In the world of natural beauty, changing up your hair care routine can be one of the toughest to achieve. There’s no set regimen that works for everyone, and the potential detox period can be enough to make you give up on the spot.
Some of you may remember my honey hair-washing experience. Yes, I washed my hair with honey…for an entire month. I gave it an honest go, but my hair just never felt clean. Now I’m onto something new — castile soap.
Castile soap is a natural, vegetable-oil-based soap that has many, many uses. Surely you’ve come across Dr. Bronner’s famous “18-in-1” castile soap that boasts a multitude of uses, like washing your hands/face/body/hair, brushing your teeth, cleaning your dishes, washing your windows, scrubbing your bathroom and more.
While I’m no expert in washing hair with castile soap, I have certainly picked up quite a few tips along the way. If you’re an experienced castile washer and have your own tips to share, please do so in the comments!
Leave yourself some extra time. This process is actually super simple, but it does require a few extra minutes to get yourself prepped. I make my washing and rinsing concoctions just before getting into the shower, but you could prep in advance, too! Being organized is key, so store all of your materials in the same area if possible.
Dilute, dilute, dilute. Castile soap is extremely alkaline, which means that it can quickly disrupt your hair’s natural pH balance if you use too much. Trust. I’ve made the mistake. Dilute your soap in purified water. I know it’s way easier to use water straight from the tap, but even the cleanest tap water is likely to contain levels of chlorine and heavy metals that can be harmful to your precious locks. I use my beloved ZeroWater filter, which you can learn more about here. The necessary ratio of soap to water will differ from person to person (and even from day to day) but, with a little bit of experimenting and patience, you’ll quickly become a pro. I use a ratio of 1 tablespoon castile soap to 2 cups purified water. Start with that, and experiment from there.
Get a squeeze bottle. Personally, I use big glass jars, but this requires really swift movements in order to pour the mixture exactly where I want it. It might be helpful to use a squeeze bottle instead – especially when you’re just starting out. Just make sure it’s BPA free. ;)
Follow with an acidic rinse. This step is crucial! I repeat: CRUCIAL. Since castile soap is very alkaline, it requires a follow-up rinse of something acidic like lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to restore the pH. I’ve used both, and they’re both excellent! Again, dilute the acidic agent in purified water. I do about ¼ cup of lemon juice or ACV to 2 cups water, but again, this is up for experimentation. If you’re using apple cider vinegar, your hair may retain a bit of the smell, but this will likely dissipate more and more with each wash, until you can’t smell it at all. I also like to add in a few drops of essential oil – lavender has been my recent go-to. After you do the rinse, run cold water over your hair to seal it. Word to the wise: Be sure not to mix your acidic agent and castile soap together – they’ll cancel each other out!
Finish with an oil. Since we’re no longer using conditioner, we must find another way to add some extra moisture. Oil to the rescue. You can really use whichever kind works for you: avocado, coconut, argan, jojoba, almond, apricot. Just make sure it doesn’t contain any unnatural additives. I’ve become quite fond of the John Masters Organics Dry Hair Nourishment & Defrizzer. It’s made of the perfect mix of carrier and essential oils: jojoba, olive, evening primrose, flax seed, lavender, cedarwood and rosemary. It smells incredible and leaves my hair moisturized, sleek and shiny.
Use a natural dry shampoo. One of the reasons I love washing with castile soap is that I don’t have to wash my hair as often as I used to. All I need is a little dry shampoo to keep it looking fresh. I often use pure arrowroot flour with nothing else, but I also love these by LuLu Organics and Fat & the Moon. Learn more about making your own dry shampoo here!
Be open to experimentation. Going all natural with hair care is not an easy feat. Be open to experimenting with different ingredients, different brands and different ratios – and most importantly, do it all with love. Remember why you decided to do this to begin with: you care about yourself deeply, and you deserve to look and feel like the beautiful goddess you are.
If you have your own tips for washing hair with castile soap, please leave them in the comments!
Photos of Brigette by Aroldo Marquez.