Switching to Natural Shampoo: What You Need to Know

Switching to Natural Shampoo: What You Need to Know

Making a change in beauty products always feels a little daunting, especially if you’ve used the same product for years. Once you make the change, however, you may wish you had tried it sooner. Switching to natural shampoo is not only better for the environment; it can also be better for the appearance of your hair.

Why You Should Make the Switch

One of the benefits of natural shampoo, if the most obvious, is you know exactly what you’re exposing yourself and your family to. In addition to the eco-friendly ingredients, switching to a natural shampoo can potentially help your scalp and hair look and feel healthier. Conventional shampoo ingredients help rid your hair of dirt, but they can also strip your hair and scalp of natural oils. While you don’t want to walk around with greasy hair, retaining some of your skin’s natural oil can prevent dryness, which can leave your scalp itchy and your hair rough.

Natural shampoo is healthier for your hair.

What to Look For

Reading labels is important when switching to natural shampoo. Look for products that are made from natural ingredients. It takes time and effort to investigate man-made ingredients, so as a simple general rule of thumb, I try to look for a minimal ingredient list with items that aren’t impossible to pronounce. The best thing to do, however, is to look for ingredients that are naturally derived. In other words, they’re made from things found in nature, such as fragrances derived from plants and fruits.

There are a few specific ingredients to avoid when shopping for a natural shampoo. Look for products that are free of parabens and phthalates, especially as innovations in natural preservatives and fragrances eliminate the need for these ingredients. You may also choose to avoid foaming agents, like sulfates, which are added to shampoos to create a bigger lather. Unfortunately, the can also strip your hair of its natural oil. Bubbles are fun, even when you’re an adult, but that doesn’t mean your shampoo has to be sudsy to work.

What You Can Expect

The main difference you’ll notice about natural shampoo is that it doesn’t lather up the same way your old shampoo did, since those foaming agents aren’t there. This doesn’t mean it’s not getting your hair clean, or that you need to use more shampoo than usual. Instead, adding a little water after you’ve started applying your natural shampoo can help create a lather. You can even dilute it in advance by combining water and shampoo together in a spare bottle, making it easier to use quickly.

It’s also helpful to follow the directions on the label and actually “repeat” after you rinse. When I first made the switch to a natural shampoo, I took the time to read the bottle and noticed that it suggested shampooing your hair twice. The second washing often lathers more than the first.

Rinse well to wash all the shampoo out.

It can take a few days for your scalp to adjust when switching to a natural shampoo. In the beginning, it may feel like your hair is oilier and heavier than normal. One important trick is to make sure you rinse your hair well, as any residual shampoo can make your hair feel heavier. After a few washes, however, your scalp will adjust and you’ll probably find, like I did, that your hair’s texture is more well-balanced with less oil at the roots and healthier, moist tips. You may even notice your hair is fuller, as some people may experience better hair growth as a result of switching.

You can try a few different natural shampoos until you find the right fit for you, or you can try making your own at home using simple ingredients from your kitchen. Just remember, even natural personal care products do contain preservatives so storage instructions on homemade treatments are very important. It might take a little getting used to natural shampoo, but don’t be quick to give up. In the end, your hair could feel cleaner and healthier than it ever has before.

Have you made the switch to natural shampoo? Tell us what it’s like on Twitter!

Image source: Flickr | Sher Warkentin

This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.

Why it’s good

Switching to natural shampoo can be beneficial both for the environment and also for your hair. It can take a little getting used to, but it's worth it when your hair becomes softer and healthier than ever.