Natural hair care. Sounds so simple, so idealistic, so organically innocent.
*sigh* If only it were that easy.
I have to admit, I’ve really put off writing this post for a loooong time. After all, I take natural hair care very seriously. I mean, my original all natural shampoo recipe was one of my first blog posts to really see some decent traffic. And it seems that the most common questions are about my pH balanced shampoo recipe. Natural shampooing, or ‘no poo, is something I have been doing for more than three years.
That’s right, I haven’t bought a single commercial shampoo or conditioner (not even the organic all natural hippie ones) for over three years.
Let that sink in for a minute.
Contrary to what mainstream folks may think, my hair is doing just fine without all the toxic garbage passed off as “good for your hair.” I mean, how can something be good for your hair if it contains ingredients known to cause cancer? Let’s not forget some of the facts about most commercial shampoos (including baby shampoos!):
Cosmetics and their ingredients do not have to undergo any type of approval process before hitting store shelves, and the terms “natural” and “organic” have no definitions. In other words, when it comes to cosmetics labeling, it’s a free for all.
Some products may include a few organic ingredients along with several chemical ones — and still claim to be natural or organic on the label. In fact, in a report released in 2008, the Organic Consumers Association found at least one toxic, cancer-linked chemical in over 40 percent of products that call themselves “natural.” – source
And still, even with the facts out there and posted all over the web, people still assume that going without conventional shampoos means you have to have nasty, stinky hair. Trust me, my hair has been just fine thankyouverymuch. After all, there are plenty of natural ways to clean your hair and scalp. Just because I don’t believe in toxic hair doesn’t mean I don’t believe in hygiene.
But still, natural hair care has a dirty secret.
Or a few secrets actually. Consider the following “dings” in the pristine record of natural hair care:
1. Just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s good for your scalp.
To be clear, I’d choose baking soda, apple cider vinegar, castile soap, coconut milk, and the other most popular options for natural hair care over toxic commercial shampoos any day. ANY day. But the thing is that our heads are kind of like mini ecosystems. They require balance. And sometimes even our most beloved natural ingredients can wreak havoc on that balance.
That’s originally why I switched from my original natural shampoo recipe (with a castile soap base) to my pH balanced shampoo recipe (with an aloe vera and coconut milk base). And it’s why I don’t recommend the original ‘no poo baking soda and apple cider vinegar approach. The pH of our scalp is really critical.
Here’s the thing: I have a history of scalp issues. Thankfully it’s not anything really terrible or something that most people would ever notice, but my hairdresser did some years back (and so did my mom during my younger years). At one point a strong prescription shampoo seemed to help… but do I really want to put something that chemically intense on my head? Not really.
My DIY natural shampoos seemed to make my scalp worse. Itchy. Dry. And during the winter months, I’d even have to manage some not-so-awesome flaking.
My pH balanced shampoo recipe was a whole lot better for my scalp than baking soda or castile soap. And I thought I’d finally reached natural hair care heaven. But then I learned another dirty secret about natural hair care:
2. What works for one person often doesn’t work for another.
Every time someone leaves a comment about my recipe or asks for help troubleshooting in my facebook group I kind of panic. Sure, I know my recipe and I know it worked for me… but I also know that it doesn’t work for others. For example, I know that it didn’t really work for my daughter.
In fact, both my kids (ages 1 and 3) inherited my scalp issues (sorry, kids!). Both had some serious cradle cap as babies… and some of that cradle cap scaliness is still lingering on both their heads. (For the record, we had tried all the “natural” remedies from coconut oil to essential oils, but nothing really got rid of it fully.) Their scalps issues weren’t huge or anything that anyone would notice (besides their mom), but it bothered me.
I love that my kids have never used toxic shampoos, and hopefully never will. But beyond just keeping toxic stuff off of their heads, I wanted them to have healthy (and BEAUTIFUL) hair and scalps.
And that leads me to the third dirty secret about DIY natural hair care:
3. Most DIY natural hair care recipes are coming from non-experts.
I’m sure you already know this, but based on some of the emails and comments I get I think it deserves being highlighted:
I am a blogger. I am a mom. I am not a hair-care expert. I have researched a LOT about natural living and feel like I am something of an expert in living a non-toxic life, but I am most certainly NOT a hair-care professional.
Are my natural recipes been good enough to keep your hair clean? Sure. Are they safer than what I was putting on my head four or so years ago? You bet.
But after trying to help my daughter’s scalp for three years with little success I finally bit the bullet and found an actual hair expert… one who has created some natural products that go way beyond my high standards for natural hair care.
The Best Kept Natural Hair Care Secret
I’m not sure where I first heard about Morrocco Method, but I’m so happy I did! These products are created by an actual hair care professional (he likes to call himself a hair shaman). Anthony Morrocco has a really interesting story and history as being the hair dresses for many famous stars. But sometime during his impressive career he also wondered about the safety of the products so commonly used. As someone who was always drawn to nature, he left his first rate salon in NYC to travel and learn from the hair shamans of the world. His products are raw, vegan, Paleo, pH balanced, and gluten-free. He has been crafting these synergistic blends for over 40 years. They are made with wild-crafted ingredients that detoxify and nourish the hair and scalp.
I started by buying the Healthy Hair Starter Package and was honestly a little skeptical that the results would live up to the myriad of testimonials on their site. But I was sick of mixing up my own concoctions that left much to be desired. So I figured I would try them out… and whether I loved them or hated them I knew I had to pass the info on to my readers. Because natural hair care is kind of “thing” here on Thank Your Body.
We’ve been rotating through the five different shampoos (as recommended) as well as the conditioners. We’ve also LOVE the scalp massager and twice-daily brushing. I am still only shampooing mine and my kids’ hair about twice a week… so we haven’t even tried all the shampoos yet. At this rate, the shampoos will last us a long time.
Despite only being two weeks I can’t imagine going back. Not only is my own hair shinier and softer (as well as my kids… my daughter’s hair is BEAUTIFUL!)… but the real test was for the scalp.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner.
My scalp hasn’t felt this good for as long as I can remember. No itching, no dryness, no flaking.
My daughter’s lingering cradle cap is gone!
My son’s lingering cradle cap is about 80% gone (he had it worse than his sister) and what’s left looks so much better. I have high hopes that it will be gone for good in another week.
A Note About Detox
Commercial shampoos use harsh detergents and chemicals that strip your scalp of its natural oils. Those natural oils are essential for healthy hair. As a result, your body will produce more oils. This is why most people who use commercial shampoos feel like they have to wash their hair daily (or at least every other day)… because their hair IS getting overly greasy and oily.
When you switch away from commercial shampoos, whether DIY or Morrocco Method, there will be an adjustment period. Your body has to rebalance and figure out how much oil it needs to produce. So if you are switching from commercial shampoos be prepared for a detox period. This can last for a couple weeks to a couple months (yep, sorry). And your hair can feel greasy or waxy during that time. It SUCKS. But not as much as getting cancer from your shampoo. Plus, if you’re willing to survive the detox period you’ll most likely be thrilled with how beautiful your hair can be, naturally.
Luckily, I paid my “detox dues” over three years ago when I said “goodbye” to my last bottle of shampoo. I didn’t experience any detox with the Morrocco Method. Neither did my kids. There are some great detox products from Morrocco Method to help speed the process along.
Have a happy head – Special Coupon for TYB Readers!
People of the world, rejoice! There is hope to the ever searching question: Can I have beautiful hair without toxic chemicals.
Yes, you can. And Morrocco Method is graciously offering my readers 15% off your entire purchase. Just use the coupon code TYB15 at checkout.
Have you tried Morrocco Method? What did you think?