Beyond Baking Soda: Other Natural Haircare Options and What I’m Using Now

If you read What Years of Baking Soda No ‘Poo Did to My Long, Healthy Hair and Yes, I’m Sure It Was the Baking Soda , you’ve been left with a rather obvious question. 

What am I using to wash my hair now?

Beyond Baking Soda Other Natural Haircare Alternatives and What I'm Using Now, the final update in the no 'poo saga from Smithspirations.com

I’ll be honest. I don’t have a magic formula that I’m using to help restore my hair. I’m happy with what I’m using now, but since writing the last two posts, I’m also starting to wonder if I need to find some seriously restorative products.

I’ve gotten all sorts of suggestions from you dear readers, too, so if you have one, be sure to tell me about it!

Disclosure time: There are affiliate links in this post. If you decide to make a purchase through these links, it costs you nothing, and I may receive a small commission. This helps offset the cost of running this blog-a-roonie. Thanks!

What I’m Using Now

After I quit using baking soda to wash my hair about a year ago, I started using a shampoo bar from Tropical Traditions. I’ve actually been using that since.

Why did I choose them? Prepare to be underwhelmed. I was buying some things from Tropical Traditions, saw that they were new, liked the simple ingredients list, and bought them. No research. No comparison shopping. No prior thought.

As I mentioned in the previous posts, my hair texture immediately improved washing with these, and I admit, it was nice to have lather again.

I am still using the diluted apple cider vinegar as a rinse. I’ve tinkered around with not using the vinegar, but I don’t like that. My hair feels like there is a residue on it.

With the vinegar I do about 2 parts water and 1 part apple cider vinegar in a concession style ketchup bottle, and then squirt some down my hair while it is wet after washing. I don’t have to use a whole lot. Maybe 1/6 of the bottle at a time?

I’ve been trying to regularly rub a small bit of coconut oil into my hair, as well. I do think maybe twice a month or so. Sometimes I add rosemary essential oil (I like to buy that here or here).

Brushing with a boar bristle brush helps distribute oils through the hair. I’ve used one off and on for years, but I’ve been much more consistent since noticing all of the no ‘poo damage a year or so ago. I use a brush just like this one.

Also, I’m trying to avoid anything else that might do further damage to my hair until I feel like it is getting stronger. That means cool air blow drying, no heat styling, and no styling products. The Flexi-Clips I use for my hair are extremely gentle, so they are a double blessing right now!

What I’m Considering Using

Because of the severe damage my hair has gone through, and after writing the other two posts on this experience, I’ve started wondering if I should be using something that is specifically geared for damaged and brittle hair. 

The shampoo bar and vinegar rinse work really well, so if your hair isn’t as damaged as mine, it could be great way to go. But, since mine is really in need of some intervention, I’m considering some of these things:

  • A more natural bottled shampoo and conditioner specifically formulated for damaged hair
  • Jojoba oil treatments
  • Argan oil treatments
  • Herbal rinses, like those made from nettle
  • Henna treatments
  • Hair masks, like those made with egg yolk, herbal pastes, or avocado

I have seen another blog post floating around this week that mentions a supplement called Super Silica. I checked into it, but it contains horsetail, which isn’t something that pregnant and nursing women should take. Plus, I don’t think I’m deficient in silica, so I’m not sure how much a specific supplement will benefit me. It’s certainly something I’m open to if it seems necessary, though.

I hope that as I keep researching and probably trying some of these other routes, I’ll have a good update to share with you down the road!

Other Natural Haircare Alternatives & Suggestions

You are all filled with great suggestions on haircare products that you love! One reader gave an excellent suggestion in the comments on Monday’s post, and since I haven’t tried any of the products that have been suggested, I’ll point you to the same place she mentioned.

If you are looking at a product in the store or online and you aren’t sure what to think of the ingredients, visit The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database. This resource is one I’ll be visiting as I look at products over the next few weeks!

Along with the great suggestions in the comments section on both of the previous posts, you can find some other ideas here:

  • Some people enjoy washing their hair with a homemade honey wash, like this one.
  • You can’t get any simpler than plain water for washing your hair. It works great for some ladies!
  • This post offers three homemade shampoo alternatives, and one of them is clay!
  • If you are a soap maker, you might be interested in just making your own shampoo bars. Let my friend Susan show you how!
  • This post offers other natural hair washing options (but I might suggest skipping the baking soda!), with this post following up with conditioning suggestions.

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Have you used any other homemade shampoo alternatives? What’s worked for you, and what hasn’t? Is there another hair washing product that you love?

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Comments

  1. Have you considered using gelatin? Wellness mama has great info on the benefits including hair. I occasionally do a gelatin rinse in my hair and it is wonderful!

    • No, Sarah, I hadn’t thought of that! I’ll have to go take a look at it. I can see how it might be a great treatment, and I’m really glad you suggested it! Thanks!

  2. Just a point about the skin deep website. They obviously can’t have every single product in their database, but don’t be discouraged if you can find the product you are looking for. You can do an ingredient search too!

    • That’s a great tip, Tina, and I wouldn’t have thought to suggest it! So glad you mentioned it. Thanks!

  3. Over the past several years, I’ve mostly used a variation of homemade hair washes, including honey, ACV, baking soda, etc. Sometimes they worked, but I never felt my hair was great, and I every so often I gave in to using a regular shampoo just to get that “clean” feeling. I recently heard about the Morrocco Method hair care, and decided to give it a try. I’m about 6 weeks in, and although I have mixed results currently, I’m hopeful that it will continue to get better over time. The Morrocco products are very pure, high-quality natural ingredients, so I would feel good about using them on my children. They are also multi-use which is awesome (for example, the hair gel works as an after-sun soother, the curl-cream works as a deeply moisturizing body lotion, and the hair detox works as a face mud mask). Though the products aren’t the cheapest, I feel that I can wholeheartedly feel good about using them. So I’ll just have to wait and see if my hair finishes detoxing and thrives on the M.M. routine!

    • I’ve heard of Morocco Method, Mimi. One of the blogs I linked to had a post on them. It’s a big deal to just find an ingredients list you’re comfortable with!

  4. Sarah :) says:

    Hey Kristen! So sorry to hear about your hair :( If you want to try some serum with Argon oil and botanicals in it (made specifically for dry/damaged hair due to color treatments, but able to be used on non-color treated hair), I would be happy to hook you up. I use this stuff and LOVE IT. It makes my hair feel very soft, and it’s shiny, and it smells AMAZING.

    full disclosure, I am an independent consultant with this awesome company, and our purity and ingredient standards are very high. Just email me if you want any more info (this product isn’t on the EWG website, but the ingredient list is right there if you click “meet the product sheet”)

    https://www.arbonne.com/shop_online/showitem.asp?ProductId=4809&menuId=94&withLinks=1

  5. Hey there, I have been through a similar struggle to fine a natural alternative that works well for my long straight hair. I make goat milk soap and use it for every day shampooing, however after a few uses I find that it causes buildup that weighs down my hair and can even look oily. I was able to remove it by switching back to a clarifying shampoo for a couple days, but that kind of defeated the purpose. The solution I found was to use a clay mask. I mix bentonite clay with warm water into a thin paste then leave it on for a couple minutes and it works wonderfully to cleanse my hair of the buildup without damaging it. I tried using the clay then a vinegar rinse and it worked well for a while but eventually I felt that my hair was getting brittle (vinegar just may be too harsh for my fine-light hair?) and looked around for something to repair it. I found a shampoo and conditioner with natural ingredients that I love, it’s by Shea Moisture ~ Raw Shea Retention Shampoo and Restorative Conditioner. It has done wonders in repairing my hair, it feels hydrated and I am seeing less split ends. It is a bit pricey and if overused it causes some buildup as well, so I only use it about once a week when I feel I need it and use goat milk soap with a clay mask the rest of the time. It is such a relief to have a healthy hair regimen that works!

    • That sounds really interesting, Cheryl. So when you wash wish the goat milk soap, you then do the clay mask right after instead of a vinegar rinse? I’ve considered trying rhassoul clay on my hair but haven’t taken the plunge yet. I’m a little trigger shy after this whole debacle!

      • Yes usually, but it really is a matter of determining what my hair needs that day. Goat milk soap if it is greasy, clay if it feels weighed down and Shea Moisture shampoo and conditioner if it is getting dry. I really don’t think you can do any damage with clay. A little goes a long way and if you use too much your hair will look matte rather than shiny but it is a very gentle cleanser.

        • Thanks for sharing that extra info! I’m really interested to try it sometime. I’ve been a little nervous to do it since the clay makes my skin feel dry if I let the clay completely harden and dry out, but that wouldn’t happen in the shower if I used it to wash my hair. The few that I know who have used the clay just rave about it. I just ordered some Redmond Clay, so maybe I’ll give it a whirl once it is here!

          Thanks again for sharing more, Cheryl!

  6. Hi, Kristen. I found your blog when searching for Lilla Rose videos on YouTube to learn how to use the beautiful clips I bought. (Your videos are very helpful and I love your giggling baby in the background!) I’m so sorry your beautiful hair is breaking. I’ve been using diluted baking soda and vinegar for about 3 years and don’t have a problem but I’m a little concerned after reading about your experience. I only wash my hair once a week and use a rosemary rinse at the end that I leave in. Maybe that’s helped me. I also trim my hair about once every 5-6 months.

    I’m interested in finding an alternative because I worry about conventional shampoos and conditioners being absorbed by my skin as I rinse, which is why I went no ‘poo in the first place. I was thinking about just using water and the rosemary rinse and see what that does. I’ve heard great things about nettles too. Who knew safely washing one’s hair could be so complicated?

    Thanks for sharing your no ‘poo problem so others can be on the lookout for changes in their hair before it’s too late. At least you have a lot of fun Flexies to use why you grow out the breakage!

    Sarah

    • No kidding, Sarah! I never knew how complicated ditching the conventional shampoo would end up being!

      If you haven’t looked at shampoo bars yet, that’s one thing you could consider if you want to try something new. I like knowing exactly what is in them! I’d love to wash with just water, but I haven’t been able to get that to work for me.

      Thanks for your kind words about my videos, too! I’m due to get some new ones up there. Glad they were helpful!

      I’m glad you took a few moments to comment!

  7. Christine Pasek says:

    I have very oily hair & I started using Lush Shampoo Bars. Yes my hair was long (not nearly as long as yours but long for me) . I got it trimmed & then it didn’t look the way I wanted it to. I have gotten razor cuts before & it gives me lots of body. I have very fine hair but lots of it. When it was long it would usually take until the next day for all of it to air dry. Now that it’s short I love it because I don’t have to fuss with it at all. Just as I was getting it cut someone told me about Lush. I checked them out & got a shampoo bar that balances out your hair. I LOVE IT! I no longer need to even use any kind of conditioner. After washing 2 times & rinsing well my hair is Squeaky Clean. Why don’t you just get a really good haircut to get rid of the damage & let the new healthy hair grow in. You can find Lush online.

  8. Native Americans used yucca root (also known as soapweed), which is full of saponin, to cleanse their hair. Publications such as Mother Earth News can instruct you on its use. As with anything, you plan to use, test for allergies before using to wash your hair. Good luck.

    • Sounds very interesting, Vicki! Thanks for sharing. Someone else commented about wanting to find natural saponins for hair washing, so this could be an option.

  9. I highly recommend Poofy Organics hair products. They have amazing short ingredient list and great restoring products and shampoos. They also carry pure certified organic argan oil and argan products. Yes I am a rep but, I am not a rep trying to sell you stuff. Try it if you want, I can send samples if you like. I honestly became a rep because after buying their toothpaste for my baby and kids I fell for the products because it worked so well and the ingredients were so pure that I was more then fine with using the tooth paste & other products on my baby ! So, I became part of this company for my families well being and to help others out there with getting toxic garbage out of their life, my passion is helping others live healthy and natural. I recommend their hair stuff to you from the heart and you can get it from them, another rep, or me if you choose I just want you to know that I truly believe these amazing products will help you!!

    • Hi Allendra!
      That’s a new one to me. I haven’t heard of Poofy Organics, but the name makes me giggle! :)
      I’ll definitely take a look. Thank you for sharing!

      • Yes, they were clever in picking a good name that will stick in your head. It is the founders daughters nickname, poofy. :) They are remarkable and I’ve been around the block a few times with natural/organic companies and their products. I’ve probably tried almost all of them. Let me know if you have questions. Hoping you have luck with something soon and get your beautiful locks back!

  10. PS You can check out Poofy Organics ratings on http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ They are there!

  11. Radiantly You has shampoo bar options too. I am still experimenting but am liking the Tea Tree bar with a a diluted AVC rinse. You can check them out here: http://www.radiantlyyou.com/ErinRF

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