After a health crisis in 2008, I made a decision to switch to natural hair care. I began using products safe enough to consume, ditched the chemical hair coloring, and even turned to a sheep horn comb!
Before 2008, my biggest concern about my hair was how often to color it. I started using boxed hair coloring the day I turned 40 and didn’t look back.
After we left our home and began an intense detox protocol, I realized that more was going to have to change besides our environment. Due to the onset of chemical sensitivity, I did my best to eliminate chemicals from all areas of my life, including hair care products. I cut my hair super short and let it go gray. (See my blog post from 2009: Grief and Opportunity).
My focus became my internal condition, rather than my outward appearance. I felt free and open to new discoveries.
I experimented with natural hair coloring and found henna to be effective, but not necessarily something I wanted to maintain.
I studied the structure of hair, with increasing awareness of the close connection with the immune system. Hair follicles are involved vital living organs. There’s no need to potentially impair our health by allowing chemicals to invade our scalp.
Hair production occurs in phases: growth (anagen), regression (catagen), exogen (shedding), and resting (telogen). Too much catagen and we experience accelerated hair loss. Inflamed hair follicles can trigger catagen, which explains why those with inflammatory health conditions often experience severe hair loss. (Relevant study here.)
Since embarking on my health journey, I notice that my hair is thicker! Perhaps less inflammation is the reason.
I stopped using shampoo in 2010. I switched to rhassoul clay and use it to this day. Initially, I missed the “shampoo feeling,” but stuck with the process, and now I love the feel of my hair! Rhassoul clay isn’t for everyone, but I find that combing it through while in the shower helps distribute the clay, making it more efficient. If I try to scrub my scalp instead of combing, my hair doesn’t feel as clean. Before ruling out rhassoul clay as shampoo, try this method and see if you notice a difference. (See Rhassoul Clay for Natural Beauty Care.)
I have also used herbal shampoo from Morrocco Method. I purchased the trial sizes, and they lasted for six months. Because my hair had already transitioned to “herb only,” it did great with these products.
My latest DIY shampoo is a combination of rhassoul clay, garbanzo bean flour, amla, and reetha. Each of these has active components that nourish while gently cleansing the hair and scalp. I make a paste with filtered water and apply to my scalp, leaving it on for an hour or so before rinsing.
My favorite way to wash my hair is on a hike. I take advantage of any clear running water as seen in this video at a gravity-fed spring outside of Tucson!
Herbal Shampoo: How Often?
I used to wash my hair every day or every other day when using conventional shampoo. Once I started the clay, I noticed my hair felt clean for three to four days. Now, I wash my hair every 7–10 days! My hair no longer feels oily. This has been the biggest reward, as I prefer to minimize my showers to strengthen and protect my skin. (See 4 Ways to Protect Your Skin Microbiome.)
I haven’t felt the need for a rinsing agent, but raw apple cider or Queen of Hungary Water has worked well in the past.
I noticed an immediate difference in the texture of my hair (and skin) after investing in a shower filter. The chlorine and contaminants found in community water supplies can be very harsh and drying. Also, these chemicals have ready access to the immune system through the scalp.
I like the Berkey Shower Filter found here.
Hair Styling Tools
I rarely style my hair but keep it shoulder length with a straightforward cut. After washing, I allow it to air dry. With my long history of perms and colors, I love simple!
I use a sheep horn comb for styling. This simple investment has been life changing. Horn combs (sheep, ox, or water buffalo combs) do not give off static electricity like plastic combs.
Horn Comb Benefits:
- Treats follicles, helping spread natural oils, leaving hair naturally glossy and moisturized.
- Prevents split ends and breakage.
- Exfoliates debris and dead cells.
- May discourage flaking and relieve itchy scalp.
- Helps the circulation of the blood.
I comb my hair daily. It honestly feels like a scalp massage every time I use it. Massage is one way to stimulate hair growth, a bonus of a horn comb. (See Five Ways to Stimulate Hair Growth.)
I wipe my horn comb periodically with a cloth and find it keeps its shape and stays clean for many months.
You’ll find a wide variety of horn combs at Amazon.
Lunar Hair Cutting
I have incorporated this aspect of natural hair care in the last year. With my straightforward shoulder-length cut, it’s easy to embrace an age-old concept of stimulating strong hair roots according to the lunar cycle.
The Farmers’ Almanac lists best dates for cutting hair right alongside its suggested dates for planting crops. (Find the Almanac’s best days to cut hair here.)
The idea is that since the moon has a direct pull not only on ocean tides but other living things, why trim your hair on days when the pull is stronger?
I’m no expert on this, and it certainly puts me in the category of over-the-top when it comes to natural hair care, but cutting hair at the equinox makes sense to me. If you’re curious about lunar hair care, check out Morrocco Method’s chart and explanation here.
Transitioning to a natural hair care protocol is a process. Your hair can feel worse before it feels better. Celebrate the small changes and stay strong. You’ll be glad you did!
**Note: I have no financial ties with any company, only a desire to share information.