Natural Hair, Natural Care

Almost 2 years ago I made a radical change in my personal hair care routine. I went 100% natural in my hair care routine. I stopped using chemically loaded commercial shampoos, conditioners, all ‘chemical’ commercial hair products and everything that had any sort of  ‘not-naturally-occurring’ chemical in it’s formulation. I had been doing a lot of research on hair-care especially after experiencing hormonal changes and hair breakage. My hair was seriously stressed out! The thing about some of the products I was using, was that they would make my hair look good when I use them, and then a few hours later it would just become dry and limp again. I have very dry hair. It’s very curly and the drier it is, the tighter the curls. If it get’s too dry, the curls turn into locks.. I’m sure you can see where this is going. Tangled hair, discomfort, headaches, and a general combing/brushing catastrophe.

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The photo you see here shows my hair then.

For this show in particular, my hair was all nice at the beginning of the show; I had ‘tamed my locks’ with some leave-in products, but by the end of the show my hair was all frizzy again.I had heard all sorts of stories about ‘Natural Haircare’, ‘Organic Haircare’, ‘Conditioner Only Methods’, and so on. As part of my personal formulating, I had developed my own line of Shampoo bars. As it had turned out, these ‘Poo bars’ were working miracles for some of my clients, whereas I wasn’t so dazzled. The same shampoo bar would turn in different feedback from people with different hair types and very quickly I began to see how unique everyone’s hair is to themselves. No wonder hair samples are used for genetic and forensic testing. Even people within the same race respond to different hair products differently. Interesting isn’t it?

So after endless hours of reading I decided on my plan of action. It was time to get a garbage bag, and dump every single one of my ‘designer’ and commercial hair products. Next, I was going to implement the ‘Conditioner-only’ method for a month, before switching to my own organic hair routine.  The first two or three months in such a transition are like a constant bad hair day, everyday! During this period, your hair is pretty much in ‘rehab’ and will probably become frizzier than ever, but not to worry! It is so worth it. Ladies if you want to do this, pick a time when you are not socializing so much, or when you can use hats, scarves, e.t.c if you are having a really bad hair day. Why the bad hair? Your hair will need to adjust from it’s dependence on all the chemicals you have been feeding it over the years. It will need to restore it’s NATURAL PH LEVEL and that will take anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months.   I had been warned about the frizz by all the articles, and professionals who had recommended the conditioner-only routine; but I was ready!! It was time to get rid of all my commercial shampoos, conditioners, and ‘fad’ products. I was about to take a very courageous leap into the unknown. During my  ‘clean-up’ I found it especially hard getting rid of a certain leave-in conditioner which was very good for taming my curls,.. but then again I needed loads of it for it to work, and then I’d get frizzy again in a few hours. That particular leave-in conditioner has mineral oils in it and I’ve heard those are not the best for your hair either.

Thankfully, I have a nice stock of Rhassoul Clay for MY Beauty Cafe, so I started off with that. Rhassoul clay is found only in one place in the world – beneath the Atlas Mountains in Morocco! This mineral-rich area is known for amazing natural healing herbs, roots, and mineral clays. Rhassoul clay is used in top spas around the world. It is a detoxifier, conditioner, and cleanser all in one. Rhassoul clay is good for both skin and hair; but for natural hair it works wonders. Mix a few tablespoons of this clay with warm water and few tablespoons of your favorite hair oils; I use Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, and add a few drops of Lavender and sometimes even Peppermint Essential Oil. I work the clay mix into my hair and leave it for at least 20 minutes. (My mum does it for hours and hours! 🙂  Now I have to say, the clay can get a bit messy so it’s best to do this at the sink, or if it’s a nice day, you can do it in the garden. After-all everything is natural and won’t harm the grass or the flowers 🙂 After rinsing my hair with warm water, the Rhassoul clay would have softened it enough for me to comb it without a flinch. Honestly the first time I tried it I almost sang the Hallelujah chorus in F Sharp right there in the bathroom. It felt like I had washed my hair and still had conditioner in it.  I performed this ‘Rhassoul ritual’ ONLY for  almost 2 months. After cleansing with my clay hair mask, I would do a ‘vinegar rinse’ – 1 cup of apple cider vinegar to approximately 2 gallons of warm water. The vinegar smell disappears completely so no need to worry about that. Apple Cider Vinegar which is a cleanser, also helps restore your hair to it’s natural PH level.

After cleansing, I would use a blend of Shea Butter, Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, and Lavender Oil that I had created as a moisturizer. This ‘Hair Butter’ I created is now a fully developed product in MY Beauty Cafe. During these months of ‘conditioner-only’, the days I did the Rhassoul hair mask were my best hair days.  2 or 3 days later however, I would get that frizz that those articles and pros were talking about. Sometimes, I would also have some  ‘build-up’ on my scalp then I’d start wondering ‘is it dirt?.. should i get some soap and wash it out? .. maybe it’s just rhassoul clay..” So during these moments I would just do a  warm vinegar-rinse. By this time I was beginning to see a change. My locks were not as ‘tight’ as they used to be and my whole head felt lighter! It was as if my hair and scalp were ‘breathing’. My mind went back to some articles I had read about ‘comedogenic’ and ‘non-comedogenic’ butters and oils i.e. butters/oils that either clog the pores of your skin, or are absorbed by the skin leaving pores open and able to function properly. Virgin Shea Butter, Olive Oil, and Coconut Oil, are non-comedogenic and will be completely absorbed by your skin, leaving your pores open and able to ‘breathe’.  The skin on your body behaves this way, so why shouldn’t your scalp? After six months I started washing my hair using Sodium Bicarbonate (described below) and today my hair is in amazing condition 🙂

Here’s the general timeline in case you want to give it a try:

First 3 months: Conditioner only routine – using Rhassoul Clay, Coconut Oil, Essential Oils for cleansing or deep conditioning. During this time I also used Apple Cider Vinegar and warm water to rinse my hair after the clay treatments. I used the clay once or twice a week and would do a warm vinegar rinse if I felt I had any ‘build-up”. I would use light oils to moisturize e.g. Coconut Oil or Jojoba Oil which is a fabulous for tangled hair.

3 – 6 months: Introduction of new cleansing method – Sodium Bicarbonate. After each conditioning hair mask or clay treatment I would wash my hair with Bicarbonate of Soda (Sodium bicarbonate). About 4 tablespoons per liter of water will do the trick. After washing with the Sodium Bicarbonate solution, I rinse with the usual Apple Cider Vinegar solution (a cup of vinegar per 2 gallons of preferably warm water) and follow up with MY Hair Butter, or a light oil moisturizer like Jojoba oil.

If you follow this routine and have survived the first 6 months without touching a single fad product, Congratulations! Your natural hair is about to turn from being a pain into being a pleasure! After 6 months, the conditioning treatments, and more gentle cleansing methods should start having an effect on your hair, and as time goes by one realizes that the hair is responding more easily to the natural oils and butters. One may at this point reduce the number of conditioning masks to once or twice a month or as needed. My hair care routine now is very simple. I always wash my hair with the Sodium Bicarbonate (Bicarbonate of Soda) solution mentioned above, followed by a Vinegar rinse. After towel drying  my hair I moisturize and condition with MY 100% Natural Hair Butter and that’s it!

When the time and/or mood is right I play with some other fantastic natural hair masks like this one:

Yasmeen’s Avocado Hair Mask

1 ripe Avocado

1 cup plain natural yoghurt

2 tablespoons Coconut Oil/Olive Oil

1 tablespoon honey

Directions: Put all the ingredients in a blender and mix. Put the mixture into a bowl or container before adding any essential oils. Optional: Add a few drops of lavender or tea tree essential oil (some people hate the smell of tea tree oil but it has amazing benefits) Apply the mixture into your hair and let it sit for at least 20 minutes before you wash it out.

My photos shown here were both taken within the last month and I’m sure you can see the difference from the picture at the top. Big difference!

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As you can see, my hair looks healthier at the roots than it does toward the ends.

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I encourage all women to go natural and be free of the strain caused by various toxic chemicals and additives we put on our bodies. Always remember that whatever you put on your body  somehow manages to enter your bloodstream, and our heads of all places must be kept in a natural state as God has intended. The head especially is so important as it houses the brain, and many nerves that are key to our well being. Our heads are also the first conducting point in response to our environmental temperature so, my sisters, nappy hair was created by God for Africans for a reason. To insulate our heads from the intense heat among other things. Be real, Be Natural, and don’t question why you were created they way you were. Rather embrace it,  stay natural and feel beautiful. Recommended movie/documentary: ‘Good Hair’ by Chris Rock. This ‘Mockumentary’ will really open your eyes!

Till my fingers hit the keyboard again …Stay Natural, Be Pampered.

One Love ♥

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