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Last week, in my first Natural Hair Care post, I wrote about why I don't use baking soda on my 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 including my favorite hair cleansing and conditioning mud!
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 hairdressers 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. (
- Aloe Vera gel – 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!
- Raw unfiltered honey – with a ph of around 4, honey is also very conditioning to the hair and can help reduce frizz too! Lauren from the blog Empowered Sustenance has a great honey shampoo recipe!
- Raw unfiltered 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.
- Filtered 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
onhow 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 clay and Rhassoul clay have wonderful healing benefits,
noonly 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 fact. (The ph of 1 Tbsp. Rhassoul clay and 8 oz. filtered 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-based 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
shampoois 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!
Oily hair and scalp: Bay leaf, Burdock root, Calendula flowers, Chamomile flowers, Horsetail, Lemon Balm, Lavender buds, Lemon peel, Lemongrass, Nettle leaf, Peppermint leaf, Rosemary leaf, Thyme, Witch Hazel bark, Yarrow
Scalp conditions (dandruff, sensitive skin, inflammation, itchiness, dermatitis): Burdock root, Calendula flowers, Chamomile flowers, Comfrey leaf, Eucalyptus leaf, Horsetail, Lavender buds, Marshmallow root, Nettle leaf, Oregano leaf, Peppermint leaf, Rosemary leaf, Sage leaf, Thyme leaf
DIY 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 in 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.
- 2 cups filtered water
- 1/4 cup marshmallow root
- 4-6 Tbsp. hair healing herbs of choice (I use 1 Tbsp. each of horsetail,
oatstraw, nettle, green tea, and hibiscus flowers)
- 1/2 cup raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 cup clay (You can use bentonite clay or
- 1/4 cup aloe vera gel
- 1 Tbsp. unrefined coconut oil
- 1 Tbsp. Leucidal SF (natural preservative)
- 20 drops sweet orange essential oil
- 10 drops spearmint essential oil
- Combine the 2 cups filtered water with marshmallow root in a pint-sized mason jar. Cover the jar with a lid and let it sit on the countertop at least 4 hours. I like to steep mine overnight. Strain the marshmallow root extract using a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer
. Combinethe marshmallow root extract with the hair healing herbs of your choice in a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove the herbal mixture from the heat and let 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 with apple cider vinegar, clay, aloe vera gel, Leucidal SF, and essential oils. Stir until completely mixed together. Store in a mason jar with a lid.
Wet hair as you would when shampooing, then pour 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.
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