I knew I was in need of a serious hair detox because for as long as I can remember, I’ve had thin, fine hair that won’t grow past my shoulders. After years of heat-styling, colouring, hair extensions, and just overall abuse (not to mention my Jessica Simpson inspired chunky highlights phase), my hair was finally fighting back.
Before the days of balayage and hair straighteners, my hair was actually quite thick. But of course, I was just like every typical teenage girls who never listened to their mothers when they told them to leave their hair alone.
My hair has been every colour of the rainbow. Brown, black, blonde, orange (not by choice), burgundy, and even pink (I can thank Gwen Stefani circa the Return of Saturn for that catastrophe). But the one thing my hair has never been in my adult life without expensive extensions is long.
All I’ve ever wanted was long, flowing mermaid hair. Is that too much to ask? Since the only person to blame for my Ariel hair deficiency is myself, I have now become bound and determined to go to great lengths in order to achieve, well, great lengths.
Since being faced with the harsh reality that literally everything I’ve known about haircare my entire life has been wrong, I made the conscious decision to enrol myself in hair rehabilitation.
(“Hi, I’m Natasha, and I’m a heat-styling-oholic”)
Top Five Things That Are Killing Our Hair:
- Heat styling (no surprises here)
- Washing too often (shampoo actually strips our hair of natural oils leading to increased damage)
- Using hair products with harsh chemicals (also strips our hair of natural oils and even worse, clogs up our hair follicles which stunts hair growth)
- Ignoring your scalp (a healthy scalp = healthy hair)
- An irrational fear of scissors (this one might just be for me, but regular trims are the key to hair growth success. I’m still working on this)
Since I had been quarantined to my house for three and a half months, I figured what better time to undergo hair detox. First thing’s first I made a vow to skip my every-other-day regular washes (just for the record, I’m still talking about my hair, I still bathed regularly). I kicked off the detox process by not washing my hair for five days. FIVE. WHOLE. DAYS. Was this torture? Yes. Being an every-other-day hair washer, which even that was a stretch some days, I didn’t think there was enough dry shampoo in the world to get me through five days. But I survived (barely).
Here’s a brief diary of the first five days of my detox:
Feeling great about my newest self-care project. I’m feeling so inspired that I’m also going to educate all of my followers by documenting the entire process and ask for their very own hair trials and tribulations advice to help get me through. I spent $126 at Sephora on all natural hair care products and dreamt of the luscious flowing locks to come.
Feeling my typical day two self. A bit of grease, but nothing I haven’t dealt with in the past. Sprinkle on some baby powder and handle it.
Feeling kind of gross. Especially after 30 minutes on the treadmill. Currently, the only form of dry shampoo that I have (since my Amazon order hasn’t arrived yet) is baby powder, which as you know isn’t the best for brunette hair (or for your hair follicles, more on this later). I braid my white-ish greasy hair into pigtails and hope to wake up with model-worthy beach waves. (spoiler alert, I didn’t).
Feeling grosser, but excited to try my new all-natural dry shampoo that just arrived in the knick of time. It isn’t quite the miracle I’d hoped for (or the one that was downright necessary for my current situation) but my hair is in a full top-knot bun anyway. I do have a bit of an emotional breakdown when I find myself unexpectedly at a socially-distanced family gathering because I don’t quite feel “myself”.
I spring out of bed like it was Christmas morning because it’s finally hair washing day. After learning about the no-poo method (more on this below), I whip up a household shampoo-conditioner concoction and skip gleefully to the shower. Finally feeling refreshed and a bit normal, I decided to try and cut my heat styling by just limiting myself to the use of my hairdryer. Although my hair finally feels clean, in my mind, without a pass of a straightener or the twirl of a curling iron, I still look a bit, well, homeless.
The bottom line is, I survived five days and it motivated me to keep this up. It’s not something I’d do often, but maybe once a month I can stretch my wash limits for the sake of saving my hair. In actuality, the end goal and point of all of this detox is so that I can actually train my hair to last longer between washes without feeling emotionally damaged, LOL. Basically, once you get your scalp to a healthy place, the natural oils in your hair will begin to repair your strands, your hair follicles will become unclogged which will initiate growth and your overall hair health will improve. I’m so pumped to share what I’ve learned so far, but be warned, hair detox is a journey, not a sprint.
Let’s Talk Scalp-Health.
Literally the root of your hair health (sorry, not sorry). All of the chemicals in the shampoos and conditioners that I’ve been using for years (don’t even get me started on dry shampoos) have been building up on my scalp and hindering my hair growth. For years I was stripping my hair from scalp to ends with foaming shampoo thinking that getting as much dirt and oil out of my hair as possible was actually a good thing. Wrong.
Sulfate-Free Does NOT Mean Chemical-Free.
Shampoos that advertise themselves as sulfate-free still contain other hair stripping chemicals like parabens, silicones, fragrance, and other ingredients that I can’t even really pronounce (seriously, Google it, it’s crazy). And for whatever reason, we’re spending a LOT of money (a lot, a lot) on purchasing products that are actually causing the problems these products are being sold to fix. It’s a vicious cycle.
I’m definitely not a chemist or any sort of expert on this topic, but the more research I do, the more it all makes sense. Of course, everybody’s hair is different. Some of you reading this may not have any issues at all growing your hair at Dugger-like speed using nothing but affordable drug-store brand hair products. And if that’s the case, then my only suggestion would be to read your labels carefully and try to switch to products that are less harmful to our eco-system. Because we’re not only killing our hair follicles with harsh shampoos, but we’re also killing our turtles.
Say “No” to Talcum.
For years, baby powder was my go-to dry shampoo. It still pains me a little to give this up, because it certainly got me through some pretty rough times, including a few “roughing it” camping trips (Some of you are probably thinking that I don’t really seem like the camping type, and you’d be right). Baby powder contains talc which has been linked to certain cancers and can even be contaminated with asbestos (yuck!) But when it comes to your hair specifically, using baby powder as an alternative to dry shampoo will clog your hair follicles, reducing hair health and growth.
The RIGHT Way to Wash.
As mentioned above, I always thought the right way to wash my hair was with tons of lather, root to ends. I’d even shampoo my hair TWICE to make sure every ounce of oil was gone. This concept is now so CRAZY to me. My poor hair! To ensure you’re not doing more damage than good, the correct way to wash your hair, is actually to ignore the bulk of your hair completely and just focus solely on your scalp. I also now use a scalp massager in the shower to gently cleanse my scalp, which not only feels incredibly relaxing, but is a great way to cover more ground, quicker. I also usually try to rinse my hair at the end of my shower with cold water, which helps to seal the hair follicles (and wakes me the hell up!)
TIP: Avoid using your finger nails when washing your hair or working in powdered dry shampoo. Your nails can be too abrasive for the delicate skin on your head. Plus, the bacteria that gathers under your finger nails can then transfer to your scalp and cause follicle blockage.
You’ll probably notice a trend in the haircare marketplace right now, of brands claiming to be all-natural, vegan and cruelty-free. It’s nice to finally see more haircare companies realizing that jamming their products full of hair damaging chemicals and fragrances aren’t doing their customers any favours.
I recently decided to switch up my haircare routine and primarily use products that are all-natural. This meant clearing out all of my drugstore and even salon staples, and a lot of my go-to dry shampoos as well. But it was the BEST thing that I ever did.
Detoxing your hair of years of chemicals and toxins takes time. A few months even, depending on the state of your hair. So, if you find that you’re not getting immediate results when you switch to all-natural products, it’s for this reason. Be patient, and give your new routine a few weeks or months in order to test the results fully.
My Hair Detox Routine – Part One:
1.Baking Soda l 2. Apple Cider Vinegar l 3. Briogeo Deep Conditioning Mask l 4. Briogeo Deep Conditioning Leave-in l 5. Briogeo Volumizing Root Powder & Dry Shampoo l 6. The Ordinary Marula Oil l 7. The Ordinary Moroccan & Argan Oil l 8. Brok Boys Scrunchie l 9. Silicone Scalp Massager
The No Poo Method.
This has been pretty eye-opening. For years I’ve searched for the holy grail of hair care products and spent thousands of dollars on over-promising shampoos, conditioners, hair masks, leave-in conditioners, hot oil treatments, and god knows what else when the solution was under my kitchen sink this entire time. The no poo method is a concoction of the following:
Equal parts baking soda and water = “shampoo”
Equal parts apple cider vinegar and water = “conditioner”
I started using this on day five of my detox and was completely shocked right out of the gate that it was able to cleanse five whole days worth of dirt and grease. My hair was clean, manageable, and shiny after just one wash and I couldn’t wait to see this process through.
This routine had me washing my hair twice a week using the no poo method and only incorporating all-natural haircare styling products in between washes (more on these below).
The funny thing about the baking soda and ACV combo is that you don’t feel that squeaky-clean feeling that shampoo usually gives you when you rinse it out. So needless to say, I was shocked that my hair didn’t feel greasy at all when I styled it.
I quickly realized that the end goal when washing your hair isn’t to have that squeaky clean feeling. Your hair should still feel slightly oily, because those are naturally produced oils intended to nourish your hair and scalp.
Baking soda and ACV are both natural cleansing agents that will gently cleanse your scalp while still maintaining your hair’s natural oils. Baking soda is also excellent for detoxifying your scalp due to it’s high pH levels. I wouldn’t suggest washing your hair everyday or even every other day using this method, because you run the risk of detoxifying TOO much, but once or twice a week is perfectly healthy for your scalp.
The Products I Used for Part One of my Detox.
Aside from exclusively using baking soda and ACV to wash my hair, I also decided to incorporate a few all-natural haircare products with ingredients that wouldn’t hinder my hair detox process. After doing some of my own research and taking suggestions from friends, the products that I decided to try were the following:
This line came highly recommended, and is even a Sephora staff favourite. Briogeo has created an entire hair care line that is all natural, mostly vegan, cruelty free, gluten-free and is clean beauty certified at Sephora; meaning they are free of harsh sulfates, silicones, parabens, phthalates, DEA and synthetic colour. These products were ideal for my own personal hair detox.
FUN FACT: Briogeo is also a female and black owned business that was started in founder, Nancy Twine’s grandmother’s house. Which is pretty damn cool if you ask me. The more research I do about this company and their products, the more I love and feel great about supporting and purchasing them.
($46 CDN, Sephora)
Briogeo’s Deep Conditioning Hair Mask is something that I added into my hair routine once per week and have seen incredible results. After my baking soda wash, I apply a generous amount of the mask to my hair, root to ends. I leave it on for 10 mins or longer, depending on how much time I have or how much moister my hair is craving. I follow this with my ACV spray and rinse with cold water. The mask gives my hair the extra conditioning treatment that it needs and the apple cider vinegar adds the shine.
($35 CDN, Sephora)
Derived from their deep conditioning hair mask treatment, the Briogeo Strength + Moister Leave-in spray is super nourishing and lightweight. I use this twice per week (on my wash days), after my no poo method wash. It’s a cream based leave-in, which is something I’ve never seen before. It provides the moister my hair needs without weighting it down, especially in the summer months and even helps manage frizz. It detangles and leaves my hair feeling soft and silky until my next wash.
($30 CDN, Sephora)
The Briogeo Ginseng + Biotin Volumizing Dry Shampoo is interesting. It’s not like anything I’ve ever tried before. It’s an ultra fine powder concoction of all natural ingredients that are designed to stimulate the scalp and hair follicles, soak up excess oil, create volume and also promote hair growth. Since when has a dry shampoo ever done anything for you other than leave a giant mess on your bathroom floor?
I’ll be completely honest, when I first tried this product, I hated it. But once I started using it properly and saw what it could really do for my hair in between washes, I fell in LOVE.
My first mistake was applying it the same way that I used to apply my baby powder. Which was sprinkling a shit-ton onto my entire head and vigorously scrubbing until it was worked completely though all of my hair. This is NOT how you want to apply this product. You want to use this dry shampoo sparingly, by sprinkling a tiny bit at a time into the palm of your hands, into your brush or directly into the roots of your hair. Wherever you sprinkle this product is where it will stay. You can still use a vigorous motion with the pads of your fingers to work the product into your roots. Actually, the more you do this, the more volume you’re able to achieve. It’s WILD.
As mentioned in a previous post I have been using The Ordinary products on my skin for the last few years, but they also have amazing formulas that are great for your hair as well. Of course, the main appeal of this brand is the attractive and affordable price point, and the fact that they are really transparent with their ingredients and overall no BS branding. When it comes to your hair, you really only want to use crucial ingredients that aren’t filled with chemicals or added fragrance, so The Ordinary has been my go-to brand for my hair’s hydrating oil treatments.
($9.90 CDN, Deciem)
You’ve probably used plenty of drugstore or salon shampoo’s that have claimed to have marula oil in it. So, why not just skip the fluff and go right to the source? I have used an entire bottle of The Ordinary’s virgin marula oil on my hair over the past three months and have noticed that my split-ends are virtually non-existent. I apply it daily to the ends of my hair only, wet or dry and it’s made such a difference. Because my hair is no longer splitting, it can actually keep it’s length as it grows, which was my ultimate goal in starting all of this in the first place. The night before I’m about to wash, I usually add a little extra to the bulk of my hair, and even massage it into my scalp for some extra hydration.
($6.80 CDN, Deciem)
Similar to Marula oil, Moroccan and Argan Oil are two ingredients that are also often found in a lot of drugstore and salon quality hair care products. The Ordinary offers a Cold-Pressed Moroccan Argan Oil combination that is a concentrated formula stocked full of antioxidants, vitamin E and fatty acids. Moroccan Argan oil has been known to improve overall hair health and scalp dramatically and for the incredibly low price of only $6.80, I couldn’t afford NOT to try it. I apply just a small dab of this oil to the ends of my hair when it’s damp to help manage split ends and frizz, it also acts as a bit of a heat protector as well. Argan oil does have a bit of a pungent odour (picture the olive bar at your local grocery store), but if you can get over the smell, this lightweight oil will work wonders for hair that is in need of a little extra hydration.
So, there you have it, PART ONE of my three-month hair rehabilitation. I know all of this sounds like A LOT of effort just for hair, but my hair has always been a source of confidence for me.
My hair health has definitely improved since following these detox methods, and the overall look and feel of my hair is much healthier. If you are in need of some hair rehabilitation, I highly suggest investing the time into yourself.
I decided to call this blog part one because I have since switched up my routine again and I’m really excited about the results I’ve been seeing so far. I will touch base in a few months to share my NEW routine with you so we can compare notes together.
Stay tuned for part two!
Becky Natasha with the good hair”