Saving my scalp.
The health of my hair is something that I have struggled with for a long time. For a while, it seemed that no matter how much conditioner I put in it or how many new products I tried, I would have to live with it being dry and coarse forever. I was a frequent hair washer (something I have recently changed) and never put a second thought into the products I was using.
As I’ve started to dive even deeper into the world of sustainability, zero-waste, and mindful, minimal living, I had this gut feeling that there was a solution out there. So, I did what I always do when I dive into unknown territory: I read some articles and some labels. This more intentional approach has led me to discover that everything I was experiencing with my hair was normal. These products, that I am now going to call Fast Personal Care, caused the damage I had thought was something I would just have to live with.
Fast Personal Care
While the problems with fast fashion continue to be laid out for everyone to see, other products we consume seem to dodge the mainstream bullet. After some research, it was actually a huge surprise to me that most of the beauty and personal care products we buy at the store are made just as poorly as fast fashion. For individuals like me that have extremely sensitive skin & hair, these cut corners can wreak havoc through daily use. Over the years, I have been using products that contain compounds that have caused a ton of damage. It turns out that sulfates and alcohol are two of the most common ingredients that are bad for individuals with sensitive skin.
A sulfate is a compound that attracts both water and oil found in the majority of shampoos. When you wash your hair, it attracts the dirt, mixes it with water, and allows it to be washed down the drain. However, these chemicals are extremely harsh and cause dryness, irritation, and damage to our hair.
While some sulfates have been permanently removed because they’ve been found to be extremely dangerous, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is still found in a lot of shampoos. For individuals like me who have sensitive skin and can visibly see damage, SLS is usually the culprit since it strips your hair of all of the good oils too. This leads to dull, frizzy, dry, coarse hair and can even lead to dandruff.
While it might sound crazy, SO many hair styling products have alcohol in them. Alcohols can be a huge skin irritant and dry out your hair even more. While there are some alcohol compounds that can be beneficial, I found that the majority of them negatively affect individuals with sensitive skin so I’ve decided to steer clear. That’s why, once I started reading the labels in my bathroom, I found out that my hair styling product had alcohol in it. It was something I was putting into my hair every day.
Making the Switch
Thankfully, since doing a lot of this research, I’ve found some really great zero-waste and sustainable essentials that have already started to make a huge difference. Regardless if you have sensitive skin or not, these products will be much gentler and more nourishing for your hair and scalp.
As a lot of you know, my apartment has collectively invested in Public Goods. I found out that, unlike the package-free Lush products I had purchased, their shampoo and conditioner is sulfate-free. I’ve switched over to their package-free shampoo bar and their conditioner. While they don’t have a conditioner bar yet, they sell refills that I’m putting in a reusable bottle.
However, the new item I’ve brought into my daily routine that I’m most excited to share is the Texturizing Clay from Firsthand Supply. Firsthand is a local MA company which is amazing because I love to support the talent popping up in my state. Not only is the clay good for styling, but it’s hydrating and has a light exfoliation for the scalp. I love the smell, the ingredients are so great (Aloe, Apricot, Clay) AND the packaging is made from 100% recycled milk jugs. It’s that extra hydration that’s been helping my hair heal that much faster.
I’ve also been making my own hair masks to help give that extra boost of hydration and healing. My favorite one is 2 egg yolks and 2 tablespoons of olive oil mixed up and applied to your hair for an hour. It’s cheaper and there’s no packaging waste from buying individual hair masks from the store.
My hair is by no means fixed and probably won’t be for a little while. But bringing these products into my life has made a huge difference. I’m by no means an expert but I am excited to keep up with this and continue to find more products that work for my hair and skin.