Luscious, youthful-looking hair - we all want the beautiful shine and volume at just the right level! For most of us, hair is a big part of our lives. The lucky ones have maintenance free hair, the rest of us seem to spend an age trying to figure out how to tame and style our locks. The truth is everyone's hair is different and the water we wash with isn't the same in every area either. This makes it really tricky for a single product to have the same effect on a wide range of hair types in various areas. Common commercial shampoos use a few tricks to even out the playing field that aren't necessarily good for your hair long term. But, there are alternatives and once you have made the journey you will likely love the results.
Why Use Natural Hair Care Options?
Commercial shampoos contain silicones and sulfates. The silicones coat your hair giving it a temporary shine. The dirt and natural oils sit on top of this coating. This makes it easier to clean off any dirt and oils but it also prevents the natural oils from penetrating into the hair shaft. Over time silicones build up on your hair. In order to combat this build-up, shampoos also contain detergents consisting of sulfates that strip the natural oils off your hair, leaving it dry and brittle. As the silicone buildup increases the condition of the hair deteriorates. If you find the shampoo you have been using for a while suddenly seems to be leaving your hair dry and frizzy this could be why.
There are also fragrances, artificial colourants, and preservatives in shampoo which might not be ideal for your body. After all, our hair follicles absorb substances into our bloodstream the same way our digestive system does. Curious about more reasons for moving to natural body care? See our article on why we believe natural skincare is so important for your wellbeing.
What Are The Natural Hair Care Alternatives?
Believe it or not, there are a huge number of natural hair care alternatives. There are whole groups, blogs and discussions dedicated to the No-Poo, OH Poo, Low Poo, and CO Washing methods of hair care. All of these methods use either natural ingredients entirely or just silicone and sulfate free methods. There are many options if you want to go completely natural with your hair. Ingredients like baking soda, apple cider vinegar, soapnuts, rye flour, tea, coffee, aloe vera, egg, banana, shikakai, amla, arrowroot powder and cocoa powder can all be used within wet or dry shampoo alternatives. Follow the link for the list our top hair wash options for living a healthy life.
How Do You Use Natural Hair Care Alternatives?
Hair care is technical. Silicones and sulfates in commercial shampoos even out the playing field and make it possible to use the same products across more hair types. When it comes to natural options, what works for one person in one area won't necessarily work for another. As your hair sheds it's layers of silicone buildup from years of commercial shampoo use and starts to absorb some of its natural oils, it will also change. What worked at the beginning of your natural hair care routine might not work a few weeks or months later. You will learn terms like porosity, protein balance, and moisture levels to try to assess which method works best for you. It's essentially a trial and error game. Persistence does pay, though, and you will eventually reach hair nirvana. When you do stumble upon your hair nirvana you will never have believed your hair could look and feel that good. It's pretty darn incredible!
Where to start and what to watch out for?
- Find people who have done it or are on the same journey. There is an amazing international facebook group called "No Poo (No shampoo) & Low Poo Hair Care". They have a wealth of educational material, recommended wash methods, tips and advice. With over 33 000 members there is plenty guidance available.
- When you start, be prepared to spend some time doing upstyles or wearing your favourite hats. It takes time for the many layers of silicones to wear down and your hair to adjust to its natural oil production. There is a transition period and it isn't always pleasant. It varies from person to person and can take a few weeks.
- Get a brush with natural bristles. Once you have been through transition your hair will no longer feel greasy, it will feel more 'waxy'. This is natural sebum and very healthy for your hair. If it builds up at your roots it can make your hair look greasy. Natural bristles have more friction and do a better job of moving the sebum from your roots to the dryer lengths of your hair than plastic bristles. Your fingers also do a good job of spreading the natural oils. This in itself has its own method.
- Got curly hair or want to have naturally curly hair? There are methods and groups dedicated to you! And the results for those with frizzy and curly hair are incredible! Join one of the Curly Girl Groups on Facebook to get all the low down and support.
Our Personal Experience
I went from washing my hair every day for 20 years to ditching shampoo, going natural and only washing once a week. I moved to no poo because my hair had reached a stage that it was so dry, thin and flat it was a pain point. I've been without shampoo for over a year and my hair continues to get better and better with each week. I have never had such healthy, volume-filled or shiny hair! It took serious persistence and patience but for the first time, I LOVE my hair! It was an investment in myself that was well worth it.
Follow the link to check out our full list of natural personal care recipes.