Friday, August 31, 2012

Natural Hair Care

Have you read the ingredients label on your shampoo lately? No? Well, go ahead, grab your shampoo bottle, and have a look. I’ll wait here.

Done? Shocking, no? Even many so-called “natural” brands have all sorts of unrecognizable ingredients (well, unrecognizable to those of us who aren’t chemists!) As I have been on a mission the past couple of years to rid my family’s products ofunnecessary chemicals, a while ago I took the plunge into Shampoo Alternatives.

Now let me start by saying that, unlike my switch from my old facial cleanser and bodywash, this was not such an easy transition. I tried a variety different homemade shampoo recipes over the last year, and there were some really rough hair days during that time! Turns out that castile soap and my hair are not friends, no matter what else I added to the mix! BUT… I have finally settled into a hair care routine that really works for me, is cheap and so natural that the ingredients are completely edible! For many months now, I have been using a baking soda solution to wash my hair, and an apple cider vinegar solution for conditioner. This is commonly called the “no poo” method of hair care, and when I first read about it online, I thought “NO WAY!” But after reading how many other people swear by this method, I decided to give it a go! I’m SO glad that I did! I have found that it works better than anything else I’ve ever done for my hair.

My hair has a lot of texture… it’s fairly thick, long and wavy, bordering on curly. I have always needed lots and lots of Anti-frizz styling product to keep myself from looking like Rosanne Rosannadanna, especially on humid days. But that was before, when I used shampoo… turns out that wasn’t “just my hair” as I always thought it was… it was the shampoo, making my hair all frizzy! Now that I’ve been using the baking soda and vinegar, my hair is so healthy that I have been able to stop using styling products! Occasionally, depending on the weather, I might smooth just a smidge of coconut oil into my hair, but I don’t usually need it. 

I will say that this method took some trial and error. I found that too much baking soda made my hair feel rough and dry, but if I used too little, my hair didn’t feel clean. The exact ratio you use will depend on your hair. I use a ratio of about 2 Tbsp of baking soda to a cup of water, but your hair might need more or less. For the vinegar rinse, I use a 50/50 blend of apple cider vinegar and water in a recycled squeeze bottle. To make it smell less vinegary, I toss a cinnamon stick in the bottle, along with a few drops of essential oil.

Here’s how I wash my hair with this method: I start by brushing my hair out while it’s still dry. Then, in the shower, I wet my hair and then dump the baking soda solution onto my head. I massage my scalp a bit to loosen up any dirt, then rinse. Next, I squirt on the vinegar mixture, and comb it through my hair with my fingers, then rinse. That’s it! I was totally paranoid at first that my hair would smell like vinegar, but after it’s rinsed and dried there is no vinegar smell, thank goodness.

Also on the topic of hair… soon I plan to do a post about how to cover up your grays without yucky chemicals. Until then, we’ll be doing a few more garden and recipe posts, and some Not-Back-to-School posts. So much going on, this time of year!

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