Hair and skin: defeating SAIL syndrome

I’m not a newbie to natural hair. I’ve cut, grown and cut my hair at least three times in the last six years. What’s different this time is that I’m interested in how to maintain my hair and treat it right so that it grows luxurious and full like Jazmine Dubois on Boondocks (I finally looked her up). I’m going to rock those huge puffs. I’m telling you….

Anyway, I’ve started really focusing on what I eat and what I put on my skin as a way to grow my hair healthy and repair the damage I did to my skin by being lazy and using commercial products. I’ve been worried that I’m not doing something right though because I have this very annoying itch. I call it the SAIL (skin always itching lately) syndrome. Regarding my hair, I can’t say it’s dandruff because it’s not accompanied by flakes on my clothes. And it’s always in the same areas. My skin… well, the eczema I had as a kid came back with a vengeance in my adult years. Right on my forehead.

I read Angela’s article on hard water and figured maybe that’s part of the problem. But I think maybe I should also commit to a regular hair and skin routine, one that I know I’ll do on my day off because I know I’m prone to put things off until they HAVE to be handled. So here’s the plan: Wednesdays are hair and skin full treatment days. Start with the hair, do a full facial work-out, then finish with the last hair steps. I figure it will probably take me three hours to do everything.

The hair routine: First things first. Since I read the hard water article, I figured I’d try boiling the water first and using it to rinse my hair. And while it was boiling, I threw in some fresh sage and thyme to make a hair tea. Once that was done and cooled:

  • First ACV rinse (1/3 cup ACV:1 liter water) because… I don’t know. I just did.
  • Massage my scalp with grapeseed oil. I read massage encourages circulation and to be honest, it’s just a really good feeling to give it the old Bugs Bunny treatment.
  • ‘Wash’ with baking soda (1 tblsp:1 cup water). I massaged my scalp again because I just didn’t feel like the soda was reaching it. The water that came from my hair was a nasty gray color. Yuck.
  • Clear water rinse to get the baking soda remnants and remaining dirty water out my hair
  • One more ACV rinse. I let it sit in my hair while I showered and did my facial treatment.
  • Style with Aveda Be Curly styling product and finish with grapeseed oil.

Finished hair:

The skin routine: I found a routine that’s been good to me for at least a year (when I adhere to it). I bought Quaker oats and ground them up in my magic bullet to make a fine powder. I also used powdered milk to make the initial batch, but I switched to whole milk recently for the lactic acid to clean my skin. I also use Thayer’s witch hazel because it doesn’t contain any alcohol. It’s pricey (about $9 a bottle at Whole Foods), but I get the same results without the drying effect of the drugstore witch hazel. I also use olive oil as a moisturizer. Here’s the routine:

  • Wash’ with whole milk and olive oil (or add oatmeal if it’s a workout day).
  • Exfoliate with a brown sugar scrub (brown sugar, honey and olive oil). That’s my normal routine, but I forgot to mix the scrub when I got in the shower, so I improvised and used the oatmeal and more milk. I don’t use a towel to dry my face. Since I’m in the shower, I give it a good squeegee run with my hand to remove a lot of the water and let the rest air dry.
  • Use toner. Like I wrote above, I love Thayer’s no-alcohol variety. Depending on where you buy it, there are a bunch of different varieties. I initially bought rose water, then tried lavender and now I believe I have the cucumber/aloe blend.
  • Steam for five minutes. Since I was already making hair tea and it was still cooling, I used the steam from my second batch of hair tea. It’s probably safe to put a little oil on your face for a barrier, but I don’t have it hot enough for it to burn, so it’s a judgment call.
  • Mask for about 15 or 20 minutes. I tried a lot of different varieties, but I started using one mixture pretty regularly because my skin tends to be dry and I occasionally break out with eczema: whisk 1 egg yolk, 1 tblsp honey and a little olive oil in a small bowl and spread it on your face. I let it sit until it’s dry or I remember I have it on. Rinse with warm water.
  • Moisturize with oil. I like olive oil, but when I didn’t have any, I’d use canola, vegetable and any other 100% oil I found in the cabinet. When applying the oil, I use my palms to increase circulation since the pressure is a little more even than my fingers alone. Experiment with what works best for you though.

Skin results (I purposely photographed the eczema area. It was WAY worse when I used commercial products):

I may make a facial tea as well and put it in a spay bottle for daily and weekly use just to see what kind of results I get on my face. This is my new routine on my days off. Share any tips you have.

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  1. GIRL!!! A couple of months back I found myself breaking out in scaly, itchy patches all over. At first I was scared it was ringworm or scabies (don’t ask cause I don’t know) but then I chalked it up to eczema, although I’ve never been diagnosed with it. I ran out and got some Aveeno products for bath and moisture last month but it wasn’t until JUST NOW, reading your post, that I thought to attribute it to the water… even though I wrote the Examiner article!!! *face palm*

    I took up My Natural Me’s skin care challenge but I think it’s time to step up my overall skin care game up now that I realize it’s the hard water that’s giving me the SAILs. *lol*

    Great post, as usual.

    1. LOL… your story gave me the bright idea to boil water all day. It’s funny how we don’t put things together like that and realize the results.

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