Guest blog by Noughty Hair and Body Care
When you’re making the transition to natural haircare products from conventional haircare, essentially, you’re asking your hair to go through a detox process. If you’ve ever tried a detox yourself, whether it was to fit back into your favourite dress or simply to feel better after a period of binging (we’ve all been there!), you’ll know they aren’t always the most pleasant of processes. It’s certainly nothing to fear though, with knowledge of what to expect and a few handy tips, you’ll be on your way to natural hair heaven in no time.
- Patience is a virtue. Conventional ingredients, such as silicones, leave residues that can coat the hair shaft; build-up that can weigh the hair down and leave it dull. This is where the detox comes in. It can take several washes to remove the build-up caused by a conventional shampoo. That’s why we recommend using Noughty for at least 8 washes. Patience always pays off.
- Save the bubbles for your champagne. Bubbles are beautiful, but somewhere along the line, we’ve come to associate them with cleaning power. The bigger the bubble the better their cleansing power, right? Nope. Time to burst the myth. Bubbles and their size have nothing to do with cleansing. The truth is, they’re just air trapped in soap film. Many shampoos, soaps and body washes have ingredients added just to produce big, bubbles, which do absolutely nothing.
The most common of these ingredients are the sulphates (SLS and SLES). These are actually quite harmful to hair, as they are known to strip it of its natural oils. They can, therefore, be the cause of dry hair and irritate the scalp and skin. That’s why you’ll never find SLS or SLES in any Noughty product. At Noughty we use a particularly innovative surfactant, known as SLMI, or Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate (try saying that after a bit of bubbly). This is derived from corn and coconut and is kinder and gentler for the scalp. Its hallmark is a brief froth of small bubbles, which is gentle, effective, non-stripping and perfect for cleaning hair.
- Activation is key. To get the most out of a sulphate-free shampoo, it’s best to activate it before you use it. All you have to do is put a small amount of shampoo in your palm, add a little water, and then rub your palms together before working the mixture through your wet hair.
- Less is more. Except for water. It’s true to say with naturals, you get better results on your hair and in your pocket by starting with less shampoo, activating and adding more as you find you need it. Water is the key here: add plenty.
What to expect from your hair detox?
Like you, every head of hair is unique: your hair detox symptoms and how long it takes to see the real benefits can vary. You might have only one of the issues we describe below, or you might have all three, but rest assured we have some advice about how to handle the challenges while your hair re-adjusts to natural.
- Issue 1: Hair feels tangled, matted, sticky or heavy. Detoxing asks the hair to let go of all the residual product it’s been hanging onto. Since your hair’s not Teflon, it doesn’t just slide off: it may take a few washes to shift the build-up from root to tip and down the drain.
Tips to help: Rinse your hair thoroughly, making sure to work out all of the shampoo. Then condition thoroughly. Don’t be haphazard, slapping a bit on and rinsing it straight out. Make sure every strand is coated. Using a wide toothed comb, gently work any tangles or matts out of your hair while the conditioner is in it. Once the conditioner’s been on your hair for a couple of minutes, rinse it out thoroughly, working from root to tip.
- Issue 2: Hair and scalp feel very oily. This is a sign that you’ve been using a shampoo that’s too aggressive for your hair, stripping away the natural oils and making your scalp think it needs to produce more. So you’re stuck in a spiral – the more oil you see, the more often you shampoo and the more vigorously you scrub. Patience and persistence of use will give your scalp the chance to rebalance itself all on its own.
Tips to help: If you have an oily scalp or oily hair, NEVER shampoo or rinse with hot water. Always use cool or lukewarm, and don’t massage your scalp vigorously. When you do this, you stimulate the oil glands in the scalp to produce more oil, leading to oily hair.
- Issue 3: Hair feels dry, brittle or rough. Silicones do an amazing job at covering up the damage we do to our manes. When they’re washed away in the detox process, the true state of your hair can be revealed, and the home truths can be rough.
Tips to help: Step up your level of conditioning. For example, if you’d normally pick Pumped Up, think about using To The Rescue until your hair rebalances. Or alternatively, add Intensive Care Leave In Conditioner to your routine (especially at the ends of longer hair).
If you have a naturally dry scalp and longer hair, the oils your scalp produces are almost guaranteed not to be enough to protect all of your hair. To stimulate your scalp, massage your scalp vigorously with your fingertips and rinse your hair in hot water. (If it hurts, you’re being too vigorous.)