I decided to again stop using all store bought conditioners. I did my usual online research on simple hair regimens and of course I found articles and forums filled with information about the no-poo hair care method.
No-poo refers to no longer using shampoo and for some no longer using conditioner either. I have been using conditioner only for quite sometime as my hair cleanser and my hair has done extremely well. I then added shikakai powder to my coconut deep conditioning treatment to further cleanse my hair which is kind of like a all natural co-wash.
I began to wonder if so many different ingredients in my hair care not only complicated things, but also made cleansing my hair with stronger ingredients more important. I assumed that if I simplified my hair regimen even more with the right ingredients that my hair may not need as many conditioning products. I could then most certainly cut things back to the basics.
I came across a few different forums that spoke about the water only hair method, sebum only hair method, and basic ingredients to cleanse the hair like baking soda, apple cider vinegar, tea, applesauce, apple juice, and lemon juice. My scalp does not produce excess sebum, so I’ve never had to wash my hair more than once a week. I also was very clear that the sebum only hair method wouldn’t work on my dry textured hair, nor would it go over well with a hair stylist when working a job on set. Whatever I used for my hair needed to work well and be somewhat simple.
Baking soda and lemon juice are completely out of the healthy hair pH range of 4.0-7.0, so I knew both of those ingredients were not an option. I had no interest in using apple juice or applesauce so that was out too. But I did think about tea and apple cider vinegar.
Black tea has a pH of about 4.9 and green tea has a pH of 6.0–6.4. Since green tea is not as acidic as black tea, I felt that it would be a better mix with apple cider vinegar which has a pH of 2.8–3.0. I also already use green tea in my DIY Soothing Antioxidant Toner and always like using something that I already have at home. Once I settled on green tea and apple cider vinegar, I decided to add raw honey for its humectant and conditioning properties.
Green tea is full of antioxidants and soothes dandruff, psoriasis, and other scalp irritations. Green tea contains vitamins C, D, and E as well as vitamin B5 (panthenol). Green tea stimulates hair follicles therefore increases healthy hair growth and reducing hair loss.
Apple cider vinegar’s natural antibiotic and antibacterial properties balances the pH of your scalp while removing dead skin cells on the scalp. It is also a natural remedy for hair thinning, hair loss, and dandruff. Apple cider vinegar rinses away chemicals and excess oils from the hair and scalp without dehydrating the hair leaving it conditioned and tangle free. The best nutrients are in organic raw apple cider vinegar. So here’s the recipe…
Organic Green Tea
Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
I steeped one green tea bag in 2-3 cups of water for 30–60 minutes. I then added 2-4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (depending on clarifying needs) and 1 tablespoon of raw honey. I mixed thoroughly until the honey disappeared. Once the liquid cooled I poured it into my spray bottle now ready for use.
Part hair in half and rinse with water. Now spray the tea rinse on scalp and hair thoroughly and gently massage the scalp. Clip one side up then proceed to the other. Once hair is completely saturated, let it sit for at least five minutes. Use any remaining tea cleansing rinse to repeat to both sides before rinsing. To completely avoid tangles during this cleasing process it is even better to wash hair in braids or twists.
Before I even began using this method of hair cleansing I clarified my hair with apple cider vinegar and water. I used 1:3 part ratio of apple cider vinegar to water. The next wash day I started using the my tea rinse.
Because this tea rinse has no slip, I no longer detangle my hair in the shower and instead detail carefully and gently before and/or after I wash my hair. For my usual styling method of setting my curls with braids, I use a mix of aloe vera, unrefined shea butter, hemp oil, camellia oil, and guar gum. Surprisingly the guar gum gives this mix the exact amount of slip needed to easily detangle my hair. I don’t have a set recipe for this as it’s just been a fun experiment.
I believe that because this hair cleansing process doesn’t open the hair cuticle detangling is also easier. I honestly think that keeping the hair organized while cleansing has a lot to do with it too. I do not put any oil on my scalp so that the skin can breath and does not become irritated. I don’t feel like my hair needs to be deep conditioned weekly any more and will only deep condition my hair after my monthly henna treatments. My results are shiny beautiful curls in the most minimal way I ever imagined.
Pay attention to how your hair responds to new methods and hair products. You sometimes need to isolate products to really know if they are working or not. I have a shower filter which gives a good balance to hard water. Depending on the water you are dealing with can also affect what works for your hair especially when going no ‘poo.
Lastly if you have chemically damaged hair, your hair cuticle is not intact as strongly as virgin hair. I’ve used henna for so long and know that it coats and fills in the hair cuticle. I suggest doing henna or cassia treatments to improve your hair’s damaged condition as you grow out chemically over-processed hair. Many turn to silicone based products to temporarily fill in damaged hair cuticles. Henna and cassia are long term natural ways to strengthen and condition hair. Read Henna For Hair 101 for more info.
This hair cleansing method isn’t going to work for everyone or be for everyone. I haven’t used natural shampoos for sometime and was ready to taking things one step further.
(Image by D Sharon Pruitt)