Last week, in my first Natural Hair Care post, I wrote to you about why I will not use baking soda on my own hair. We learned about ph and how it affects your hair and scalp, and that baking soda is WAY too alkaline for our hair. We now know that our hair prefers to keep a ph of 4.5, and when we cleanse our hair or use any other kinds of hair products, we want to make sure its ph is within 4.5-7 to keep our scalp and hair ph balanced.
Since I don’t use baking soda on my hair when I no-poo, you all were VERY curious as to what I actually DO use instead. Today I am going to give you several ph-balanced options to try, so that you can find the right one for your hair, and at the end of this post I will share my own personal ramped up recipe that I have been using on MY hair.
What should you avoid cleansing your hair with?
Both baking soda (ph of 9.5) and castile soap (ph of 9.0) are just too alkaline to be used when cleansing our hair. These product’s high ph is what gives them the ability to open up our hair follicles, much like chemical hair dyes. After some time, your hair may start to become dry and brittle, and break off more frequently. Some hair dressers do suggest the use of baking soda, once a month for a clarifying wash.
What can you use to no-poo cleanse your hair?
With so many blog posts out there purporting the awesomeness of the baking soda no-poo method, it leads one to wonder if there are any other options, but BEHOLD! There are actually quite a few options that you can wash your hair with, no-poo style. I have made a point of trying all of them for the sake of doing my research for you guys. (I might have also forced my husband to be a guinea pig along with me. I am really thankful that the Hippy Hubby allows me to use him for testing purposes!)
- Aloe Vera – with a ph of 4.5-5.5, aloe vera is a really great option to no-poo with. There is even a great aloe vera and coconut milk recipe out there that sounds pretty divine!
- Honey – with a ph of around 4, honey is also very conditioning to the hair and can help reduce frizz too! Lauren@EmpoweredSustenance has a great honey shampoo recipe!
- Apple Cider Vinegar – With a ph of 3-3.5 ACV is a great choice when diluted. I like to dilute mine with aloe vera and water. Note that ACV is chosen over white vinegar because it has a higher ph than white vinegar.
- Water – There are some people who simply just wash their hair with water. My own hair needs a lot more help than just water. I suspect this works on those who A) haven’t really damage their hair any before the change AND B) have clean water that isn’t too hard. Hard water can make a huge difference on how clean your hair gets, and it especially interacts with natural soaps like castile soap, leaving too much build up.
- Herbal Infused Tea – There are so many hair healing herbs that you can use in some capacity in any natural no-poo method that you choose, but plain herbal tea can be used to cleanse and/or rinse your hair as well. See below for specific herbs to helps your hair type.
- Clay – Both Bentonite and Rhassoul clay have wonderful healing benefits, no only for our faces, but also for our hair! Containing a plethora of minerals and awesome cleansing powers, clay should not be ignored when making your own no-poo shampoo. Clay has the power to both cleanse and condition while keeping your scalp and hair’s oil cycle in tact. (The ph of 1 Tbsp. Rhassoul clay and 8 oz. water can be a little high at 6, so it’s always best to either add lower ph ingredients such as ACV or aloe vera to the mix, or rinse with an apple cider vinegar rinse after washing.)
- Saponin Cleansing Herbs – Did you know that you can wash your hair with herbs that act like soap and get a little sudsy? If you have ever used soap nuts in your laundry to clean your clothes, then you have had a saponin cleansing herb all along! Saponins are plant versions of cleansing suds and can be used in place of soap to clean things including our hair! Saponin cleansing herbs include yucca root, soapnuts, and soapwort. One of my favorite soapnuts/soapwort shampoo is my recipe for my Herbal Goddess Soapnuts Shampoo. It’s one of my favorite recipes!!!
Hair healing herbs for health and growth
There are so many great herbs to use in your hair recipes! According to the MountainRose Blog whether you have dry hair, oily hair, thinning hair, or even want a color boost, you can use herbs to help you make your hair healthier and happier!
Normal hair: Basil, Calendula, Chamomile, Horsetail, Lavender, Linden flowers, Nettle, Parsley leaf, Rosemary, Sage, Watercress.
Dry hair and scalp: Burdock root, Calendula, Chamomile, Comfrey leaf, Elder flowers, Horsetail, Lavender, Marshmallow root, Nettle, Parsley leaf, Sage.
Oily hair and scalp: Bay leaf, Burdock root, Calendula, Chamomile, Horsetail, Lemon Balm, Lavender, Lemon peel, Lemongrass, Nettle, Peppermint, Rosemary, Thyme, Witch Hazel bark, Yarrow leaf and flower.
Scalp conditions (dandruff, sensitive skin, inflammation, itchiness, dermatitis): Burdock root, Calendula, Chamomile, Comfrey leaf, Eucalyptus, Horsetail, Lavender, Marshmallow root, Nettle, Oregano, Peppermint, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme.
Hair loss/thinning: Basil, Nettle, Rosemary, Sage.
Golden highlights: Calendula, Chamomile, Lemon, Sunflower petals.
Dark highlights: Black Tea, Black Walnut hulls (crushed or chopped), Comfrey root, Nettle, Rosemary, Sage.
Red highlights: Calendula, Henna, Hibiscus flowers, Red Clover flowers, Rose hips, Red Rose petals.
The Hippy Homemaker’s Utra Awesome Hair Cleansing and Conditioning Mud
If you would rather use more of a shampoo-like recipe, you can also try my Herbal Goddess Soapnuts Shampoo! I like to switch up using both so that my hair does not get used to either. When I am experiencing more oily hair I use this mud shampoo and when I am need more moisture I use the soapnuts shampoo! You might try both to find which works best for your hair!
It should be noted though that, there is still a detox period using any natural method of no-pooing. You can learn more about the detox period here.
- 3 cups distilled water (I personally use a hydrosol to get the added benefits of herbs. My current mud cleanser in the shower, contains lime hydrosol)
- 2 Tbsp. marshmallow root (the slip that this provides really makes a difference in the end result. Though you can omit the “hair healing herbs” below, I would not omit the marshmallow root.)
- 4-6 Tbsp. hair healing herbs of choice (I personally ALWAYS make mine with 1 Tbsp. each of horestail, oatstraw, nettle, green tea, and for an extra little bit of a red boost I add hibiscus. If given a choice of herbs for all hair types that really make this recipe awesome, I would say don’t leave out the horsetail, oatstraw, and nettle. Horsetail and oatstraw contain high amounts of silica and this helps your hair feel much softer and grow much faster. Nettle contains a high amount of vitamins and minerals that are great for all hair types and helps to stimulate the scalp.)
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 cup clay (You can use bentonite or rhassoul clay. I personally LOVE rhassoul clay and find that its high mineral content really makes a difference on my hair, but people with oily hair/scalp might find bentonite clay helps to keep the oils at bay.)
- 1/4 cup aloe vera gel
- 1 Tbsp. carrier oil of choice (optional – If your hair is really dry, add this into your shampoo! It will wash out, don’t worry!)
- essential oils of choice
- This recipe is first a decoction. When using roots, especially mucilage giving roots like marshmallow root, it is better to release their healing properties by simmering the root in water (or hydrosol) for 15-20 minutes. Bring 3 cups water (or hydrosol) and marshmallow root to a boil and turn down to simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- After making the marshmallow root decoction, remove from heat and add hair healing herbs of your choice. Leave all of the herbs to steep until it’s cool. Strain herbs, taking extra care to squeeze out the herbs to get all the extra tea.
- Combine 1 cup of herbal infusion/decoction with apple cider vinegar, clay, aloe vera gel, and essential oils. Stir until completely mixed together. Store in an air tight container for a week in your bath tub (or longer if you add a few drops of a natural preservatives such as grapeseed extract, grapefruit seed extract, rosemary antioxidant, and/or colloidal silver. Refrigeration can also help keep your mud for several months.)
- TO USE: Wet hair as you would when shampooing then pour some mud into your palm and begin cleansing your hair with it, starting from your roots and massaging down to the tips. Let sit for 5 minutes (don’t let it dry) and then rinse clean. Follow with a diluted apple cider vinegar rinse (I use a 32 oz spray bottle and combine 1/4 cup ACV, 1/4 cup aloe vera gel, water to fill, and essential oils. I spray my hair until it’s soaked with the ACV rinse and then comb my hair through. You can either rinse clean or leave in to dry in your hair. It won’t smell of ACV when your hair dries.)
Miss part of this hair care series?
The Dirty Hippy Truth About No-Poo & Why I Won’t Use Baking Soda on My Hair – Hippy Natural Hair Care Series Part 1
Natural No-Poo Cleansers For Healthy Hair – Hippy Natural Hair Care Series Part 2
Natural Hair Conditioners & Herbal Detangling Spray – Hippy Natural Hair Care Series Part 3
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