Hair contains a natural oil called sebum in its follicles that is essential for keeping it healthy. Frequent washing, combined with some of the harsh chemicals in the shampoo, removes the natural oils from the hair leaving it in poor condition.
The problem is that, today, many of us are convinced that our daily shampoo ritual is vital to keep the grease and oil on our scalp at bay and that without this ritual our hair will look gross. The sebaceous glands of the hair are activated to release extra sebum when they feel that the hair is drying. Over-washing removes the natural conditioning of the hair and sends signals to the sebaceous glands that it is necessary to replace the sebum that was lost in the wash. This often leads to an overproduction of sebum, which gives the hair that “fat ball” look which in turn makes people want to shampoo again creating a vicious cycle that is difficult to break out of.
That is why trends have emerged that react to this modern lifestyle. These trends are known in English as the “no poo” or “co-washing” methods.
The theory of the “No Poo” method is as follows: by washing your hair with a gentle alternative to shampoo, such as baking soda and apple cider vinegar or even just water, you will achieve clean hair without the damage or dependence of daily shampoo. So, in short, instead of allowing the chemicals in the shampoo to spoil your hair, remove the chemicals and stop using shampoo altogether.
Experts in “co-washing” recommend “washing your hair weekly or biweekly, especially if you are prone to scalp problems. If you do not have any scalp problem, it is likely that the days of washing can be lengthened for a longer time according to these specialists”.
And for this they endorse a special type of natural shampoo bars that respect the natural sebum of the hair fiber and do not dry it out. These shampoo bars and the co-washing method have been creating a stir within the natural hair community.
Washing our hair with a specific co-wash shampoo helps to remove all the accumulation of residues from our scalp. Once our hair is clean, the co-washing technique creates a new space for moisture to enter our hair fiber again in order to strengthen it until our next wash.
This is not possible with commercial sulfate-based shampoos. Sulfates are those elements that are used in the manufacturing process and that usually create the “sud” or extra layer of soap that produces a lot of foam and gives us the feeling that we are effectively cleaning our hair. However, sulfates are an economic element that helps manufacturers create more product without making the final price of shampoo more expensive.
It has been proven that sulfates are harmful to our hair, especially to the health of our scalp since they eliminate the natural oils also called “sebum” that our scalp produces naturally. This sebum is necessary to nourish our new hair fibers with the moisture and strength necessary for them to have a lasting life.
American women have known the technique of co-washing for decades and that is why they use natural solid shampoo bars, such as the ones we prepare on this page, to wash their hair.
“You can spend a lot of money on organic shampoos or you can just make your own shampoo bars”; says this American blogger:
According to this blogger, “The difference between these bars and other soap bar recipes is that they are made with a series of more nutritious and healing oils for the hair, in addition to being made with a higher overfat level that releases a large number of oils and a high hydration power during washing”
It is a technique very similar to the one we use to make facial soap bars, with which it is also possible to use these soap bars at body level. As we said, the high levels of over-greasing with which they are made release a large amount of emollient fatty acids that are great for cleansing the body and face.
It is a fact that one can wash with these tablets from hair to feet without the need to use more products and in a sustainable and totally ecological way since natural soap is biodegradable and the oils with which it is made are very rich for the care of the skin, including the scalp.
Those of you who have never used this type of shampoo tablets for hair washing, you should know that it will not feel like your usual shampoo when you use them for the first time.
Your hair is used to being stripped of its natural oils and then soaked with synthetic oils and silicones, usually not so healthy. Therefore, it will take your hair a week or two to break this cycle. Once you do, the scalp will produce enough oils to create a beautiful glow, without you having those fatty problems like you used to have.
HOW TO USE IT:
1.-We will use the shampoo bar like any other soap bar moistening it and rubbing it along the entire hair until we obtain a soft foam.
2.-Next, it is important to rinse thoroughly and apply a sprayer with natural apple cider vinegar all over the hair because this will untangle it and contribute to leave it loose and bright when it is dry.
3.-If you can dry it outdoors much better. And if it is not possible, leave it wrapped half an hour with a towel because then it will be enough with a couple of dryer passes to make it dry. With this, you save that the hair fiber suffers in excess with the temperature of the dryer.
4.-Obviously, the result is not the same if you have dyed hair. As you may know, dyes spoil hair fiber a lot, apart from being toxic. If you can avoid dyeing your hair it will look much healthier.
If you have a lot of gray hair, then you can try dyeing with henna * or with a semi-permanent dye that goes away with washing and does not contain ammonia or other types of aggressive fixing compounds with the hair fiber.
* If you have never tried henna, you will not know that in addition to providing great reflections to the hair, it manages to cover gray hair if applied together with indigo (Indigofera tinctoria) with a double procedure that normally consists of applying the henna first, rinsing, and then the indigo. With this “Light Mountain, color the gray” dye what is achieved is to speed up the procedure with very good results. It is completely natural and it is the only dye that we know of that, after application, leaves hair better than it was, looser and healthier. (Surely there will be other brands of natural herbal dyes on the market that achieve the same, but we do not know them, so we will appreciate if you know any other that you tell us in the comments).
OUR PROPOSAL TO REPLACE SHAMPOO WITH NATURAL CLEANSING AGENTS
First option: Make an herbal shampoo. You’ll need some of these powdered herbs:
- Shikakai powder
- Amla powder
- Retha powder
- Mix all the powders in equal proportion in warm water and prepare a semi-smooth paste (neither too thick nor too liquid).
- Massage the hair and scalp with this mixture for 3-4 minutes and let it act for 5 minutes (if the hair is very oily).
- Wash the hair thoroughly with water and then rinse with lemon/vinegar.
Second option: Make a shampoo based on natural ingredients
We suggest that you use items from the pantry such as cucumbers, lemons, honey, eggs, etc …
Juice of 2 lemons
Blend the cucumbers and lemon juice in a blender with 1 ½ cups of water.
Wash your hair as usual with this cucumber shampoo.
Wash the hair thoroughly with water and then rinse with lemon/vinegar.
Note: Be sure to use a wide-toothed comb to comb your hair gently and slowly to prevent it from breaking. Do this at the end of the shower to remove all cucumber flakes.
Egg and lemon shampoo
Juice of 2 lemons
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Mix all ingredients correctly.
Wash the hair with this solution followed by a wash with lemon / vinegar.
Natural honey shampoo
It is the easiest way to thoroughly cleanse the scalp and hair. To make this shampoo, you would need 2 tablespoons of raw honey, 4 tablespoons of water. Mix and apply thoroughly on the scalp and hair. Rinse after 10 minutes with water.
Third option: Vegetable or glycerin shampoos.
Shampoos based on vegetable oils and also those based on glycerin bases (Melt & Pour) are much gentler on the hair fiber.
Recipe for vegetable shampoo without sulfates
15 g of jojoba pearls
20 g carnauba wax
15 g apple cider vinegar
10 g of liquid soap from Castile.
30 drops of essential oil mixture: 5 drops of cinnamon, 5 of cloves, 5 of nutmeg, 5 of ginger, and 10 of orange.
INSTRUCTIONS: Melt the carnauba wax in a water bath.
Once melted, let it cool a little and add the apple cider vinegar, the jojoba pearls, the essential oils and the Castile soap. Stir thoroughly.
Pour the mixture into the soap mold of your choice. We will let it solidify in the fridge.
Homemade shampoo bar for sensitive scalps and dandruff:
Babassu oil is used for medicinal purposes in South America to treat skin conditions, wounds, inflammation and even stomach problems. The exclusion of bleach (we use a glycerin base) in this shampoo makes this recipe less irritating for those with scalp conditions.
30 g mild glycerin soap
2 g babassu oil or coconut oil
15 drops of argan oil
10 drops of essential oil
Optional: A pinch of dried nettle if our problem is dandruff. If our scalp is very sensitive it is better that we do not put dried herbs.
Instructions: Cut the bar of glycerin soap into thirds and melt it into the water bath. Then add the oils and, optionally, the herbs. Finally, remove from the heat and add the essential oils.
This glycerin solid shampoo should mature for a few hours. It will harden and can be stored in a container in the bathroom. We can start using it the next day because glycerin soap does not need a maturation process like cold saponified soaps.
OUR CO-WASHING PROPOSAL
Make a solid bar of cold saponified natural shampoo and forget about the stories!
A solid shampoo bar like this thoroughly cleanses the scalp and hair without leaving the hair dry, stiff or stripped of its natural fat. These natural soap bars are free of sulfates, silicones or mineral oils that strip the hair of its “sebum” and its natural moisture leaving it dry and dull. In addition, these solid shampoo bars last up to 60 washes in many cases.
DIY hair shampoo bar
Many people also use their cold process soap as a shampoo bar. But hair is different from the skin, so it is advisable to formulate them differently so that they make enough foam.
The first and most important thing is to formulate them with a high level of over-greasing (between 10 and 12%) so that they release a large number of oils during washing and better condition the hair fiber.
The second requirement of a shampoo bar is that it contains coconut oil, which is responsible for producing a greater amount of foam.
Third, including castor oil will also contribute to a better washing experience.
It is also interesting to include a teaspoon of salt (5 grs) to harden our shampoo bar and a teaspoon of sugar (10 grs) to enhance its foam. Both will be added with the bleach.
Ingredients for a 10% of over-greasing.
280 grams of coconut oil
280 grams of palm oil
280 grams of olive oil
170 grams of castor oil
One tablespoon of clay*
Salt (5 grams) and sugar (10grs) that we will dissolve in the bleach.
318 grams of water
136 grams of caustic soda
About 30 grams of essential oils of our choice.
The clay contributes to drag the silicones and chemical residues that the hair can accumulate from previous washes in addition to providing hardness and hydration capacity.
The combined coconut, palm, castor and olive oils provide the shampoo with a high capacity for emollience and hydration.
Previously we will take the necessary precautionary measures (gloves, ventilation, wooden spoon) to prepare the bleach which, as we know, consists of mixing the caustic soda with water and stirring well until it dissolves. At this point we will add the salt and sugar and let the reaction cool at room temperature.
In the meantime, we will melt the oils if necessary (surely the fat from palm and coconut) and mix them. We will let them cool to room temperature.
When the temperatures of the bleach and oils are close (between 30 and 40 degrees), we will slowly add the mixture of water and soda (bleach) to the previously heated oils.
We will use a hand mixer to start mixing until the point of “trace” or custard consistency is achieved. At this point we will stop beating and add the essential oils.
We can already pour the mixture into a soap mold. It is advisable to cover the mold and shelter it so that the saponification continues.
A couple of days later it will be dry and we can unmold it and cut it into bars that we will let cure for a minimum of a month and a half before starting to use them.
Essential oils have different properties and we choose to include those that address the concerns of our hair. Rosemary, for example, is capillary anti-fall especially if the problem is due to excess fat. The tea tree is anti-inflammatory and anti-dandruff, mint also prevents fall and strengthens the hair fiber. And it is also possible to include a mixture of various oils.
Due to the alkaline pH of cold process soap, most people use a slightly acidic rinse on the hair after using the shampoo bar because it helps to detangle the hair better and gives it shine. Apple cider vinegar helps to balance the pH of the scalp and increase its brightness.
It is possible to prepare a rinse with:
One cup of apple cider vinegar for 2 cups of water or half a lemon juice for two cups of water.