After some health set backs in the last two years I have been slowly educating myself in a healthier, greener lifestyle. Much to the chagrin of my family who seems to think I am turning into a hypochondriac or something equally annoying…
But who cares, they’ll get around to it!
I am slowly starting to, as much as my current limited budget allows me to, change all my products into more natural, organic ones that will allow me to get rid of all the chemicals I have always been exposed to.
These last five months or so I had been using a sulfate free shampoo: KeraCare Hydrating Detangling Shampoo.
It worked great. In fact it helped me get rid of the itchy scalp problem I had when using the usual commercial shampoos. In fact, when I went to the hairdresser to get my haircut and they washed my head with their shampoo my scalp started to itch like crazy that very night. It is a very moisturizing shampoo, and although it doesn’t lather like the shampoo you might be used to, it does it’s cleaning job just as well, if not better. A little goes a long way and, for someone who has curly long hair that is a pain to detangle, this shampoo made it way easier. Yet, once I actually had the bottle and read the ingredients I found something in the ingredients which I hadn’t been able to read online: Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate. What is it? Well, a variation of the very thing I was trying to avoid. Although it is said to have larger molecules than Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) that cannot penetrate the skin, and some say it is considered suitable for more sensitive skin types. Although it is not a sulfate like its sister chemical SLS, this and the reviews I found of people who were sensitive even to this considered gentler foaming agent, was enough to put me off this shampoo.
On this note, upon countless hours on the internet, I have concocted my own shampoo recipe in order to give my little curls a better chance at a healthier look.
This was adapted from a pH balanced shampoo recipe I found on this blog: http://www.thankyourbody.com/ph-balanced-shampoo-recipe/
Three main ingredients are: coconut milk, avocado pit and Aloe Vera gel.
Since I couldn’t find organic coconuts, I had to make due with organic unsweetened shredded coconut. I put about 2 cups of coconut shreds and 2 1/2 cups of hot water into a cup and mixed the ingredients for a minute or so with a hand blender. Then I put it through a strainer to separate the milk from the coconut. I got 1 1/2 cups of milk. (If you don’t want anything to go to waste you can dry the coconut that is left on the strainer and later make coconut flour or coconut butter with them).
I collected some Aloe Vera and extracted the gel myself straight from the leaf. I have to say I didn’t expect it to be so gooey but I wanted the properties of aloe and I didn’t have the time to wait for a super expensive order when I could get it natural and straight from the plant. From the leaves that I could cut without harming the plants it gave me about a cup or so of gel.
The avocado pits I decided to add because of its health benefits and since avocado flesh is used in moisturizing treatments I figured the pit should share in some of those properties. I grated 3 pits, which turned into a beautiful orange-like color as soon as they came into contact with air.
After boiling 6 cups of water I then added the grated pits letting it boil for about 5 minutes or so before turning the heat down to a simmer. Let it simmer for 45 minutes or an hour and stir it every once in a while as it starts to thicken. Afterwards pour it through a cheese cloth (or something similar) to get the pulp out. I got about 250 ml out of it.
Once all the ingredients have cooled down mix them together with a hand blender until there is a homogeneous mix. In my opinion, it had a beautiful color, and just handling each of the ingredients I could feel the softness on my skin.
Since there are no chemical preservatives I followed the advice of the recipe of pH balanced shampoo and poured the mixture onto ice cube trays. (Since I had only one, I improvised and used egg holders as well). I put them in the fridge until frozen and then transferred them into a plastic Ziploc bag. The whole mixture filled two egg holders and the ice cube tray (which is obviously smaller in cube size) twice.
There was a bit of it left in a jar that I saved for my shower. I can’t obviously make a lot of inferences from a one time use. But I have to say that although it was a bit liquid - I should have added more aloe, and I would think that more would make it less liquid in consistency but honestly it wasn’t really a problem for me - it felt amazing on my head. Obviously it isn’t going to foam but for someone with frizzy and dry hair I felt it immediately work on my curls and I didn’t even need conditioner to be able to detangle my knots. I let it work for five minutes or so, just to make sure that the ingredients had a bit more time to sink into my scalp, but I reckon if you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to wait, there shouldn’t be a problem.
Now every time I know I am going to wash my head all I have to do is take a cube out and put it in the fridge overnight and use it in the shower. Any leftovers I would keep in the fridge for the next time you want to wash your head.
As for smell, I got compliments on how good my hair smelled and even after a full day, it still smells wonderful.