Monday, April 15, 2013

My Natural Hair Care Regimen

There are many great reasons to switch to a natural hair care regimen.  Some people switch because it is better for the environment, and others switch because they don't like the idea of putting chemicals all over their hair.  Others switch because it is significantly less expensive to do go natural.  As for me? I did it mainly for vanity. That's right, vanity. I'm not afraid to admit it! I have never been able to find a shampoo and conditioner that consistently resulted in soft, shiny hair, despite what the advertisements promised me. So when I read about how commercial shampoos strip hair of their natural oils, resulting in a flaky scalp and dull hair, I began to wonder if that was my hair's problem. I decided to try switching to a natural hair care regimen and see if I saw an improvement. To my complete surprise, it worked amazingly. My hair is now shinier, more full-bodied, significantly softer, and definitely way less oily. Plus I have the added bonus of not putting chemical all over my hair, and I save a ton of money.  But honestly the best part is how non-oily and soft my hair is now!

My "Before" Hair
I have fine, oil-prone, highlighted hair that is naturally dark blonde.  Even though it is thick, it looks thin and limp, and has always gotten greasy about 8 hours after washing.  I've tried reducing my shampooing several times in my life, and have always given up because my hair would get so oily and flat.  However, constantly washing my hair was making my scalp dry and my hair color dull.  So I decided to switch to all natural products and reduce my shampooing to once a week (also known as the low poo method). 

How I Went Low Poo
 Since my hair gets greasy so quickly, I eased into reducing my shampooing.  I started off shampooing every other day for the first week, then skipping two days the next, three days the following, and then going to once a week. So it took about a month to switch to once-a-week shampooing.  Because I did it slowly, my hair actually looked fine the entire time. I never had to suffer through a gross adjustment period of oily hair. There were a few days where my hair was a little more oily than I liked, so I just sprinkled some baby powder in my hair and rubbed it in, and that sucked up the extra oil. Voila! 

What I Shampoo With
I switched to Trader Joe's Tea Tree Oil shampoo.  It has natural ingredients and is sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) free, and is only $2.99. I have also made my own baking soda shampoo, as an all-natural (and even cheaper) alternative.  

Baking Soda Shampoo:
Mix together 1 tbsp baking soda with 1 cup (cold or warm, not hot) water. Add a few drops of essential oil if you want fragrance (or tea tree oil if you have dandruff). Put in an old shampoo bottle. It keeps indefinitely, just make more as needed.  Shake before using.  Pour a couple tablespoons in your scalp (no more than that, trust me), and massage with your fingers. It won't lather, so it will probably feel like it's not doing anything.  Don't make the mistake of adding more.  Rinse very well.  

Apple Cider Vinegar Conditioner:
Mix together 1 tbsp of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) with 1 cup water. Add in a few drops of essential oil if you can't handle the (temporary) vinegar smell.  Store it in a bottle indefinitely.  Shake before using.  If you have oily hair, apply only to the ends of your hair, let sit for a minute, then rinse. If you have dry hair (or dandruff-prone), apply to your entire scalp and hair, let sit for a minute, and then rinse well.  Two things you need to know about ACV conditioner: 1. It will smell like vinegar, but the smell will fade by the time your hair dries. I promise you won't smell like a salad.  2. While your hair is still wet, your hair will not feel like it's been conditioned.  However, once it dries, it will be soft and tangle-free.  

How to Deal with Dirty Hair on No-Shampoo Days
Because I run five days a week, my hair gets pretty sweaty. Therefore I rinse my hair with water in the shower pretty much every day.  I just don't wash it with shampoo. 

Additional Tips
*If you are interested in going no-poo or low-poo, and have been using shampoos with sodium laurel sulfate, I would recommend not going straight to a baking soda shampoo.  Your hair needs time to detox.  Instead switch to a shampoo that is SLS free (like Trader Joe's brand), and use that for a month during your low-poo transition.  Once your hair has gotten used to the reduction of chemicals, then give the baking soda shampoo a try.  

*If you have very thick, curly, or dry hair that requires a heavy conditioner, ACV conditioner might not be enough.  Try using coconut oil as a conditioner instead.  Put coconut oil on your ends and then rinse well.  You could also try using making a deep conditioner with it.  

*I make my baking soda shampoo and ACV conditioner with filtered water because  my tap water is over-chlorinated.  You could also boil some water if you don't have a filter, or buy some bottled water from the store. Or maybe you have great tap water already (hello, Sky Valley and Macon, Georgia!).

*I use unfiltered ACV instead of the regular kind; I feel like it works a lot better.

*This method works on babies and children too.  Just remember that it is NOT tear-free, but other than that, it is perfectly safe.

1 comment:

  1. I'm such a product floozie. I like the smells, the buying something new (new toothbrushes excite me!)the promise (promise... promise) of a new day... that toiletries can bring. So, I was thinking that even if I did ever go low poo, I think I'd really miss the excitement of new product. So, you may or may not remember this.. but way back in the day there was a mall store where you could create your own scented lotions, etc... They had the lotion base and all of these wonderfully smelly essential oils and you just got to create whatever you wanted. You could totally open up a low poo bar! At least, that's what I thought this AM... that's how I'd get all my smelly scents in- and the feeling of getting something 'new.' Although... that would totally defeat the cost savings/making it for cheap at home aspect of it. :( Oh, and I only went to that lotion bar place once... and it was because they were having a sale... and then they went out of business. So... maybe not the best idea afterall.