no poo hair
Over the past few years, I have become much more ‘green’ in regards to my health and beauty regimens. I’ve become ingredient savvy, sulphate-free, and adopted a ph-balance awareness. I haven’t, however, ditched all of my chemical filled goodies.

My hair is the anchor. While 90% of the make-up and skincare I own is certified organic (praise be to Inika), my frizzy, long, and ringlet-heavy mane gets very temperamental without her favourite products. Chemicals will always give me managable hair, whether I want to use them or not.

The trouble is, I don’t want to use them! I want to go No Poo!

No Poo‘ or ‘Poo Free‘ is hair slang (it exists) for shamPOO and chemical-free hair maintenance. I have dabbled in co washing (one ‘poo free’ alternative) but found that as soon as I worked out, my hair would fall very flat.

The alternative that most people seem to shout about? Baking Soda and Apple Cider Vinegar rinses. (No, this didn’t just turn into a food blog). It’s the method I plan to trial next.

But why turn your head into a kitchen, Lela?” Better a kitchen than a laboratory, I’m thinking. Shampoo is a detergent that cannot differentiate between making your hair clean and stripping your hair of its naturally healthy oils. Even if you’re living on superfoods, the porosity of our skin (our largest organ) will soak that detergent into our bloodstream, where it stays for a long time. Healthy, it is not.

If a visual would help, imagine using washing up liquid on your hair and then taking a shot of it. While the ‘mineral oil‘ used to create an artificial shine in shampoo sounds healthy, this ingredient is actually a byproduct of gasoline that has been distilled from crude oil. Mineral oil is one of the most popular Big Bads, in fact, as it restricts the release of natural oils by coating the scalp. A pro for the retailer, of course, as the more shampoo you use, the more you need to use.

I don’t know about you, but my scalp wants to take the power back. This is where baking soda and apple cider vinegar come in.

Baking Soda Shampoo

Why? Baking soda is a very gentle clarifier and cleanser, as well as being the weakest alkaline.
How? Mix one tablespoon of baking soda with one cup of water. Decant into a spray bottle. Wet your hair and spray the mixture into the scalp as you would a normal shampoo. Massage in – focusing on the scalp – and rinse after two minutes.

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV Rinse)

Why? Apple cider vinegar is a very mild acid which will regulate the hair’s pH balance, detangle your hair follicles, and seal the cuticle.
How? Mix one tablespoon with one cup of water, as before. Decant into a spray bottle. Spray over your hair from the neck down. If your hair is dry, you may also wish to spray on the scalp. Rinse thoroughly after one minute.

Natural Hair Tips

– Experiment with the quantaties in your shampoo and conditioner rinses. Curly and thick hair may need more baking soda while fine hair may need less.
– There is an expected transition period of 1-2 weeks where you hair may be more oily than usual. This isn’t as noticeable for those who use natural/organic shampoos, but will definitely happen for those using ‘regular’ shampoos and conditioners. In the transition period, you may wish to wash your hair every day until it begins to regulate.
– For a deeper condition, use honey instead of apple cider vinegar.
– To add sheen to you hair or protect it from heat styling (you naughty noodle!), use a natural oil. My favourites include jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, coconut oil, and argan oil.

This rave-reviewed experiment is non-toxic and going to cost virtually nothing. If I end up with ‘Because I’m Worth It’ worthy strands at the end of it, all the better.

no heat curls

If I can manage it, I avoid heat damage to my hair at all costs. Being long, frizz-prone and colour-treated, my mane simply doesn’t have the right stuff to handle constant blow drying, curling or straightening.

While I am thankful to appreciate the texture of my natural hair (curly, loose ringlets) and don’t feel like I have to style it every day, I am always looking for healthy ways to change it up. This method is my current favourite, as all it requires is a few socks (clean, please!): No Heat Sock Curls!

See the tutorial in the video below!
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Phytonectar Shampoo
Though I’ve been pleased with the results of all my trialled products from haircare brand Phyto, nothing stands out quite as much as their “Phytonectar“. True to their branding, Patrick Alès‘ vision of creating plant-based and environmentally-conscious hair products has tricked down to create yet another powerful botanical remedy. Phytonectar is a hydrating shampoo for dry and over-processed hair (check, check, for me!) with medium-to-course texture (check, tick, yes, yes, YES!).

The product itself is a super-thick emulsion, enriched with orange blossom wax and St. John’s Wort (20%), which gently cleanses and revives even the most dehydrated, brittle hair. As it is a natural product, it comes without parabens, synthetic dyes, petrochemicals, and phthalates. This means while the shampoo doesn’t have the “lather” that chemical-filled shampoos trick us into believing means “clean hair“, it is filled with the most incredible, nourishing, and natural hair helpers.

If you want soft, frizz-free, and (most importantly) healthy hair, dump the sudsy shampoos and grab a bottle of Phytonectar.

Long Hair Extensions
I have talked to you about my obsession with hair. Now, it’s time to talk about length. I am an absolute sucker for long hair and after cutting my hair a while ago, I am beyond eager to grow it all back. Of course, the other option is hair extensions.

Trouble is, I had hair extensions a long time ago and wanted to rip them out of my head (I ended up doing so a week later). Choosing between a few different methods, I thought I would be too clueless for clip-ins so the fusion technique would be best. Boy, was I wrong. Though it was done by someone with a great reputation, the glue bonds made my hair heavy, painful and in major need of conditioning. What I didn’t know then was that micro rings are the answer.

Micro rings cause no damage to your natural hair and are completely without glue or weave. The jist is that a strand of extension hair is placed with a strand of your hair – creating a single combined strand – then placed inside the ring and closed flat to tightly hold the extension hair to your natural hair. These rings weigh nothing more than an extra strand of hair and are almost invisible (no chunky glue!). Since there is no chemical process to remove or maintain them, they can also last well over three months.

Important Tips

– Ask around. Read tons of reviews. The hair extension industry is prone to people who have no idea what they are doing (check Youtube for horror stories if you dare).
– Do not try and do it yourself. You can’t 360 your head like a trained professional.
– The only no-no for micro ring users would be to brush your hair starting from the top. You would be brushing a tiny ring. Otherwise, it acts like normal hair.
Hair quality. The scam artists of the industry are known to use plastic or plastic/real combination hair of very poor quality. You have the right to see and touch the hair.
– You get what you pay for. If it seems too good to be true, or you’re getting charged a flat rate for any length you choose, you are being taken. It is common sense to know the longer the hair, the more it will cost.

In my research, almost everyone I’ve spoken to in the industry has said the best hair extensions in London are done by Hairextensionaires. Jacqui – the sole owner – has clients travel internationally to get their hair done by her. She is so talented she can even work with those suffering from hair loss; with years of experience and well-priced service, she is renowned as the key to healthy, heavenly hair. It is time to start saving the pounds, ladies!