"Natural beauty" is a pretty buzzy phrase right now. Everyone is going green and cutting the toxins out of their beauty routines, opting instead for beauty staples that have as short of an ingredient list as possible. I thought I'd jump on the bandwagon by switching my salon shampoos for natural shampoos, thinking the change would transform my hair. To be fair, it did. Just not in the way I thought it would.
The moment I walked into the natural aisle in my supermarket and picked out a pomegranate shampoo bottle, I had visions of long, healthy hair that would shimmer in the sunlight and bounce prettily around my shoulders. Instead, I got two months of greasy scalps, limp strands, and non-existent volume. Yikes.
The trouble was I jumped into this like I jump into most things — on a whim and not with a whole lot of research. I mean, it was just shampoo. What did I need to study beforehand? As it turns out, if you have been washing your hair with chemicals for the last 25+ years, your hair is going to freak out when you take all that away. And the detox ain't pretty. Below is my transformation, and what I learned along the way. My hair has been a mess these last 60 days, and I might have looked like I haven't showered for most of it, but the switch did reveal what my true hair actually looks like. And it helped me make the changes I needed to get my hair onto a healthier lifestyle.
The Beginning: Me Before The Switch
I have long hair that reaches my ribs, and it curls and waves when I air dry it. This is my hair after it air dries from the shower, with no product. This will be the last time I look this good in two months. Brace yourself for the struggle ya'll.
Week One: I Come Up With This Bad Idea
Ok, it wasn't a bad idea, but I've had stringy hair for months now and I'm still bitter. But this is the first week after I washed my hair using a natural shampoo bar. It was awful. Shampoo bars are not for me. My hair went instantly limp, my curls became lazy waves, and my scalp had a wax-like residue on it that made me wash my hair almost daily. Washing it daily only made it oilier since my scalp was making up for the dryness, sending me into a never ending cycle of gross.
Week Two: My Frizz Is Gone
I'm stubborn so I kept washing my hair with the shampoo bar hoping the greasiness was just a struggle period I had to get through. Nope. I eventually switched to an all natural bottle with oatmeal. My hair wasn't as stringy, and I noticed that it got rid of almost all of my frizz. The downside was that I had little to no volume, and my curls were really hard to bring to life.
Week Three: Total Deflation
My hair got thinner. Like way thinner. I always thought I had thick, voluminous hair that needed little help to have body, but it turns out I have really weak, sad hair when you take out all the hair-plumping chemicals. This is what my real hair looks like, and that was a wake up call. When I held my pony in a fist it was one-fourth of the size my usual ponytail was. This made me look up what foods are good to help strengthen your hair (avocados, fatty fish, and sweet potatoes) and I began to take fish oil pills.
Week Four: Piece-y Curls Make An Entry
The curls are back! They're just really piece-y now! And for some reason look greasy! This week I decided to buy a second bottle of natural shampoo because I felt like my hair was getting too used to the same formula. By now I was hoping that my scalp would be used to the lack of chemicals and I'd have my oiliness under control. It got so bad that I would wash my hair in the morning and my crown would look greasy by mid-afternoon. Before switching, I used to wash my hair every three days. The new shampoo gave a little more oomph back to my curls, but my locks were still limp.
Week Five: The Frizz Is Back
The new shampoo gave my curls more bounce, but the trade off was that my frizz returned. So much so that I had to put hairspray on top of my head, and the little wirey hairs popped back up an hour later.
Week Six: Ultimate Lankness
Rather than using grocery store bought natural shampoo, I decided to go a little more high-end and buy the shampoo bars from Lush. I had high hopes the first time I washed my hair, which is why I was super disappointed to see what my hair looked like when it dried. It was one of the stringiest looks yet, with the added bonus of my ends being severely dry. At this point I began to wonder how anyone on this planet washed their hair with natural shampoo.
Week Seven: Defeat
This was taken this week, and it's been two months since I've been experimenting. This is my hair brushed out rather than air dried. One positive I have found from this journey is that I have little to no frizz anymore, and my hair is so silky that bobby pins fall right out of my hairstyles. I also appreciate that I learned how thin and brittle my hair actually is, making me jump into action to get it healthy again.
But as you can see, the looks are rough. I've pretty much had a bad hair day for nearly a quarter of the year, so I'm not convinced I'm going to soldier ahead. It was interesting trying to make the switch, but I think this is one lifestyle change I'm going to bow out of.