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I had been using market-bought bottled shampoos all my life, just like everyone else. But with time, the condition of my hair worsened and the split ends became more adverse. If that wasn’t heart-wrenching enough, I was shedding more hair than my pup, Lizzo! Finding too many strands on the hair brush was becoming agonizing. That’s when I decided to consult a trichologist and reached the conclusion that my hair was damaged over time due to prolonged exposure to bad water and hard chemicals. I could only blame the peer pressure of highlighting my hair!
The doctor prescribed me various hair supplements which I started popping regularly, but my biggest concern was how to protect my hair from the onslaught of chemical bleaches, silicones, and sulphates present in these shampoos?
During the Covid-19 pandemic, I got a chance to stay at my grandmother’s home during the lockdown. That was the only silver lining to this pandemic. Seeing my 80-year-old grandmother’s long and healthy hair made me believe that I definitely can’t blame my straw-like hair on my genes. Quizzing my Nani uncovered that she had never used the shampoos available in the market since her childhood and washed her hair with reetha, amla, and shikakai powder found at the grocery store!
Initially, I found it hilarious, like some stone-age practice. Nevertheless, my desperation for a good mane made me try her DIY shampoo!
In the first instance, this change was strenuous because instead of squeezing out the shampoo from the bottle, I had to mix three powders and make my own shampoo in a bowl beforehand. This DIY shampoo does not lather like the regular soap-based shampoos, which seemed a bit strange in the beginning, but I got used to it with time.
After washing my hair with this natural shampoo for two weeks, my hair felt drier than before. Also, since the mix did not lather much, it seemed as if my hair was not cleaned properly. Furthermore, my hair is curly and it looked very frizzy and rough. But this little change in my hair wash routine revealed what my real hair looks like without synthetic conditioners and chemically loaded styling products. My hair seemed so due to the removal of the layer of silicones and sulphates that have accumulated on it over the years. I decided to be patient with the process.
After almost a month without giving up, I found my healthy, curly hair back! And for some reason, my hair had a beautiful sheen to it. I noticed a reduction in frizz and negligible hair fall with each wash. My curls started coiling on their own without finger coiling or using a hair mousse, which was in itself a sign of healthy hair texture.
Today, after using reetha, amla and shikakai shampoo for almost six months, my hair has reached its full glory. Besides, I am also keeping a check on my plastic waste generation by not buying bottled shampoos anymore.
One thing to remember before you start using a natural shampoo is that if you’ve been washing your hair with chemical shampoos for the past 25+ years, your hair will look strange once you’ve removed all the chemical ingredients from your routine.
You might need to trust the process since detox isn’t pretty. Besides, my trichologist suggested that consuming a balanced diet rich in biotin, Omega 3, keratin, iron and zinc is necessary for fine hair health. Moreover, each hair type is different, so it is important to give your hair the TLC it needs.