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3 All-Natural Shampoo Options

Avatar • Oct 31, 2013

clay

If you are keen on reading your ingredient labels, you may have noticed that many of the products labelled as natural actually contain very similar ingredients to commercial mass manufactured shampoos. A common naming tactic is to use natural sounding labels such as ‘coconut base’ instead of ‘cetyl alcohol’ or to place a long list of herbal extracts in water first before naming the active chemical ingredients. As a scientist, I have nothing against chemically derived ingredients, I do even consider them as somewhat natural given that labs do not manufacture them out of thin air, they do generally come from modifications of natural ingredients (a substantial number of ingredients for hair care are derived from coconut oil). However, if you are seeking a true 100% natural product without any modifications, these set of articles are for you. Today 100% natural shampoo.

1. Oatmeal, beans, legumes
If you have ever boiled any of these in water, you may have noticed that there is a tendency for foam to appear. This foaming effect is because oats and legumes all contain a soap like chemical called a saponin (J Drugs Dermatol, pp 167–170, 2007). Saponins work to cleanse because they are attracted to oil and at the same time can easily combine with water. This allows them to bind to oil (and dirt attached to oil) on the surface of hair and carry it away during rinsing. The cleansing effect is generally described as mild, and oatmeal washes are popular for facials. To create an oatmeal or legume wash, you need to boil them in water for a minimum of 1–5 minutes. You will then need to filter out the oats or legumes and simply soak your hair and scalp with the cooled down water before rinsing off with clean water. You can boil the oats or legumes for longer but do bear in mind they will begin to cook at some point and you may not like the smell of the water as the beans or oats start to cook.

2. Shikakai
Shikakai is a popular ayurvedic shampoo and it is essentially powdered acacia (generally the fruit pods, leaves and bark). Shikakai, much like oats, cleanses because it too contains saponins (Int J Toxicol, Suppl 3, pp75-118, 2005) . Shikakai powder is added to water to create a paste and it is then applied to the hair and scalp. Some people choose to leave it on for a time, but directly rinsing it off afterwards is acceptable too. Many beauty supply stores and Indian speciality shops do stock ayurvedic powders so it is not too difficult to purchase. Shikakai has a long history of use in India and is generally regarded as a fairly effective cleanser for hair.

3. Clay wash — Bentonite and Rhassoul
Clay/mud washes are increasingly becoming popular. Their cleansing mechanism is not 100% clear but is thought to be linked with their ability to attract and filter out small substances. There are commercially available mud washes but you can also equally buy pure bentonite or rhassoul clay. Many users of clay washes consider them to be both cleansing and conditioning, and often report that there is no need for hair conditioner after using the wash.

Note: Natural soaps are omitted from this article because they are essentially modified oils (e.g an olive oil soap will be made from mixing olive oil with sodium hydroxide to create the soap). For this article, only basic raw ingredients mixed with water have been considered to be 100% natural.

Ladies, have you tried any of these options? Do you prefer all natural shampoos?

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About The Natural Haven

Scientist on a hairy mission!

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Shenika
7 years ago

I love rhassoul clay!! It makes my hair feel soft and clean. Check out my review http://sheni-kare.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/clean-your-hair-with-mud.html

Hope it helps x

Esione ASAKOME
7 years ago
Reply to  Shenika

Check out my first natural blog! I have a few posts on here about recipies of shampoos and conditioners and scalp cleansers! Its just starting out and I would like feedback on all my posts so far! 🙂 I just discovered natural hair care and I am having a blast!!! Join me
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/styleL.jpg[/img]
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/styleL.jpg[/img]

Andreja
Andreja
7 years ago

I use bentonite clay one a month for cleansing. My hair is never too dirty, so I normally am able to only use a warm water rinse through my hair. I have tried oatmeal, but I only do it when my scalp is having severe dryness issues.

Dananana
Dananana
7 years ago

This was another fascinating article, Jc! I hadn’t heard about boiling oatmeal/legumes before, but I definitely plan on trying it out!

la*belle
la*belle
7 years ago

Excellent article! Thank you BGLH and Jc. Now, any ideas for all natural conditioners, perhaps? 🙂

Jc
Jc
7 years ago
Reply to  la*belle

Yes, I am currently writing this one up.

tmc (toronto meet up nov 16)

i’ve never heard of shikakai powder, but i’ve tried the oil. As for the oatmeal, it gets gummy and sticky when boiled. so how would we be able to use it to cleanse the hair? I’ve used rhassoul clay about 3times in the past, I plan to try bentonite clay.
this is a review and the recipe I used for the clay treatment.
http://themanecaptain.blogspot.ca/2013/08/moroccan-rhassoul-clay-is-hairmazing.html

Dananana
Dananana
7 years ago

In the article above, Jc suggested straining the oatmeal from the boiled water, and just using the water. I think I’m going to try this tomorrow, so I’ll keep you posted on whether or not it’s a hot, sticky mess 😛

Dananana
Dananana
7 years ago
Reply to  Dananana

So, the oat water wash worked awesome! My hair is clean and moisturized, and my post-protective style scalp itchies have been banished 🙂

I followed Jc’s instructions and boiled 1/4 cup of organic rolled oats for ~2 min, then I strained the oats with my colander over a pitcher. I let it sit in the fridge to chill a bit, then I mixed it with 2 tablespoons of whole leaf aloe gel and a few drops of lavender essential oil.

Tl;dr Oat water is a great mild cleanser!
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_20131102_200207.jpg[/img]

Jc
Jc
7 years ago
Reply to  Dananana

I am glad it worked for you! It is great to see a near instant review!

Cheree
Cheree
6 years ago
Reply to  Dananana

So to apply the oatmeal wash do u just run the water thru the hair or use a spray bottle?

Air+Light
Air+Light
5 years ago
Reply to  Dananana

I am trying this today too 🙂 I put tea tree oil (10 drops in nearly 1L of oatwater) and I will put a couple tablesoons of aloe in there too. Thanks Dananana I added tea tree oil as a perservative. Hopefully the oatwter will keep a week in the fridge.

Kitty
Kitty
7 years ago

I tried Shikaki powder recently and found it to be wayyyy too drying. Does anyone have any suggestions for how to make it less drying?

I’ve tried the bentonite clay in the past and I will definitely try the Rhassoul in the near future.

Great article BGLH!!

Nicole
Nicole
7 years ago
Reply to  Kitty

I use a combination of shikakai, bhringraj, brahma, aloe vera and hibiscus powders in my daughter’s hair. I’ve found it to be very moisturizing. Also, apple cider vinegar works well as a natural conditioner. I’ve also seen recipes for a natural detangler with marshmallow root.

Dabney
Dabney
7 years ago

I like to use Neem and amla Clay when my hair starts to shed from stress! it works really well. I mix them together let them sit and rinse. Then deep condition afterwards. Great results! Nice shiny strong hair!

Toi J.
Toi J.
7 years ago

I use Terressentials Natural Hair Wash. It is 100% natural and mostly organic. You can only buy it online and its a bit pricey but definitely worth it. When you start to use it more you’ll notice that you won’t need to use as much.

Joan B. in S. C.
Joan B. in S. C.
7 years ago
Reply to  Toi J.

Toi J., glad you mentioned the part about not needing to use as much as time goes on. In the beginning, I was afraid to try Terressentials Natural Hair Wash because it seemed that everyone went through theirs so fast. But after a couple of months, I’m surprised by how little I actually need to use. I guess as you get more and more chemicals out of your hair, you cut down on the amount needed to cleanse and moisturize.

luminous
luminous
7 years ago
Reply to  Toi J.

I agree. I bought 2 large bottles and that last for over a year.

However, I do mix my own clay now in a color applicator bottle since that is much cheaper. I follow the Naptural85 recipe.

Adrea John
7 years ago

It is a fact that shampoo which is completely made of natural ingredients. But there are a few companies which are manufacturing 100% pure natural products.

kxlot79
kxlot79
7 years ago

I love oatmeal, inside and out. I never thought to use oat water before. I take some rolled oats and blend them to a powder (homemade colloidal oatmeal) then I make a a creamy kind of lotion out of it. Sometimes, I add clays, herbs, essential oils, aloe vera, or whatever I’m in the mood for. I use this mixture as a mild cleanser and conditioner. The oatmeal is SUPER moisturizing for my hair and provides very gentle exfoliation to my scalp. I will definitely have to try oat water and also legume water…

Shelly_Shelle
Shelly_Shelle
7 years ago

Please keep these types of articles coming!!! I prefer 100% natural everything if possible especially on things that touch my skin & hair, and that I can mix. I don’t trust these brands that are cashing in on natural Black hair care. Many of the shampoos & hair products have estrogen/endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) that are detrimental to our health and can lead to infertility (population control for Black folk!). But anyway…I hadn’t quite found a natural shampoo or conditioner that I really like. I’d been using the old baking soda then vinegar method. I’m going to try the oats… Read more »

Esione ASAKOME
7 years ago

Check out my first natural blog! I have a few posts on here about recipies of shampoos and conditioners and scalp cleansers! Its just starting out and I would like feedback on all my posts so far! 🙂 I just discovered natural hair care and I am having a blast!!! Join me
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/styleL.jpg[/img]

Esione ASAKOME
7 years ago

http://beautifullynappy.wordpress.com/2013/11/01/6‑simple-hair-recipes/

I use rhassoul clay as well and the results are gorgeous! Check out the recipes post on my blog! Oh and forgive me for posting one thing twice! Lol technology isnt my friend at the moment! (hides face)
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/beauty127.JPG[/img]

Rachael
Rachael
7 years ago

Okay well I used the oat rinse today. I boiled 0.5 cup rolled oats, added 2 cups of water and left it for 3 minutes. When I strained it I added a cheap argan oil mix and applied to my hair, it was tepid. Left it for 5 minutes then rinsed with cold water. My scalp feels good so far. I have afro-kinky twist extensions in right now, and for the past few days my scalp has been irritated. I blot dried my hair and applied JBCO to my scalp. My scalp is not itching and I am hoping that it… Read more »

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[…] previous articles, I discussed the options for 100% natural shampoo and conditioner treatments based on possible efficacy from a scientific perspective. This week is […]

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[…] previous articles, I discussed the options for 100% natural shampoo and conditioner treatments based on possible efficacy from a scientific perspective. This week is […]

Chelle
Chelle
7 years ago

Has anyone with locs tried the oatmeal wash?

cathedralrng
6 years ago

Thanks for Posting ! first time I have found a genuine post related to Natural Shampoo

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