I did my research on licorice—lots of research—and it's paid off big time. I've never had healthier hair!
Licorice: The Life-(or Hair-)Saving Ingredient
Now here's an ingredient to get excited about: Licorice! No, I'm not talking about the candy, but the herb. With all its wondrous hair and skin benefits, it should be a staple in your beauty regimen.
Extensive research has led me to believe that licorice-based hair products are an essential component to include in your hair care routine. Why is that? Licorice can treat many problems that have burdened men and women for years, such as hair loss, dandruff, and chemical damage. If you have yet to find a natural solution that works, look no further than licorice.
Look for All-Natural, High-Quality Ingredients
Like I said, I did my research on licorice—lots of research. I looked at the benefits, but also where you can find the most effective hair treatment. Much like any natural ingredient, companies can include licorice in their products with a toxic "companion," such as parabens, silicone, and sulfates. These are not the licorice-based products you want.
You can find licorice extract in expensive dermatology treatments, combined with other healing herbs and essential oils. This is quality. But it's also pricey.
Beija-Flor, a small company with a Brazilian-themed beauty line, is an example of quality without the price. Their Licorice Root Elixir is designed to soothe the scalp and stimulate hair growth. I give them a vote of approval because the eight essential ingredients that accompany licorice root are 100 percent natural. Not to mention their reviews are incredible and the price reasonable.
1. Licorice for Scalp Treatment
The Licorice root, which has been used by Egyptians since 3rd century B.C., is said to be very soothing for dry, irritated skin. Many of the properties found in licorice soothe the scalp, ridding it of irritations such as dandruff and scabs. It's mollifying properties open pores and is great for the hair shaft.
These demulcent properties make licorice a wonderful addition in scalp elixirs. Depending on the quality of the elixir, it can be used as a weekly application to heal dry scalp. Once a week, massage the hair treatment into your scalp, focusing on sensitive areas.
Pay close attention to the word "quality."
Do drug store treatments aren't the best way to go. Many over the counter treatments cost more than they're worth by not offering the benefits they claim.
2. Licorice for Hair Growth
If you're like me and suffer from dry scalp, then this is one reason to use licorice based hair products.
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The other reason is for healthy hair growth. By "healthy hair growth" I mean hair that grows thicker and stronger. Like peppermint essential oil, licorice has a minty tingle that stimulates growth. This is perfect for those whose hair-growth rate is slower than the average rate per month.
There's no solid proof that licorice can prevent hair loss, but it's strongly believed to reduce hair loss both orally or topically. A popular oral method is by drinking licorice tea.
3. Licorice as a Hair Treatment
Many people use licorice to repair damaged hair. I've found reports that licorice can be used as a mild moisturizing treatment. I scoured the hair care forums in search of the topic and found out that several women use natural licorice in their henna treatments to mask the smell, then realized that it also created a silkier texture after rinsing out the henna.
Henna mimics protein by strengthening, but also drying out hair. These results have led many hair care enthusiasts to believe licorice can moisturize just as well as it can strengthen and repair.
You can make your own hair treatment using licorice and essential oils, licorice, and henna, or licorice and hair clay. You can also use the Licorice Root Elixir mentioned earlier. The elixir's main purpose seems to be in treating scalp irritations, but it can also be applied to the length of your hair for an overnight treatment. Don't forget to wash it out the next morning!
Risks and Allergies
I did find some risks with using licorice. Most side effects come from ingesting licorice or using more than the recommended amount. Most side effects are rare, but sample tests are highly advised. Apply a small amount to a portion of your scalp and see how it reacts. Although licorice is a natural ingredient, people can be allergic.
When buying licorice-based products, search for reputable companies. The cosmetic industry is notorious for not complying with health regulations because these regulations aren't very strict. As a result, the finished product may do more harm than good. So purchase wisely and look for companies that implement healthy practices.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2013 Ria Rankine
Clive Warner on December 09, 2016:
Thanks for the interesting article. I've linked to our Facebook page because recently we began making a coffee and licorice shampoo and the results really surprised us.
HABMATH on January 04, 2014:
Very interesting and informative hub.I used to drink liquorice tea for sore throat and colds. I will start using it again for hair growth.Why not?