I can’t believe that I’m actually going to say this, but I am happier with my hair now that I have not only eliminated shampoos from my hair regimen, yet “natural” conditioners too. So you are probably wondering what in the world have I been cleansing and conditioning my hair with, and how am I keeping my hair healthy? The answer is simple 100% natural herbs and oils, plus edible ingredients.
Before I get into the ingredients, I’d like to tell you more about why I stopped specifically using “natural” conditioner although I haven’t used traditional shampoo for years. Detergents in chemical shampoos weaken and dry out healthy hair. Last year I learned exactly what ingredients make a conditioner specifically different than a simple hair lotion. Although these synthetic conditioner ingredients are not deemed seriously toxic to our bodies like these ingredients, they pollute our water supply.
Ingredients such as cetyl alcohol, emulsifying wax, and wheat protein are all chemically processed. I also learned that popular conditioner ingredients such as BTMS aka behentrimonium methosulfate, cetrimonium bromide, quaternium-15 are all quaternary ammonium compounds and can cause contact dermatitis as well as contribute to unnecessary water pollution. –Source
Other conditioner ingredients such as cetrimonium chloride, stearalkonium chloride, and cetalkonium chloride can create dry and brittle hair after long-term use. –Source
When I was thinking about these types of conditioning ingredients, it made me wonder why they were so valuable in hair care in the first place. I also began to question why so many “natural” cosmetic brands, and smaller home-based beauty businesses where using chemical ingredients in their products. Now even toxic chemical cosmetic ingredients are available to everyone with internet access. It also had me determined to see if it was possible to truly maintain healthy curly hair without these traditional chemical conditioner ingredients.
Curly hair needs gentle cleansing, some sort of slippery product to detangle and condition hair, and another to clump curls to be remain frizz free. Straight hair also needs cleansing and detangling without being weighed down by oils especially if the scalp already produces excess sebum while leaving hair shiny with volume. Chemically altered hair needs serious strengthening and sealing of the hair cuticle to make it appear healthy.
I decided to do some research on The Long Hair Community to see what natural ingredients women with all hair type were using to maintain their long straight, wavy, and curly hair. I wanted to know what was and was not working. Many women were happily using herbs and natural oils for healthy hair care. Many of these simple ingredients I have tried, while a few were new to me.
I’ve continued to play around with a bunch of different natural ingredients. I want to start by saying that my hair is softer yet stronger than when I was using conditioner ingredients.
I do get single strand knots although less than before, and my split ends have drastically been reduced. My hair may have been over conditioned from co-washing consistently, and using conditioners as a leave-in which caused excess split ends. I can tell that my hair is very healthy currently based on how it feel without being coated with synthetic ingredients. It was odd at first to feel my naked hair without “natural” conditioners that I was using in the past or even making myself, yet I absolutely love it now.
Here is a list of 100% natural alternatives to healthy hair care for all hair types.
Conditioning Hair Foods
Great Leave-in’s/Styling Products
In Part 2 I will share my experience using herbs for hair care with more information on how to use these natural ingredients for herbal hair cleansing for all hair types. Enjoy your weekend!
(Image by D Sharon Pruitt)