The Problem with DIY and Etsy Shampoos

So you want to wash your hair naturally?  

Natural solutions give us more control over what we put on our bodies and into the environment. It’s also easier to reduce your plastic waste - especially when you opt for things like shampoo and conditioner bars.

But before you jump on Etsy or head on down to your natural bulk store, check out the info below. Some of them are doing more harm to your scalp than good.

This calls for a chemistry lesson. The majority of shampoos made through the DIY process that many people sell on Etsy usually use a process called saponification -- the process of turning oils into soaps. Unfortunately, this results in shampoos with a basic pH (between 8 and 11). Our hair actually has an acidic pH of around 5 which means these saponified shampoos are harming and drying our hair out.

Shampoo

By all means, go for a shampoo that’s made of natural ingredients, free of petroleum products and synthetic fragrances, but make sure it’s not made through saponification.

How do you know if it’s soap in disguise or genuine shampoo?

If most of the ingredients are oils and it contains sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide -- these are the chemicals that are used to turn oils into soaps -- then you know you’re dealing with a soap and it’s going to dry out your hair. 

Stay tuned, we’ve got something coming at the end of the month ;)

Also, did you know? Washing your hair every day can strip it of its natural oils and make it feel dry and brittle. It’s usually better for your scalp to wash it less often. My hair stylist recommends once or twice per week for my thick, curly hair. My friends with thinner, straight hair have been recommended to wash every other day. Experiment and see what works for you. You’ll use less product, which is a win for your wallet and the environment.

Conditioner

Lucky you! We just launched our conditioner bars.

Our new conditioner bars are made with 100% plant-based ingredients and have been tested on both fine straight hair as well as thick, curly hair. It’s exciting because it is actually a dehydrated liquid conditioner -- it’s the same chemistry as a top quality liquid conditioner but we’ve removed the water.

Hair gel

Have you ever heard of flaxseed hair gel? You can make it yourself, with just flax seeds and water, avoiding nasty chemicals and plastic altogether (assuming you bought your flax seeds in bulk ;)

With my very thick, very curly, very frizzy hair, I’ve been skeptical to try this. It’s taken most of my life to find a system that works for me, but the NaturallyCurly blog has me intrigued. If she can do it, so can I. This is something I’m going to try this week.

Have you tried making your own flaxseed hair gel? I’d love to know how it worked for you. See you in the comments below ;)

Hairspray

Alright y’all. Whether it comes in plastic or metal, hairspray has additional health and environmental problems all on its own. Hairspray contains harmful chemicals which, when aerosolized, are now inhaled, making it so much easier to get into your body. Though ozone-harming chemicals were eliminated in the 70s, the aerosols we use today still contribute to ground-level air pollution. Yuck.

Here are 6 natural hair sprays you can try making at home. Let me know how it goes in the comments or if you’ve found other solutions. I was especially skeptical of the lemon option, but after seeing Melodi Erdogan’s results on Bustle I’m open to giving it a try.

Hair ties

Let’s talk hair ties for a moment… They seem to disappear all the time, but you know where they end up? The ocean. It’s time to step away from synthetic hair ties. Kooshoo hair ties are made of organic cotton and natural rubber, though I’ve found them a little hard to deal with. I’m considering Terra Ties next which seem closer to your classic drug store hair ties.


What natural ways have you found to care for your hair?

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