The Problem With Modern Hair Care
Today you can find an overwhelming amount of hair care products on the market. Products for cleaning, softening, straightening, curling, and coloring hair. Even products to repair the damage caused by all the other products. It’s perfectly normal to use these chemical filled products on a daily basis, thinking that they help our hair look good, but then we wonder why our hair is too flat, too frizzy, too dry, too oily, damaged, or thinning. Unfortunately the products we use to look our best are often not helping our hair to be it’s best. We start to think that our hair is just “unmanageable” and that we need all these products to help make it better. Today I want to show you the problem with modern hair care and how natural hair care could be the solution for you. We all know things like hair dye and excessive heat can damage our luscious locks, but the real trouble runs much deeper than that. If you think that by not coloring or chemically treating your hair, you are avoiding this damage then you need to know about this. Because this issue goes all the way to the foundations of hair care, to even the shampoos and conditioners we use everyday. This is a revolutionary look at the way we take care of ourselves and our hair.
Shampoo and Conditioner
The very basics of hair care, shampoo and conditioner, are not what most people think of as a hazard to your hair’s health. The actual reality of most shampoos and conditioners on the market today is really quite alarming. Most of these products will lure you in with promises of making your hair picture perfect while skipping out on truly informing you on the ingredients. Unfortunately that is because instead of using more natural hair care ingredients those are artificial chemicals that strip your hair of its natural oils, which nourish and protect the hair, then replace them with poor substitutes when your hair is at its most vulnerable, giving the false illusion of “fixing” the hair. These are toxic chemicals and artificial ingredients that we are talking about here. Chemicals that will absorb into hair follicles and make their way into your body. Everything in our body is connected and what you put on your skin, hair, and even nails can end up in the rest of your system as well. That is what makes these artificial ingredients in personal care products so dangerous!
In addition to these chemicals unknowingly being laden onto the body by these marketed “safe” products, your hair itself is on a roller coaster, because the natural balance has been upset. It is understood that no one wants their hair to be oily or greasy feeling, but also not dry or brittle either. However it is not really told or taught to the general public to stop using the products that may be causing this reaction in your hair or to switch to a more natural hair care solution, instead a new product will then hit the market designed to combat these problems. Convenient right? Buying into these chemical quick fixes only prolongs the damage to hair. Think of it this way, maybe your hair is extra greasy today because it is trying to replace all of its natural oils it has been stripped of? The natural oil that your body produces is called sebum. It is made to nourish and protect your hair. When there is a buildup of sebum on the scalp and surrounding area of hair, your hair will look and feel greasy. These commercial shampoo strip the sebum away from your hair and scalp, drying it out and creating the need for a conditioner and other products to moisturize your hair. When the scalp is stripped of all it’s sebum, it goes into over-production mode, because your hair needs sebum to be healthy. This causes more oil to build up around the scalp faster, creating the need to wash your hair every day or two. It’s a vicious cycle or drying your hair out, striping its natural protection and nourishment, then replacing it with artificial chemicals that can wreak havoc throughout your body.
So is there a way out of this damaging cycle? Of course there is. In fact the first commercial shampoo was created in the 1930’s, not even a century ago. Several decades ago, it was not the norm for people to wash their hair with commercial shampoos at all! This is a fairly recent change in human history. That being said we didn’t just have greasy dirty hair everyday for the thousands of years before that. There is a way to care for your hair, naturally. Thankfully several ways in fact, depending on what feels comfortable for you. You could go a completely homemade, all natural route through a “No Poo Method”. There is also more modern approaches to no chemical hair care, through being a savvy label reader and armed with the knowledge you need to find natural hair care products that work with your hair instead of against it.
Chemicals in Your Products
One of the first things you need to know before starting a natural hair care journey is what to avoid. The list goes on and on, but for now I will cover the basics. Starting with teaching you how to research ingredients you don’t recognize. This is the first step in learning which products are safe and which should be avoided at all costs. The most used harmful ingredient found in many shampoos and conditioners is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. This is what makes your shampoo so ‘soapy’. Sodium lauryl sulfate causes shampoo to suds and bubble. This has been portrayed to us in the media over and over again to be the picture of washing your hair. Unfortunately it is also an insecticide that is known to cause liver damage, skin rashes, eye damage, and can even contribute to depression. It has also been linked to causing cancer throughout the body. And if that isn’t bad enough the scary thing here is that you will find Sodium Lauryl Sulfate all throughout your home, once you know to look out for it. It is commonly in dish soap, laundry soap, body wash, face cleansers, the products you use every day on yourself and your family.
This is a difficult chemical for some people to eliminate because we have been trained by society and most media to think that bubbles = clean. That is not the case. When switching to products without Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, one of the first things you will notice is that these products do not suds up like you are used to. There will be small bubbles, but no handfuls of artificial foam. And though that aspect may take a little time to get familiar with, you will feel just as clean without the cancer causing chemical that created the foam in the first place. So remember this new rule;
No bubbles= clean and safe!
The second red flag is the simple word ‘Fragrance’. While this sounds harmless, just something to make your shampoo smell nice, it is actually a masking term that companies use to avoid telling you what is in your products. Please remember that Fragrance is not an ingredient, then what is it? It is a category of combined chemicals, hundreds of chemicals, that are unregulated, unstudied, and cause unknown amounts of damage to your body and vital systems. I have found myself asking, How are they allowed to do this? Shockingly companies are not required to report what chemicals they are using so long as they can fall into the Fragrance category. Even though many of these chemicals have been shown to disrupt the endocrine system, clog the lymphatic system, and cause a buildup of damage to organs throughout the body. If a company isn’t comfortable telling you what they use for a “Fragrance” then it probably isn’t safe and they shouldn’t be using it.
There are many other dangerous ingredients and toxic chemicals to be aware of in your products. So many that I cannot create an all inclusive list. What I can do is help you learn to look for the dangers and find a more natural hair care. Take a look at the ingredient list on the back of your current product and type in a google search “dangers of (This ingredient)” Download the free app on your cell phone called “Think Dirty” which can scan a product’s barcode to identify “dirty” or hazardous ingredients. If you can’t pronounce it, type it in. Share here on the comments or on our facebook page (www.facebook.com/TheLookingGlassCraft) what hazardous chemicals you find. This way you have a community, together searching for what is safe, sharing what isn’t, and going forward on this journey towards natural living.
What Is A Toxic Ingredient?
As you read through this you may be thinking, “Well, I’ve used shampoo all my life and haven’t developed a rash, had major organ shutdown, or gotten cancer. So are these ingredients really toxic?” Unfortunately yes, yes they are. What many people think of when they hear “Toxic” is a violent and immediate reaction. Something gets on or in the body and you must be rushed to the hospital or call poison control right away. This would be an Acute Toxic Reaction. Which means the symptoms are sudden and severe. While these reactions are certainly scary and dangerous, for the most part this is not the type of reaction people exposed to “Toxic” chemicals experience. Understandably, because there is no sudden reaction to these chemicals, people assume that they are harmless. This is where the real danger lies, everyday small amounts of these chemicals entering your body and start to build up in your system. They cause a little damage here, a small blockage there. The body catches some of them and filters them out, only to be exposed to them again and again. They cause small troubles here and there, but your body fights and negates most of the damage at first. So it is normal to keep using these slow damaging products and be none the wiser to your bodies inner battle. While the damage to your body compounds there is a continual chemical build up in your system. The kidneys will become overworked trying to filter out the toxins. Eventually systems start to malfunction in strange ways because of these chemical build ups and they reach a point where your body cannot counteract it.
The damage of these chemicals may not be apparent, maybe even for years, but they are building up even now in small ways you may not notice. Perhaps you become drained of energy, muscles feel strained, have trouble focusing or struggle with bouts of depression and sadness. These are the immediate symptoms and warning signs of a toxin ladened body. Since we as a society are using these chemicals everyday, it has become accepted as the ‘norm’ to feel this way. You think, well everyone I know is tired and overworked, struggles with sadness and inability to focus. We start to think “That’s just the way life is”. I’m here to say that we were not meant to live that way. When you start eliminating toxins from your life and start using more natural hair care and natural products in general the change that takes place is amazing. Most people don’t even realize how badly they were being affected by these chemicals until they experience life without them. Even if we have been raised with these products and chemicals since being babies. Or we are using them on our children and families without knowing the danger and damage being caused. It is not too late! We see health problems skyrocket and once enough people have them we begin to think that these problems are normal. They are not. When you eliminate the chemicals you eliminate the toxic weight that is holding your body down.
So What Do I Do With My Hair?
To avoid the chemicals there are several natural hair care routes you can take. If you want to go all out with a DIY hair care lifestyle you can totally rock some “No Poo” hair without ever touching shampoo or conditioner again! Crazy I know, but it’s true and it works. My recommendation for this route is to check out the “No Poo Method” by Ashlee Mayer. This is the ultimate detailed guide on how to care for your hair completely without store bought products. Did you know that by simple brushing the sebum through your hair (with a horse hair style brush) the locks will absorb this natural oil that was made with exactly what YOUR hair needs. It will eliminate the buildup of oils around the scalp and cause the lower parts of your hair to be better nourished, soft, and strong. It takes a few months of transition for your body to adjust to this, which is where her awesome recipes for natural hair care and DIY shampoo alternatives come in handy! She teaches you about Natural Dry Shampoo (not the chemical filled stuff in a spray can!!) Applesauce Hair Masks (which can help eliminate toxic build up) and Natural Deep Conditioning Treatments (like warm coconut oil) to restore moisture to your hair when you need it most.
If this sounds a bit too intense for you, no worries! You can actually keep a normal hair care routine by simply switching to a non-toxic, organic alternative. The main thing to remember here is to CHECK THE LABEL! In the U.S. many products that can be labeled “Natural” or “Organic” may still contain harmful ingredients. My recommendation for this is to go with a company that has proven levels of integrity and uses only natural, plant based ingredients. I’ve tried several different companies for this, but one stands out above all the rest. Young Living Shampoos and Conditioners are the only ones I will use now. They are more effective than other ‘natural’ shampoos and conditioner I have tried, and contain NO harmful ingredient. Young Living is an amazing company that produces natural lifestyle products infused with the best quality essential oils. They have amazing standards of quality and integrity that I have simply never found in another company.
For my personal natural hair care I use a mixture of both these methods. I love creating natural conditioners and serums for my hair, but like the convenience of a traditional shampoo and conditioner. By using Ashlee’s No Poo Method I can work with the sebum my body produces, going longer between washes for my hair than before, while keeping my hair healthier than it ever has been.
How to Get Started
You can get an instant download of “The No Poo Method” by Ashlee Mayer by following this link:
To order Young Living Shampoo and Conditioner click the link below and you will prompted to create an account. You could order as a “retail” customer, but to really get the best deal you’ll want to create a “member” account. This gives you 24% off everything you order, forever. Amazing right! So how do you do it? You simple click member and choose a starter kit that’s right for you. There are several pre-made kit options that range from a starter set of all natural cleaning supplies (Thieves), a superfruit supplement set (NingXia), or an Essential Oils kit with everything you need to start using and learning about essential oils. But the really fun option here is that you can Create Your Own Starter Kit. Simple choose the “Basic Kit” option, then add on the products that you want to start out with. This could be as simple as a set of Shampoo and Conditioner, or you may opt for a full personal care set with body wash, lotion, toothpaste and deodorant! You can also choose here to sign up for Essential Rewards. This monthly program gives you discounts on shipping, free products with your order, and the ability to slowly switch out all the chemicals in your home. It can be changed every month to suit your family’s needs, or turned off at any time if you don’t want to order more. You’ll also earn 10-25% back on your purchases through Essential Rewards. That adds up to a free bottle of shampoo and conditioner every few months! Click this link to setup your account and get started on your journey to healthier hair and a healthier lifestyle.