Water-only hair cleaning has been practiced for hundreds of years in our country. Instead of using man-made toxins to wash their hair, our ancestors cleansed their bodies and tresses with coarse brushes and good old hot water. This technique removed all of the dirt and grease from our skin and hair, while the warm water flushed it away, leaving the body’s natural oils intact.
Synthetic shampoo, on the other hand, removes not only dirt and excess oiliness, but also the body’s naturally secreted beneficial oils known as sebum.
And to compensate for the sudden dryness, the scalp actually produces more sebum than it requires - leaving hair greasy, lank and flat.
In recent years, the world over, people have been going back to the days of natural alternatives and saying ‘no’ to synthetic chemical-laden shampoos. Popularly known as the ‘No-Poo’ Movement, it advocates the use of easily-sourced ingredients to get all the benefits of shampoo without any of the ill effects.
Here are some that give you clean, lustrous hair that only gets healthier over time. Dare take the leap into the world of No-Poo?
Baking soda & apple cider vinegar
This is technically a two-step process, but it is also one of the simplest ways to maintain an awesome head of hair. Baking soda will remove the build-up of styling products and ‘bad’ oils from your hair, leaving you with cleaner, manageable hair. Simply sprinkle one spoonful of baking soda over your wet scalp, work into the roots, and rinse thoroughly with warm water. As a final touch, don't forget to do a last rinse with equal parts water and apple cider vinegar.
Rinsing with apple cider vinegar neutralizes the alkalinity in the tresses caused by the baking soda, and leaves it with the perfect pH balance. It also closes the cuticles for stronger, smoother hair strands.
Aloe Vera, vera good for the hair
Aloe Vera has strong antibacterial, antimicrobial, softening, and moisturising properties, and research suggests it may even boost cellular regeneration. To soften and repair your hair, gently massage pure aloe vera gel into the wet scalp and hair before rinsing, just like you would with shampoo.
Still gathering the courage to give up on your regular shampoo? Try this treatment between washes to give your hair a nice little treat. If you’d like, you could also opt for one of our natural shampoos to get started and slowly figure out an effective hair care routine from there.
Soap what? Try Soapwort!
Saponaria, or soapwort, is a flowering plant, indigenous to Europe and Asia. Saponins, the main ingredient found in these woody flowering shrubs, can act as a gentle but powerful cleanser. A sudsy lather can be made by steeping two teaspoons of fresh soapwort roots, leaves or stems in a glass of hot water. Strain the mixture, then massage half of it into your scalp before rinsing. Ta-da! Clean glossy hair, just like you dreamed of.
Bonus tip: you can even refrigerate the remaining mixture for up to a week.
Commonly referred to as pot marigold, Calendula, indigenous to Asia and Europe, has long been used in Ayurvedic and Unani medicine systems. Calendula's chemicals may aid in the growth of new tissue in wounds and reduce swelling in the throat and mouth. Calendula flower is commonly used to treat rashes, infections, inflammation, etc.
If you have sensitive skin, Calendula is just the thing for you. Fill a glass container with dry calendula petals and cover with an unrefined oil such as avocado. Close the container tightly and place it in a dry, dark place for two weeks. Stir it daily for the first 7 days and as if for the rest. Pour the liquid into a clean bottle, and voila! Use it like any shampoo!
Go nuts over coconut
A staple in almost every Indian household, coconut oil is one of nature's best hair conditioners, with its high concentration of vitamins E and K, which has incredible moisturising properties.
Massage a teaspoon of coconut oil onto your scalp, and then through the ends of your hair, for a relaxing, deep- conditioning treatment. Cover your hair with a warm towel for an hour to allow the coconut oil to activate and soak in fully, before rinsing it off with a light cleanser. Apart from cleansing the hair, it also provides a one-of-a-kind calming effect on the entire body.
From gross, to gloss
Gross (and smelly) as it may sound, eggs are magic for the hair. Gently massage a couple of egg yolks onto cool, wet hair for a few minutes, then rinse thoroughly with cold water. (Remember to not use hot water - unless you want a head full of scrambled eggs!). The protein in the yolks seep into the hair, repairing damage and giving it a new lease of life.
Mayonnaise may sound a little off-putting, but it makes perfect sense when you consider what goes into mayonnaise - eggs, oil, and vinegar. You now know the advantages of each alone, but imagine what they could achieve together!
Massage just one dollop of mayo into your hair for 10 minutes and rinse it out. After just a few mayo treatments, you'll notice your hair is smoother and thicker. Just make sure you rinse thoroughly to get rid of any eggy odour.
Tea time for hair
Did you know that tea is great for hair? Nobody did for a long time either. Steeping tea in warm water and massaging it into your scalp not only detoxifies the scalp and hair, but also gives a great natural fragrance.
Different teas provide different benefits - for instance, a black tea blend improves the colour and lustre of dark hair, while chamomile tea helps soften your strands better.
So brew a cuppa and treat your hair to teatime.
You could also take a totally different route and opt for tea-tree oil shampoos and conditioners that get the job done just as effectively!
So there you are. Now you can get started on your very own hair care routine at home, and join the No-Poo Movement.
But if you want to mix it up and do a bit of the natural with a bit of the bottled, do make sure you choose gentle products that have natural ingredients to benefit your hair.
At Haeal, we shampoos with nature-based ingredients that will help maintain your hair with minimal effort.