The Story Behind My Hair Formula: Mane Magic
- Published on: 14 February, 2019
- Last update: 14 February, 2019
Today we launched our brand new hair formula, “Mane Magic” which is based on principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine. In honor of launch day, I wanted to give you guys a background story on why and how this formula came to be!
When my hair began shedding at an accelerated rate, I tried everything under the sun to find relief.
I took every “hair growth” herb in the book, did stimulating scalp massages, downed biotin like it was my job, and even bought a $600 infrared cap that proved to be nothing more than a (very expensive) safety helmet. After kicking it across the room one night, I decided to explore the one thing I was forgetting… the system of medicine that got me interested in herbs in the first place: Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Because so much of what I study in school is now geared towards Western concepts and North American herbs, I was looking at “hair loss” and “hair growth” from a very modern and black-and-white perspective. Traditional Chinese Medicine on the other hand looks at patterns of disharmony, which allows you to sort of match your main symptom up with a group of other symptoms related to a specific “health pattern.” Everything clicked when I saw that hair loss is related to a pattern called blood deficiency, which often comes with other hallmark indicators such as dry hair, dry skin, brittle nails, anemia, scanty periods, mental fatigue, pale complexion, blurred vision and feeling like you’re easily startled. Not everyone will have all symptoms associated with blood deficiency as we’re all different and lead vastly different lives, but this is one of the most common patterns seen by TCM practitioners in our fast-paced world.
I decided to give Chinese medicine’s “blood building” herbs a shot with the help of my chemist who created a sample formula for me. I originally wanted to see if it would improve my scanty periods (I was bleeding for only 1-3 days with a light, sometimes brownish flow that felt incomplete. Bleeding too little is a sign of imbalance just like bleeding too much is!) After my first month on this blood deficiency formula, I had one of the best periods of my life… but more importantly, my hair appeared to be shedding less and less. I knew I would need at least 2-3 months to really see a change, but I was extremely hopeful.
It has now been almost 5 months and I am amazed at how much better my hair looks and feels. Before it was getting very dry and brittle, especially on the ends, but now it’s much softer and shinier from top to bottom. The luster and body that was slowly fading is back – it sort of feels like I watered a plant that was crying out for nourishment. The shedding has not completely stopped, but has improved and only continues to. We will always lose a certain amount of hair each day (50-100 strands is the norm) and I feel much closer to that “normal” range than I have in a long time. The most substantial difference I’ve noticed (which you guys have pointed out as well through my daily stories on Instagram) is the growth! I can’t believe how much my hair has grown the past few months. It is much longer, shinier, and stronger.=
A friend who has been taking this formula with me also pointed out that we can go longer in between washes because it seems to be balancing oil production on the scalp. Since many of the herbs are targeted towards the “dry skin”/“dry hair” symptoms of blood deficiency, I believe that our scalps have more moisture and nourishment which means we’re not overproducing oil to compensate. I’ve been able to wash my hair once a week which I haven’t done since I was in my teens. The final change we’ve noticed is stronger, longer nails that don’t break easily and have more color to them. (Pale nails are another sign of blood deficiency!)
HOW THE FORMULA WORKS:
According to TCM, the growth and development of healthy hair depends on proper functioning of the Kidney and Liver organ systems/meridians. Their idea of the “Kidney” meridian is much different from the Western view of anatomy and includes the entire reproductive system (which means hormone balance is a factor here, too!)
The Kidney “meridian” also includes the Kidney “Jing,” known as the inherited Qi we get from our parents that is akin to a bank account of money. When you’re born, all the figurative money or “Jing” you’ll ever have is in your account, which is why you must spend it wisely. Drugs, alcohol, stress, and late nights are examples of things that “cost” us extra Jing. Protecting your Kidney Jing protects your energy levels, vitality, hair, teeth, bones, and longevity.
Their view of the “Liver” differs too, as it encompasses everything from the smooth flow and excretion of hormones to the regulation and circadian rhythm of Qi (vital energy). It all comes full circle as the Liver meridian governs hair health and is supported energetically by Kidney Jing, which influences the growth of all body cells, including the hair.
Most importantly, blood from the Liver meridian nourishes the hair follicle and the hair itself is seen as an extension of blood. The most common causes of declining hair health, premature greying and hair loss in TCM are related to deficient and/or stagnant “Liver Blood” (Blood Deficiency) and Kidney Deficiency.
This formula is designed with “blood tonic” herbs that nourish the “Liver Blood” and activate blood circulation in order to reinvigorate the hair follicle. The blood building herbs are complimented with Kidney meridian herbs that support and protect Kidney Yin and Kidney Jing in order to promote healthy hair growth. From a Western perspective, “blood tonic” herbs, such as the astragalus used in our formula, usually have immune-regulating actions, which may be relevant in managing autoimmune factors that can contribute to hair issues.
The primary herb that comprises the base of this formula, Fo-Ti Root (also known as “He Shou Wu”) is a classic herb for nourishing the blood, invigorating hair growth, and supporting one’s natural hair color. For this reason it is often referred to as “Mr. He’s Black Hair,” although I can’t vouch for that piece as I haven’t experienced premature graying myself. In TCM, this herb is used to tonify both the Liver and Kidney meridians, nourish the “Liver Blood” and strengthen Kidney Jing to support hair follicle strength and development. Other herbs used include White Peony, Dong Quai, Ligusticum and Rehmannia which promote the quality and circulation of blood. Dong Quai specifically invigorates blood flow, harmonizes the relationship between the Liver and Kidneys, and modulates hormones which may help with shedding related to hormone imbalance. There is also evidence that it may improve the absorption and storage of iron, which is important in cases of poor hair health due to iron deficiency or thyroid issues.
Overall, this formula targets the underlying pathological processes and patterns that cause hair follicles to be undernourished.
Because everyone is different, results may vary from a reduction in hair fall to overall shinier, healthier hair. TCM believes that if it took you 6 months to get where you are, it will take at least that to get where you want to be as the body retraces and rebuilds. For this reason, Mane Magic is most effective if taken for two or more months.
This formula is suitable for both men and women. Women should discontinue use during the duration of their menstrual periods as this formula truly “moves the blood.” When you finish bleeding, you can start right back up again. Not to be used while pregnant or nursing.
HOW TO USE: Take 60 drops (2 full droppers) 2 times per day in water or juice. Take on an empty stomach (away from food by at least 20 minutes) for highest absorption.