Written by Nandita Batheja
Have you ever read the ingredients label of your shampoo and conditioner? My “all natural” organic tea-tree oil shampoo lists:
What are these ingredients?! Okay, leaf juice, water, and essential oil I can get behind. But what are the glucosides? The sulfates? The bottle says NO sodium lauryl or laureth sulfate, but what is Sodium Coco-Sulfate—is it really that much better?
I wouldn’t eat this stuff, so why do I rub it all over my head for my scalp to absorb it?
Candice Robbins, artist, herbalist, certified nutritionist, and expert in holistic hair care, has spent years studying the harmful detergents we use daily on our bodies, which is what led her to come up with her own, homemade, healing alternatives. She writes:
STILL WASHING YOUR HAIR WITH DETERGENTS? From the beginning of time humans have been washing with real soap. Soap is made from plant oils mixed with lye. Lye is made by pouring water through wood ash. That's it…All cultures made soap. The great thing about high quality soaps is that they cleanse the hair and skin without stripping natural oils.
Detergent chemicals were developed in the thirties. A whole different thing and cheap to make. Because they strip natural oils there is now a need for conditioners which coat and weigh down the hair. And I believe impair natural hair growth and function. Before detergents were developed there was no need for conditioners. Herbal infusions (rinses) were used to finish hair.
And this goes for health food store shampoos which are also made with detergents (coco glucoside or decyl glucoside). Aubrey Organics, which once was a real soap shampoo, is detergent. If I use any of these detergent shampoos at the salon I get eczema on my hands - not true with real soap.
In the years that I have been using soap shampoos there is absolutely no question that quality of hair is monumentally better for clients using real soap shampoos. In fact I believe it stimulates the natural metabolism of hair health and growth. And by better quality I mean faster and thicker hair growth, shinier hair, hair that takes and holds color better, smooth moisturized hair, more colorful hair, healthy scalps - EASY hair.
If you are up for trying some of your own homemade hair products, check out the DIY recipes below. If you’re curious but skeptical about the “no-poo” method, Margaret Badore and Katherine Martinko from TreeHugger tested it out for a month and wrote about their experiences (Katherine loves it, Margaret came up with an alternative solution).
Personally, I stick to Candice’s coconut oil shampoo and fermented rose-conditioner.
Homemade Fermented Rose Conditioner
Candice is my hair doctor. Not that I have given up on making my own hair products! She just won’t give me her secret recipe . . . but I have faith I’ll find my own fermented way :)