For some people, hair is the most important aspect of their physical appearance. And whatever we decide to do with our locks, there are a lot of ways in which we can keep them healthy; indeed, the hair-care industry puts out new products that claim to help tame our follicles on a regular basis. Over the last few years, though, a surprising new trend has emerged: sea salt in shampoos. But just why has this unusual ingredient proved so popular?
Like a lot of other industries, the hair-care sector is an ever-changing beast, with trends coming and going fairly quickly. And as hair can vary a lot from person to person, what works for one individual may not do much for another. Regardless of this fact, though, some methods, ingredients and products do end up being adopted widely in the quest for luscious locks.
Back in 2017, for example, women were advised to double cleanse in order to achieve healthy, shining hair. Lifestyle and fashion website Refinery29 was among those leading the charge on the trend – and according to the site, this particular method led to “impressive results.”
“What is double hair cleansing?” wrote Refinery29’s Hannah Coates in April 2017. “Instead of shampooing your hair once, you shampoo it twice. This is the only way to effectively remove the residues that build up in your hair throughout the day.” Coates then made a simple comparison to hammer the point home.
“Much like double cleansing your face ensures it’s squeaky clean – and therefore radiant – doing the same for your hair leaves the scalp in its optimum condition, leaving hair as shiny as humanely possible,” Coates went on. L’Oreal U.K.’s Steve Shiel also offered some scientific insight into the reasoning behind the method.
According to Shiel, double cleansing could play an important role in maintaining the well-being of your locks. “The first cleanse works hard to remove [hair] residues, which include dead skin cells, natural oils and atmospheric pollutants,” he told Refinery29. “The second completely eliminates them and boosts hair health.”
And with double cleansing, Coates continued, you may not need to wash your hair as frequently as you currently do. Yet this may not be the case for everyone, the writer added, and she went on to give some examples in order to provide more clarity.
“Those who use lots of styling products, whose hair is particularly oily or who live in a city should be double cleansing more often than those with a drier scalp or head of hair,” Coates explained. “Once or twice a week is optimum, but it’s more about finding the right balance for you.”
Meanwhile, in 2016, it was noted that shampoo sales in the United Kingdom had taken a sharp hit. It seemed, then, that people were washing their locks less often, and the pros and cons of this apparent trend were fiercely debated in the media.
And Jenny Francis, a journalist working for newspaper The Sun, explained why she welcomed the drop in shampoo revenue. “These days, there is a shampoo for everything,” she wrote in December 2016. “Volume-boosting, hydrating, color-enhancing… there is even one that claims to make your hair grow 99 percent faster.”
“All I want from my bottle of shampoo is for it to make my hair one thing: clean,” Francis continued. And from there, the writer lifted the lid on the issues that she faced with her “thick hair,” noting in particular just how time-consuming it was to wash and dry it. With all this in mind, then, she made a stunning revelation.
“For the past ten years, I have only been washing my hair once a week,” Francis wrote. “There are many reasons for this – the main one being that there is just absolutely no need to do it more regularly.” And the journalist had stern words for those who lather up their locks on a daily basis.
“To anyone who says they have to [wash their hair every day] as it is too greasy and smelly, I would first have to question what you have been putting your hair through that it would be in such a state after just 24 hours,” Francis continued. “And secondly, I would place blame on your unnecessary and obsessive hair-washing habits.”
Francis even suggested that people’s hair would be healthier without all of the products that they use. “If you insist on piling handfuls of nice-smelling chemicals onto your hair on a daily basis, chances are you have stripped your hair and scalp of any natural oils,” she wrote.
“[That leaves your hair] unable to deal with any amount of dirt without turning into a greaseball,” Francis added. “I go to the gym five times a week, cook dinners [and] go out with friends, and never have I ever felt my hair is too smelly, greasy or unpresentable despite only washing it once a week.”
Well before Francis made her revelation, however, yet another tip had come under the spotlight. Yes, in February 2013 fashion and beauty-focused site ModaMob released a video that detailed the benefits of adding an interesting ingredient to your hair-care regime. It was suggested, you see, that a mix of shampoo and sea salt may greatly improve the appearance of your locks.
Presented by Marianna Hewitt, an ex-winner of the Miss California beauty pageant, the video also outlines how you can create your own sea-salt shampoo. “Using hair products and lots of products in your hair every day can actually make your hair feel flatter and more weighed down,” Hewitt says in the clip.
“Just like you exfoliate your body for your skin, you need to do the same thing for your hair,” Hewitt continues. “For a way to detox your hair and give it a fresh start, you could buy a pre-made shampoo from Lush for $27, but we made our own for just three bucks. All you’ll need is a basic clarifying shampoo and a coarse sea salt.”
From here, the video cuts to a shot of some pink shampoo and salt on a table, with the two items separated by a clear glass jug. And Hewitt then begins to pour a portion of the sea salt into the container. “Make sure it’s coarse salt, so you can get the exfoliating benefits,” she advises.
At this point, Hewitt goes on to explain what the salt actually does to your locks. “The sea salt will get all the gunk out of your hair [and] remove dead skin cells and dirt,” she says. “But [it] won’t get rid of your natural oils. This is going to remove all that old product built up in your hair from years of products.”
And after that particular explanation, Hewitt continues to sing the praises of the method. “[The] end result gives your hair a lift and feels much healthier,” she adds. The former Miss California then picks up the pink shampoo and begins to pour it into the jug before passing on a few instructions.
“For this step, what you’ll need to do is add three parts sea salt and two parts shampoo,” Hewitt says. The video subsequently cuts to a shot of the host stirring everything up, which leads on to her next point. “Once it’s all mixed together, you can take a shower and wash your hair with the mixture and rinse with cold water,” she continues.
Yet Hewitt has a final stipulation for viewers – and it’s one with which she ends the video. “Do not wash your hair with this [mixture] more than once a month,” the host concludes. “Because you’ll end up cleaning it too good.”
And the video prompted a response from Cosmetic World editor Geoff Weiss, who gave some insight into why this method could catch on. “I think that, especially with the growing popularity of keratin treatments and concerns about damaging ingredients like sulfates, consumers have become more aware than ever before of the ingredients in their hair-care products,” he explained to the Daily Mail in 2013.
In addition, Weiss made an interesting observation. “The trend toward natural and organic ingredients has transcended the skin-care category into hair care,” he said. “And the latest crop of hair exfoliants in store shows us that consumers are looking to tried-and-trusted skin-care rituals – like exfoliation – to treat themselves in other ways.”
And the Daily Mail article itself provoked some fascinating responses from online users, with several people writing about their own experiences with sea salt and the effects that it had on their hair. Yet while the reaction towards the method in the piece’s comments section was mostly positive, not everyone approved.
“Years ago [while] on holiday, I spent a week in and out of the sea all day every day and really neglected my hair,” one individual divulged. “At the end of that week, my husband, for the first time ever, commented on my hair and said how lovely it was looking. It felt fuller and softer too, so I can see why this treatment works.”
However, one woman seemingly wasn’t as impressed with the method; indeed, according to her, adding salt to shampoo may cause more harm than good. “Ummm, I don’t think so,” she wrote in the Daily Mail comments section. “Sea salt is horrendous for your hair – and your skin.”
“The only reason your hair looks fuller is because you’ve stripped it of any natural oil it had and caused the hair shaft to swell,” the critic added. “The effect is temporary and extremely harmful. [It’s] similar to bleaching your hair, which will also cause your hair to temporarily look thicker and fuller.”
By contrast, though, another commenter only had good things to say about the sea-salt tip. “I have very thick and frizzy hair,” they explained. “And the combination of a day swimming in the sea and some coconut oil as a hair mask actually makes my hair softer and easy to manage – followed by shampooing as normal.”
“I do think there is some merit in sea salt for making certain hair types more manageable, such as mine,” the individual added. “Tried and tested!” And the salt-in-shampoo technique appeared to have staying power, too, as the trend was brought back into the limelight once again in 2017.
While writing an article for Refinery29 in June 2017, Georgia Murray revealed that she had only just found out about the method and hailed how it had helped the health of her hair. Even so, she explained, she had wanted to know more about what went into sea-salt shampoos.
Murray therefore called upon hair experts Christophe Robin and Lee Stafford to answer some questions. And according to Stafford, the key was the type of salt used in commercially available hair products. “Specific ‘salt shampoos’ are shampoos containing sea salt rather than regular table salt [sodium chloride],” the stylist said.
“This is important to note, as sodium chloride does not really have any notable benefits for hair,” Stafford continued. “Sea salt [on the other hand] is loaded with minerals, such as magnesium, sodium and potassium – therefore benefiting the overall health of our hair as well as adding texture and volume.”
Meanwhile, Robin reiterated some of the benefits that Hewitt had previously listed in the ModaMob video, although he did have some new information to give to Murray. “[Salt shampoos] help remove chemical residues left on the scalp, which can cause itchiness after a coloring treatment,” Robin revealed.
“More commonly, [salt shampoos] also help to rebalance and soothe greasy, irritated scalps,” Robin added. As for those with differing hair types and volumes, Stafford suggested that the shampoo would still work like it should – although he did offer some words of caution for certain people.
“Obviously, those with fine, flat hair will see the most benefits,” Stafford said. “But for those who have normal hair and just want to add in a bit of extra body and texture, it works beautifully. Though I would say [that] if you have badly damaged hair, you need to work on restoring the quality and integrity of your hair.”
Stafford added, “[You have to do that] before opting for any volumizing, clarifying, texturizing shampoos.” Moving on, Robin then discussed how frequently you should use the product. And much like Hewitt and Francis, he suggested that people shouldn’t wash their locks every day, since this could cause problems.
“I never recommend washing hair daily as it can strip your hair of its natural oils,” Robin told Murray. “My Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt is best used once or twice a week for women.” And it turns out that the hair-care industry isn’t the only field to have embraced the sea-salt trend.
Alongside sea-salt shampoos, you see, consumers can also buy sea-salt shower gel, which through its added ingredient claims to help exfoliate the skin. Perhaps, then, we may see even more products with salt added in the future.
When it comes to health and beauty hacks, though, nothing does the job better than Vicks VapoRub. Yep, that menthol salve you have sitting in your bathroom cabinet is good for more than colds and sinus problems. So, read on to find out how VapoRub can save cracked heels, banish stretch marks and even help you look younger.
When you feel a sniffle or a stuffy nose coming on, you may rifle through the bathroom cabinet for just one thing: Vicks VapoRub. And that’s a good idea, as the menthol-rich formula is a winner when it comes to clearing sinuses and soothing the symptoms of colds. But the tried-and-tested ointment is more versatile than you think – and there’s at least one weird trick that you should definitely know about.
20. It relieves headaches and migraines
Most people look to VapoRub for respite from colds and congestion – not surprising, as Vicks markets the product as a remedy for these ailments. But there’s another long-touted benefit of which you may not be aware. Simply put, VapoRub can assist in treating headaches and even migraines, which is good news for many.
You see, migraine sufferers can be found in almost a quarter of American homes. And those who have been through the pain and disorientation of the condition know that they can be severely debilitating. According to the Migraine Research Foundation, over 90 percent of people who experience migraines find themselves struggling to do their jobs or even go about their day-to-day lives as usual during an attack. Kids are often affected, too, and this can prove detrimental to their education. The Migraine Research Foundation claims on its website, “Children who suffer are absent from school twice as often as children without migraine.”
If you struggle with migraines, then, you’ve probably popped more than a few Advil in your time. You may even have had shots, used nasal sprays or resorted to Botox injections – all just to keep that intense discomfort at bay. What you may not have tried, however, is VapoRub. That’s right: the household staple can apparently help banish migraines when they come on. To alleviate a pounding head, then, you should take a dollop of Vicks and massage it into your temples. After that, the ointment’s menthol scent and coolness can start to assuage your head pressure and dull that pain.
19. It tackles nail fungus
Sadly, our nails tend to get drier and more brittle as we age, and any cracks that appear as a result can allow fungus to intrude. This in turn leads to some unpleasant side effects: nails may become thicker, turn yellowish-brown, change shape or even give off an off-putting scent. However, if this has happened to you – regardless of how old you are – reach for a jar of Vicks VapoRub.
Then, after you’ve scooped up some VapoRub, apply it to the affected area. You may notice that your nail goes dark afterward, but that’s a good thing, as it means the VapoRub – or more specifically, its antimicrobial and antibacterial ingredient thymol – has killed off the fungus. And from then on, you should hopefully have no more problems.
18. It relaxes achy muscles
Perhaps you’re a marathon runner who trains intensively; maybe, on the other hand, you sit in a less-than-ergonomic desk chair for eight hours a day. Either way, you come home and your muscles ache. And to dull some of the pain, you should be reaching for your trusted jar of Vicks VapoRub.
Applying VapoRub to the affected area will quickly soothe your pain as it promotes circulation, which gets the muscles back to normal. The rub – complete with the active ingredients camphor, eucalyptus oil and menthol – has even been proven to relieve moderate cases of myalgia and could potentially work for arthritis. And there’s yet another added benefit: the eucalyptus contained within the product may assist in boosting your immune system. That’s according to a study published in 2008 in the journal BMC Immunology, which claims that the substance helped rats fight off pathogens – disease-causing microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses – within the body.
Menthol, meanwhile, is thought to encourage the flow of blood, and the cooling feeling it provides on the skin may just be the ticket in alleviating cramps and muscle twinges. Research has also shown that a mixture of peppermint oil – which contains menthol – and eucalyptus may not only help you wind down, but also improve your brain function. And then there’s the camphor found in VapoRub, which can help calm inflamed areas on the body and soothe any itchiness. Altogether, though, these ingredients should work wonders on tired or sore limbs. So, after a long run or hard day at the office, have VapoRub at the ready.
17. It hastens the healing of bruises
Apparently, it typically takes about two weeks for a bruise to fade away. And during that time, your skin will put on a serious show as the mark morphs from red to blue to green and then finally brown. This muted rainbow appears as the blood that formed the initial bruise gets reabsorbed into your body.
If you don’t want to wait so long for your bruise to disappear, however, you can hasten the process with a bit of Vicks VapoRub. The product’s menthol will cool down the area and so help alleviate the pain that came with your initial injury, while its camphor will tamp down the inflammation. And, altogether, those effects speed up the healing process.
16. It plumps chapped lips
Oil glands keep many areas of your skin moisturized and plump. However, your lips do not have that luxury, and this explains why wintery weather and sun exposure can cause your kisser to get chapped or dry. And, once again, Vicks VapoRub can come to your rescue.
You see, a very thin coating of VapoRub can give your lips the hydration they need to plump back up. You can also use the menthol-rich salve to soothe painful or split areas. Regardless of why you’re applying the ointment, though, be sure to use only a tiny amount and avoid eating any of it.
15. It disinfects minor cuts
It’s not often you suffer from a sizable cut that needs bandages or stitches. But small scrapes, splinters and other scratches? Those happen all of the time. And while you may leave them to close up on their own, you can use Vicks VapoRub to help the process go even more smoothly.
For one thing, VapoRub has antiseptic qualities, meaning it can clean out your wound and keep infections at bay. It should also help speed up the healing process, and anyone who’s had a painful paper cut will know that hastening its disappearance is ideal.
14. It cools sunburn
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, over 33 percent of Americans claim to get sunburn each year – and if you’re among them, you know just how aggravating the condition can be. Your skin aches, pulsates and can even feel hot to the touch. But while you may be tempted to reach for the aloe for relief, just know that VapoRub does the job, too.
Applying a layer of VapoRub will have the same effect as aloe, in fact, as you’ll be able to feel how it quickly cools the surface of your skin. And if that’s not enough, the ointment can also neutralize the redness. So, slather VapoRub on this time, and be sure to wear plenty of sunscreen in the future.
13. It removes stubborn lipstick
According to a 2004 survey by Mintel, more than 80 percent of women in America sport lipstick – many on a daily basis. But as any make-up afficionado will know, a long-lasting formula that stays put through drinking and eating can be tough to take off before you head to bed.
Let’s say you’ve wiped off your lipstick, but a hint of the color still lingers. If that’s the case, then slather a thin layer of VapoRub over the unwanted stain and leave it in place for five minutes. After that, you should be able to wipe off your make-up with ease. And as an added bonus, you’ll have moisturized your pout, too.
12. It fights acne
The American Academy of Dermatology Association claims that as many as 50 million people in the U.S. deal with acne each year – and they’re not all teenagers, either. Many are blighted with pimples well into adulthood, in fact, and are yearning for that magic bullet to get rid of them once and for all. If that sounds like you, then perhaps you should try Vicks VapoRub.
You see, VapoRub’s ingredient list includes camphor and eucalyptus, which both have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Together, they can soothe your skin, calm inflammation and neutralize an unclear complexion. However, you should be cautious if you try this tip, as for some Vaporub causes more breakouts. That’s because it contains petroleum jelly, which is meant to keep skin moisturized.
11. It moisturizes dry feet
Your feet can dry out for a multitude of reasons. Perhaps you’ve taken a lot of hot baths, for instance, or spent too much time in a humidity-free environment. You may even have athlete’s foot – a fungal infection that can cause skin to get sore, flaky and, yes, dehydrated.
Fortunately, you can rely on VapoRub to help you. As the ointment’s formula includes petroleum jelly, applying it to the skin should help lock in moisture. VapoRub even includes antimicrobials that can kill off the bacteria responsible for your athlete’s foot.
10. It diminishes warts
While your skin may have come in contact with the virus responsible for causing warts many months ago, that doesn’t matter, as a bump can still form on your skin even after that much time has passed. And once a wart appears, it can take years to vanish on its own without any intervention.
However, Vicks VapoRub aficionados swear by the stuff as DIY wart relief. And if you want to follow in their lead, simply apply a touch of the ointment to the affected area, then cover it with a bandage. But proceed with caution, as experts have yet to weigh in on this remedy – and don’t be afraid to ask your doctor for help, either.
9. It repels insects
Summer may be the season that beckons us all outdoors, but it’s not a pleasant experience when we have to deal with bugs – especially mosquitoes. If you feel like you’ve tried every insect repellent on the shelves without any relief from bites and stings, however, then dab a bit of VapoRub onto yourself before leaving the house.
VapoRub works wonders as an insect repellent as it contains cedar leaf oil – something that many pests can’t stand. So, put a bit of the product on your legs, arms, neck, ankles and other exposed skin before returning to enjoying life outside in summer and beyond.
8. It dulls hemorrhoid pain
Hemorrhoids hurt, and sometimes sufferers may not have the right remedy on hand to soothe such a sensitive spot. Just know, though, that you can always reach for Vicks VapoRub for relief. Take a generous dab of the menthol-laden ointment and layer it over the area to dull the pain and itchiness you feel.
But however effective it may be, VapoRub is only a temporary solution and won’t get rid of the discomfort in the long term. So, if you’ve been persistently annoyed by hemorrhoids, a visit to the doctor’s office may be required for more professional and personalized treatment.
7. It tightens skin to fight wrinkles
It’s no secret that skincare products can cost a lot of money – with no guarantee that they’ll live up to the hype. And then there’s Vicks VapoRub, which costs a fraction of what you’d pay for a fancy face cream and makes zero promises about its wrinkle-fighting abilities.
However, VapoRub can make skin brighter and tighter after just a night’s wear – especially on the fine lines that appear on your neck and chest. And while speaking to the Daily Mail in 2009, pharmacist Shabir Daya explained why the ointment works so well. “It is the combination of menthol and camphor that have a tightening effect on the skin,” she revealed.
6. It softens stretch marks
Stretch marks are part of life and often mark an incredible milestone – carrying a baby, anyone? Still, you may want to soften the look of these jagged lines, and you can do so with a helping of Vicks VapoRub. According to a 2016 article by the Daily Mail, some who’ve slathered the product onto their skin have reported that their marks diminished by 60 to 100 percent after just a week of usage.
But maybe that shouldn’t come as a surprise, as VapoRub has a slew of ingredients that work together to mute stretch marks’ appearance. The combination of camphor, eucalyptus oil, cedar leaf oil, petrolatum and turpentine oil softens the skin and makes it seem less dry – a boon if you want to wave bye-bye to those tell-tale scars.
5. It moisturizes a dry scalp
Perhaps you’re having a bad reaction to a new shampoo, or maybe you’re just getting older. Regardless of the reason, you have a dry scalp, which isn’t just uncomfortable, but also aesthetically displeasing. No one wants flakes of dead skin appearing on their head, after all.
Luckily, you can quench a dry scalp with the help of Vicks VapoRub, as the petroleum and eucalyptus contained within the ointment help make it an effective salve. Shortly before bed, simply work a thin layer of VapoRub over the driest areas of your head, then sleep with it in place.
4. It makes a sinus-clearing shower bomb
As you know, Vicks VapoRub is a great tool in the fight against congestion. You also may be aware that breathing in hot shower steam can help relieve the sensation of stuffiness. So, just imagine how good it’d feel to combine these two remedies – and get to work on a DIY shower bomb to make it happen.
To make this sinus-clearing wonder, you only need three tablespoons of VapoRub, a half-cup of cornstarch and two tablespoons of water. Firstly, put the ointment into a bowl, then add the cornstarch and, finally, the water. After that, form the resulting paste into balls and leave these out overnight to harden. Then pop one of these balls onto the shower floor and let the whole chamber fill with soothing fumes.
3. It softens coughs… if you put it on your feet
Any Vicks VapoRub aficionado can tell you that the stuff helps to soothe coughs and colds. You just have to rub some onto your chest and breathe in deeply, right? Well, that’s true enough, but some pioneering users have come to realize that it’s not just an upper-body-only remedy.
When you’re next plagued with an irritating cough, then, try applying VapoRub to the bottoms of your feet before sliding into socks. And while that idea may sound a little odd, don’t rule it out completely. According to some people, slathering the ointment on this part of the body still tells your throat to stop tickling. Apparently, your chest will loosen up a bit, too.
2. It calms eczema and rosacea
We know that Vicks VapoRub can quell some of your acne breakouts and redness. But that’s not the only inflammation your skin can face – as you’ll know if you’ve been diagnosed with eczema or rosacea. Luckily, you can use the over-the-counter remedy to clear up these skin conditions, too.
VapoRub’s eucalyptus and camphor are, of course, both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, while the salve’s ingredients also improve the skin’s appearance and dull any discomfort you may feel from rosacea or eczema. However, you should apply the VapoRub to only a small section of the skin at first to ensure that it doesn’t react badly. Then, if you’re good to go, feel free to layer the product onto your face and experience the relief.
1. It boosts hair growth
Four of Vicks VapoRub’s ingredients are said to promote hair growth. Lavender apparently boosts blood flow around the follicles, as does eucalyptus, which also fights a dry scalp. At the same time, menthol rids the scalp of irritants, while camphor boosts circulation – thus helping stronger strands to grow.
As such, some people swear by VapoRub to give their locks a helping hand. Yet while experts do acknowledge that bettering blood flow to the head can, indeed, inspire improved hair growth, VapoRub is apparently pretty unlikely to make a substantial difference.