My hair has been a topic discussion in my life for as long as I can remember. Seriously, I remember moments dating back all the way to 5th grade (1995 party) where kids would discuss my hair and the amount of it. There’s a lot. I lost a lot of hair in 8th grade thanks to acutane (pimple party)— but thats a whole other story (but since we’re bringing it up: I do not recommend that stuff to anyone!). Anyway, a lot of my hair fell out, but years went by and it slowly rebuilt itself (thanks body!). I cut my hair really short after giving birth— and I don’t regret it, but I wouldn’t do that again since it just doesn’t suit my round face. You live you learn, moving on….
So about the natural stuff: Growing up I was a pantene girl (yep.). A grade school friend used it and I liked the smell so I asked my mom to buy it. And I stuck to it for forever until finally about 6 or 8 years ago (talk about commitment!) after I became vegan. I finally started looking more into what I put in and on my body and I slowly started making the switch to more vegan and natural products. To this day it’s still a bit of a learning experiment, but a mostly fun one. When I moved into this new house almost two years ago (how does the time go so fast?!) it was a huge shock how disgusting my hair became with a water change (soft to hard water). I’ve adapted over the past two years, I tried no-poo
, but eventually passed on that— but overtime I’ve finally found a method that works. The switch has not only made my hair look better but actually made it even thicker– I’m not sure how one manages to create even thicker hair, but boom: more hair.
I’m not a hair expert by any means— and I’m totally well aware that everyones hair is very different– but some of these things are general enough to help anyone and everyone 🙂 And well, I’m asked about my hair, no lie, probably at least once a day (yes, it is real hair), so it’s probably about time I wrote about what I do to maintain my hair in the most natural way I can.
edit: this post is old, but sometimes I do update it with new things from time to time as things change. this post has been updated jan 2017.
How to grow healthy natural hair
I’m not against dyes, shampoos, and whatever else— I mean, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend them (though I’ve been intrigued to jump on a pink or red hair trend, it looks so fun), but to each their own, in my world. That being said, our bodies are designed to work certain ways and when we start messing around with our bodies inside and outside– by adding (or extracting) natural things— well, things can get weird. Playing with hormones, chemicals, and whatever else, even a little bit can throw everything off or create a product addiction of sorts. Using shampoos to strip your hair of oil doesn’t make your hair less oily, in the long run it actually creates more oil. Constantly stripping your hair of its natural oil, causes your body to make more oil to overcompensate for oil loss. Same with your face. Companies are making a killing off all of us thinking that face oil stripping washes are going to fix our problems. Naturally, our bodies are all different, and the best thing you can do for the outside of your body is take care of the inside. Be cautious and aware of what you put in and take off— your hair wants natural oil and your body wants balance and not to be tugged or repressed by added hormones, additives, and toxins.
be nice to it, but not too nice.
Be gentle brushing— and don’t brush it often. I personally only comb it out of the shower— or after my long scenic drives in a convertible, of course (I’m never in convertibles). Use heating tools only when necessary. I do from time to time, because I hate to go to bed with my hair wet. But day time, I try to skip it and go outside (it helps that I’m in Florida). But if I were up north, I would probably blow dry my hair all spring, fall, and winter long. Brr. If you can skip the heating tools, wonderful!– It’s just slowly damaging your hair, which doesn’t help anyone or anything. Also: don’t be too nice— over brushing and over touching isn’t the solution, you’re going to end up with extra oils on your hair.
no-poo and yes poo.
was fine. And if done right, it’s not gross— but personally I just couldn’t fall in love with the baking soda shampoo thing. If I had less hair, maybe, but too work enough baking soda in my amount of hair— it seemed impossible– and then to get it all out? Forget it. So no-poo, while I do believe in the power of it, didn’t fit for me
. However— one thing no-poo is incredibly good for— or skipping washes in general— is that it trains your hair to need less washes. The less you use, the less you need. So if no-poo isn’t your thing, cool, but try less-poo (if thats not a term, then I’m coining it now). Take a week (or longer) where you won’t care what your hair look like and go as long as you can without a wash, then go from there. Skip washes and products when you can. I wash my hair about once a week— depending on what I’m doing. Sweatier days and weeks require more washes– but I do try to go for a one week maximum– wearing braids or hats to extend the washes.
Hard water can be hard— err— difficult to deal with. It took me about a straight year of absolutely disgusting hair to figure it out. One thing that has been really helpful are these demineralizer packs
. The instructions say to use one pack a week. Well, I only wash my hair once a week, so I use maybe two packs a month– maybe even less. The matching shampoo and conditioner
work REALLY well too, but aren’t required if you use vinegar —–> (read on)
Prior to hard water I used pureology super smooth
. It seems pricey, but it’s super concentrated, so in the end it actually saves money. (It takes A LOT of shampoo and conditioner to saturate this hair). Welp, I received a comment recently that even though pureology is vegan it’s owned by a larger company that isn’t. That seems to be the unfortunate norm with just about everything these days. If possible, I do support companies that are true all the way through– but at the same time, I don’t stop going to the grocery store, or buying grocery store brands because they sell or produce meat, you know? I demand the good stuff and create less (zero) demand for the stuff I don’t want or believe in. If we’re buying the good stuff, and stop buying the bad stuff, then companies don’t need to continue making the things we don’t buy, right? Right. Simple rule: do what you can, when you can. Lately I tend to use whatever shampoo is in the shower— which always seems to be a rotation of three bottles that last for-ev-er. When I forget to restock this set
, then I just end up buying and trying whatever is on sale at whole foods that I haven’t tried yet. So now you know: this set
is good—- or pureology
works well, is sort of vegan, sorta not, in the end: you decide. I’ve also been enjoying this shampoo lately
(the company is sustainable and uses wind power!) while Marlowe enjoys the mango scent
So maybe you decided you’re not going to give up shampooing, fine, I get it. So if you’re dead set on buying shampoo then here are some good things to look for and avoid:
buy: cruelty-free brands with the bunny logo
avoid: SLS, sulfites, parabens.
do: shampoo as little as possible (or skipping completely if you can!) and avoid bad ingredients and you’re on the right track. Next step? Consider vinegar as conditioner.
Mmmmm salad. So I mentioned this in my natural bathroom tour post
, but yes, I totally use vinegar
in my hair— and LOVE it. Vinegar has been a life saver with hard water. But hard or soft water, vinegar is a wonderful replacement conditioner in hair. In a jar next to the shower, I have a mixture of 1 part apple cider vinegar
to about anywhere between 5 to 8 parts water. But Alex basically dumped the extra vinegar we had in the fridge into my jar leaving me with about 90% vinegar, the rest water, and I didn’t die— neither did my hair— so ratios don’t matter that
much. Honestly, I would use straight vinegar, but it seems unnecessary. Also: Using filtered water is best, but you can obviously just use shower water as well. Twist and dip the end of your hair in the vinegar and/or pour a small amount over the rest (and under the rest) of your hair. Try to massage it in a bit. Tada that’s it. No need to rinse out! As I mentioned, you will smell like a salad, but once your hair dries completely, the smell is completely gone. Hooray vinegar! Want to use store bought condition sometimes? Stick with the same shampoo rules: avoid the bad stuff and buy cruelty free as often as you can 🙂
It’s no secret that vitamins add to your body, well vitamins (or healthy eating in general) is good for you hair! I’ll be totally honest here and say that I don’t take vitamins almost at all anymore. I rely on a very well balanced diet (and mostly frui
t) to get my nutritional requirements. I pretty much forget until my kid asks me for her gummy bears
— then I might take one mine too. A daily vitamin is a great start (I take THESE
) and adding some b12 (especially if you’re vegan) is helpful too (I take THESE
b12). It’s not a secret whatsoever that my favorite food is pizza—- I could and would eat it everyday— but at the same time, keeping it all balanced with tons of nutrient rich foods is key. I feel like it’s fading now, but there has always the big misconception that vegans will be low in iron, protein, and whatever else— but its so untrue— or can be untrue— it depends if you’re eating properly of if you’re actually just a french-fryatarian. Every time I get blood work done (pre and post being sick) the results are the same: Super blood! Eat your fruits, veggies, legumes, and nuts, and take out as much of the bad junk as you can. Take your vitamins. Watch your hair flourish too. Promise.
I don’t think I ever mentioned it here, but I got asked to be a private chef last year. Awesome, right? Then I was told that all fat, would have to be a no no on their menu. Not awesome. There’s a lot of different talk on oils and fats and our bodies. When I first wrote this post I said to go for good fats such as olive oils, coconut oils, nuts, avocado, etc. Now I personally stay away from all oils. Buttttt, I do believe in good fats! In moderation! Things like olives, coconut, nuts and seeds, and avocados are good! Good fats give you energy, help you absorb vitamins, and affect your hormones (bad fats affect these too, but in a bad way of course). But this isn’t a nutrition post, so I’m not saying you need to skip French fries, but replacing bad fats for good fats is a great idea to plump up and shine out that hair, naturally.
I wanted to add this in here: Marlowe’s hair routine is the same as mine. Unless she’s been in a chlorinated pool, we rarely wash her hair— maybe once a week or once every week and a half. She loves to use the vinegar in her hair (do be careful it can burn your eyes). and we only dry her hair if she’s going to have to go to bed with her hair wet. :)Have more tips on how you manage your hair naturally? I’d love to hear (and try) them, as I’m sure others would too! Have color treated hair, curly hair, or just completely different hair? Awesome, others do too. Please share! Have you done a post on natural hair care? Feel free to link it back for others 🙂 Hair-sharing is caring.
*photos by the amazing hannah mayo. If you’re local (or even if you’re not), check her out!
**my kid has pretty decent hair too, when she’s not being a ragamuffin. &it’s long as can be– past her butt. Maybe time for a trim though, yah?