage will improve blood flow to the hair follicles, making your hair stronger, longer & healthier. Just make sure that you massage your scalp all over! I tend to start from the top & move outward, but it really doesn’t matter where you start, as long as scalp massage becomes a regular practise – you will notice a difference in your hair growth & appearance in about a couple of months, when you commit to this practise. Good hair takes time, effort & patience – take my word, based on experience, that there is no magic pill to instantly fix hair or scalp problems! While having a haircut of having your hair colour done will improve the way your hair looks, your god’s given head of hair depends on the effort you make to look after it.
With this particular hair oil you can leave it on your hair after scalp massage for at least thirty minutes, but can easily leave it overnight, if you feel that you hair needs some extra TLS, due to weather conditions or styling tools negative effect on your hair. I tend to apply it in early evening & wash it off, shampooing my hair twice, making sure I do a thorough last rinse, before I go to bed. I left it on overnight a couple of times in a month, washing it off in the morning, when I knew I’d have plenty of time & wouldn’t be in a rush – weekends are perfect for it! I would also recommend taking it with you to the gym, if you plan to use a hummam afterwards, as it will allow the oil to penetrate hair shaft better due to heat. Again, this depends on your preference & needs. If I leave the oil overnight, I make sure it sinks in before I go to bed & then my pillowcase ends up smelling of grapefruit ( the oil doesn’t leave any noticeable residue, nor does it stain your pillowcase – I tend to do it when sleeping on cotton, not silk pillowcase ).
Styling: You can use Grapefruit Hair Remedy ( it works particularly well on hair prone to fizz or fine hair) on both wet & dry hair. The brand recommends warming up a few drops in the plans of your hands & working through the lengths of your hair. I tend to apply it to my fine hair from mid-length downwards & as I have a bob at the moment, I literally need a tiny amount. My personal preference is to wash my hair, towel dry it and then apply this oil, to add glossiness & subtle scent to it.
Ingredients: Ricans Communis Oil (Organic Castor Oil), Caprylic/Capric triglyceride (Fractionated Coconut Oil), Persea Gratissima (Organic Avocado Oil), Prunus Dulcis (Sweet Almond Oil) and Citrus Paradisi Peel Oil (Grapefruit White Essential Oil).
Castor Oil stimulates blood circulation to scalp
Coconut Oil helps protect against environmental impurities & excess heat from sun or styling tools
Avocado Oil helps to penetrate hair cuticles, strengthening hair fibres
Almond Oil repairs the damage by penetrating the hair shaft & smoothing cuticles
Grapefruit Oil is a natural hair tonic, which helps fight dandruff
Notice simplicity of the list of the ingredients – just five oils blended together, so they are easily absorbed by your hair, while nurturing scalp & roots, on which the actual beauty & appearance of your hair depends. Styling, deep conditioning and masking all in one bottle! I was also intrigued to lean that Amandeep & her brother Navdeep work together in overseeing production development, making it not only a family business, but a business where men & women work harmoniously together to create something naturally beautiful & benefitting consumers – no wonder it is stocked up by Content store in Marylebone, as well as online.
Finding the right products for yourself – be it skin or haircare, is important, but so is paying attention to ingredients used & the way you look & feel when using a particular product. I also think your engagement with a brand & their communication with the consumers is an important element, but ultimately you have to see & feel the benefit of using this or that product. I like looking at the Alchemy bottle & smelling this grapefruit oil – not only does it make me feel good due to its light, uplifting scent, but my hair condition (I have fine, highlighted hair ) seems to be improving too. After cold winters my scalp tends to get a little dry and I definitely noticed that it seems more balanced now, than when I first started using this oil. My hair also looks a little thicker, more nourished & a little glossier too, so I intend to continue using it during my summer holiday, when my hair will need extra ‘support’ & nurture after ‘exposure’ to hot sun & salty sea.
I also want to stress the importance of looking after our hair from the inside out. Drink plenty of water, eat lots of fresh, preferably local & seasonal fruit & leafy green vegetables, which will help ensure that you get plenty of calcium, which is essential for strong hair. Add to that a combination of the right haircare, not overbrushing & taking care when using a brush on wet hair – all of those elements will work synergistically & help you achieve a better head of hair.
For more information about Alchemy Oils please click here