Surviving The Transition to Natural Shampoo and Conditioner

Posted by Caitlyn Bruszewski on

switching to natural shampoo: what to expect when your hair is detoxing

If you’re reading this, then you’ve decided to take the plunge into natural hair care. I know it can be daunting to change your beauty products, especially if you’ve used the same products for years. Once you make the change, however, you’ll wish you’d done it years ago!

Why you should make the switch

The most obvious benefit of natural shampoo is that you know exactly what you’re exposing yourself and your family to. Conventional shampoos ingredients can help your hair get rid of ‘dirt’, but they also strip your hair and scalp of natural oils. While you don’t want to walk around with greasy hair, retaining some of your skin’s natural oil can prevent dryness, which can leave your scalp itchy and your hair rough.

What ingredients you should look for

Remember, the shorter the ingredient list the better! Look for products that are free of parabens and phthalates, especially as innovation in natural preservatives and fragrances has eliminated the need for those ingredients.

There are two kinds of foaming agents that can be used to create a lather: those that are naturally derived and those that are simply chemicals. Conventional shampoos typically use chemical foaming agents called sulfates to create a bigger lather. I love bubbles as much as the next girl, but the chemicals are not worth it! Sulfates are one of the biggest proponents of stripping your hair of natural oils. 

What to expect from your natural shampoo

The most noticeable difference between your conventional shampoo and natural shampoo is that it doesn't lather as much since it doesn't contain the chemical foaming agents. This doesn't mean your hair isn't getting cleaned or that you need to use more shampoo. Your shampoo doesn't need to be sudsy to work!

Here's what will happen to your hair

During the detox process, your hair and scalp will be shedding itself of the build-up from all of the products you have used. Your hair will let go of all of the plastic, -cones, and toxic chemicals that have built up over time. Gross, right?

Everyone’s hair is different and the type of damage can vary, but there are three basic detox responses. You may be lucky and only experience one symptom. Or you might be unlucky and experience all three of them over the course of your detox. Just know that it is normal and part of the process while your scalp and hair readjust and regulate the oil production cycle.

  • Your hair feels sticky, heavy, matted, and/or tangled - This is the most common of the detox symptoms. When your hair and scalp release all of the chemical build-up, the plastics from your previous hair care products stick to anything they can touch, including your hair.
  • Your hair and scalp feel extremely oil - If you have oily hair, it’s because your scalp is used to being stripped of its oils constantly and is overproducing oil to compensate. Once your scalp readjusts the oil output, this will go away. If you use a shampoo with sulfates in it during your detox, you can shock your scalp and will have to go through the entire detox process again.
  • Your hair feels dry, rough, and brittle - If you have used conventional hair dyes, hair straightening products, sulfate shampoos, etc., then this damage will rear its ugly head during the detox process. As you start shedding the silicones from your hair, you will see the true nature of the damage that has been done to your hair. Adding a brushing routine in the evening will help spread the natural oil that your scalp produces to condition your hair.

You can speed up the process

If you can’t stand the detox period, there are a few things you can do to boost your recovery time and give your hair a healthy, natural head start.

  • DietYour diet can greatly affect your hair and scalp. Focus on eating natural foods that are loaded with vitamins like Biotin, which can be found in foods like egg yolks, almonds, sweet potatoes and mushrooms! Skip the junk food and you’ll begin to see a difference in your hair, skin, and mood.
  • Hair VitaminsYou can also take daily vitamin supplements that are designed to support hair health. You can get Biotin anywhere that you buy vitamins.
  • Get a HaircutA haircut or a trim can help a lot when going through a detox. By removing the brittle and damaged ends, you are shortening the recovery time and allowing the shampoo to focus on the healthier parts of your hair.

Once you start to use natural shampoos and conditioners, your hair will go through a period of time that may feel endless. For some, it may be enough of a reason to grab their favorite store-bought products from their cabinet. DON’T DO IT.

Switching to a natural hair care routine is a great move, both for your hair and the planet. It won’t be a smooth ride, though. The beginning of a hair detox can be frustrating, but this phase is only temporary. In the end, it will all be worth it, and you will have healthier hair and a new eco-conscious outlook!




All information on Island Blu Studio’s Blog is meant for educational and informational purposes only. The statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products and/or information are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease. Readers are advised to do their own research and make decisions in partnership with their health care provider. If you are pregnant, nursing, have a medical condition or are taking any medication, please consult your physician.

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