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Ancient & Natural Beauty

Ancient Beauty Traditions and Rituals are culturally centered. But beauty- diversity has resurrected some of these tried-and-true practices, plucking them from obscurity, from family and cultural traditions, into the mainstream. However, they go largely understudied when it comes to efficacy. We will discuss those cross sections here.

Ancient and Natural Beauty is one of my favorite topics! A return to beauty roots, with special focus on organic/natural based skincare and beauty.

Updated periodically, come back often!

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Flaxseed Gel/Serum:

Ancient Hair Hydration

The increased interest in flaxseed gel/serum may seem like a wave of a new hair fad or beauty product, concocted; quite literally, by the natural beauty and natural hair movement. But interest around caring for curly and natural hair is much needed and well deserved; and the use of flaxseed for hair uses and hair health, are in fact, not a fad but an ancient tradition. 

Flaxseed gel and flaxseed-based hair products are well-known in natural curly hair and natural hair circles because they are a part of hair care traditions, of those with that hair type. In addition, naturally curly hair tend to have issues with dryness due to the fact that natural hair oils, sebum, have a difficult time traveling from the scalp down

 

the hair shaft to the tip. The curlier and kinkier the hair, the easier the hair, can become dryer at the edges and oilier at the scalp. Therefore, concerns around keeping curly or wavy hair, moisturized from scalp to tip, while preventing over-production of oil at the scalp, is an important part of many curly haired women (or men, if long hair) hair-care needs. 

 

Flaxseed has been cultivated for more than thousands of years, the earliest noted, was in Babylon before 3,000 B.C.

Also, famed Greek Physician Hippocrates wrote about flax seed consumption and treatment in 650 B.C. [1]. The whole plant is used for food-human and animal feed, medicinal, and commercial uses, especially as fiber for clothing. When ingested it is known as flax or flaxseed; but as a fiber and for animal feed formulations, it is known as linseed.

 

 


 

Benefits around the ingestion of flaxseed, whether in the form of seed or oil have shown numerous health benefits; from reduction of cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis, autoimmune and neurological disorders. [2]

 

Flaxseed is considered an anti-inflammatory and inflammation reducing food due to it's makeup of rich omega-3 fatty acids and lignans. Benefits around the ingestion of flaxseed for health are widely studied. We will discuss these health benefits in more detail in a different part of the blog site. Though, outward beauty benefits are also the result of internal benefits from nutrition. It is important to note that the concerted effort of good nutrition and topical natural beauty products/practices often work better in synergy. 

Continually, there are few direct cosmetic or beauty related research around flaxseed benefits on hair care. There will be some

Female Model with Curly Hair
Author: Rose D.

degree of speculation involved here, regarding the benefits of flaxseed gel. For our purposes, we will focus on the chemical makeup of flaxseed and perhaps its properties in keeping hair hydrated. 

Flaxseed gel benefits can depend on their hydration mechanisms due to solubility and water and oil retention capacity [2]. Flaxseed is not considered a complete source of essential amino acids for ingestion, but the protein makeup of flaxseed for topical use can be beneficial. Dried flaxseed before oil extraction contains about 21-23% of Protein and 43% to 45% of Lipids. Some of this is lost during the cooking/heating/cooling process during the making of the gel. But Natural, DIY, and Homemade preparation of flaxseed oil will have more percentages of protein and lipids as compared to commercial preparation.

 

Seed Delivery

Mucilage is the thick, gluey substance produced by almost all plants and microorganisms. Flaxseed is a plant that contains mucilage, about 6%, and other plants high in mucilage include Aloe Vera, Fenugreek, Kelp, Cactus, and Okra. Mucilage of flaxseed consists of both acidic and neutral polysaccharides. [5]

Flaxseed gel preparation is the hydrolysis of flaxseeds. Flaxseed is highly absorbent. Therefore, flaxseed gel is the product of increased mucilage during the cooking process, where water molecules withdraw mucilage, that lends to the viscosity of the gel.

Flaxseed gel is highly emollient and is extremely  

  

moisturizing for skin and hydrating for hair when applied.

 

Flaxseed gel, contains protein, oils, and polysaccharides which provides benefits such as:

  • Strengthening & Conditioning Hair

  • Assisting with defining curls. The gelatinization and mucilage allow easier separation of hair pieces while allowing some stiffness/structure for light styling.

  • Repairing split-ends.

  • Protecting hair from split ends and further damage from chemical or environmental stripping.

Natural Flaxseed Gel_Serum Recipe Card.p

Natural Flaxseed Gel/Serum Recipe

References:

[1] (2020) Flax Council of Canada: An Ancient Crop. Retrieved from https://flaxcouncil.ca/resources/about-flax/an-
               ancient-crop/
 

[2] Goyal, Ankit et al (2014). Flax and flaxseed oil: an ancient medicine & modern functional food.  J Food Sci Tech,
               51(9):1633–1653

[3] Kajla, P. et al (2015). Flaxseed-a potential functional food source. Journal of food science and technology, 52(4),
               1857–1871. 

[4] Westgate, Gillian E. et al. (2017). The biology and genetics of curly hair. Experimental Dermatology, 26:483–490.

[5] Zhang, Wenbin et al (2009). Demucilaging and dehulling flaxseed with a wet process. LWT - Food Science and
                Technology, 
42 (6), 1193-1198.

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