Hair is one of those things we can’t get away from. Some of us have too much, others have too little, but we all have it, and we need to wash what we have on a regular basis.
Most likely, you are used to using a specific kind of store bought shampoo on your hair. If you’re adventurous, you’ve probably tried a wide variety of shampoos, but still settled on a few favorites. Most likely these products get the job done, but they may be expensive, and are probably full of a variety of chemicals you might not actually want to put on your body.
If you have been wondering if there are natural alternatives to conventional shampoo, you’ll be pleased to know that you have choices on the natural side of things too.
Most conventional shampoos are made from a long list of ingredients you can’t pronounce. Some of these may be toxic, and most will strip out the natural oils you have in your hair. While this does help your hair feel clean for a time, it will produce an unwanted effect. Your body wants your hair to have a certain amount of oils, or ‘grease’ in it. If you strip the natural oils out, your body will respond by making more. If you take some time to experiment with store bought shampoos, you’ll probably find that some give you greasy hair quicker than others.
Natural alternatives will not only reduce your exposure to toxic chemicals, but could also increase the time you can go between washes, thus saving you time.
A lot of people swear by the ‘no poo’ method where you literally stop washing your hair with any conventional soap and revert to using unusual options like eggs to wash your hair. This can take a lot of getting used to, and might be more of a project than you want to undertake, so you may want to consider shampoos that are more similar to what you buy in the store, but can be made at home in moderate quantities.
Be aware that switching from whatever shampoo that you’ve been using, to something natural, will take time. Your hair will actually need a period of time to ‘detox’ from the chemicals it’s been used to. Regular shampoos often have a variety of plastic polymers and other ingredients that coat your hair to make it appear undamaged. As you start to use natural products, you’ll lose the temporary benefits of these ingredients, and your hair may look and feel rough for awhile. If you are willing to put the time in, your hair will grow out and the new stuff coming in will be far healthier than hair coated in chemicals.
The simplest way to clean your hair is to use baking soda. Just mix 1 tbsp baking soda with 2 tbsp of water. This won’t feel like normal shampoo, but it works great. Be careful with this if you color your hair, because the baking soda might strip the color out.
After washing with baking soda, condition your hair with a mix of apple cider vinegar and water to balance the pH of your scalp. This works as a great conditioner with other types of shampoo as well.
Castile soap is probably a product name you’ve heard if you’ve read any historical fiction. You can still buy it today, and yes, it’s still a good choice for a shampoo.
If you are looking for a dry shampoo alternative, look no further than your kitchen cupboards. Cornstarch, rubbed into your scalp and hair in small amounts, is a great way to absorb grease and dirt. Yes, you will get a lot of white powder in your hair, but after you leave it for a few minutes to absorb the grease, it will brush out easily. You can also use baking soda for this.
If you prefer, you can substitute arrowroot powder for cornstarch, and you can add a few drops of essential oil if you want your hair to smell nice. If you have dark hair, make an equal mix of cornstarch or arrowroot and cocoa. This will help the shampoo blend with your hair better, so you have very little risk of white powder showing up.
Since your homemade dry shampoo won’t be in an aerosol can, you’ll have to apply it with your fingers, or an old makeup brush. A brush makes the process more precise. Just brush the mixture into your roots, let it absorb the oil in your hair, then brush out. The benefit to using a dry shampoo, is that your hair will hold the style you put it in, better than super clean, just traditionally washed hair.
If you use a lot of products in your hair, your best bet is to make up a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water and spend some time massaging this into your hair every night. It will breakdown and remove the hair products with ease, and leave your hair nice and shiny.
If your hair is dry, and you want something to help moisture and soothe it, massage some olive oil into your scalp and hair. Leave it for half an hour (ideally under a shower cap), then shampoo it out with whatever shampoo you are accustomed to using.
If making your own shampoo seems like too much effort, there are options you can purchase. Look for organic, or natural options at drug stores, or some department stores. Just be sure to actually read the ingredients, and not just take the pretty marketing label for granted. The less ingredients that make up a certain shampoo, the more natural it is.