Are you attached to your shampoo brand? I had a serious case of brand loyalty to my drugstore shampoo and loathed to give it up when switching over all my beauty products.
My entire hair washing life I've been in hot pursuit of the right shampoo for my sensitive scalp paired with my thick and somewhat curly hair. Switching what wasn't broken seemed counterintuitive to my quest for lovely hair except that I wanted to use natural products and avoid SLES or SLS.
I've been courting different natural shampoos for a few years including a summer following the very green no-poo method of hair washing, but nothing was working out with any permanence until the past year. I finally feel able to tell you about three natural shampoos (along with their conditioners) that work well for the highly-sensitive individual, like me.
Natural Shampoos That Actually Work
But, before I tell you, let's get clear on what I mean by natural.
These are shampoos that are free from SLES/SLS the ingredients responsible for the lathering action we equate to a good hair cleaning. These two ingredients are also linked to respiratory and skin irritations (SLS) and possibly linked to cancer (SLES).
Although the term natural isn't regulated, I look for natural shampoos with ingredients that are from nature including ones that are organic.
1. The natural newcomer:
Tingling, cooling unicorns dancing on your head. That's how magical Lovefresh's Rosemary and Spearmint shampoo feels on my scalp. I've been using the shampoo and conditioner duo for weeks now without getting irritated.
Not surprising when I see Nettle, Calendula, and other calming organic ingredients on the label. Since I'm already a fan of Lovefresh's beauty products, I was rooting for it to work for me. And it's a keeper.
The shampoo is not yet rated on the ThinkDirty app, but the ingredients boast over 90% organic and 100% natural. It's also vegan and gluten-free!
2. The two-in-one:
Traveling and late, lazy mornings are when the John Masters Organics Zinc & Sage Shampoo with Conditioner shine. My thick hair needs conditioner to make it manageable to brush, and there's enough in this product to stop me from cringing.
The zinc and sage help to alleviate itchy scalp, especially useful in the winter. And if you have a partner who needs dandruff control, the ingredients may be enough to help them make the switch from conventional brands. This natural shampoo is rated ‘2' on ThinkDirty (out of a possible 10).
3. The unscented option:
Sometimes I just cannot use any scent. My skin becomes especially sensitive, and I switch to using all fragrance-free personal care products. That's when Rocky Mountain Soap Company's Sensitive Shampoo and the accompanying conditioner are there for me.
Amongst the few ingredients are Nettle and Apple Cider Vinegar, both known to be calming to sensitive scalps. I found with a double-wash, Rocky Mountain's unscented shampoo keeps my scalp calm and my hair hydrated. Do try it if you're super sensitive. This 100% natural shampoo is rated a ‘3' on ThinkDirty.
Do you need to do a hair detox?
Although I dived right into experimenting with natural shampoos, I wondered if there was a better way, so I reached out to two green beauty experts to ask whether a ‘scalp detox' was the key to a successful switch.
Stacey Davis, the founder of Lovefresh, suggests we just dive in as in her experience our hair will quickly adjust. She says, “Others seem to have some troubles as they may be “shedding” all of the unwanted toxins that have built up over the years… good ‘ole vinegar is your best bet.”
Our monthly guest expert, Dr. Jen Newell, ND says, “When you switch to natural shampoos and conditioners the scalp goes through a slight detox in that the residues (silicones) left on the hair and scalp from commercial products are stripped off of the hair.
This can initially make the hair feel drier than usual or more greasy (that greasy feeling is because the natural shampoos don't contain SLS, which is really good at stripping everything including natural and healthy oils from the hair and scalp).
After about a week or so the silicones should be gone, and then the new products start to deposit their residues or promote even distribution of natural, healthy oils throughout the hair and scalp.”
If your scalp is having trouble adjusting, Dr. Jen recommends using a rinse of 1 cup water and one tsp baking soda before shampooing to help remove residual silicones during the transition week.
Have you switched to washing with natural shampoo and conditioner? What's your experience?
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