5 natural, chemical-free conditioners for your hair
This post takes off from my previous one about hair health and cleansing. Healthy hair shines, is not frizzy and brittle and does not have a flaky scalp. While some people are blessed with brilliant hair genes, some think they are not and resort to artificial measures. From hair spray and a curling iron to ‘Extenso’ and ‘Keratin smoothening’ and new age hair straightening or curling treatments, people resort to various treatments that in the hope of perennial good hair days. Since I have never been one to take the pains to blow dry my hair, my messy bun comes to my rescue most of the time.
Photo by Caroline Ziemkiewicz on Unsplash
After finding myself a few shampoos that would not slowly kill my hair, I decided to run trials with conditioner. I'll be honest, I am not a regular conditioner user in the shower. I prefer a pre-wash hair mask or an after-wash hair serum. I have also learnt with experience that there's no need to overdo it. Conditioners can be of 3 types – pre-shampoo, post-shampoo and leave-in. A pre-shampoo conditioner is one you use in place of hair oil, you apply it and leave it in your hair for around an hour before your hair wash. A post shampoo hair conditioner is like any regular one which you apply, leave on for around 2-3 minutes and then rinse off. A leave-in conditioner is one you can let be in your hair for as long as you like. Either one of them works fine. All of these are good for your hair - they soften and moisturise. A conditioner also detangles hair to a large extent so that less of it gets pulled while combing or brushing (always comb wet hair only with a wide-toothed comb).
Your regular hair conditioners are also likely to have the same toxic ingredients as shampoos do - sulfates, parabens, Triclosan, Polyethylene Glycol and fragrance. I will be doing a separate post about the specific harms associated with each of the commonly found toxins in regular products. For now, here are some I recommend which are safer for your hair and for you (not in order of preference):-
Here are my favourite ones:
Juicy Chemistry Hair Mask - Rs 900 for 75 gms : While I've linked to only one variant, they have a few types depending on your hair type. You can order off Amazon or directly from their website. I find that applying the hair mask and leaving it on for around 30 minutes before a wash sort of pre-cleans my hair. Washing off the hair mask already makes hair feel cleaner. Overall Juicy Chemistry products are more expensive than their peers which can be attributed to their certifications, their glass and cardboard packaging and other factors than make it more eco-friendly.
Neev Hair Conditioner – Rs 220 for 100 ml : What I love about the Neev hair conditioners is that they come in small pack sizes because you need only very little, never as much as you need a shampoo so those brands that make both bottles the same size are a no-no for me. The Drumstick Lavender variant is my favourite but the Jojoba and others are great too. As a brand, Neev supports tribal women and grow their own ingredients so that's what puts this brand on my list.
Rustic Art Hair Detangling Fluid - Rs 700 for 30 ml : So this one is a concentrate. You need to use no more than 4-5 drops at a go. Just rub it in your palms and then go through the ends of your hair. Dry and frizzy hair often needs this extra TLC.
Argan Oil - Rs 699 for 50 ml : A few drops of argan oil is my go-to any time for hair and skin. 3-4 drops rubbed between your palms and smoothed over your hair will work wonders in the long run. I currently use an Argan Oil by Sattvic Foods. However any good quality oil should work well.
Apple Cider Vinegar - Rs 499 for 500 ml : Now this is one thing I used a lot when I was on the "No Poo" movement bandwagon. The funny thing about ACV is that it's great to add the lustre back in lacklustre hair, but using too much could dry your hair out and make it appear weak and damaged. So once a week is perfect, two times is still good. I would avoid any more than that.
Good luck on your journey of going natural.