I hate buying shampoo and conditioner. Even the organic, SLS free, phthalate/paraben free kinds have a bunch of funky ingredients. Those brands sure aren’t cheap, either. It’s one of the only remaining conventional beauty products that I’ve been purchasing.
I wash my hair a lot. I’m just not one of those people that can go several days without a shampoo. I run and do a lot of sweaty yoga nearly every day. I live on an island with blazing heat and lots of humidity. 2-3 showers a day just to keep cool during the hottest bits of summer. My hair is prone to being oily in a pitta provoking climate like this one.
I’ve mixed teas and coconut milk, coconut oil, olive, jojoba and the like into sorts of shampoos that just leave my thin, light hair looking really greasy. I’ve used castile soap without success. I’ve tried the no ‘poo method. You know, with the baking soda and vinegar (and the greasy hair for 2-4 weeks)? I tried it for about 2 weeks while my husband was away. My hair was gross, but it was just me, and I put it up in a bun while I was in public. Well, my husband got home and more or less (mostly more) told me that my hair didn’t smell pleasant. Yes, I should have stuck it out another week or two since everyone says that it can take that long, but I didn’t want the husband to suffer. He’s put up with a lot of things, like neem oil. Applied before bed. He’s a good sport. So, I washed my hair. Experiment over. I didn’t really enjoy the vinegar smell anyway. It lingered for a tad too long for my liking.
But, I still wanted a natural product. There had to be a better option, right? Tea rinse decoctions weren’t going to be ideal for me. Planning ahead to boil tea two hours before I wanted to wash my hair? Uh uh. Ain’t got time for that! I know me.
So, I started looking at the bottle of ayurvedic shampoo, left over from India… it’s BLACK. And sandy. But I got used to it, mostly because it was all the ayurvedic clinic had for my 6 week stay. I wouldn’t say I LIKED it, but I did use it, and it was fine. Shampoo only, no conditioner. Back to the shampoo: It’s got some wonderful Ayurvedic herbs in it, but it doesn’t list all the ingredients. Like water. They must have added water. Right? Maybe even questionable preservative ingredients. Who knows.
I decided to use the following ingredients based on what I had at home but I’m sure you could get away with only soapnuts and fenugreek. Experiment! I’d like to add some henna in the future for a little coloring treatment.
- Hibiscus- 10g Stimulates hair growth, helps prevent early-graying, helps with dandruff
- Brahmi- 15g Strengthens roots, relieve itchy scalp and helps prevent dandruff
- Neem- 5g Reduces hair loss and reduces dandruff
- Soapnut- 70g Prevents hair loss, cleans hair while making it soft
- Amla- 15g Strength to roots, adds shine, promotes growth and prevents premature graying (could darken hair)
- Fenugreek- 10g Helps hair look fuller, locks moisture in, adds shine
I took an empty plastic honey bottle and added 1 teaspoon of my hair powder and added about 1 cup of warm water. I let this soak for 30 minutes then showered the first time, but felt like the herbs were still too dry. I then took the bottle, added a scoop of shampoo powder and filled with warm water from the shower and let this sit overnight until I washed my hair the next day. It turned out much better.
When the shampoo mix and water is applied, it’s very.. uh… gritty. While washing, my hair feels coarse and dry. I massage it into my scalp and leave it for 5-10 minutes before washing out. The herbs are very nourishing for your scalp, so let them hang out for a bit.
After the first time, I was pretty scared about brushing my hair afterwards. My hair is long, thin and tangles easily. As it turns out, my hair was super soft. The brushing was remarkably easy (easier even than when I use conditioner) and had a faint hibiscus scent for a while. I like that I don’t really have to mess with preparing a shampoo. It’s pretty simple, 1 teaspoon and about a cup of water. Shake, and let sit until your next shower.
I’d say this shampoo would be best for pitta and kapha doshas, as it may not be moisturizing enough for vata’s dry hair. Warm oil treatments are wonderful for vata hair, and should regularly be done for all dosha types. If you tend towards dry hair what natural hair treatments do you use? Have you tried the no ‘poo method with success?