Sunday, 8 December 2013

Tea rinses

 Tea rinses are a main part of my current hair routine. I tea rinse once a week (although I sometimes skip the rinse, it usually depends on how much time I have on that shower-day). 

  •   Why did I start tea rinsing?
 Initially, my main aim was to try to enhance my red highlights, so back in 2011 I started doing some research on rinses that could potentially redden hair with time. And tea seemed to be the herb that came most handy.  Tea rinsing also seemed to have a lot of pros for my kind of hair, apart from the reddening - like shine, softness and grease-control-, so I decided to try it out.

  • My first rinse:
 I loved the results. My hair was shiny, soft, and it stayed post-wash-clean much longer. My length and ends are normal, but my roots start to get greasy the day after wash-day (which is a bother and has me resorting to dry-shampoo in between washes). The tea rinse seemed to help a lot with that.

 My hair after my first tea rinse:

  • How do I tea-rinse? 
 I use a ton of infusion, a full pot. Given my oily roots, the more astringency I pour in my hair, the better! I fill the pot with hot water from the shower and let the tea brew (I rinse with a tea that's as strong as possible, so I let it brew for quite a while). I wash my hair, shampooing twice (I don't use conditioner), and sometimes applying some aloe vera gel on the ends. Then I rinse my hair with the lukewarm tea and leave it in.

  •     Types of teaCombining tea and other herbal infusions:
 -I started using black tea, but shortly after I switched to red tea, because black tea can darken hair and I didn't want that. The tea I normally use is of the standart teabag kinds that one can find in the supermarket (like Lipton, Pompadour or Hoornimans).  I haven't tried green tea yet.

 -Sometimes I add a bag of hibiscus, or a bag of hibiscus and rosehip, for more red highlights (the pic below is of a red tea + hibiscus and rosehip rinse, it's redder than just tea). I have a feeling the hibiscus might make my hair a bit greasier, though.

 -I've also tried a fancier loose Roiboos tea with aloe vera and pineapple, and the effects have been similar, apart from the different smell. I favour teabags rather than loose tea, though, I prefer not to have to hunt residue from loose tea leaves when drying my hair.

 -To boost the smell, I sometimes add a herbal+raspberry teabag to the red tea. I really like the smell of raspberry, that's the only reason :). Well, and the added red, too.

  • Pros and benefits of tea rinsing (for my hair, at least):

 Practically everything! Well especifying:

-Adds shine.

-Adds softness, without making my hair less voluminous (this is the main con of conditioners for me, especially seeing as my hair is not very voluminous to start with).

-Tea is astringent, so it helps with my greasy roots. I've observed that sometimes my hair stays post-wash-clean for another full day, but that other times the tea seems to have less effect. I'm still not sure why (maybe it's better not to build up, or maybe it depends on other factors,...). Different brands also work different for me.

-Smells good (I like the smell of tea).

 -Adds red highlights. Not very noticeable, though, at least in my dark auburn hair.

-I've also read that tea helps with dandruff, is anti-bacterial, stimulates hair-growth, and can protect hair from breakage.

  • Possible cons for other types of hair:
-Because tea is astringent, tea-rinses can dry out hair, especially if your hair doesn't get a a tendency to get greasy or if it's dry. Some people have reported dryness to their ends or their whole length when tea-rinsing.
-Some people have also reported rough hair, and stickiness or residue when using tea rinses as a leave-in. I've personally never experienced this, I suppose it'll depend on each one's hair and the way it absorbs the rinse.

-If you have light hair and don't want any red tinges, or if you have darker hair but still don't want any potential red in yor hair, maybe tea isn't the best option. There are other rinses that give golden highlights (like camomille), or brown/dark without any red (like sage).

The dryness and/or stickiness/residue could be perhaps avoided by leaving the rinse on your hair for a while and then rinsing it off with water, (followed by some conditioning, perhaps). Or using a brew that's weaker, or mixing the tea with other herbs that might reduce the tea's astringency.
    I always use the tea-rinses as a leave-in because my scalp is oily. My ends don't get dry as a result of the rinse, either. But that'll depend on each head of hair.

The good thing about herbal rinses, though, is that their effect only lasts until your next wash, so no harm in trying it out if you're not sure about how your hair will react to the tea!

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