I dunked my hair in the cold sink water for the third time that morning, re-styling with the help of a comb and a bottle of a basic store-brand gel, hoping that I would finally be satisfied with my look for that day: this was an average morning before school for me throughout my teenage years. I know this may seem odd for a guy, but ever since I can remember, I’ve been self-conscious of my head of hair. My hair is super thick and dry with loose curls; I never really knew how to style and take care of it. I have tried all of the above when it comes to hair care: from chemical-filled, cheap sets of shampoo and conditioner to the highest of quality hair care products given to me by my barber. Now, being 20 years old, I have finally found what works for me. Although it may be a bit odd and different way to take care of hair, it is what suits me best, and I want to share my experience with people struggling with their hair or looking for a new, natural way to care for their hair.
As a disclaimer, I am not professionally educated on hair care nor a doctor, just sharing my experience and giving suggestions:)
This is the first word that comes to mind when I think of hair care. When I was growing up, I shampooed and conditioned my hair every day and applied gel every morning before running out the door to catch the bus. Sometimes I used a dandruff shampoo, a 2 in 1 hair wash, or most of the time, whatever my twin sister was using at the time. My hair was dry, and my scalp always itchy. I felt embarrassed with friends when dandruff was visible on my hair. After doing some research, I discovered a phenomenon called “product buildup,” which occurs when layers of product accumulate on individual hair strands. Product buildup prevents moisture from reaching hair, and as a result, hair can become dry and dull due to the lack of moisture. What is a significant cause of buildup? Silicone! Check the back of your hair care bottles, and most of them will contain a silicone ingredient. Silicone creates a film around your hair, and it is extremely resistant to natural products and difficult to remove from hair.
As my story exemplifies, I was constantly switching products and utilizing silicone-filled hair care products, as a result, I was suffering from product buildup! Although it may feel nice to have a nice lathering shampoo and a seemingly endless amount of soap suds, that may be a telltale sign that the shampoo or conditioner is causing product buildup. As the number of products used in hair increases, so does the amount of build-up and potential problems. Enough of product buildup, now back to simplicity.
The products I use now all have something in common: SIMPLICITY. There are simple ingredients, simple ways to use them, and are simply great for your hair ;). I only use three hair care products, and I stick to them. I will list them below and explain what they are, why I use them, and how I use them.
There are a plethora of websites, journals, scientific studies, lists of ingredients to avoid, and many other resources for “clean” hair care. I am going to be honest here, it is too much and a hassle to navigate through the complicated web of healthy, clean, unhealthy, and chemically-filled hair care products to find the perfect one. I am not going to list ingredients of what should and should not be in hair products, I am only going to explain what I use and suggest natural hair care tips.
The two aspects of ingredients that I suggest are:
1- the less the better
2- be sure the ingredients can be pronounced, and if not, at least are derived from plants or natural sources, as the extractions listed are chemical compounds and have long names.
First: Washing my hair with Terressentials Pure Earth Hair Wash Left Coast Lemon
This hair wash is not a shampoo, rather it is a mask for your hair that absorbs excess dirt and unwanted hair oils with a clay-based lather. Terressentials does not strip your hair, allowing the good oils to remain in your hair and let them continue to act as a natural moisturizer and cleansing agent for hair. As their website explains, there are “no industrial chemical detergents/surfactants, foam boosters, emulsifiers, petrochemical or bio-engineered preservatives, or fragrance/parfum!” The company offers different scents of hair wash, and each scent caters different hair types. I use the Left Coast Lemon scent because it is made for dry, thick, and naturally curly hair.
How I use it: I wash my hair twice a week, as well as days when I am outside exercising due to excess sweat and dirt. I wash my hair with cold – lukewarm water to be sure to lock in beneficial oils and not strip them away by washing with extremely hot water. The first thing I do when taking a shower is wet my hair and lather a quarter sized amount of Terressentials hair wash. I leave it in for the entirety of my shower and wash it out last. I mix the wash with a little water in my palm to be sure I apply the lather to all parts of my hair and scalp. Since the was leaves behind good oils that moisturize hair, conditioner is not needed; this saves money, time, and the potential for product buildup!
Second: I use an all nautral jojoba oil from Now Solutions.
How I use it: I do not use this oil every week. I feel my hair and determine what it needs, if anything, mostly everyday. If my hair feels dry, I will often use a small amount of jojoba oil in my hair before I shower or I will sometimes apply it after and let it soak in overnight. I do not know the scientific reasoning behind jojoba oil and a moisturizer for our body, but from what I have heard, its chemical makeup is similar to our skin and hair, being one of the best natural moisturizers for our body. It is best to use when skin or hair is damp as oil traps in moisture. One outcome to avoid with using this product is an overly oiled hair, as that will lead to an unwanted feel and look of your hair
Third: I use an apple cider vinegar rinse from Field Day Organic
Apple cider vinegar, along with all vinegar, has so many uses and healing properties, one of them being a hair rinse!! ACV improves scalp health, strengthens hair, and enhances the shine of hair. ACV helps to lower the pH of hair and return it to a balanced state; it is also antimicrobial, controlling bacteria in your scalp relieving itchiness and irritation. Although these are powerful effects, you must be careful when using an ACV rinse, as it contains acetic acids, which can burn the scalp. Be sure to dilute apple cider vinegar with water to avoid these potential risks! Avoid contact with eyes, as vinegar can burn them and irritate them with the acid it contains.
How I use it: I use a ratio of 2 1/2 cups of water to 1/2 of a cup of ACV. I pour it into a spray bottle and spray it on my hair once a week, after I shower. I start with the ends of my hair and massage it in to my scalp. This leaves my hair shiny and smooth in the morning! You can also try infusing different herbs into the mixture, like rosemary or lavender, by heating the mixture with herbs to extract the medicinal properties. Remember to be careful when using this rinse and don’t over do it your first time!
I hope you enjoyed reading my hair care routine. It is simple, easy to implement, and does not utilize any chemicals that will cause product build up. Although my article is titled “A Man’s Hair Care Routine,” it can work for anyone! I highly recommend looking more into the Terressentials brand and straying away from traditional shampoos and conditioners, as our hair can regulate itself and be healthy, with the help of a few natural remedies and products 🙂 . Once again, I am no doctor or hair care specialist, just sharing with the world what works for me!! Stay safe out there and I wish 2020 brings you some natural hair care revelations 😉 !
Love, Untamed Medicine