So, let me preface all of this by saying beauty/health starts from the inside out. And I say beauty-slash-health because I think a healthy person is beautiful no matter what they look like. They are radiant, vibrant, and they just glow. One big pet peeve of mine is how a large portion of the beauty industry has managed to pull a major one over on people. In my hand right now I have a conventional bottle of shampoo. Here are the ingredients:
Aqua/water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate (a known carcinogen), Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Acrylates Copolymer, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Peg-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Sorbitol, Panthenol, Propylene Glycol, Parfum/Fragrance, Glyceryl Laurate, Mantha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, DmDm Hydantoin, Menthyl Lactate, Sodium Hydroxide, Benzophenone-4, Disodium EDTA, Polyquaternium-7, Polyquaternium-16, Limonene, Benzyl Salicylate, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Butylene Glycol, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Iodopropynyl, Butylcarbamate, Maris Sal/Sea Salt, CI 42090/Blue1, CI 19140/Yellow 5, CI 17200/Red33, Silica
Okay, seriously, WHAT IN THE HELL?
I have no idea what Peg-7 Glyceryl Cocoate is. Or what Polyquaternium-7 or 16 are. And by the way all the artificial colors are known carcinogens as well. If someone tried to sell you a bottle of this not as shampoo would you buy it? Would you put it on your skin? Would you put it near your eyes? Probably not, right? And even more mind-boggling is how they market this as "Energizing Shampoo with Atomized Sea Water". Legally no one can challenge that. Yes it has Sea Salt, but it's the second to last ingredient, only behind the artificial colors, so there is probably very little of it to offset any of the ton of other non-natural ingredients.
Also, if you had to add fragrance and artificial colors to something (including and especially FOOD), it is probably chemical and harmful slop. Sloppity slop with no cherry on top! So, why get anywhere near this? Why put it in your bloodstream? And if they are chemically laden, how on earth are they "moisturizing" and "revitalizing"? And why are they astronomically priced sometimes- especially the "organic" ones? Hmmmmmm...
Enter the alternatives!
Not only is my hair so much better off after having stopped the use of all these heavily marketed, cheap, negligible products, but natural products are non-pollutants. This is important because think about everything that goes down the drain into our water supply and then back out of our faucets. Yikes. Natural ingredients don't add to the already toxic load of our city water. And the products I use are not natural in the the way organic pop tarts are "all natural". Their ingredients actually come from nature. :)
Here is what I use on my hair exclusively:
The top picture is my shampoo and "conditioner". I use Calia's Hydrating Shampoo whose ingredients are:
Aqua, palm oil, coconut oil, pine extract, alfalfa extract, chamomile flower extract, echinacea flower extract, nettle leaf extract, clover flower extract, green tea leaf extract, horse tail extract, olive fruit oil, glycerin, citric acid, lavender oil, bergamot oil, rose geranium oil.
That's it! And even that's not clean enough for me because of the glycerin and citric acid, but when I opted out of using pure homemade baking soda shampoo to find one for purchase, this was the best one I found that does not have an overwhelming smell and actually feels clean. (And by the way, I have no vested interest in this company, I just love their shampoo.)
For conditioner I use raw apple cider vinegar. I put the dilution into a plastic cup I keep in the shower. I dilute about 1 tablespoon in 1 cup of water and leave it in until I finish my shower. I give it a quick rinse and my hair is shiny and soft!
The picture below that is rosemary infusion which I use as a hair rinse after every shampoo. I put about 4 tablespoons worth of fresh rosemary leaves into 4 cups of water and then use about half a cup every time I use the rinse. It keeps in the fridge for a couple of weeks so just use a half a cup or so each time from the jug (I store it in the fridge in a large mason jar). Check out this post from Wellness Mama about the benefits of using rosemary.
Now, I know some of you are wondering about styling products. The only natural styling products I know of are aloe gels with essential oils in them. Other than that I don't know of any clean gels, pomades, hairsprays, mousses, or de-frizzers. Most of the things that will manipulate the texture or direction of your hair will surely have a chemical in it so if you're like me and like clean wholesome products, you'll just stay away (although when I do want some texture I spray some of Alaffia's Texture Spray which kind of works like "beach hair" products) but that's not every day. I understand some people have to use hair styling products to achieve a certain look (models, stylists, performers, etc) so by all means use them. But try to find the best alternatives out there so you can stay as healthy as possible. We should all pay attention to what's going into our bodies every day. Our bodies are sacred and it's important to remember beauty starts inside and radiates outward. Huge parts of that process are how we feel, the actions we take, and what we allow into our bodies and minds.