My first undertaking with respect to natural beauty was to revamp my hair products. This was primarily because I was unhappy with the current state of my hair. Although I’ve always had a head full of wavy, textured hair, I had noticed that I was losing quite a bit in the shower and it no longer had the shine that it used. Initially I thought this was due to age, but I now believe that it had more to do with the abuse it suffered through hot irons, blow dryers and the massive amount of chemicals that I was applying to it on a daily basis. I used a lot of hair products – styling cream to straighten, spray for volume, serum for shine, balm for more shine, spray for hold. Having a lot of textured hair meant I needed a lot of help (tools, products) to control it. Or so I thought.
Although I was already using SLS free products, they did contain silicone along with a lot of ingredients that I could not pronounce. I had tried using a shampoo bar in the past but wasn’t impressed and relegated it to my travel kit. However, while on vacation I used the bar exclusively and came back with the best looking hair that I had in a long time. It turns out that it wasn’t the shampoo bar. More likely it was the water combined with not using any other products and no blow dryer. When I tried it back home I just didn’t have the same results.
I read several blogs regarding the detox process and was prepared for a rough couple of weeks. I was under the assumption that because I had already been using an SLS free shampoo, it would only take a couple of weeks.
The first step was the baking soda wash. The results were horrible. Not only was my hair a dry and a tangled mess, but my scalp was itchy and flakey. Based on the results, this was not something I wanted to try again. So I decided to order up another shampoo bar – this one purely natural. I started using the shampoo bar on a regular basis, and in combination with an apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinse it was doable, at least on a temporary basis. During this time I spent most days wearing my hair up to be presentable.
The result of this initial detox period was that my normally slightly dry hair had become very dry. Online searches indicated a mask with a castor oil base was the answer. So I mixed up the oily mixture, applied it to my hair and waited. However, when I went to rinse it out it didn’t seem to come out. I used the shampoo bar and added the ACV rinse but it was still an oily mess. Eventually I gave up and tried to dry my hair. After over an hour of drying, my hair still looked wet. It was in fact oily. I tried washing it again in the morning with no success. I finally applied some dry shampoo and put it up in a ponytail. About a week later the last of the castor oil finally came out. I did end up having to purchase a natural clarifying shampoo to remove it all.
The positive aspect of the experience was that I found a new natural clarifying shampoo that I liked. After that I started using the clarifying shampoo every few washes and using the shampoo bars in between. With this combination I was finally able to wear my hair down again. The shampoo bars do tend to leave a residue in my hair and don’t provide sufficient conditioning for me so I do find that I need to either use an ACV rinse, a detangler, or a hair tea rinse. Also, the ACV rinse itself, while it does make the hair very shiny, can be drying if used too often. For this reason I now limit its use to every couple of weeks. In addition, I’ve found that brushing my hair every night with a boar bristle brush has resulted in healthier looking hair the next morning. This may sound counterintuitive, especially if you have wavy or curly hair, but it really does help by distributing the oil from the scalp to the ends. If you have very thick or textured hair I would recommend combing through it first before brushing to cut down on the frizz.
To sum up the experience, it is not something that I would want to go through again but I’m glad I did it. I have no desire to go back to traditional hair products with silicone. In fact I am so afraid of having to go through the detox process again that I now require assurances from anyone cutting my hair that they won’t use silicone products. I haven’t colored my hair since the process. I do blow dry it but not as frequently. The luster has returned and it is longer and healthier than it has been in years.
Stay tuned for future posts on the clarifying shampoo, shampoo bars and other natural hair care product replacements.