In Part One of this blog series we talked about why it's crucial to switch over to a natural hair care routine, in Part Two we set you up for natural shampoo success with the acclimation period, and now we are going to talk about the top five toxin-free shampoos and conditioners I've used. Let me be clear and state that everyone’s head of hair is different. There is no definition of a good or bad head of hair here. That’s why there are five choices and not one be-all end-all choice. I encourage you to try one, stick with it for a month, and then try another if it isn’t working for you.
Allow me to personally vouch for these shampoos and conditioners, as I have tried all of them for extended periods of time (at least 1.5 months). At the moment my hair is somewhat thick, un-dyed, medium length, slightly wavy, and gets greasy in about three days. My post-shower routine is to not blow dry unless I have to be somewhere special, which ends up being maybe three times a month. I used no post-shower product while implementing these shampoos and conditioners. I have blow dried with each of these products though, and all of them passed the test.
Typically, post-shower I run a wide toothed comb through my hair as sparingly as possible. Next, I turn my head upside down and shake my wet roots loose from my scalp to give them some drying oomph. I look like a wet dog when I shake my hair out - I promise it’s fun! Then I’ll let my hair air dry. If I’m feeling sassy, I’ll twist it up into a loose top knot once it’s halfway dry with a singular bobby pin and let it get a slight curl to the ends. That’s it!
Alright, let’s jump into my top 5 favorite toxin-free shampoos and conditioners...
Please note: The links below are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you end up clicking and purchasing an item. I worked hard to find my trusted favorites and I want to share them with you so you don't have to deal with all the crappy junk I had to go through. Nuff said.
This is the shampoo I currently use and I am beyond pleased with the results. My hair is manageable, soft, smells good without being overpowering, and gets greasy by day three post-shower. Their Argan Extract + Argan Oil is the shampoo variety I currently use. There is a slight lather when using this in the shower and I often will do one small squirt for my part line, lather, then another small squirt to get up and under the hairline along the nape of my neck, then lather there. Lately, my hair has been so soft I don’t need to use conditioners, instead, I do my ACV hair rinse post shampoo in the shower. This not only keeps the price down for my hair care routine, but my hair looks and feels healthier as well. Acure is free from animal testing, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, and artificial coloring. Their ingredients include things like chamomile flower extract, sea buckthorn oil, and almond seed extract. You can find them on Amazon or even in the hair care aisle in Target!
I used the Argan Oil and Almond Milk shampoo for the greater part of a year. I love the smell of their products, but be sure to try a sniff for yourself before you buy because some of my friends have said it’s a little too overpowering for them. They use essential oils to scent their shampoos so no worries on sneaky fragrance chemicals. Derived mostly from shea nuts, their shampoos have a slight lather. My hair was extremely soft and shiny while using this shampoo. The company as a whole is an awesome one to support as they are a B Certified Corporation, certified animal cruelty-free, and their shea nuts are fair trade certified. You can find them on Amazon as well as Target.
I will come right out and say that I would be using this shampoo if it wasn’t cost prohibitive for me. One bottle is just 3.5 fl oz and depending on how long your hair is, it lasts for about a month. Mother Dirt’s edge is that all their products are certified for the compatibility with our skin and scalp’s natural microbiome. Just like our gut has a delicate balance of healthy bacteria, so does the surface area of our entire body. Mentioned in my previous post on the antibacterial concerns of chemicals in shampoo, when we apply shampoo that kills our scalp and skin microbiome it can cause a host of problems like rashes and skin sensitivity.
To learn more about the science behind Mother Dirt, watch their awesome video here. Mother Dirt’s shampoo is plant-based and preservative free. One of their claims is that you can go longer in between washing your hair, citing that 62% of their customers have cut down on shower time, ultimately saving 55 gallons per month of water per customer. I did see a significant decrease in shower time over the course of a month, especially when I paired the shampoo with their AO Mist. Again, this boils down to budget for me. Maybe someday I can get back into the Mother Dirt routine, but for now, I’ll stick to my homemade soap, ACV, and Acure Shampoo.
I use Dr. Bronner's in nearly all aspects of my body care routine - from their toothpaste to their rendition of “tiger balm”, so it was only fitting for me to try using their Castile liquid soap and their soap bars as a shampoo substitute. Within the framework of minimalistic extended travel, Dr. Bronner's is a real winner. While my guy and I road tripped across the US for over a month we used the liquid Castile soap as an all-purpose soap: doing our dishes, washing hands, sudsing up our hair, and keeping our bodies clean. Castile soap will definitely leave your hair feeling coarse, so you have to follow it with an ACV rinse. I’ve noticed they have great 3.4 fl oz travel size bottles at Target, so you can start out with a little and see how it goes. When we got back from our trip I decided to switch it up for no particular reason. Sometimes you just want to try something new, you know? I’ll probably circle back and try them again in the near future to be honest. Dr. Bronner's is certified organic, non-GMO, no animal testing, and fair trade certified. Dr. Bronner's offers their employees and their families 100% free healthcare, they have a 5 to 1 cap on executive salaries, and 15% of an employee’s salary is in profit sharing of the company. Their take on planet health is no less impressive. Dr. Bronner's practices organic regenerative agriculture with all their ingredients, their bottles are 100% post-consumer recycled material, and their manufacturing plant is working towards becoming a zero waste facility.
The shampoo bar is the longest I’ve gone using one particular hair care routine. I used this bar for over two years and felt like my hair was extremely healthy. The only downside to this option was hair breakage. To truly work up a good lather, I found you had to wet the bar then rub it against your scalp to get it going, resulting in a lot of broken hair in my comb post-shower. I started to notice a LOT of those baby hairs along the crown of my head and my part line after 6 months too. If you have shorter locks this is a fantastic contender for natural hair care. They use whole ingredients like coconut oil, castor oil, and olive oil. They add no synthetic fragrance, contain no GMOs, use no Palm Oil, and a bar lasts an incredibly long time. Personally, I think these bars are perfect for guys in the shower, simple and low-maintenance if you've got short hair.
The Natural Hair Care Journey
I hope this Natural Hair Care Series has helped get you off on the right foot. It's important to be patient with yourself, and your hair, as you go through your acclimation period and figure out what works best for you. Do you have any other natural shampoos you've tried with good results? Let us know in the comments below!
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