6 natural, chemical-free shampoos for your hair

If you’ve met me, you’ve most likely seen my hair pulled back in a messy bun. Sometimes I just wish I could let my long, cascading locks flow. Like most women, I’m prone to bad hair days. But unlike a lot of women, I never really take much care of my hair. As a college girl I had indulged in the crazy fads of neon highlights and chemically straightened hair and those had taken their toll on my thick head of hair. My thinning hair started to give way to a receding hairline a few years ago. There is also the hypothyroid to blame. This obviously led me to evaluating the hair products I use – shampoo mainly.

Regular, commercially available shampoos are often laden with chemicals. Some are not a cause for much concern, but others are extremely harsh, corrosive, and have even been linked to certain types of cancers. Among these chemicals are sulfates, parabens, propylene and butylene glycols, petroleum, PEGs, TEA, DEA, NPE, phthalates, silicone, pesticide, artificial dye and fragrance.

A year ago, I decided to switch from regular commercial shampoos to using completely organic or natural ones. These shampoos are free of parabens and sulphates. This means that there is also no SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulphate) thereby making the shampoos hard to lather but it does the job anyway. The thing most people forget is that it’s not necessary for hair to feel squeaky clean and washed because that’s usually when you’re stripping your hair of precious moisture and oils.

I knew I wanted to make the shift to using environmentally sustainable products but I did try out various forms of shampoo before I was entirely convinced about the right product for me. I can now safely say that I’ve identified the best few available in the Indian market. I strongly advise that you go au naturel. Here’s a list for you:

  1. Neev Olive Neem - Rs 120 for 100ml – This shampoo does not really lather too well so a lot of you might dismiss it on reading this or after the first try. Try and not do that, use it a few times and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. It smells great despite what the name might suggest. For those of you who workout everyday, this is a great light shampoo to rinse your hair with everyday.

  1. Rustic Art Organic Shampoo – Rs 290 for 200 ml – These shampoos are USDA organic and come in a range of 5 – Herbal, Aloe, Rose, Men’s shampoo and shampoo for coloured hair. I have tried the Herbal, the Aloe and the Rose. I found that the Herbal is good for oily hair, Aloe for dry hair and Rose for combination hair. For medium length hair, a bottle should easily last around 3 months.

  1. Mitti Se (erstwhile Nirvaaha) Intensive Hair Therapy Shampoo – Rs 195 for 100 ml

This one is shampoo in a powder form, something I’m sure you will all be curious about but only some of you will be adventurous enough to try. This product is truly therapeutic for your hair. A spoonful of the powder, boiled in some water, or simply mixed into room temperature water and left to soak for 10 minutes, results in a soapy liquid that can be then used just like shampoo. And guess what? You can even work this one up into a good lather. If you’re not lazy or forgetful like me, this one is just what your locks need.

  1. Burst of Happyness Shampoo Bar – Rs 210 for 100 gms

Less crazy than powder shampoo and yet not as conventional as liquid shampoo, the shampoo bar has come to be my chosen form of shampoo. The combination of beer and aloe works extremely well for my oily scalp-dry hair combination. It leaves my hair smelling great too and it’s practically no effort to take it and rub it round and round on my head. Yes, that’s how you use it. This one also comes in two other variants – Henna and Coconut Milk depending on your hair type. This product is a must try.

5) Soaps by Sangi Shampoo Bar – Rs 200 for 100gms

While on the topic of Shampoo bars, we cannot ignore a mention to Soaps by Sangi – Sangi’s shampoo bars are just as awesome, I can definitely speak for the Beer and Coconut Milk one which I have used. Go on, email her and order some of her other variants, and maybe you can review them for us too. ☺

  1. Forest Essentials 775 for 200 ml

In case you’re wondering, I’m not one of those who is entirely against commercial, store-bought products. Infact I’m hoping that each of the brands we retail on our website, one day grows huge enough to have a chain of stores in their own city. (I do try to propagate local consumption as much as possible.) Expensive but completely free of chemicals, the Forest Essentials Mashobra honey and vanilla shampoo makes it to my list purely because of how light it feels on your hair. If this one is anything to go by, I’m sure the rest of the flavours would make the cut too.

I’m advocating sustainability and given that, the best thing I could use is the good old baking soda and lime recipe but I’m yet to get around to that. I haven’t lost my vanity enough to not care about the sweet smell of shampoo. Yes, you’ll sometimes find me sniffing my own hair. If you’re ready to give it a go, our guest blogger Gauri tells you how, here.

All of the shampoos mentioned here condition your hair too but for people with those extra needs, my next post, on hair conditioners, is coming soon!


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