For years I used shampoo and conditioner duos that lathered my hair up like whip cream on a pie, silk coated my strands and left me smelling like a Britney’s next fragrance line. I would congratulate myself on my personal hair drill and near perfect “Pantene Pro V commercial” achievement. Fast forward a couple of years and my regimen resulted in patchy hair loss, breakage, and a hormone imbalance.
I knew sulphates, silicones and parabens were on the no-fly list. But I had, admittedly, never critically examined the ingredients list on the back of my bottles. Underneath the layers of juicy scents and thick creams are hidden chemicals and toxins doing more damage than good. Spoiler alert, you do not have to wait for adverse reactions to make the healthy choice and switch to a natural shampoo. Below are four reasons to throw out the Herbal Essence and say hello to a healthy and protective approach.
1. Natural Shampoo is better for your Health
Many of us work hard to make good food choices. We pour over nutrition labels, eat organic and are careful to avoid GMO and hormone levels in food. Hair should be treated no different; your shampoo and conditioner should contain honest ingredients that will contribute towards your health and wellness. Let’s talk about one of the worst offenders--fragrance. Don’t get me wrong; I love the aromatherapy experience that happens when shampooing. But these toxic fumes are creating more havoc then you may realize. Studies have shown that we absorb up to 64% of what we put on our skin. The fragrance “ingredients” make their way into our body, blood and lymphatic system. Depending on the product, this can be a cocktail of carcinogenic chemicals, allergens and irritants. Think of your lymphatic system as a freeway to spreading those toxins. Making the switch to a natural shampoo introduces clean ingredients that does not put your health at risk, but hydrates and protects your hair.
2. Natural Shampoo will help reverse time
Blow dryer, flat iron, curling wand and heat rollers. The A-team starting lineup of my of heat stylers. Ironically these tools help transform my locks back to curly ringlets that were destroyed by heavy heat in the first place. Another benefit of converting to a natural shampoo is pressing the reset button on your strands. You may be pleasantly surprised by what your natural hair looks like. Coloured-treated hair can benefit immensely from a natural shampoo. Ingredients free of chemicals create a safe and protective environment for strands to regain their strength and natural shine after the harshness of dye and extend the colour life. Hormone enriched shampoos can contribute to a condition called estrogen dominance because of chemicals mimicking female hormones. Many women were surprised to find their cycles and fertility were improved by removing daily toxins from their environment. My personal hormone imbalance issues caused thin, dry and limp hair (very sad ponytails). Implementing a natural shampoo and a nurturing hair mask reversed the damage and encouraged new hair growth.
3. Natural Shampoo is better for the environment
I admit to never thinking about the journey my shampoo took once it circled the drain or the
impact the type of shampoo has on the environment. Wastewater treatment plants were never designed to treat the high levels of chemicals found in water common today. So, what happens to these ingredients? Most float through the facilities and find their way into rivers, lakes and oceans. This puts fish and other aquatic life in danger. These chemicals can have long lasting effects on the endocrine system in fish. This can eventually find its way into our food supply and on your plate. So, what can you do? Be ingredient conscious and support a biodegradable shampoo, that you feel good about rinsing down the drain.
4. Natural Shampoo improves your hair condition
The transition period to a natural hair line requires patience. Similar to starting a new diet there is a detoxing phase. Depending on the hair type and condition, the transition can take anywhere from a week to a month. The outcome will be stronger, natural shine and overall healthier hair. Understanding the process will help keep the faith during this time period. Remember your hair is detoxing from chemicals it has been used to strip your hair for years, primarily natural oils, as well as leave hair chemical residue on your strands. Even though it may feel healthier at first, silicone breaks down your hair and skin which is a perfect set up for breakage and damage. In fact, silicone creates a barrier that may come off silky smooth, but the barrier prevents moisture from entering which creates dry strands. When switching over to a natural shampoo you may notice your hair getting very oily--this is an over-reaction to compensate for stripping the natural oils for so long. Many feel their hair is dirtier than when they initially washed it. The waxy and sticky composition will not last forever, give your body time to revert to its natural oil production and rid of residue build-up. If that wasn’t appealing enough, it’s not unusual for the drying time to double while your hair rids of the toxins. After enough time you’ll notice your hair is shiner and much softer than it ever was before. I even started limiting my conditioner use because it was no longer necessary and noticed a huge improvement in breakage. I was under the impression I had fine hair, after switching to a natural shampoo my strands became thick and strong.