VIVACIOUS HAIR: A Simple Tribute to Dr. Bronner's

I've gotten a couple of email and facebook requests to do a write up on my hair regimen and hair care in general. As I pondered the way to go about answering all of the questions at once while covering the vast array of nationalities and cultures that may have emailed. It dawned on me to start from the beginning, with washing and conditioning. 

My personal regimen, is one that is really quite simple. I may add  gels and moisture sealants, and various oils...but it all begins and ends with washing and conditioning. We must remember that washing is for both our scalp and our hair. Many say that washing is only for the scalp. But I beg to differ. Without clean hair we have product buildup and nasty hair follicles, which can result to all sorts of hair damage. So when I wash, I focus on both my scalp and my hair. And, lets just get real, its almost impossible to focus on one without the other, right? 

Nevertheless, there's no greater time than now to tell you how my hair care regimen began. It started with my plant based eating journey...I know, I know, it sounds crazy, but it really all begins and ends here for me. When I implemented a plant based diet into my life, I immediately became more aware. One of the things I realized was that: Eating a plant based diet simply wasn't good enough. I started looking around my flat at things (little things) that I noticed that I could change for the better. And then as I was literally standing in the middle of my living room, I happen to glance at myself in the mirror...and then it hit me: If God provides us everything we need in nature for our food resources, why not for every aspect of our lives, including hair, skin and beauty. Let's just say,  I began to look at my life as a whole-and the entire thing needed a do over, beginning with my hair regimen.

While I have always (for the most part of my life) wore my hair natural (i.e., no perms, relaxers, texturizers, dyes, etc...),  I had the strangest epiphany...the hair care products that I used to wash, condition and maintain my hair were created for permed, relaxed, texturized and/or color treated hair. One had to think, was I really all natural? I mean chemicals are chemicals. Whether it's in a shampoo, conditioner or a perm or relaxer...its still chemicals, and no matter what form they take they are hazardous to healthy hair.

So I literally went through every single product in my bathroom. From the shampoo and conditioner to the mousse and even the oils and gels, etc. When reading the ingredients, I realized that I had no idea, essentially, what I was putting in my hair, because I didn't know what those words on the ingredient label were. I even went a step beyond to google the scientific names. Some of which (to the chemical hair companies defense) were scientific names for natural products, others...uum, not so much. I realized I very well could have been washing my hair with chemical explosives! No wonder, TSA only allows us four 3oz bottles in our carry on.

Anyway, I realized quickly that it wasn't only my diet that I needed to change in my lifestyle. As I mentioned earlier, I believe that, just like our creator made no mistakes in providing for us our essential nutritional needs in nature, the same was done for our optimal hair, skin and beauty aids. I made a decision at that point to make sure that if I couldn't pronounce the words or understand what they were on the ingredient label, I simply wouldn't buy it. Not even for my hair. (I realize this may sound a bit extreme to many, but think about whats under your hair...your brain! Those chemicals getting into our body from our head...well, it just can't be a good thing.)

Now that I realize my error, and changed my hair care products, I've learned that my hair is not breaking as much, and my ends aren't splitting as quickly, providing less hair loss/shedding when styling. My hair is shinier, stronger, my curly tendrils have more definition. My curls aren't all over the place, like they were before. My hair actually looks more organized (if that makes any sense), and my hair looks like I spend far more time on it than I actually do. I need less hair cuts/trims/end clippings and my hair even sheds less. Could it be, that I found an all natural (organic) product that really is completely all natural? 

My former hairstylist actually told me once, that "there is no all natural hair care product out there...they all have 'something' chemically that's in it." Well, I'm here to prove her and other's who agree with her wrong. I use Dr. Bronners. You've heard me mention this product line before, but I really do swear by it. If you notice, they are not one of this blog's sponsors and I get absolutely nothing for this endorsement. I use them and it's a strong part of my main hair routine.

SHAMPOO: Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps. Aside from the fact that its certified organic and fair trade, I really like the combination of oils (including coconut oil-oh how I love coconut oil) that are used in this castile based soap to moisturize while cleansing. I've tried all of the liquid soaps on their product line and use each one for different things. I'm partial to Almond, Lavender and Peppermint, but that's just me. Play around with the trial sizes and see which one's work for you. Research and see what the main ingredients are good for, hair nutrition wise, for example, lavender is great for preventing hair damage. So research what you use on your hair.

Now, as much as I love this soap, I feel I would not be doing any of you proper justice by only telling you how great this soap is. It's also my duty to tell you the flaws of using this all natural product. Your hair will tangle and possibly mat. It's just a given. Just like the sun rises in the east and set in the west. Know that when you use this product your hair will tangle and possibly mat. I know it sounds crazy, but to me if I try a product and a little tangling doesn't happen, I wonder what chemical is in the shampoo to prevent it? 

To help ease some tangling, I simple wash my hair to the back, allowing the water to flow through and I don't scrunch my hair up when washing. I take my finger tips and gently scrub my scalp to make sure its clean then I work my finger tips down towards the back of my hair, helping as much of my hair to stay separated so that it doesn't tangle more than it already is. Please Note: Even with doing this tangling will occur. But don't worry, the Conditioning Rinse will help alleviate some of the tangles.

CONDITIONER: Dr. Bronner's Shikakai Conditioning Rinse. First thing I need to tell you, this is not the normal conditioner that you are probably use to, it is a conditioning rinse that is highly concentrated and needs to be mixed with water and poured over your hair while finger combing to untangle. My first time trying it, I used a comb, because I don't detangle my hair before I wash it. I like the water running over my hair which helps me detangle my hair and keeps it from breaking from rough handling. 

Anywho...this conditioning rinse has Shikakai powder which comes from a small South Asian tree, Acacia Concinna, and is widely used in India for soft shiny hair. It also has organic lemon juice in it, which is typically used to tighten hair shafts for excellent manageability. It has other things in it like coconut oil (for protein, vitamin E), hemp seeds (more protein), etc. It goes without saying you're getting that PH balance everyone talks about so much.

I simple take an old bottle that has a squirt top and I put some Shikakai Conditioning Rinse in it with some distilled/purified water and I pour it over my hair stopping intermittently to comb it (to detangle it) mid way through. Aside from the fact that this helps get the rinse all the way through my hair, it really aids in detangling. I repeat until all of the conditioning rinse is gone.

Please Note: When my hair needs deep conditioning and hot oil treatments. I will do that prior to the conditioning rinse. The conditioning rinse should always be last, because this really helps to seal and protect your hair, making it strong. Not to mention it will give your hair a natural shine you've never seen before. 

LEAVE-IN CONDITIONER (Styling Aid): Dr.Bronners Hair Creme. This is a leave in conditioner with lavender and coconut. Lavender is very good for repairing damaged hair. I typically like to use products that help with "damaged hair" since I don't go to the hair salons but two or three times a year for a hair cut (or on special occasions if I want a blow out style). It's kind of my preventative measure. Although, they have a lovely peppermint leave-in as well. I've fallen in love with this leave in conditioner because in one use I noticed a difference in my hair and so I decided its a keeper. It also doesn't hurt that I only need a little bit of this product to get the desired effect. Unlike most products that are over priced, this is reasonably priced and you don't end up using half the bottle in one use. One bottle of this lasts me about a month. I have long hair, if you have short hair it should last you longer.

Hope this was helpful...I feel like I wrote a novel about my hair. Only to tell you that I only use 3 things in my core hair care regimen. But I hope this helped you natural Veg Heads with your hair. :-) Also, I managed to find and crop some pictures of my hair before and after Dr. Bronners...OMG! Writing this made me want to run out and stock up on Dr. Bronners so that I never run out! Look at the difference in my hair and let me know your thoughts!
I remember taking this picture, AFTER OILING MY SCALP! WOW-look at how dry and dull my hair looks like it all should have been all cut off!!! Clearly this is the before picture. (By the way, I can't believe I actually walked around with that mop top on my head for hair!)

My hair AFTER Dr. Bronner's...WOWsers what a difference. I think I took this picture after the 3rd use or gel or anything in my hair, just Dr. Bronner's.


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