I see you over there eating your organic carrots and going to the yoga studio. You’re trying to live a healthy and holistic lifestyle, aren’t you? Did you know that you’re most likely pouring harmful chemicals onto your scalp almost everyday? Chemicals that not only harm your hair, but that can also cause cancer, organ toxicity, and inflammation? Chemicals that not only hurt you, but also run off and then hurt the environment? Popular shampoos and conditioners contain loads of harmful chemicals, but fortunately, it’s there are lots of better solutions. In this post I’ll go over three alternative solutions to using harmful hair care products.
Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a small commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please understand that I either have experience or extensive knowledge about all of these products, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel they will help you with your natural hair care goals.
3 Natural Hair Care Methods
- Purchase Credible Natural Products
- Make Your Own Products with Safe Natural Ingredients
- Stop Using Hair Care Products Entirely (Water-Only)
Personally, I have tried all three methods since I first ditched commercial hair products in the summer of 2013. For the first four years, I used products that I made myself. While this worked great, I eventually got tired of the hassle and switched to purchasing pre-made safe and natural shampoos for about 8 months. This worked fine; however, I planned on traveling and toting around shampoo and conditioner didn’t quite fit my lifestyle (plus, those credible natural hair products were expensive). Hence, I got rid of hair care products entirely in the summer of 2018 and began using only water on my hair. Out of all three methods, using just water to wash my hair has worked the best for me.
Here’s a video of before and after washing my hair with just water:
Now I’ll go into detail about each option so that you can experiment and decide is best for you. If you need any tips or advice, don’t hesitate to reach out.
Method 1: Purchase Credible Natural Shampoo and Conditioner
Finding credible and effective natural shampoos and conditioners can be quite a headache Fortunately, I’ve been around the block and know a thing or two about which brands are the best and which chemicals to avoid.
- Initially, using store-bought natural shampoos and conditioners is by far the easiest way to switch from chemical-free products. There’s usually no transition transition period and all you have to do is put the bottle in the shower and boom it’s ready to go.
- One downside is that no product is perfect and there could still be something harmful lurking in the safe, non-toxic, shampoo and conditioner that has not yet been discovered to be dangerous. For example, 4 years ago, methylisothiazolinone, a commonly used ingredient, was believed to be only a moderate hazard and safe for occasional use. It scored a 5/10 on EWG’s Cosmetics Database, a site dedicated to spreading consumer awareness about the hazards of cosmetic ingredients. In 2019, methylisothiazolinone is ranked 7/10, which means that it is a high-ranking health hazard. New information is constantly being discovered and becoming available, proving some of our previous beliefs about chemicals to be false.
- There are some decent natural hair care products on the market right now; however, those products are expensive and hard-to-find. Sure you can go buy just about any shampoo or conditioner from your local store and it’ll claim to be “natural,” but in this day and age we know that’s a load of hooey. The real-deal stuff costs money. If you’re bank account can handle that, then check out some of the options below.
Recommended Natural Shampoos and Conditioners:
- Innersense Organic Hydrating Hairbath (Shampoo) and Cream Conditioner
- Best for color-treated, curly/thick, and normal hair
- Yarok Feed Your Volume Shampoo and Conditioner
- Best for fine/thinning, curly/thick, and normal hair
- Intelligent Nutrients- PureServe Color Saving Shampoo and Conditioner
- Best for color-treated and normal hair
These are several of the top brands in the marketplace and they have been vetted by multiple prominent holistic beauty companies. While I have not personally tried these three products, I feel comfortable recommending them after extensively researching their formulas and hearing many positive reviews from others.
Soon I will post in-depth guides about which hair care brands are the best, where to find them, and which specific ingredients to avoid. If this would be of use to you, be sure to subscribe to get notified when these resources become available:
2. Make Your Own Shampoo and Conditioner with Safe Natural Ingredients
- You know exactly what is going on your hair. Homemade shampoos are generally made with gentle and natural ingredients such as aloe vera, coconut milk, chamomile tea, and soap nuts. I sure hope you’re not planning to go buy methylisothiazolinone to put in your homemade natural shampoo.
- Homemade shampoos are cheap. Making your own shampoo is extremely cost effective. For a time I just used plain aloe vera as shampoo and conditioner, which is around $15 for 12 ounces. This would last me at least half a year, or less than $2.50 a month. How’s that for wallet-friendly? You also can modify your formula each time- you don’t have have to eat your money and buy a whole different bottle if it doesn’t quite feel right.
- As mentioned, homemade shampoo is extremely customizable. There are endless options, so with time you’ll be able to develop the perfect formula for your hair. You also can modify the formula each time; there’s no having to wait until you empty ‘the bottle’ to go try something else. Switching methods is cheap.
- While it’s nice that there are unlimited options, this means that there are unlimited options- where do you start and how do you know what’ll work best for your hair?! There could be a period of trial and error in the beginning while you figure out what works best for your hair.
- There’s also some added work. You have to physically make your shampoo and conditioner. A lot of the homemade kinds go bad within a week or two so it’s a constant process (there are some exceptions however).
- Another thing to consider is that there might be a transition period. While this depends on how strong of a shampoo you’re using, if you’re coming from using a chemical-ridden conditioner such as L’Oreal Everpure Volume Shampoo your hair may need some time to detox. The detoxing process isn’t always pretty, but consider it a blessing. The worse it is, the more you needed to do it; however, you can always adjust the strength of your homemade shampoo to help negate the effects.
- This isn’t exactly a con, but there are some quirky homemade natural shampoo and conditioner options. Have you ever put an avocado in your hair? How about an egg yolk? Apple cider vinegar? These are some of the more peculiar options- up to you whether you want to try them or not, but I can attest that they make your hair look gorgeous. Don’t worry though, there are some less smelly and peculiar options if that’s not your thing.
Here are three homemade shampoo and conditioner recommendations to get you started:
Three Homemade Shampoo and Conditioner Recommendations
- Coconut Milk and Liquid Castile Soap from Wellness Mama
- Rhassoul or Bentonite Clay Shampoo from Mommypotamus (p.s. if you see clay that claims to be organic, that’s a lie. Clay can’t be organic)
- A Simple 50/50 Apple Cider Vinegar and Water Rinse
Soon, I will post detailed articles about how to know which homemade shampoo is best for you, which ingredients to avoid, and how to avoid a transition period. I also have created a eBook explaining how to use 8 of the most popular homemade natural cleansers. Sign up below to receive the eBook and get notified when more resources become available:
3. Water-Only Washing
Yes, you really can use nothing but water to wash your hair. I’ve been doing it for months and my hair looks happy and healthy, as you can see in the video above.
- Extremely simple. All you have to do is hop in the shower, scrub scrub scrub your scalp a little, and hop out. Easy peasy. You don’t need anything, just water.
- For anyone who’s traveling or backpacking, this is the holy grail. You don’t have to worry about finding your shampoo in foreign countries or it exploding in your bag. I got tired of my shampoo exploding in my suitcase in Costa Rica, so I just ditched it entirely.
- Do you want to know how much this costs? Zero. Yep, zero dollars- unless you’re using bottled water. Then it might be a bit pricey.
- There are two concerns to water-only washing. The is the transition period. If you go from using a normal shampoo and conditioner to nothing your hair will probably freak out a bit. There are ways you can ease the transition, such as first switching to a homemade shampoo and starting to space out washings.
- The second concern is your water quality. If you have hard water, you may find a some buildup in your hair. You can find out if you have hard water using this simple test from the Water-Right Group. It’s possible to still do water-only washing if you have hard water, it’s just a bit more work or money. My college dorm had hard water and I was able to remove the mineral buildup both with a strong showered and frequent brushing with a boar bristle brush, so it’s possible. If there’s a will, there’s a way.
For more more information on easing the transition period, how to actually get your hair clean, how to deal with hard water, and other water-related topics be sure to subscribe to my email list to stay updated on when more resources become available.
I know switching to water-only can be a daunting (but totally worth it!) process so I’m also working on an eCourse that’ll help you transition to water-only as easily as possible. If you’re a cool kid and would be interested in something like this, be sure to hit the button below and subscribe to get access when it’s released.
Switching to natural hair care was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. My hair feels so much healthier and happier. I’m helping the environment. And it’s just frickin awesome. I love the look on people’s faces when I tell them I don’t wash my hair. I especially love it when they feel my hair and realize how soft, clean and healthy it is. It’s wild.
I hope you decide to join me on this natural hair care journey. Any of the three natural hair care options listed above is a viable choice and would be leaps and bounds over the sulfate- and paraben-laden shampoos many people are using. Show your hair some love. It deserves better.
P.S. I’m all about that treating ourselves right, if you are too be sure to check out my Self Care guide. It’s just a simple breakdown of 5 things I recommend doing to keep yourself (and your hair) happy and healthy. Switching to natural hair care is great, but it’s only one part of the puzzle.