Recently I’ve been trying to work in natural remedies and products into my health care and beauty routine. I have a few things I’m still trying out (such as apple cider vinegar, and blackstrap molasses) that I will get to in a future post, but for now I wanted to talk about my Shampoo Free experiences.
I first became interested in this movement a few months ago. I have consistently been sensitive to different kinds of commercial shampoos. I found my scalp being itchy, flaking, and irritated! I’ve had to switch between many different shampoos – everything from dove, to l’oreal, fructis, joico, etc.! I began to read up on the harms of sulfates and SLS, so I began trying out organic shampoos such as ones by Giovanni, Abba, and even LUSH shampoo bars. Giovanni actually worked really well for me for about a year and then all the sudden I was back in the same old routine of irritated scalp. So I figured I’d try to phase out all commercial soaps all together.
I tried using baking soda and apple cider vinegar rinse but I didn’t really like the way it left my hair feeling. It felt as thought I had some weird build up in my hair and scalp. On top of that, my hair looked really dull.
I then found Chagrin Valley shampoo bars. I couldn’t believe how natural the ingredients were! For example, their Coconut Milk Shampoo bar contains: Saponified oils of sweet almond, coconut, sunflower, rice bran, castor bean, jojoba, organic palm, canola; organic coconut milk; water. That’s it?? I couldn’t believe something that natural could possibly clean my hair, but I ordered a few sample sizes and was cautiously optimistic! I ordered the coconut milk bar, ayurvedic bar and summer sunshine bar. I tried the coconut milk bar first. It left my hair “waxy” and very textured… the extra “texture” was nice at first – I had slightly more wavy hair than normal, but after a few weeks and a few washes it was clear that this waxy build up was not going anywhere! it just got worse and worse! It was such a strange feeling. My hair felt almost wet even if it was dry, and didn’t really look “greasy” but felt like it was and looked really stringy. I couldn’t wear my hair down at all! I then tried the Ayurvedic bar and the same situation happened! So I switched back to “traditional” shampoos.
I spent hours looking online about other people’s experiences with shampoo bars. There seemed to be mixed reviews and many had also experienced the “waxies” as they called them on different hair forums. Some suggested using an apple cider vinegar rinse to help clarify the hair, while others attributed it to hard water. Some people claimed it was just a “transition” phase that my hair had to go through and that eventually it would stop. I was not ready to give up on going all natural with my hair so I decided to try again. Many people claimed that the lather from the Chagrin Valley bars was very rich and luxurious, something I had not experienced while trying them out initially, so I decided to switch up my technique and I’m so thankful I did! Let me tell you about what I was doing that DID NOT work for shampoo bars. I would lather the bar as much as I could in my hands then apply to my hair all at once and rinse out. Now here’s what I do that has made all the difference!
1) Section hair horizontally, separating hair into top and bottom securing the top part on a bun on top of my head with an elastic. Leave bottom section hanging down.
2) Get into shower, and wet the entire bottom section so it is completely soaked. (if the top section gets wet it really doesn’t matter, just as long as the top section is out of the way so you can concentrate on cleaning the bottom half)
3) Separate the bottom section in half so I have one section on either side of my neck.
4) Take the shampoo bar and run it from top to bottom of the hair section really working it into the hair and voila ! It actually lathers! After a few times of running the shampoo bar on my hair I put the bar aside and really work it into my hair and scalp using my hands.
5) Rinse very well! Then move onto the other sections.
All together I separate my hair into 4 sections. After they’re all cleaned individually I do one last overall rinse and then i’m done! I have quite long hair so I feel like separating my hair into sections really helps the soap lather and clean efficiently as opposed to just gliding on and forming that waxy coating I initially experienced. If you have thicker hair then perhaps doing more smaller sections will benefit you too. Now granted it does take a little longer than traditional shampoos but for the luxury of being able to use something really natural on my sensitive scalp, it’s more than worth it for me! After shampooing with the shampoo bar my hair doesn’t have that “stripped” irritated feeling, it just feels clean. I also noticed that I don’t really use conditioner after. After shampooing my wet hair doesn’t have that slick, soft feeling which I believe is attributed to the silicones that traditional shampoos and conditioners contain. However, once it is dried (I really try to let my hair air dry completely, and avoid unnecessary heat from a blow dryer if/when possible!) it is shiny and soft, especially considering that I don’t use a conditioner!
Coconut Milk Shampoo bar on the left and Summer Sunshine shampoo bar on the right. I keep them in a metal container out of the shower as they will melt from the moisture and a lot of product will be wasted.
One of the samples I ordered from Chagrin Valley.
I have become a big fan of the summer sunshine bar! And have even found natural shampoo bars in my local health food store that I am excited to try. Since I am quite new to these shampoo bars, I am still being cautiously optimistic that my hair and scalp continue to react well to them. I will definitely keep you posted! If you’re interested in shampoo bars I encourage you to check out your local health food store or the Chagrin Valley site: http://www.chagrinvalleysoapandsalve.com/ I had a very good experience ordering online from the Chagrin Valley website. The shipping was prompt and wasn’t too expensive! The best thing to do (in my opinion) is order a few sample bars from them and just try a few to see which ones suit you best, or take a look in your health food stores. Just make sure that whatever you purchase is as natural as you can find! I encourage you to look on the Chagrin Valley website just to see what kinds of ingredients to look for, and they also have really good information about natural shampoos that I found very interesting!
I hope this was helpful and interesting! I will be sure to update soon if I have anything to add.
Please share any comments or questions!
(these were my own opinions and have not been endorsed by any of the products mentioned 🙂 )