So the first items to be replaced in my DIY Beauty Products challenge were my hair care products. When it comes to hair care, things have gotten extremely simple since having Cub. Once upon a time I washed my hair every day, I straightened it almost every day, and I applied various lotions and potions to make my hair shiny, smooth and stick straight. Since Cub was born a year ago, I can count the number of times I’ve actually used the hair dryer on my two paws. The straightening iron made an appearance for a special girls’ night out (notice how we dress up for our girlfriends, not our partners!). Otherwise, it’s been air drying and a pony tail for me! My hair is also pretty easy to maintain: not overly dry, sometimes a bit oily, but no major issues that might make switching to natural shampoo any more challenging.
Switching to an all-natural shampoo will not give you immediately beautiful hair: you will have a yucky phase! I learned all about this from Nicole at A Green Routine. I’m happy to report that for me, the yucky phase was not so bad, and I have now been using my new hair care products for over two weeks.
Update after three weeks: I am currently experiencing quite oily tresses immediately after shampooing. My homemade 1:1 blend of cocoa and arrowroot flour dry shampoo, applied with a dollar store spice shaker priceless! (And yet cheap to make!) After shampooing and once my hair is dry, I apply it generously all over, but concentrate on the oil hot spots. I dust my scalp off with a blush brush. I like to apply this before going to bed. In the morning my hair is no longer shiny and it feels quite lovely. I do a spot application if there is any shine left. Because of the cocoa, the dry shampoo blends into my hair (those with light hair would use straight arrowroot flour).
A glimpse at my overall experience:
- After one use, I abandoned the Coconut Lavender Conditioner as it was far too greasy for my hair. If you have extremely dry hair, a treatment with this conditioner will probably be extremely beneficial. For my normal hair, I thought I followed the recipe’s caution to use only a tiny amount, but I definitely used too much. My hair immediately felt extremely soft, but once out of the shower I soon realized I could probably use my pony tail to grease my muffin tins.
- The homemade shampoo recipe I tried creates a shampoo that is not creamy like I’m used to: it’s fairly watery. However, it does foam up more than I expected, and the peppermint essential oil creates the delightful tingly sensation I was hoping for. (Note that I know foam does NOT mean clean, but I can’t help but like that this homemade shampoo does get bubbly!)
- Following the coconut oil conditioner debacle, I switched to a 1-1 mix of apple cider vinegar and water in a dollar store spritz bottle, spraying it thoroughly throughout my wet tresses, letting it sit a few minutes prior to shampooing, and then applying one more time after shampooing and rinsing out. I now follow up all my shampooing with an ACV rinse.
- After the oil from my overzealous application of coconut oil conditioner was more or less sopped up (it took a lot of rinsing), I was able to observe the changes in my hair as it detoxed from commercially-made shampoo. I expected it to be significantly worse than it actually was.
So far I’ve noticed…
- My hair doesn’t stink or look dirty.
- I do not feel like I “need” to wash my hair every day: I’m washing every third day.
- My best friend commented: “How is it that your hair never gets greasy!” (She was staying with us and observing the infrequency of my hair washing.)
- My hair has texture. I have, in the past, purchased items to MAKE MY HAIR LOOK DIRTY. We all know that hair that is not freshly shampooed styles better, especially in up-dos, so the beauty industry sells us shampoo to clean our hair, then another product to make it dirty again?! That’s cray cray.
- My hair does not seem to have as much volume: this could be a pro or a con depending on what you’re going for. Personally, I have very thick hair and am often struggling to get it to look less poofy, so the extra oil which I assume is making my hair slightly heavier is in no way a detractor for me. (As I have been known to purchase items to texturize my hair, I have also purchased items to grease my hair into submission.)
- Styling is easy: my pony tails look better, with many fewer fly aways and less frizz. My loose braids hold nicer and look prettier.
- So far no horror stories such as extremely greasy hair, dandruff or other major issues to make me turn back to my commercial shampoo.
- Dry shampoo made of cocoa and arrowroot flour has helped with the extra oiliness caused by the switch. I’ve got some in a glass spice shaker and I work in through my hair usually before bed. I get an (attractive) bedhead look in the morning!
Recipes I’ve tested so far….
|Wellness Mama’s Natural Homemade Shampoo Recipe||Free People’s Homemade Coconut Lavender Conditioner||A Green Routine’s Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse and Conditioner|
|Ingredients:Coconut milk, Liquid Castille SoapVitamin E OilEssential Oils||Ingredients:Coconut oilJojoba oilVitamin E oilEssential oil||Ingredients:Apple cider vinegarDistilled water|
|Still using & enjoying! I used tinned coconut milk without any trouble. The batch I’m currently using is a mix of peppermint essential oil and basil essential oil.
||Used once and found it far too greasy. However, I now use it after every shower, applying it to my still damp skin as a moisturizer and patting dry. I love using it this way!||A 1-1 apple cider vinegar/water concoction in a spritz bottle is now a fixture in our shower stall.|
Find out more about “no ‘poo”
So the idea of abandoning synthetic commercial shampoos was first introduced to me as the “no ‘poo” method. I would often see posts using this term in cloth diapering forums. Therefore, my initial assumption was that this technique had something to do with either making your child not poo, or making your child not poo in his diaper (I thought it might be slang for elimination communication!). But no, the moniker has nothing to do with feces!
There are many interesting articles explaining why and how one can eliminate store-bought shampoo. Many mamas just use baking soda and water as their shampoo substitute, in fact.
There are dermatological reasons why switching away from Herbal Essences and Fructus (and all of their friends) causes your hair to look and feel greasy, but rest assured that it’s not because your hair is dirty.
Aside from being good for your body, sparing it all the perfumes, dyes, petroleum-based products, etc. found in your average store-bought shampoo, making your own shampoo (or just using baking soda) is a huge savings for you and the environment.
After almost three weeks using my homemade shampoo, apple cider vinegar rinse and even touch ups with cocoa powder dry shampoo, I’m not ready to go back to my store bought shampoo just yet! I like how my hair looks, I like the texture, the smoothness and the general feel of it. From what I’ve read, my scalp will grow accustomed to the new routine and slow down the production of oil. After a few more weeks, I’ll let you know if I’m still on board and if I’ve noticed any other changes!
Here are some pages I’ve turned to for more information and advice:
Wellness Mama: She’s my guru.
Crunchy Betty: Get lots of ideas from her!
A Green Routine: Lots of ideas to make your routine greener.
NPR Article: When it Comes to Shampoo, Less is More.
Huffington Post article: How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar
Getting the ingredients you need:
Well.ca (affiliate link) has all the ingredients you need and free shipping after $29. However, their prices are not always competitive (it depends on the product, if there’s a sale and if you have a coupon). If you have time to comparison shop, you can download the Well App, which has a barcode scanner so you can easily compare prices for identical products at your local health food store. However, if you want to do a one-stop, online shop, ordering from Well.ca is worthwhile even if some items are a few dollars, considering what you save in time and gas. Note that Coconut Oil is significantly cheaper at Costco if you or someone you know has a membership. For $18 you will have enough to last you through all of your DIY recipes and more!
Another tip for Well.ca is that they sometimes ship with Fedex and sometimes with Canada Post. Upon checkout, you can check the “leave at door” box, and most of the time Canada Post follows this directive, meaning you don’t have to make a trip out to pick up your box. However, Fedex is much less likely to leave a package at the door, and Fedex locations are usually off the beaten path. When Fedex delivered one of my orders and I wasn’t home, I had to rent a car to go pick it up because a) it was a big box, b) no buses went there. I wrote to Well about it and they have now marked my account as shipping with CP only. If, in the worst case, the postie decides not to leave my box at my door, the post office is in walking distance from our house.