Believe it or not, there’s a plant that can be used in manufacturing clothing, paper, eco-friendly “concrete,” and biofuel that also makes a dairy-free milk and nutrient-dense smoothie. That would be Cannabis L., aka hemp (which differs from marijuana)—and that’s not even all it can do!
With an abundance of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, hemp oil (extracted from the plant’s seeds), when ingested, can help keep hormones in check, promoting healthy skin and hair. Hemp also boasts a perfect balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids—including the anti-inflammatory alpha-linolenic acid and gamma-linolenic acid, which can accelerate cell regeneration and stimulate hair growth. That’s not to mention the free radical–fighting antioxidants inside.
Turns out hemp seed oil is just as potent when used topically, too. At once naturally hydrating and non-comedogenic—it won’t clog pores the way some heavier oils might—it’s rich in ceramides, lipids that can replenish the skin’s protective layer. Natural hair enthusiasts love ceramide oils for their ability to strengthen tresses, as well.
So watch out, coconut! Try these three easy DIYs that harness the properties of hemp seed oil for the ultimate beauty boost.
Blend avocado, hemp seed oil, coconut oil, and lemongrass oil in a blender until smooth. Mix in bentonite clay. Apply liberally to face and leave on for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove with a damp washcloth and rinse well.
Two-Ingredient Hemp Shampoo
Combine castile soap and hemp seed oil in a jar with a lid. Seal and shake well. Let sit for 24 hours before using. Shake before each use, and use as you would any shampoo—apply to wet hair, massage in, rinse, and follow with conditioner. (This batch lasts indefinitely.)
Lavender-Rosemary Hemp Conditioner
Heat shea butter in a double boiler until just barely melting, then quickly remove from heat. Mix in remaining ingredients. Let cool for a few minutes, then whisk until creamy in texture. Store in a squeeze bottle or glass jar with lid (use within one month).
After shampooing, work the conditioner through hair, avoiding the scalp and roots. Leave it in for a minute or two, then rinse thoroughly. This conditioner can also be used as a deep-conditioning treatment. Apply it from roots to tips, leave in for at least 20 minutes, and wash out with shampoo.
Photo credit: Alicia Cho