Non-toxic healthy hair hacks
Hi babes! I’ve been wanting to write about non-toxic hair care for a while now, so I put together a list of my favorite healthy hair hacks.
My hair horror story
Eight years ago, I made the decision to go off of birth control cold-turkey. I didn’t want to be on pharmaceuticals anymore for health reasons, and at the time I had been on the pill for seven years.
Days after I stopped taking birth control, I had a terrifying experience. My hair started shedding. And, when I say shedding I mean my hair was pretty much falling out.
I lost about a third of my hair. My ponytail looked like it was half the size of what it once was. My boyfriend Justin and I (now husband) had to literally cut my hair out of the Roomba because there was so much of it stuck in the wheel! It was horrible!
In my heart, I knew there was a natural way to grow my hair back. This prompted me to start researching and testing different holistic methods for re-growing hair. Not only did I find out how to grow my hair back, but I figured out how to grow my hair thicker and longer than it ever was before.
This list is comprised of the most natural and simple hair hacks I’ve collected over the years. Be sure to check back for updates since I’m always trying out the latest organic and non-toxic products and learning about holistic natural remedies.
Anyways, here are my top healthy hair tips!
Choose organic and non-toxic hair products
Before we get into anything, I want to stress the importance of using organic and non-toxic hair care products. By choosing organic and non-toxic products, you are actively eliminating your exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals which are typically found in mainstream, commercial hair products.
It’s important to avoid chemicals like parabens, which according to EWG and Senior Scientist Dr.Tasha Stoiber, act like estrogen in the body.
This excess estrogen disrupts the normal function of hormone systems affecting both male and female reproductive system functioning, reproductive development, and fertility. Parabens also contribute to ecological harm, as low levels of butylparaben can kill coral.
Also, be sure to watch out for companies that green-wash and claim to be “non-toxic” by using buzzwords. Many brands these days claim to be “non-toxic” because they are “paraben-free,” but they still contain dangerous ingredients like fragrances.
Fragrances could contain any combination of 3,000-plus chemical ingredients including hormone disruptors and allergens. Fragrance formulas are actually protected under federal law’s classification of trade secrets and therefore can remain undisclosed!
Toxic ingredients to avoid:
- BHA and BHT
- DEA-related ingredients
- Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives
- Parabens (propyl, isopropyl, butyl, isobutyl, DMDM hydantoin)
- Parfum or fragrance
- PEG compounds (polyethylene glycols)
- Sodium laureth sulfate (SLS)
- Coal tar dyes: p-phenylenediamine and colors listed as “CI” followed by a five-digit number
I like to choose products that are 100% certified organic when I can so I know exactly what I’m being exposed to. Not only are organic and non-toxic products safer for you, but they are also safer for the environment! Some of my favorite hair care brands are 100% Pure, Innersense, and Acure.
Use oils to condition
Using organic, cold-pressed plant oils may be one of the most natural and easiest ways to keep your hair healthy. I love using oils on my hair! You can use them as a deep conditioning treatment or to simply add shine and smoothness to your hair.
To deep condition, apply the oil of your choice all over your hair from root to tips and leave on overnight or for a few hours before showering. If you leave your hair up for a few minutes while you shower, the steam from the shower helps to open up the hair follicle, allowing the nutrients to penetrate your hair.
It’s also beneficial to gently massage the oil in your scalp to boost circulation and hair growth.
Some of my favorite oils to use on my hair are castor oil, coconut oil, argan oil, avocado oil, and olive oil. I like to do a deep conditioning treatment with one of these oils at least once per week.
Eat a whole-foods, organic diet
I know this phrase is a little overused, but beauty really does come from the inside out! If you want to grow long and healthy hair you’ll want to make sure you are eating a whole-foods diet full of organic fruits, vegetables, and organic pasture-raised meat.
Some of my favorite superfoods for healthy hair are sweet potatoes, kiwis, wild-caught salmon, avocados, and grass-fed beef.
Key vitamins for hair growth
Vitamin A: Increases sebum (oil) in hair. A deficiency will lead to hair loss.
- Foods to eat: beef liver, oily fish like wild-caught salmon and mackerel, sweet potatoes.
Vitamin B: Biotin, a B vitamin, has been used to regrow hair.
- Foods to eat: Wild-caught salmon, leafy greens, liver and other organ meat, grass-fed beef, oysters, mussels, and clams, sunflower seeds.
Vitamin C: Needed for collagen synthesis, reduces sun damage, and aids in iron absorption.
- Foods to eat: Kakadu plums, acerola cherries, rose hips, chili peppers, thyme, parsley, kale, kiwis, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, lemons, oranges.
Vitamin D: Some forms of hair loss are linked to deficiencies in this vitamin.
- Foods to eat: Wild-caught salmon, herring, sardines, cod-liver oil, tuna, mushrooms
Vitamin E: An antioxidant that some studies have shown to increase hair growth.
- Foods to eat: Sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, avocados, rainbow trout, spinach, butternut squash, kiwi, broccoli, olive oil, shrimp.
Collagen: Your hair’s favorite supplement
Collagen is my favorite supplement for hair growth. The moment I started taking collagen, I noticed a major difference in the thickness and length of my hair.
Here’s a little bit about collagen: Collagen is an amino acid that makes up about 30% of the body’s total protein content. It helps your hair maintain strength and elasticity, and promotes hair growth. It also helps your skin maintain elasticity, thus preventing wrinkles.
As you age, your collagen breaks down by 1% each year after you turn 21. This is why it’s important to take a collagen supplement. Vital Proteins is my favorite collagen brand and they offer a huge range of collagen supplements that you can easily add to water or your smoothies.
Use a wooden brush
This is my new favorite hair hack! By using a wooden brush you will cut down on breakage while massaging acupressure points on your head. The bristles of a wooden brush are porous so they help to distribute your natural oils throughout your hair. They also cut down on that static that we all love so much.
I’m currently obsessed with this wooden brush by Desert Breeze. The handle of the brush is made of pure grown Pearwood from Germany and the rounded wooden pins come from the Hornbeam tree, which is grown in the forests of Italy and Poland.
Sleep on a silk pillowcase
Sleeping on a silk pillowcase will help keep your hair healthy by reducing friction on the hair while you are asleep. Friction caused by regular pillowcases can disrupt the cuticle layer of the hair which causes your hair to become frizzy in the morning. Silk fibers are also less absorbent than other fabrics so it will retain your hair and your skin’s moisture.
Try a bamboo microfiber hair towel
This is another one of my new favorite hair hacks. An organic, bamboo microfiber hair towel will dry your hair without abrasion. When your hair is wet, it’s more prone to breakage. A regular towel can weigh down your hair and cause breakage if your hair gets stuck in the fibers. A microfiber hair towel is lighter weight than a bath towel and it has a super cute button on the outside to fasten it and keep it in place.
Use hair scrunchies
Use scrunchies instead of elastic hair bands to help prevent breakage. Using elastic hair bands can damage and pull on your hair, especially if you wear your hair in the same spot every time you put it up.
I stopped using scrunchies over a year ago and I can already see where my hair has started to grow back—especially around the hairline. Scrunchies are a lot more gentle, and they are super on-trend! Here are some really cute scrunchies by Kitsch.
Take a break from hot tools
We all know how bad it is to continuously heat your hair. Hot tools can cause some serious damage to your hair and lead to split ends, breakage, and dryness.
I have to admit, I am totally guilty of using my curling iron way too much, especially because my hair is stick straight. It’s so tempting to style my hair with hot tools, tease, and go overboard on the hair spray. Why do we always want the opposite of what we have?
If you are really serious about growing your hair out and increasing thickness, I would highly recommend avoiding hot tools. If you can’t avoid hot tools, be sure to always use a heat protectant spray. You can also just give your hair a break for a while—-t’s time to embrace your natural hair!
I love a super boho look, so lately I’ve been braiding my hair before bed, and taking it out in the morning to get that beachy-wavy look. This method is so much easier than using a curling iron and it’s so much healthier for your hair. Just make sure your hair is damp and not wet or your hair won’t dry overnight.
For a soft, loose wave you could try these soft overnight rollers. I’ve used these several times and they create a nice big, loose curl.
I hope you liked these healthy hair hacks! Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.
Want to learn more about non-toxic beauty? Check out my other natural beauty tips here.