Here I am, two weeks after going shampoo free! See below for a picture of the back of my head.
I have been trying to eliminate all sulfates (and other vile offenders) from my beauty routine, but natural, sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners are expensive. A friend told me to try using a solution of baking soda and apple cider vinegar to clean and condition my hair. I was skeptical. My hair is long, curly, and unruly. I NEEDED all the extra stuff in store-bought hair care products. Or so I thought.
The idea of being able to eliminate expensive and/or unhealthy products from my daily routine was too good to pass up. I jumped right in.
Taking my friend’s suggestion, I mixed up a solution as follows:
1 T. baking soda
1 T. apple cider vinegar
Mix this together (Oh! Fizzy!) and then add:
1 c. warm water
I poured this over my head, a little at a time, and did my best to work it into my hair. I had a lot of buildup from all the products I used, so the first couple times, I needed the entire cup. My hair felt oddly dry, not slippery, and kind of crunchy. I wasn’t sure how this was going to go, and quite honestly, the first couple days were tricky. My hair did not want to cooperate. I still used my normal mousse and styled as usual. Slowly, my hair began to adjust to the changes. I only wash my hair every 3 days or so, and I found that each time, my hair became more and more manageable and shiny. It also seemed to dry faster. Huh.
After a week, I was pretty hooked on the soda-and-vinegar solution, but I didn’t know what to do about my hair care products. I use some natural products, but they are very expensive since I have so much hair, I use A LOT. I’ve considered chopping off my hair but I don’t think my husband would speak to me again and I kind of like him.
So, my next step was to do a coconut oil mask on my hair the night before I washed it. I simply allowed a dollop of coconut oil to warm on my palm and ran it through my hair. I put my hair in a braid and went to bed. The next morning, I washed as usual. My hair turned out much softer and manageable. If I didn’t live in such a humid and drippy part of the world, I might be able to go without anything else in my hair. But, here in the Pacific NorthWET, I needed a little something-something to keep my hair from looking too frizzy.
Fortunately for me, my beautiful, curly-locked cousin told me about a recipe for flax seed hair gel. WHAT?!? I can make hair gel at home?! Using just two ingredients?!?! I got out a pot and started cooking. Here’s the recipe straight from the fabulous website, naturallycurly.com.
2 T. flax seeds (some say golden flax seeds give extra hold, but I’ve tried both and didn’t notice a difference)
1 c. water
1-2 drops essential oil (optional–but it smells nice and can prevent the gel from going rancid too quickly)
1 t. honey (optional–good for dry hair or dry climates–I find it really helps my hair, which tends to dry out)
Using a heavy-bottomed pot, mix the flax seeds in the water. I let mine sit for an hour or two before cooking, and I noticed that even by soaking the seeds, the water started to get thicker. Gently boil the flax seeds for 6-8 minutes. Don’t overcook. The liquid will begin to gel and the flax seeds will suspend in the liquid when you stir it. Bubbles will from on the surface and the mixture will resemble egg whites. This is when it’s done. Strain immediately using a fine mesh strainer, pushing the seeds around with a spoon to remove as much gel as possible. Store the seeds in the fridge and use to make one more batch of gel before tossing. Mix in EO and honey, if desired. Put the gel in a squeeze bottle and presto! You have homemade, natural, wonderful hair gel. Use as you would any hair gel, but store extra in the fridge to preserve freshness.
Makes about 3/4 c.
I took a picture of my hair after using the gel so you can see that it really does work! I wet my hair and used the same amount of gel I normally would. I blew it dry using a diffuser for a couple minutes, then I let it air dry the rest of the way. After it dried completely, I put some coconut oil on the ends and used the diffuser for a minute longer just to help the oil soak in. My hair turned out soft but not frizzy. Wow! I’m in love.
It’s easy to make
It’s good for me and my hair
It doesn’t leave my hair crunchy or “wet”
It’s not sticky! My palms didn’t feel slimy after applying the gel, and it dried quickly in my hair.
Short shelf life (store in the fridge–it works just fine when it’s cold)
Summary: Going shampoo-free was a big step for me, but I’m glad I did! I love that I’m not using any toxic or questionable ingredients on my skin and hair. The flax seed gel is a wonderful solution to the product problem I faced. I love it!