So, if you are anything like me, your hair and skin has just about survived summer!
Skin looking tired and dull, lines and wrinkles more apparent, and skin less hydrated in general. Hair dull, dry, frizzy and starting to become brittle. Most definitely missing any type of wow factor! Heat, sweat, humidity, chlorinated and salt water – they all have a major impact on the health of our hair and skin. Our normal skin and hair routine, which may serve us well during spring and autumn, just can’t cope with the extra stress of summer. And worse is still to come – winter! Bringing its own major pitfalls – cold, dry air, wind, going from hot to cold environments, rain, snow, and being bundled up in hats, scarves, gloves. Both summer and winter can destroy the skin’s natural sebum production, and exacerbate conditions like acne and eczema, in addition to causing a dry or oily scalp. Seasonal changes are our hair and skin’s worst nightmare.
But don’t dispair! There is a very simple solution. Incorporate wheat germ oil into your hair and skin routine. Unfortunately I discovered this gem of an oil too late for summer, but now is the perfect time to repair the damage inflicted by summer, and get our hair and skin in tip-top condition to withstand the rigours of winter.
So what exactly is wheat germ oil?
Wheat is one of the oldest cultivated plants in the history of man. Originating in the “cradle of civilisation”, an area near to what is now Iraq, it is now grown over the world, and is of significant nutritional value. According to experts, the full nutritional value of wheat is mostly enclosed in the wheat germ, hence the importance of “whole grain wheat”, which seems logical since the germ is the embryo of the seed which germinates into the plant. The more refined the wheat grains are, the more nutrition and benefits are lost.
But the oil, which is extracted from the wheat germ by cold-pressing, retains all of the beneficial compounds and nutrients. It comprises significant amounts of essential fatty acids, vitamins A, D, E and K, plus minerals such as potassium, zinc and iron. In fact wheat germ oil has one of the highest levels of vitamin E, “the vitamin of youth”, of all vegetable oils. These constituents work in synergy to give wheat germ oil immense benefits for the hair, face, skin and body, and it simply abounds with antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
What is wheat germ oil good for?
Wheat germ oil is suitable for all skin and hair types. It nourishes, strengthens, repairs and protects. A powerful antioxidant, it helps to prevent damage both internally and externally, neutralizing free radicals which can result in disease, premature ageing and skin damage.
Wheat germ oil benefits for face
In Ayurvedic texts wheat germ oil is described as a complexion booster. It helps to purify the face, balancing sebum production, reducing inflammation and helping to eliminate acne and pimples with its antiseptic, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties . As an emollient it seals in moisture, restoring and rejuvenating dry dehydrated skin. This oil helps to improve blood circulation and assists in tissue growth and repairing tissue damage, relieving allergies, eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis. Wheat germ oil stimulates collagen, increasing elasticity, reducing sagging, and diminishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It helps to restore damaged or broken skin, and can reduce scarring and even the skin tone, regulating pigmentation. This panacea is a remedy for dark circles under the eyes, and can restore dry, cracked or chapped lips. Wheat germ oil absorbs slowly but deeply, restoring the skin’s protective barrier and supporting a healthy, glowing, more youthful and blemish-free complexion.
Wheat germ oil can be applied directly to the face, especially at night, but due to its thickness it can also be mixed in equal parts with another oil, for instance almond oil or jojoba oil, to make it more readily absorbed. Remember that less is more with natural oils, and a few drops go a long way. Alternatively you may prefer to just add a few drops to your usual skincare products.
Wheat germ oil benefits for skin
Wheat germ oil is an elixir for skin health. It is highly moisturising, and adds a protective layer to the skin, reducing moisture loss and keeping toxins at bay. This soothing oil appeases irritated, damaged or burnt skin, and has wound accelerating properties, helping to protect against infection, enhancing healing, and minimise scarring. Wheat germ oil reduces pigmentation and age spots, and can also help to repair scar tissue and stretch marks. Used in a massage it can combat the appearance of cellulite, by increasing circulation, absorbing deeply to reinforce connective tissues, and strengthening the skin in general (for optimum results, mix with a couple of drops of grapefruit, rosemary, fennel, lemon or orange essential oil). Calloused hands and feet will also benefit from the deeply moisturising and skin repairing properties of wheatgerm oil. And don’t forget to nourish the nail cuticles to add strength and flexibility to the nails.
Wheat germ oil benefits for hair
This magical potion for the hair and scalp is suitable for any hair type, both high and low porosity, and all thicknesses and textures. Personally I have very fine hair, once described by my hairdresser as baby hair, its that fine! Yet wheat germ oil is still working wonders to repair my summer-damaged hair. As a pre-shampoo treatment I simply dilute with more argan oil (4 argan: 1 wheatgerm, and a 1:1 dilution ratio for a weekly deep conditioning and repairing hair mask). Meanwhile my friend, who has the coarsest curliest hair finds it a miracle cure to remedy her post summer halo of dry frizz, and simply applies it pre-shampoo on its own or in a 1:1 ratio. Its just a matter of finding a perfect combination for your own particular hair type in order to reap the astounding benefits of wheat germ oil.
So how does it repair and retain the health and beauty of your hair? Wheat germ oil normalises the sebaceous glands to remedy a dry, itchy, flaking or oily scalp, whilst its antifungal properties inhibit dandruff. This hair saviour penetrates deeply into the hair follicles and structure, nourishing, rehydrating and restoring damage, eliminating split ends and brittleness. It is highly recommended for over processed, sun damaged, chemically treated or weak hair. Wheat germ oil will helps to fortify the root and restores the elasticity of the hair – increasing flexibility, smoothing the cuticles, filling in the cracks, and protecting against breakage and hair fall. The emollient properties protect against frizz and static, and provide a protective shield against negative environmental factors and styling damage. This oil’s ability to stimulate circulation, plus the vast array of essential nutrients it imparts, will achieve optimum conditions for hair growth. Hair will grow thicker and volume will be increased even for fine or thinning hair.
For lustrous, soft and silky tresses, you can apply wheat germ oil as a pre-shampoo treatment, a weekly or bi-weekly hair mask, or even by just adding a few drops to your usual hair care products:
Pre-shampoo treatment – Mix one teaspoon of wheatgerm oil with two teaspoons of your favourite cosmetic vegetable oil, for example coconut, almond, jojoba or argan oil (actual amount will depend on hair length and volume). Warm by placing the container in warm water or by rubbing briskly in the palms of your hands, in order to reduce its viscosity and ensure better absorption. Gently massage into the scalp with fingertips and smooth over the hair strands. Use a wide toothed comb to ensure even distribution. Cover the head with a shower cap and towel, and leave for ten minutes. Shampoo out with a natural herbal (non-chemical) shampoo for your hair type.
Deep conditioning and repairing mask – Warm two to three teaspoons of wheatgerm oil (actual amount will depend on hair length and volume) and massage into the scalp and spread over the hair, ensuring even distribution by using a wide-toothed comb. Cover the head with a shower cap and towel, and leave for 3-4 hours or overnight if preferred, before shampooing out. Hair will remain soft and lustrous for days!
As if the benefits to our hair and skin weren’t enough by applying wheat germ oil topically, you can also enhance the effects by taking some oil internally too, which will give you a plethra of additional advantages for your general health. Taken orally, wheat germ oil strengthens the immune system, improves cardiovascular and blood vessel health, maintains normal blood pressure rates, lowers cholesterol, and reduces the risk of blood clots. It is well known for its ability to promote intestinal health and expel toxins. Plus, it’s strong antioxidant properties help to protect the body from cell damage and chronic diseases. Additionally, wheat germ oil supports hormone balance and reduces symptoms of PMS, reinforces the nervous system, and lowers anxiety and depression. You can use wheat germ oil to drizzle on salads or pasta, or include in a dip, dressing, smoothie or health shake.
Wheat symbolises fertility, bounty and resurrection. It is also one of the emblems of the Egyptian pantheon and king of ancient Egypt, Osiris, who was resurrected after being thrown in the nile. Therefore it seems apt that we can rely on wheat germ oil to resurrect the former health and beauty of our hair and skin.
Don’t compromise on the health of your hair and skin. Add some wheat germ oil to your beauty regime to repair and protect against seasonal changes, and retain your natural beauty whatever the season. This is definitely one “germ” you will welcome in your life!