Hair Care Alternatives

(This post is written for The Glosse Posse.)

Between November 2013 and January 2014, I decided to join the “no ‘poo” movement to save money on hair products and to find a more natural and better way of caring for my hair. I searched Pinterest for pins on natural hair remedies then checked bloggers’ reviews on their experiences with each of the natural solutions. Here are my reviews on some of the no ‘poo methods:

Shampooing with Baking Soda

1 tablespoon of baking soda + 1 cup of warm/hot water

I’m used to having white foam covering my head from shampoos so this baking soda ‘shampoo’ took some getting used to. I put the translucent mixture in a cleaned spray bottle (you can purchase some at the dollar store or at Daiso for $1-2) and sprayed it evenly on the roots and hair. I then proceeded to massage my scalp before rinsing the mixture out. Hair feels very silky as it’s being rinsed. I’ve found that I don’t have to wash my hair as frequently when I use this mixture; I can skip 1-2 days. I’ve heard that eventually you can skip 2-3 days or more (without worrying about smelly or oily hair).

Health benefits: removes buildup, treats oily scalps, etc.

P.S. I just found out that you can clean combs and brushes with baking soda and warm water to remove any buildup from hair styling products!

Conditioning with Beer

Room temperature flat/stale beer (not refrigerated or fizzy)

Don’t know what to do with the beer you didn’t get a chance to drink or forgot about? Use it as conditioner. This is my preferred natural hair conditioner because the smell is easier to rinse out or to mask. Bloggers and pinners recommended waiting 15-20 minutes for the beer conditioner to work. It’s not a pleasant one to test during winter because it means you’ll be shivering in your bath tub or shower for quite some time before you can turn on the warm water again. The result is worthwhile; hair feels very soft, voluminous, and glossy! The more often (whenever you have to wash your hair again) you use beer conditioner, the better results you’ll have.

Tips: This beer conditioner is recommended for oily scalps and not dry scalps or dry hair or dyed hair. I’ve also read that if you have light blond(e) or bleached hair, you should avoid using beer as it will darken your hair.

Health benefits: treats dandruff, adds thickness and volume, nourishes hair, etc.

Conditioning with Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

1 tablespoon ACV + 1 cup water (1x a week or more)

This is my least favourite hair conditioner because ACV is terribly odoriferous! As soon as you open the bottle (I use Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar), your nose wrinkles at the pungent smell coming out of the bottle. However, this ACV conditioner is good for all hair types… if only it did not smell so awful! I would highly recommend diluting the ACV as much as possible. I made the mistake of mixing too much ACV and too little water. Furthermore, my second spray bottle didn’t seem to work so I poured it down my hair from roots to ends. Even if I massaged Argan oil into my hair afterwards, the ACV rudely emited its natural odour wherever I went causing great embarrassment. Perhaps adding some peppermint oil would mask the odour as well as treat the scalp and hair (read about all the benefits here). (Speaking of peppermint oil, I can verify that it does promote hair growth!)

If you would like to test the ACV conditioner, take my advice and do this if you’re not planning to go out for the day. I might know what’s causing your hair to smell like ACV but others might not be so kind.

Health benefits: treats itchy and dry scalps, reduces buildup, balances hair pH levels, etc.

Deep Conditioning Treatment and Leave-in Hair Conditioning with Coconut Oil

1-2 teaspoons of virgin coconut oil (1x a week)

Some pinners and bloggers recommend using quite a bit of coconut oil but my hair is not as dry so 1-2 teaspoons should be enough. I find it helps to rub the virgin coconut oil in your palms first before massaging it into your scalp and hair. (Or you could just melt it.) I think I left the coconut oil for about 15-20 minutes as well although I read you could wait as long as one hour, if you wish. Rinsing out the deep conditioning treatment is pretty tricky as your hair can still feel greasy, especially if you have quite a bit coconut oil on. The hair may be detangled but it’s greasy. Maybe this is why it’s best to use the coconut oil as a pre-shampoo treatment first.

Coconut oil may also be used as a leave-in hair conditioner. Once again, use it as sparingly as possible or else you might end up with greasy hair. Coconut oil, by the way, also works as a good face moisturizer. 🙂

Health benefits: moisturises and conditions damaged hair

Conclusions:

  • I can’t use drugstore or brand-name shampoos anymore, as many of these contain silicone or sulfate. My scalp becomes oily by the next day.
  • It takes 2-4 weeks for hair to adjust to the new hair routine. Therefore, the best time to test the no ‘poo method is during a break or if you don’t have to leave home!
  • I save a lot of money just using ‘food’ for hair care. Not only can these products be found at grocery stores (except for beer, unless your country sells them at grocery stores) for less than $10 each (organic or not), they will last for at least a year (please check expiration dates).

Please note that not all of these would work on your hair type. If they don’t work, stop. There are several alternatives out there to try!

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