Does an all-natural hair care routine really work?
The insufferable dilemma of having to choose between your friends and your strands
Much like a day-old helping of French fries, my hair is lifeless and dry. It’s high on frizz and low in self-esteem. If left unattended, the ends make you feel like a child of divorce, like you’re the reason they split.
Born to a mother with rope-thick, poker-straight hair, all my curly hair tips came from my now-bald father. So never learning the proper technique to care for them, I chemically straightened my curls into oblivion. Five times. But not before I went through enough conditioner to restore moisture to a small desert.
In an attempt to correct the damage and repent for my tryst with chemicals, I adopted an ‘all-natural’ hair care routine, renouncing not only parabens and sulphates but anything I couldn’t pronounce on the back of a bottle.
First came the cold-pressed coconut oil. The next step was getting something to wash it out with. I found a company that sold shikakai in dry, powder form in a brown bag. No conditioner. Even less waste. I couldn’t bear to give up my Moroccan oil serum, which I use till date. While the oil worked great, it was too thick and in the process of trying to wash it out, the shikakai dried my hair even further. Though, it did leave a natural shine and reduced hair fall almost immediately.
After the success of my first natural experiment, I was on an organic high. No, not what you’re thinking. The same company makes a protein hair pack with a bunch of powerful ingredients, but the standout has to be methi. Mixing the concoction with yoghurt and honey and then washing it out with shikakai proved to be so effective, it was the first time my parlour didi didn’t shame me into paying for a hair spa.
But nothing brings you down to earth like your brother announcing that you smell like garam masala when it hits hot oil. I couldn’t enter a room without people complaining of the overpowering odour. An all-natural hair care routine requires some sacrifice. and a thick skin.
A quick Google search assured me that bananas, eggs, mayonnaise, avocados and yoghurt would all give me similar results. Avocados pumped up my hair but drained my finances, and I learnt that washing raw eggs from your hair with hot water may cause them to scramble in real-time.
I even tried brigandhi oil, lighter than coconut oil and less comedogenic. While the results were nothing close to what my methi pack had provided, my friends, boyfriend and distant relatives finally took me back.
Things were coasting along smoothly, until the morning I woke up with swollen eyes. Turns out, I’d become mildly allergic to the shikakai. That was no longer an option.
While I still hope to strike gold with the winning product/pantry routine that will rescue my hair so that Prince Charming can comfortably climb into my tower without the overwhelming smell of methi, I have managed to find a routine for now.
For those warm summer months when there are more strands in the drain than on my head, mayonnaise or avocado work great for hair and also for stress eating through the hair loss. Brigandhi oil locked in overnight or as a preventive remedy before swimming, followed by shampoo from either Biotique or Kama Ayurveda. I’ve also invested in macadamia nut conditioner, which costs more than vital organs on the black market but is worth it.
The routine does change according to seasons… and the price of avocados. I know you’re supposed to love the hair you have and this is how I’m learning to. We had a rough patch with the chemicals in the past but I’m trying not to put it through that again. But until it learns how to behave in all climates, a healthy dose of condiments may be in order.