It has been a bit of a journey, but I think I’ve finally found a good balance of hair care products that work well for my hair and have honestly given me the best hair I’ve had in my adult life. I never thought I’d say this, but my hair feels softer, healthier and looks more smooth and has better shine than it ever did with conventional products or even the expensive salon-grade products. Even though I have dyed my hair repeatedly for years, and have gone from very light blonde to very dark brown and back again several times, my hair now air-dries without any frizz. I definitely couldn’t boast about that with my salon brands.
The transition from salon to natural products wasn’t pretty. I nearly quit to go back to salon products so many times I can’t even count. But now that I’m on the flip side (nearly two months later) I can honestly say I’d never go back. I no longer expect my shampoo to lather like crazy, and understand that my hair can be just as clean without the stripping sulfate ingredients. Like I’ve said, my hair has never been healthier. Why would I go back?
First up: Shampoo:
Before jumping in the shower I pull my hair up into a very high ponytail just above my crown and tuck the length into a messy bun. In doing this I make it very easy for me to get the shampoo into the roots, which is very important when you are working with shampoo bars or exclusively oil-based shampoos. You have to work a little harder to get your hair clean, but not stripping the natural balance of your hair every time you shampoo makes the extra effort worth it. I alternate between using the Extra Honey and Beer shampoo bar (review) and the Lavender Spice shampoo bar (review) by Chagrin Valley.
The full size bars are quite large, so I cut them into smaller pieces to help extend the life of the bar. If you were to keep the whole bar in your shower it would melt away much faster between the extra heat and the water.
I work the bars into a lather in my hands and the rub them into my roots for about a minute. If I’m having trouble maintaining the lather I just add more water. I do this twice, once to remove the dirt, twice to remove the excess oil. I find that if I only wash once my hair is a little greasy by the next day. After the second lather I let my hair down and rinse the shampoo bar throughout the length of my hair. As an aside, make sure that your rinse the shampoo bars out really well. They take more rinsing than you’d think. I think that I am inclined to not rinse it as long because there isn’t as much lather as traditional shampoos, so I just remind myself to keep rinsing even when I think I’m done.
Conditioner: Oh John Masters, why did I ever leave you? I had tried the Citrus and Neroli Detangler (review) a while back, but because of it’s inaccesability in my city I started looking for alternatives. But when I found a store that carries it I was converted yet again. After cleaning my hair I used about a tablespoon for my mid-back length fine hair and apply it from my ears down. I let this sit on my hair while I do everything else in the shower and then rinse it out while combing it with a wide tooth comb. It blows my mind how easily my wet hair brushes out. No stretching or breaking at all with this little gem. Unlike other natural conditioners I’ve tried, especially ones with protein, this conditioner leaves no residue at all in my hair. You can also use this product as a leave-in conditioner, but I find that I get adequate moisture when I rinse it out.
I like the benefits of argan oil, but the nutty scent is just too much for me to take. After reading a ton of reviews and informatiion I decided to try hemp seed oil and I couldn’t be happier. I use the hair treatment oil (review) from North American Hemp Co. just on my ends; one pump is enough. I have found that it has really helped minimize split ends, and keeps the ones I have from splitting any higher.
Heat Protectant/Hair Toner:
I bring a small container of facial toner with me everywhere I go just in case my skin needs a hydration boost, so why wouldn’t I do that for my hair? Yarok’s Feed Your Ends (review) is a great natural heat protector and little moisture burst throughout the day. It is marketed as a leave in conditioner, but it doesn’t work for my hair in that respect, but as heat protection and moisture spritz it works very well. The scent definitely takes on the grapeseed and apricot oils, but it doesn’t last so I don’t mind. I apply a few sprays while my hair is drying if I plan to heat style it with a flat-iron or curling-iron, otherwise I just apply it as needed a few times throughout the day.
Since I discovered how using a hair dryer with shampoo bars results in disaster (previous post) I have exclusively air dried my hair. Yes, it does take a little bit of planning if I want to wear my hair down because it takes at least two and a half hours to dry (my hair is very porous and hangs onto water like crazy) but it’s far better than the alternative. For my every day look I put my hair up in one of those claw clips on the top of my head and let it down in about 1 inch sections at a time to let it dry. This drastically speeds up the process and allows me to have great volume at my roots. I have also started experimenting with twisting my hair after showering and before going to bed to get a natural wave, as well as braiding into a very loose braid. Too tight a twist or braid and my hair will be completely wet in the centre by the morning. It’s amazing the difference not blow-drying your hair every time you wash it will do for you, though. I didn’t think that you could actually repair damage, but it really feels like my hair is getting healthier every day.
I’ve talked before about the importance of spending time on deep conditioning treatments for your hair, and I can’t stress it enough. For all the time you spend on your skin you owe it to your hair to do the same. Believe me, the results will be worth it. Once a week I use either Rose Milk Repairing Care Treatment by Lavera (review) or the John Masters Organics Honey and Hibiscus Hair Reconstructor (review). Don’t you worry. It really doesn’t take that much extra time or effort. I wet my hair down before going to sleep, put one of these two hair masks on, wrap it up and sleep on it. I wash it out when I get up and get to feel the benefits for several days afterwards. Depending on how mean I’ve been to my hair the results usually last at least a week, but whenever I feel the need for extra moisture I repeat the process. If you haven’t tried a hair mask, I’d definitely recommend it. I know you’ll like it. Even my boyfriend likes them.
Once or twice a week I try and do an apple cider viegar rinse (1 tbsp acv to 1 cup water) just to help remove any buildup.
And that’s it! I know that it sounds like a lot, but it really doesn’t take that much time at all. My showers, even when I take the time to shave are no longer than 5 minutes long, and the once a week hair masks take all of 5 minutes to apply. If you have any questions or comments I’d love to hear from you! Have you tried any of these products? What do you use for your everyday hair care routine?