My transition to 100% natural hair care began September 2011 when I wanted to eliminate all chemical ingredients for a simple and healthier approach to beautiful hair. It all started with the DIY Green Tea Cleansing Hair Rinse and later the DIY Herbal Hair Rinse, which I used to cleanse my hair with a natural oil for conditioning and styling. I’d previously loved and used rhassoul clay as a hair cleanser since February 2010 (and still do), yet at the time was also using store bought conditioners. I also hadn’t discovered the amazing benefits of henna or other herbal washes for my hair, and still had a lot to learn.
In January 2012 I fell off my 100% natural hair care regimen while trying The Curly Girl Method, and once again using store bought natural conditioners as well as making my own. I was still using henna consistently, yet little did I really understand synthetic conditioner ingredients and their effects on hair or the environment. Fast forward to now where I am only using natural ingredients for my hair care and have once again eliminated synthetic “naturally derived” conditioner ingredients.
Even with my consistent use of natural products as well as “natural” store bought products over the years, I still experienced a transitioning process with 100% natural hair care which I wanted to share with you.
Synthetic ingredients such as silicones, betremonium methosulfate, cetrimonium chloride, etc. leave a coating on the hair which takes time to detox completely from your hair strands. When I initially stopped using store bought products my hair felt a little dry, and at one point my ends literally felt like velcro and were sticking to each other. A simple hair treatment of bentonite clay and apple cider vinegar made my hair feel amazing and the velcro ends were long gone. This simple treatment helped remove any left over build up from my hair.
I used a couple of methods to deal with the feeling of dry hair during this transition time. First incorporating mucilage herbs such as marshmallow root, and humectants such as vegetable glycerin into my hair cleanser was extremely helpful. This allowed easy detangling and added moisture. I also used simple solutions such as “the baggy method” overnight by spritzing the ends of my hair with aloe vera and wrapping the ends of my hair with a reusable shower cap. I would even deep condition my hair overnight for extra moisture retention with various mixes such as coconut milk, vegetable glycerin, and a natural oil.
I’m realizing most of all that it is what you wash your hair with that makes the biggest difference with how your hair feels.
After my hair was completely detoxed, my curls actually felt soft without conditioner especially with my most recent DIY Herbal Hair Cleansers. My scalp is finally balanced and producing more sebum versus being dry, itchy, and irritated. This transitioning process took me two months to completely detox my hair the first time in 2011, and two to three weeks the second time this past January. It did take some time to get used to how my hair felt without any synthetic coatings. I absolutely love it!
This is my personal experience having dry curly hair. Those transitioning to 100% natural hair care with oily hair will have their own unique experience while detoxing their hair. Synthetic ingredients and strong detergents in store bought shampoos and conditioners usually create a consistent cycle of imbalance to the hair by excessively stripping the natural oils from our hair and scalp and replacing dehydrated stripped hair with softening chemicals. Those with dry hair can experience flaky scalp, itching and irritation while those with oily hair experience overly abundant sebum production.
For those who are on the no-poo 100% chemical-free hair journey, I’d love to start the conversation below. What is working for you, and what isn’t working at all? How is your transition going?
Read this series to understand why chemical free hair care is so important to me including tons of tips about going 100% no-poo.
(Image by Dawn Michelle)