Clean haircare that works as well as conventional products has been THE hardest thing to come by for me. I’ve tried everything from homemade shampoo (which was super drying; I really wouldn’t recommend if you have long or color treated hair!) to a myriad of indie brands that didn’t feel like they really cleaned my hair. I eventually just kinda gave up and started washing my hair with a shampoo bar without conditioner. My hair was constantly snarled and matted, but I didn’t know what else to try.
A few weeks ago, I had finally had enough, so I decided to do a LOT of research on what clean + cruelty free products would actually work as well as the mainstream products I used to use. Here’s what I learned:
1 | Avoid products with silicones, sulfates, and parabens.
These are kinda like the top three bad things usually found in haircare products in my opinion. Silicones make your hair look shiny smooth, but over time, they weigh down your hair and cause scalp buildup! Sulfates are cleansing agents used to strip dirt and oil from your hair, but in doing so they actually can clean your hair too much, leaving it dry and irritating your scalp. Parabens are just all-around bad news; they have been linked to hair loss, fading hair color, scalp irritation, and even hormone disruption!
2 | Your scalp needs care and exfoliation just like your face!
Your scalp is skin after all, so it needs gentle cleansing and exfoliation just like your face to stay healthy and free of issues. Over or under cleansing your scalp can lead to clogged hair follicles (which leads to slower hair growth or even hair loss), breakouts (yes, your scalp can breakout just like your face!), or dermatitis (aka scaly patches/dandruff).
3 | Using products with naturally-derived ingredients is best.
Naturally-derived ingredients can have less of a chance of causing irritation to both your body and the environment. Since things like shampoos and conditioners get washed down the drain, keeping in mind the ingredients in the products can help lessen the environmental impact!
Armed with this information, I then looked at what my chief complaints are when it comes to my hair:
- Frizz/Lack of Shine
- Scalp Irritation/Dermatitis
- Split Ends/Breakage
- Difficulty Brushing/Combing
I decided I definitely needed an exfoliating shampoo, moisturizing conditioner, leave-in conditioner, and hair mask. I started researching products at Sephora (since they have a great clean beauty selection and I’m a rewards member!) and I found a brand called Briogeo.
I had used one of Briogeo’s products when I was in college, and I really loved it, but forgot to buy a refill once I ran out! I just forgot about the brand amongst all of the moving, job changes, and more that have happened these past few years. I was so excited to try their products again, and found an arsenal of items to combat all of my hair issues! Here’s what I got:
- Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-Exfoliating Scalp Scrub Shampoo
- Don’t Despair, Repair! Super Moisture Conditioner for Dry + Damaged Hair
- Scalp Revival Charcoal + Tea Tree Cooling Hydration Mask for Dry, Itchy Scalp
- Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Hair Mask
- Don’t Despair, Repair! Strength + Moisture Leave In Spray Hair Mask
- Scalp Revival Charcoal + Tea Tree Scalp Treatment Serum
- Farewell Frizz Blow Dry Perfection Heat Protectant Cream
From the very first time I used the shampoo, conditioner, mask, and other products, I felt like my hair instantly changed. My natural wavy/curly texture was definitely a lot less frizzy (see the before and after below!), and my scalp felt refreshed and renewed. The scalp hydration mask and scalp serum in particular reduced my dermatitis significantly, and the scrub felt like it got rid of a lot of the buildup. I don’t often use heat styling tools on my hair, but I did try blow drying after I applied the heat protectant cream, and it made my hair sooo much more manageable in terms of frizz! The leave-in hair mask felt like it helped with my tangles, and my hair stayed more tangle-free throughout the day, too.
Here’s my order of application:
1 | Hop in the shower and wet hair with warm (not super hot) water, then grab a handful of shampoo (about the size of a ping pong ball for my below-the-bra-strap length hair). Gently distribute throughout your scalp, focusing on any areas of buildup, and scrub for several seconds before rinsing.
2 | Apply the conditioner focusing on the ends first, then lightly distributing any extra to your roots. I used about a quarter-size amount (or two!) and leave it on for a few minutes before rinsing to get a deep-condition.
3 | Apply a quarter-size amount of hair mask to your ends, reserving a little for your roots, and leave on until the very end of your shower before rinsing. If you really want a deeper effect, cover your hair with a plastic shower cap and let the warm water run over it! If you want to treat your scalp too, this is a great time to apply a small amount of the scalp mask! I usually apply it just around the perimeter of my hairline and scalp, as well as behind my ears, as that’s where I have the most irritation, but you can apply it anywhere your scalp needs it. I usually apply after the deep conditioner mask so I don’t rub off the scalp mask.
4 | After towel-drying your hair gently (never rubbing!), spray in a few pumps of the leave-in mask and gently comb through. I like to start at the bottom of my hair and work my way up the length to reduce tearing.
5 | Take the dropper from the scalp treatment serum and place a few drops around your scalp, focusing on any problem areas, and gently massage in with your fingertips.
6 | Rub about a dime size of the heat protectant cream into your hands, then distribute throughout your hair, focusing on the ends, then style as desired.
All in all, I definitely upped my haircare routine from no-maintenance to medium-maintenance. I wouldn’t quite consider this routine high-maintenance because all of the products are really easy to use, and work whether you choose to style your hair or let it be natural. Yes, there are a lot of steps and products involved, but I think it’s still a doable routine for everyday that provides well-worth-it results!
Would you try this haircare routine? Follow me on Instagram for more beauty tips and tricks, and check out my other beauty blog posts!