It’s lovely when someone pays you an unexpected compliment, as happened to me this week. It came from my phlebotomist when I went for my monthly blood test. I’d was made up ready to drive straight after to Reading to help celebrate my mother’s 87th birthday by taking her out to lunch along with my two sisters. The phlebotomist commented how nice my hair looked, asking if I’d had it lightened recently as it really suited me. I was thrilled someone had noticed, more so that the treatment I was giving it was working. She asked me what I used and was surprised when I told her it was nothing more than pure lemon juice.
I’m a natural blonde but over the years have turned to a mousy brown, latterly with grey highlights. Up until two years ago I regularly dyed it at home with a branded lightener, but when my hair suddenly became very brittle and matted, as if stuck with glue, my hairdresser explained the colourant was causing serious, permanent damage, and recommended I stopping using it immediately. Which I did. It took over a year and frequent cuts to grow out the damage, with fingers crossed all the while new hair growth would be normal. Thankfully, it was but the colour was dull, making me look and feel much older than my huh-humm years. I was at a loss to know what to use until we eventually get some decent sun here, which always lightens my hair naturally.
I remembered that years ago, long before we had all these fancy shampoos, conditioners and treatments, we used natural remedies for our hair: lemons to lighten, egg yolk for protein and strength, vinegar to help shine and treat dandruff, and beer to condition. I simply rub the strained juice of half a fresh lemon juice into my hair and leave it for about 15 minutes before washing as normal. Not only is my hair slowly lightening, it’s in great condition and feels lovely to touch.
Back to mother. When we went to collect her, she was bemoaning that she really did not want to go out for lunch, saying she felt a mess because she couldn’t wash her hair that morning as she was out of shampoo. I reminded her she could always use washing up liquid, as we used to years ago whenever we ran out, or even a drop of shower gel as a last resort. Her hair looked perfectly fine as it was, we told her. She said she’d been tempted to use the old-fashioned, dry shampoo remedy: talcum powder, except she was out of that too.
Nowadays, we don’t know half of what chemicals we are putting onto and into our bodies, and I am sure a lot of the allergies, skin complaints and breathing problems we have are caused by these. Years ago, many such allergies were unheard of, yet now we are bombarded with witches brews, the air about us constantly pumped with chemical cocktails; goodness knows what they are doing to us.
It is refreshing to know that the old remedies still work. For the first time in years I’m happy with my hair, and hopefully before long, the mousiness will have reverted to at least match the ever growing population of grey, turning me into a proper silver surfer.