Alex Answers: How to Easily Transition to Natural Hair Care

And My Weekly and Monthly Routines

This is a topic I get questions about all the time! I think most everyone appreciates the benefits of natural hair care.  To get out of the shower, run your fingers through your hair, and spend the rest of the day with shiny, smooth, healthy-looking locks is an idea that’s pretty compelling.

Unfortunately, getting your hair to that state when you’ve gotten used to a lifetime of combing, tugging, straightening, shampooing, conditioning, and slathering can be really rough.  Really, really rough.  As someone who transitioned not-so-gracefully to natural hair care, I can certainly vouch for that! (Oh the mop-for-a-head moments and haven’t-you-showered-in-a-month greasies.)

After two and half years–at this point–of a completely natural hair care routine, I’ve learned a thing or two about making this work.  And I’m here to tell you that making the transition is well worth the effort! My hair is healthier than it has been since about childhood and I spend significantly less time, effort, and money to make it look like that than I ever did.  And there are things that you can do to make the change significantly easier…which is what this post is about.

How to Easily Transition to Natural Hair Care

Getting Started

#1.  Clarify
First and foremost, I think the most crucial step to kicking off a natural hair care routine is clarifying well.  The reason for this, I believe, is because to have any success with less stripping hair care products, you need to start with entirely naked hair.  This means removing all build up from products, minerals/compounds in your water supply, and unnatural oils.
The problem with clarifying is that people finally get to see the NATURAL STATE of their hair…and they don’t like what they see.  As a result, most people blame the clarifying agent on “making their hair dry” or “brittle” or whatever.  But I believe clarifying simply allows you to see your hair for what it is and it takes a while to come to terms with just how much damage is present on your hair shaft.
Seeing what you hair looks like in it’s natural state is important because then you can appropriately diagnose what your hair actually needs at any given point.  You might need more protein, moisture, or both to get your hair on the right track…and it’s difficult to differentiate those things when your hair is coated with other things.
Surprisingly, I don’t use a natural treatment to clarify.  I figure, one last shampooing (or in cases where I’ve experimented with hair treatments and they’ve gone terribly wrong) won’t do my hair and health in for good.  I like using this Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo for this purpose.
#2. Start Simple
When you’re first getting started, having too many variables with complex shampoo and product recipe can be tricky.  In the beginning, you’re still having to learn what your hair needs at this vulnerable time and in general, so it’s nice to isolate ingredients more strictly in the beginning.
I like starting people out with a simple shampoo bar followed by an ACV rinse.  Then I suggest moving on to simple soapnut recipes or basic egg washes (I know using eggs to clean your hair sound INSANE but it’s shockingly effective and is an amazing source of strengthening protein).  After you’ve played around with those, trying out more involved recipes like the Protein Packed Strengthening Shampoo, Moisturizing Foaming Soapnut Shampoo, Coconut Shampoo, or Clay Cleansing Masks get’s more and more fruitful.
#3. Consider Trimming
Unfortunately, you may find that even with all these amazing treatments, parts of your hair–likely the ends–may be beyond repair.  I think it’s important to realize that losing a few inches is a worthy investment for the long-term awesomeness of having healthy, shiny hair.
But sometimes you just don’t want to cut off a lot of hair…I didn’t want to either! Instead, I do what is called “microtrimming”.  If my hair roughly grows 1/2 an inch a month, I’ll trim of about a 1/4 of an inch per month. I still predictable growth each month and the damage slowly diminishes. This is much more of an investment and can be a little more frustrating of an approach…but if you want to keep you longer hair, it’s a pretty good alternative!
#4. Don’t Be Stubborn
This was a hard lesson for me: not all natural hair treatments will work for you hair at any given time.  Even if you hear glowing reviews about a product from someone else, it’s important to realize that there may be things about your hair health currently that will keep it from being effective for you.  If you try something a few times, with tweaks, and it doesn’t work, don’t worry about it.  There’s are TONS of options so just move on to what sounds good to you next.

My Weekly and Monthly Routines

There’s a crazy amount of natural hair care options out there! So it can be a little overwhelming to find a basic routine to get started with…so I put together mine for reference.

Your hair might be very different from mine, especially with damage in the beginning, so don’t take this routine to be gospel.  Switch things up based on how your hair responds and you’ll be off and running with a natural hair care routine in no time!

Every 3-4 days (5-6 in the winter):
Every month (pick one or two to do):

That’s pretty much it! It’s not too terrible complicated and definitely doesn’t require a whole lot of money (waaay less than I used to spend on products that didn’t work!).

Whole Body Health

As with everything, it’s important to realize that the health of your hair is a direct reflection of our internal environment (same with the skin!).  And it’s incredibly common that hormonal imbalances can impact the health of our hair, whether it’s because of adrenal problems, PCOS, thyroid issues, sex hormone or central  signaling problems, or post-partum sheds. If you’re looking for help with things like this, you can learn more about a new hormonal balance group program that Megan from GingerNewtrition and I are putting together.

v i b e s

 

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