Washing your hair in line with the moon’s phases is officially a thing – here’s what happened when writer Sophia Charalambous tried it.
I’d like to start with a little disclaimer: I’m not a pagan, my alter ego isn’t called Demeter, I don’t own a shrine of lunar deities – and I’ve never even visited Stonehenge. But the moment I heard the term “lunar beauty”, which suggests the potential for enhancing my beauty regime using the moon, I became slightly obsessed. I should explain a little further.
The moon, as we know, goes through phases – new moon, waxing, full moon and waning – in a cycle that lasts 28 days. During the waxing phase the moon appears larger and brighter, which is linked to growth and regeneration. The waning stage sees the moon become smaller and fainter, which encourages relaxation and preservation. When applying this to beauty it means we should mimic these lunar patterns – replenish during waxing and soothe while waning.
Lunar beauty gets even geekier when you place the word “biodynamic” into the conversation. Biodynamic is a farming term developed by scientist and philosopher Dr. Rudolph Steiner in 1924. It takes into consideration the position of the moon when growing and cultivating plants and believes the lunar alignment can significantly enhance a yield.
In line with that, Italian hair and beauty brand Oway has its own biodynamic production alongside other brands such as Weleda, Jurlique, Dr. Hauschka and Made for Life Organics. Laura Tomasoni, Oway’s laboratory supervisor, says: “Stress, aggressive treatments and an intense daily life put the balance of your body to the test, and that includes your scalp and hair. Women have used moon phases as an almanac for centuries, cutting and removing their hair in line with them and creating specific rituals depending on the desired effect.”
So, is it really that much of a stretch to suggest the moon, which generates the tidal force, affects our bodies too? They are 60% water after all.
Amanda Winwood, managing director of Made for Life Organics tells me they macerate herbs and flowers into 100% organic oils for a full lunar cycle. She said, “Although the hair shaft is technically dead, hair follicles are made of tissue mainly composed of hydrogen and oxygen, the two elements that make up water, hence the belief that when the moon is full – the gravitational pull is stronger.”
As hair is particularly sensitive to change, I thought I’d put it to the test.
PHASE 1: The waxing moon phase
During this period, which includes the full moon, hair is most responsive. I kicked off with the waxing moon treatment at East London’s Blue Tit hair salon, using the salon-only Oway Herbs & Clay Peeling Cleanser. When the mixture was massaged into the scalp it felt it was on fire; blood rushed to the top of my head. My hair must have been congested because it actually changed colour at the end of the treatment. I actually think my scalp was in shock for a few days, but once it calmed down I swapped my regular products for biodynamic moisturising shampoos, conditioners and hair oils. I was surprised to find my hair behaving differently almost straight away. Shine was noticeably more lucent and ends were stronger and not drying out. Some people noticed a growth in length.
Beauty biodynamic buys for the waxing moon phase
Weleda Oat Replenishing Conditioner
The biodynamic market leaders produce this conditioner in which the oat acts as a strengthener. It’s enhanced with jojoba, coconut oil and white mallow extract to add an ample amount of moisture into the mix.
Dr Hauschka Revitalising Hair & Scalp Tonic
Dr Rudolf Hauschka was a friend and advocate of Rudolf Steiner’s research into biodynamics. It inspired his work in the beauty field and this tonic is one of the results of that. Used on dry or damp hair, the formula contains neem leaf for strengthening alongside arnica and birch bark for nourishment.
Oway Moisturising Hair Mask
This mask is an absolute must for anyone with dry or thick hair. It contains hazelnut extract as an antioxidant, honey for moisture and hydration and murumuru butter to repair.
PHASE 2: The waning moon phase
Everything slows down during the waning moon, including the new moon, so I returned to Blue Tit for a waning moon treatment. It uses Oway’s Herbs & Clay Peeling Cleanser with a relaxing oil blend. Compared to the waxing treatment, the sensation was completely different – my scalp was soothed and felt clean and calm for a couple of days after which formed a good base to work from for the rest of the waning period.
I was looking for a couple of key things during this phase – a soothed scalp and hair with a softer texture. After using a combination of calming shampoos and oils I found I wasn’t itching my scalp as much as I normally do in cold weather, and my hair felt like it was in really good condition – the best it’d been for a while, actually.
Beauty biodynamic buys for the waning moon phase
Odylique Gentle Herb Shampoo
Award-winning, Demeter-certified and made at their own biodynamic farm, this shampoo contains soothing ingredients like chamomile, aloe vera, rosemary and has conditioning coconut oil and horsetail for strength.
Weleda Wheat Balancing Shampoo
Producing biodynamic products since 1921, this Weleda shampoo contains wheat germ oil, sage, tea tree and rosemary to balance the scalp.
Made For Life Organics Head and Hair Treatment Oil
Biodynamically made in Cornwall with a concoction of rosemary, burdock nettle, almond, apricot and vitamin D and E, leave this oil to soak overnight for silky smooth, nourished hair by morning.
Shop Made For Life Organics Head and Hair Treatment Oil, £33 at Made For Life Organics
Oway Soothing Hair Bath
Perfect for soothing scalps, and particularly great for anyone with a naturally sensitive scalp. It contains fennel oil to detoxify and cleanse, amaranth for shine, teak as an antibacterial and mahogany as an antiseptic and astringent.
I was genuinely surprised at how my hair and scalp reacted to lunar beauty. There is an argument to suggest the improvement was a result of paying more attention to my hair than usual, but I believe alternating moisturising and soothing products worked because it’s about balance. I’m not saying I’m going to start practising yoga salutations under a full moon, but I can stretch to a change in hair routine… and maybe a visit to Stonehenge.
Images: Sophia Charalambous / courtesy of brands