Switching from a typical commercial shampoo to an all natural shampoo was difficult for me. It took a month of research and lots of experimenting with different recipes and processes until I finally succeeded. I want to save you all that effort and frustration and share everything you need to know to make a quick and painless switch.
In the end the results were worth the frustration. As I watch my hair grow out in preparation to donate it, I am thrilled to see that it is healthier than ever before and without the split ends that sent me back to the hair dresser every few months last time I grew it for donation.
I’ll never go back to a commercial shampoo and once you’ve made the switch and seen the results, you’ll never go back either.
The most important thing I learned during my research is also the most disgusting; most commercial shampoos contain petrochemicals. Yes, that is “petro” as in petroleum. Petrochemicals are derived from petroleum, and every time you wash your hair you are coating it with petrochemicals, absorbing some through your skin and washing the rest down the drain into your local water systems.
Scratch your head. No, not in wonder about these disturbing facts. Literally, scratch your head.
Did you get a bunch of white gunk under your fingernails?
I used to think that was just dead skin, but now I know that was the petrochemicals left behind by my shampoo.
You should start the process of switching to an all-natural shampoo by making or buying a cleansing shampoo and a rinse.
I made my own Cleansing and Calming Shampoo using a castile soap base, tea tree essential oil and lemon essential oil. Switching shampoos stresses the pores on your scalp and stressed pores produce more sebum which will make your hair oily. The tea tree essential oil calms the pores to keep the sebum production to a minimum, while the lemon essential oil acts as a detoxifier and an astringent. View the Cleansing and Calming Shampoo recipe page for additional information and instructions.
For a rinse, I made an Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse and Conditioner with apple cider vinegar and distilled water. The rinse will help clean your scalp and hair of the petrochemicals, and leave it feeling incredibly soft. View the Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse and Conditioner recipe page for additional information and instructions.
During the first week, or until your scalp and hair feel clean, you should rinse with the apple cider vinegar solution, wash with your shampoo, then rinse again with the apple cider vinegar solution.
Most people with average length hair will experience the “gross stage” first. Since this stage usually lasts until the third rinse/wash/rinse cycle. I recommend you start switching your products Friday night so you look decent for work Monday morning.
During the gross stage your hair will feel oily and heavy because the gunk is being dislodged and your pores are stressed (remember you are cleansing them and they will be open for the first time in a long time).
Once the gross stage is over you will still need to continue the rinse/wash/rinse cycle for 4 days or until your scalp and hair feel clean. Try the scratch test. When you aren’t getting a bunch of gunk under your fingernails, your hair is in its new state of normal and you can start a routine with an all natural shampoo and conditioner that compliments and enhances it.
There were several things that I experienced that I didn’t expect when I first switched from a typical commercial shampoo to an all natural shampoo.
I didn’t expect to get used to the texture of the shampoo so quickly. The castile-based shampoo is much thinner than my old shampoo, but it only took a few uses to get used to.
I also didn’t expect the squeaky clean feeling I had after washing my hair. Most people who make the switch tell me they put product in their hair immediately because it was weird for them to feel so clean. I don’t usually use hair product so I left my hair alone and it’s another thing I got used to pretty quickly.
Before switching shampoos I had oily roots and dry, split ends, and I didn’t expect that to change. Within the first week of my switch I had normal hair from roots to tip. This change makes sense because my pores were clogged and my sebaceous glands were working over-time, but the petrochemical coated strands were not allowing the oil to travel through the hair to the roots.
Opening up the pores had one more unexpected effect; I grew more hair. After about a month with my natural shampoo I noticed lots of short hairs growing evenly around my head, coming from pores that had previously been clogged by my old shampoo. For a person with fine hair, more hair was a welcome sight.
Whether you want to switch to an all natural shampoo out of concern for the environment or your own health and beauty, I encourage you to commit to making that change today! If you have questions about switching today or as you go through the process, please leave them in the comments section below. I know me, Kim and other readers, will be happy to support you and answer your questions as best we can.