In the world of natural beauty, changing up your hair care routine can be one of the toughest to achieve. But that’s not to say it’s not worth the effort.
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’ve picked up quite a few tips along the way:
Leave yourself some extra time.
The process is actually super simple, but it does require a few extra minutes of prep. I make my washing and rinsing concoctions just before getting into the shower, but you could make in advance, if that’s easier! 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 enough chlorine and heavy metals to be harmful to your precious locks. 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.
I use glass jars, personally, 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. Look for 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 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 – they’ll cancel each other out!
Finish with an oil.
Since we’re no longer using conditioner, we should consider another way to incorporate moisture. Oil to the rescue! The choice is up to you and your personal preferences: avocado, coconut, argan, jojoba, almond, apricot… Steer clear of unnatural additives.
Use a natural dry shampoo.
One of the reasons I love washing with castile soap is — 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.
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: because you care! About the environment, and about yourself.
+ All FP Beauty + Wellness here!