Many people are hesitant about switching to natural hair care, even though they might already be using natural skin care products. This is because switching from conventional haircare to all-natural hair care can be tricky. The scalp and hair will go through a detox phase during which they are slowly freed from the build-up from synthetic cleansing and conditioning agents.
WHY GO NATURAL?
Conventional hair care products and even many so-called “clean” or “green” haircare products contain multiple ingredients that give short-term texture improvements, but over time can irritate the scalp, weaken the hair, and harm the environment. These ingredients include sulfates which are used to cleanse and create foam, as well as silicones, siloxanes, polyquaterniums, and acrylates which are used to detangle, smooth, and artificially gloss over hair strands.
Sulfates have been linked to the deterioration of scalp health including itchiness, dryness, flakiness, and loss of hair density. Silicones, polyquaterniums, and acrylates are poorly biodegradable and will over time accumulate in layers of build-up on the scalp and hair strands, suffocating the scalp and weighing down the hair. Just like when buying natural beauty products, it is important to check the ingredients list of natural shampoo and conditioner to make sure to avoid these undesired substances.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE DETOX PHASE?
In the detox phase, many experience increased oiliness of the scalp, more brittle hair, and in some cases more limp, or weighed-down hair. However, once you pass the detoxing phase, you will notice that your shampoo will begin to lather more easily and your conditioner will detangle hair more effectively. The change can take up to 4-6 weeks depending on the amount of build-up in the scalp and hair, but in most cases, 2-3 weeks is enough to find a new balanced state in the scalp and hair.
When you stop using shampoos and conditioners with synthetic cleansing, conditioning, and film-forming agents, you might experience the following:
/ YOUR SHAMPOO DOES NOT FOAM
This is because your scalp and hair have a build-up of chemicals that prevent a natural, sulfate-free shampoo from foaming. Once this build-up is removed, you will experience an improved lather that is still gentle on your scalp and hair. Especially, if you have used many silicone-based products, this build-up might take a while to remove. To effectively remove this build-up, it is important not only to switch to natural shampoo and conditioner but also cut out all synthetic/silicone-based styling products.
/ YOUR SCALP MIGHT FEEL OILIER
A scalp that is constantly stripped of its natural protective barrier by harsh cleansing chemicals has gotten accustomed to producing excessive amounts of oil. When you switch to a gentler, all-natural shampoo, the scalp is no longer stripped of this protective oil, and in the transition phase, you might find that you feel your scalp gets oily quicker than it used to. The good news is that once the scalp finds its natural balance, your hair will stay looking clean and fresh longer.
/ YOUR HAIR FEELS HEAVY
This happens especially if you switch to natural shampoo, but still, continue using your conventional styling products. Synthetic styling products are difficult to wash off using an all-natural, sulfate-free shampoo. Therefore, it is highly recommended to make a full transition to all-natural products in one go.
/ YOUR HAIR FEELS MORE TANGLED
If you have until now used conditioners with silicones, or quaternary ammonium compounds (“quats”), your hair strands have felt sleek because of the surface-build up. Once the build-up is removed, it will take a while for the hair strands to have their natural, smooth feel restored.
TIPS TO GET THE BEST RESULTS FROM A NATURAL HAIRCARE ROUTINE
We recommend shampooing twice during each wash with a natural shampoo, especially during the detox phase. This will improve the cleansing results, and you will feel a much-improved foaming action on the second application. Thicker hair types will benefit from starting the application from the base of the neck, moving upwards towards the crown of the head. Adding water during the lathering phase will aid the product spread evenly over the hair. Make sure to rinse the hair thoroughly to remove any excess product. Natural shampoos take a longer time to rinse than traditional shampoos because they do not contain surfactants like sulfates that quickly dissolve oils.
Most hair types will see the best results when washing every 2 days.
When using a natural shampoo, your scalp will find its natural oil-balance, and your hair will be naturally more conditioned as a result. Therefore, you will in most cases notice that once you have completed your detox phase, you will need to use less conditioner than you did in the past. Apply natural conditioner to only hair lengths, and comb through with a wide-toothed detangling comb. Then rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water.
Again, a slightly longer rinse is required for natural conditioners than traditional ones. If your hair feels like it could use some extra hydration after washing, apply a small amount of the conditioner to towel-dried tips before styling.
This texturizing and protective spray should be used differently depending on the desired result.
Fine, straight hair: spray a small amount into your palms and then apply to towel-dried hair lengths and comb through. This will give hair a smooth finish with just a little extra texture and fullness. If you want more texture, apply a little to palms and scrunch into dry hair.
Medium-thick / wavy hair: spray a small amount into your palms and scrunch into towel dry hair lengths. Comb through and blow-dry, or let the hair air dry for a natural, beach wave.
Very thick or curly hair: spray directly onto lengths, comb through, and let your hair air dry.
IMPORTANCE OF BRUSHING
Regular brushing with a high-quality boar bristle brush will help distribute the natural oils from the scalp along the hair strands. This is especially important when using all-natural hair care products because by restoring the scalp’s natural oil balance you are also helping to create the optimal protection and conditioning of the hair strands. Additionally, brushing your hair stimulates blood flow to the scalp, which helps bring more nutrients to follicles to promote hair growth.