Anyone who knows me knows that I have insanely curly hair for a white woman! You would describe my hair as tight ringlets, and I’ve seen very few people with similar hair to mine who are not of African descent! It tends to be drier than my straight-haired counterparts, and the ends lighten in colour when my hair dries out. I do NOT use any kind of heat styling on my hair, and usually load it with leave in conditioner to keep it soft and from drying out. I only wash my hair about once a week with shampoo/conditioner, as I find that doing it any more frequently makes it drier (and frizzier) still.
All my life I’ve used truckloads of products in my hair to reduce frizz and try (TRY!) to keep it under relative control. I think I’ve tried just about every leave in conditioner, anti-frizz putty, gel, serum, cream – whatever you want to call it – and have never had really satisfying results. I have always washed my hair with normal shampoo/conditioner and dried my hair with a towel after getting out of the shower. It concerns me how many chemicals/unnatural ingredients are seeping into my scalp/skin when using so much commercial product in my hair, and I definitely prefer to use natural methods and ingredients where possible in my daily beauty routine.
Recently I stumbled upon a post about the No Shampoo/Conditioner method for washing hair (find original post here – http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-8953/diy-this-baking-soda-shampoo-saved-my-hair.html). I was completely skeptical at first – how could your hair be clean and washed and feel soft after using the ingredients they suggested?! Well, I was keen to try the method and give it a good couple of weeks to really see if it made a difference in my hair.
I can’t put my improved hair condition and nearly non-existent frizz down to the No-Shampoo method alone…but I can say that it has hugely contributed to my hair condition drastically improving! My hair at the roots feels soft and well conditioned, the ends of my hair are no longer dry, and my hair is actually starting to grow (although seeing just how much is hard – curls just keep springing back up!).
There are 4 things that I’m doing differently – and I can say that it’s these things that have made the difference.
1. Weekly coconut oil hair masks – just massage small amounts of coconut oil (raw, unprocessed. organic) into your scalp and then work it down to the ends of your hair. Put on a shower cap (I improvise with cling wrap if I don’t have a shower cap!) and leave for an hour or so. Usually I do this on a Saturday while I’m doing washing, bread making, cleaning etc. Rinse out oil with shampoo/conditioner mix.
2. Washing with natural shampoo/conditioner – For shampoo mix 1 part bicarb soda to 3 parts water (I like to make up a big batch of both mixtures and keep them in drink/squeeze bottles in the shower) and for conditioner mix 1 part Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) to 4 parts water. Start with the bicarb mix – pour it on your hair into the roots and massage your scalp for a minute or so. Rinse thoroughly. Repeat with the ACV mixture and leave on hair for a minute or two before rinsing. This process can feel a little strange at first – especially because there is no lather when you shampoo.
3. Dry hair with old t-shirt rather than a towel – the towel texture catches on hair and gives you frizz. Using an old t-shirt or tank top (cotton is good) instead greatly reduces this problem.
4. More oil – I always rub a small amount of coconut oil into my hair after washing, focusing mainly on the ends. I find this helps to reduce the amount of other products I have to use in my hair to keep it semi-tame!
The baking soda mix removes product build up without stripping your hair of natural oils, and the ACV conditions and makes hair shiny. (It’s even better if you can rinse the ACV mix out with cold water – living in cold Canberra means that I don’t often do this step in winter).
These small changes have really made a massive difference to the condition of my hair, and I’d recommend anyone with curly/wavy hair to try this method. I’ll note that it took a couple of weeks for my hair and scalp to adjust to this method of cleaning, but now I never get oily or dry hair and it’s a whole lot less frizzy. It’s also nice to know that I’m not bombarding my body/system with chemicals or unnatural products. It’s also a much cheaper option than regular shampoo/conditioner, and you know exactly what’s going on/in your skin!