Ever since I stopped using commercial hair products, I noticed that my hair no longer feels gunky at any point during the week. My hair also doesn’t split and break as easily either as it is not being weakened by synthetic ingredients. I believe that it has a great deal to do with not using any chemicals in my hair care.
I’ve noticed that you can’t even find a lotion in a natural grocery store that doesn’t contain cetyl alcohol or some other form of synthetic wax. These same synthetic ingredients are in hair care can build up on your hair.
In even “natural” hair products the list of synthetic ingredients go on forever. We’ve become so accustomed to these chemicals on the ingredient’s list that we don’t even think twice about them. Then using “gentle” shampoos to remove product build up for a fresh start is really replacing one synthetic for another. These “natural” shampoo brands contain ingredients that leave a film on your hair strands.
Using clarifying shampoos to remove product build-up dry out hair and also leave behind a chemical coating. Deep conditioning the hair with commercial products to put back in the moisture that the clarifying shampoo stripped from the hair, and using synthetic leave-in products to moisturize and then an oil or butter to seal in the moisture all becomes a cycle of excessive hair care and product build-up. Not to mention product build-up causes limp, dull, and dry hair with an irritated scalp.
Here are a few tips to simplify your hair care and get off the cycle of hair product build-up:
1. Detox Your Hair
One of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to detox your hair is with bentonite clay and raw apple cider vinegar. Mix even amounts of both ingredients to create a yogurt like paste. Apply to wet hair in sections and leave on for at least 20-30 minutes. This step also serves as a deep cleansing for your hair and scalp. After thoroughly rinsing, you can follow with a natural conditioning product. You can also consider switching to a gentler way to cleanse your hair and scalp that will not build-up on your hair nor strip it of its natural oils.
2. Keep Your Scalp Clean & Moisturized with Water
No matter how dry your scalp may be, it still has the ability to produce it’s own natural oils. Just like drying skin care can create an imbalance causing excessive oily or dry skin, the same is true for hair care. Gentle hair cleansers such as herbs or clays are the best for naturally healthy hair and scalp without creating any imbalance. On a day where your hair or scalp need moisture, yet to avoid doing a complete hair wash, rinsing your hair and scalp in warm water while massaging your scalp will keep it feeling refreshed and moisturized as water is your best moisturizer. If you have very curly coily hair, you can rinse your hair in loose braids or twists to avoid tangles. Follow with a light leave-in of your choice.
One of the reasons why some avoid wetting the hair often is because of hard water or the feeling that it will dry out the hair. Get a shower filter to purify hard water and also detox the synthetic coatings from your hair which don’t allow water to enter your hair properly. You can transition your hair to a simple hair care regimen that will normalize sebum production with 100% natural products.
Hair products that contain synthetic waxes or other synthetic ingredients create imbalances with our hair and scalp.
I believe conditioner washing hair is a great way to transition from chemical shampoos. Yet it can still clog the pores on your scalp and cause other scalp and hair problems which is why many (including myself) do not stick with conditioner only hair washing. I used to wash my hair with conditioner, yet found my scalp to be very irritated and itchy.
Washing your hair with water soluble natural herbs or clays at least once a week will cleanse the hair gently and not disturb the natural balance of your scalp nor irritate it. Outside of water, aloe vera, and essential oils, I don’t believe that it is helpful to put any oil on your scalp after it is clean. Daily scalp massages with your finger tips will increase your natural sebum production and allow your scalp to balance and heal itself. A clean healthy scalp ensures healthy hair growth.
3. Use One Leave-In Hair Product
At some point you must realize that hair companies create many different products for hair care to keep you interested in what’s new, to cater to different hair needs, and to keep you confused and always wanting the next best thing. I remember when I first heard the phrase “cocktailing products,” a salon term for using a variety of hair products for a desired result, I thought it sounded so chic. Now I’m realizing that using a multitude of leave-in hair products usually creates dry, sticky, oily, and gunky hair with product build-up.
I’m finding that the healthier my hair is the more it will curl on its own without curl defining products. Most recently I’ve been using a natural oil alone for creating soft manageable curly hair. Olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil all penetrate the hair shaft and will keep your hair flexible and moisturized. Ceramide oils such as wheat germ oil, hemp seed oil, and sunflower oils also keep hair extremely soft.
Finding a natural oil that you like to condition the hair is the easiest way to keep your hair moisturized without product build-up. It is usually when mixing natural oils with products containing heavy natural waxes such as beeswax or other synthetic conditioner ingredients such as cetyl alcohol or quaternary ammonium salts that create product build-up. Using a final hair rinse such as aloe vera, apple cider vinegar and water, or an herbal tea after cleansing helps with closing the hair cuticle and maintaining moisture so that you do not need to use multiple leave-in products. Read this for more 100% natural hair conditioner ideas.
When you are not stripping or suffocating your hair with synthetic ingredients you will not need to use as many hair products in general.
What do you do to prevent hair product build-up?
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(Image by Dawn Michelle)