How I wash my hair now... the 'no-poo' experiment concluded!
Long time readers may remember back in the late springtime I began experimenting with the 'no-poo' method for washing my hair.
Over the last 12 months or so I have been gradually transitioning all of my body products and toiletries to become home-made versions or at least ones that are as pure and simple as possible. This has been pretty successful across-the-board. I have home-made body butter, face cream, cleansing oil, toner, leg shaving oil, body wash and to a large extent I succeeded with toothpaste and deodorants...
HOWEVER I have struggled with the toothpaste tasting nice so for now have resorted to this brand and on the deodorant front, when I am in full on sweaty mode at the gym and need to quickly freshen up I need a spray- the coconut oil homemade paste version doesn't really do the job. Any tips out there for home-made spray deodorant much appreciated, or a really effective natural spray deodorant??
Back to hair!
Shampoo and conditioner was thing that I was most passionate about finding a natural alternative for, yet was also the trickiest. However I committed to the process, so for many long weeks (and months!) my hair was almost constantly in a ponytail as it felt it too heavy and oily to wear down... frustrating!
I was close to giving in so many times!
I think part of the problem is that my hair, whilst not crazy long, is pretty thick, and also I train heavily at the gym and so a lot of the sweat accumulates (nice!) A pretty tough contender for the 'no-poo' method!
I tried the traditional baking soda paste with apple cider vinegar rinse. Loved the ACV but the baking soda didn't feel as though it was getting right into my hair. One of the hardest parts about the baking soda method is the lack of foaming action so hair can typically not feel fully covered.
I then tried another option for a coconut milk combo also using Dr Bronner's Castille soap, this felt great whilst in the shower- it was lovely and foamy and I had high hopes… But once dried, my hair felt extremely heavy and lifeless. Up in a ponytail it went!
I tried each of these methods for a couple of months at a time hoping that my hair was just going through transitional phase, but it wasn't to be....
Then a revelation!
In September I went to the VegFest exhibition in London and got chatting to a couple who run Living Naturally a 'soap nuts' company who also make special soap nuts shampoo bars amongst of home and body products. I was curious and excited, given my pevious frustrations, and asked if I'd be able to review one the bars for my blog. I wanted to try the shampoo bar for at least a month before I came to my verdict my verdict… And the rest is history! I've been using the bars ever since and I absolutely love them.
PS. I'm not being paid fort this review, I simply loved the product and now having tried other bars in the range and can say they are all fantastic and great company to support too. I really, really encourage those who are contemplating going 'no-poo' and also those who may have tried the baking soda method with undesirable results to give soap nuts a try.
For me the soap nut bar followed with a vinegar rinse (1 tbs ACV to approx 1 1/2 cups warm water) is perfect. I now wash my hair every 5-6 days instead of every 3 days as I had previously done with regular shampoo, it's also the best condition it has ever been in my adult life with no split ends and a real rich auburn colour that's come through, very similar to the colour I had one had as a much younger child....very interesting indeed!
You'll see from the info above that natural soap nut shells are used as a detergent, but as I have only tried the shampoo bars. The Dead Sea shampoo is the first bar I used and now i've tried others too.
The ingredients are as follows:
Organic Soapnut Liquid (Sapindus Mukorossi), Olive Oil (Olea Europaea), Organic Coconut Oil (Cocos Nucifera), RSPO Certified Palm Oil ( Elaeis Guineensis ), Castor Oil (Ricinus communis), Dead Sea Mud (Maris Limus), Almond Oil (Prunus Dulcis), Rice Bran Oil ( Oryza Sativa), Jojoba Oil (Buxus Chinensis), Lavender Essential Oil (Lavandula Angustifolia ), Rosemary Essential Oil (Rosmarinus Officinalis), Cedarwood Essential Oil (Thuja orientalis ), Cypress Essential Oil (Cupressus Sempervirens ) Linalool*, Limonene*, Geraniol. *occurs naturally in essential oils
I couldn't get a good picture of the lather but it's lathers up like a bar of soap and really gets into the hair and scalp well.
I guess I should have given you a picture of my hair before and after the experiment.... oops should have planned that better! :-) You'll just have to take my word for it!
The shampoo bars even work well when I have covered my hair in an argan oil mask which I usually do once a month. In this case I typically wash through twice before the ACV rinse.
Note: Based on my experiences with the whole 'no-poo' transition, I read countless blogs and articles on the subject and what seems to work well for one person may work terribly for another. So you may find, depending on your hair type and thickness, that these bars don't work as well for you, and that the baking soda method is perfec. It's all a process of discovery but I really encourage you to experiment in getting away from the chemical laden body products...your hair and body will really thank you for it!!
A few resources I found useful in my searching...
Coconut milk and castille no-poo (I wasn't a fan but you might be)
One Year without Shampoo (plus interesting toxic ratings)
The No Poo Method (pretty much everything no-poo related!)
Honey Shampoo (a none vegan recipe)
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