For those of you with short attention spans, here's a quick rundown of my routine. If you want the product details, you'll have to keep on keepin' on.
- Cleansing: use a shampoo bar every few days, and co-washing in between
- Conditioner: use a combo of the two conditioners mentioned below, either every other day switching, or use both at the same time. Whichever feels right at the time. I rinse everything out completely.
- Leave-in: apply a small amount of my leave-in until my hair feels slippery
- Gel: scrunch in some Alba Botanica Strong Hold Gel
- Drying: Scrunch with a flour sack towel, then blow dry with a diffuser
Still with me? Ok, here are the fun details...
I was browsing Vitacost.com (btw, if you shop at vitacost through that link, we each get $10 off a purchse of $30!) and found a couple new conditioners I was interested in trying. I was having a tough time narrowing it down, but after tedious ingredient scrutiny, I decided on Acure Organics Argan Stem Cell Conditioner and Avalon Organics Biotin B Complex Conditioner. (Ingredient lists for both are posted at the end, if you're interested)
1: the conditionerI decided on the Avalon because of the biotin. Biotin is a B vitamin which is required for healthy hair, skin, nails, eyes, and liver. Since our hair, skin, and nails are the last to receive nutrients, it's fairly important to get some of this via conditioner for your hair. It's also something I rarely see in the conditioners I've been using, so I thought I'd give it a try in an attempt to battle the brittle ends I've been experiencing. It also has aloe as the first ingredient, which I know my hair loves (although not always in conditioner), followed by a ton of fun oils.
I decided on the Acure Organics because of the argan oil, and the fact that it uses argan stem stem cells. I hear people raving about argan oil all the time, and have yet to try it. A few other ingredients of interest were the glycerin, protein, panthenol, and a few oils and butters. My hair doesn't like glycerin in large quantities, but when it's the ninth ingredient down, it's usually escaped hair-rebellion territory and entered the welcome-slip zone. Usually. I also don't tend to like butters so much, but this was also very (very) low on the list.
2: the shampooThe third new addition to my routine is a shampoo bar. I'm not sure if I mentioned this, but I was having a lot of trouble with limp roots when I was using the lower quality conditioners as co-washes (Suave, Tressemme, etc.). I was sort of in the midst of a hair crisis when I realized that the only thing, pretty much, that I hadn't tried was a shampoo bar. I had heard a lot of curlies talking about how they start off working, but eventually kill your hair, and blah blah blah. But I also heard a lot of low-porosity curlies talking about how much they LOVE their shampoo bars. So I tried it. And I loved it. I'm still not 100% sure that I am going to stick with THIS shampoo bar, but I will continue using shampoo bars. (Currently I'm using a Nettle, Mint, and Goat Milk Bar from The Northwoods Goat on Etsy.) I'm using this every other, or every third day. In between I'm using Yes to Cucumbers as a co-wash. I never liked it as a full on conditioner, but as a co-wash I'm really fond of it. Most of my products are unscented, so my hair rarely smells like anything, but this has a pleasant scent that lingers and keeps my hair smelling fresh on those in between days.
3: the leave-inThe fourth and final new addition to my routine is a leave-in conditioner. I was looking for something to mimic the Infusium-23 stuff I used to use before going silicone/sulfate free. I found something by a company I had never heard of before. Innersense Organic makes a lightweight leave-in called Sweet Spirit. It comes with a spritzer cap, so I thought it would be liquid. It's thicker than I expected, almost the consistency of a lightweight conditioner. I think the spritzer cap keeps me from overdoing it, so I don't end up a looking like an oil factory. In fact, once dry, my hair is nice and soft, not oily at all. I'm super in love with this stuff. At least for summer use, anyway. We'll see how it stands up to Pennsylvania winters.
So, that's that. This has been working for me for months now, so I have high hopes for it. I might have to switch it up and go back to using the Alba Styling Cream instead of gel. But I think this routine is pretty solid.
If you've ever used any of these products or have any shampoo bar recommendations, let me know in the comments section!
Happy Hair Days :)
Avalon Organics Ingredients: Aloe barbadensis leaf juice(1), aqua (water), decyl glucoside, sodium coco-sulfate, coco-glucoside, sorbitol, xanthan gum, avena sativa (oat) kernel extract(1)*, calendula officinalis flower extract(1), chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower extract91), citrus aurantium bergamia (bergamot) fruit extract, daucus carota sativa (carrot) root extract(1)*, persea gratissima (avocado) fruit extract(1)*, rubus idaeus (raspberry) fruit extract91)*, serenoa serrulata fruit extract(1)(2), solanum lycopersicum (tomato) fruit/leaf/stem extract(1)*, styrax benzoin resin extract, tanacetum vulgare extract, canarium luzonicum gum nonvolatiles, cedrus deodara wood oil, cedrus atlantica bark oil, citrus aurantifolia (lime) oil, citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) peel oil, citrus grandis (grapefruit) peel oil, citrus limon (lemon) peel oil, copaifera officinalis (balsam copaiba) resin, coriandrum sativum oil, copaifera officinalis (balsam copaiba) resin, coriandrum sativum (coriander) fruit oil, eucalyptus citriodora oil, eucalyptus globulus leaf oil, ferula galbaniflua (galbanum) resin oil, geranium maculatum oil, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil(1), lavandula angustifolia (lavendr) oil, mentha piperita (peppermint) oil, pogostemon cablin (patchouli) oil, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf oil, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil(1), zingiber officinale (ginger) root oil, babassu oil polyglyceryl-4esters, bisabolol, citric acid, hydrolyzed wheat protein, inulin(1), sodium sulfate, tocopheryl acetate, alcohol(1), benzyl alcohol, potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, limonene, linalool.1) Certified Organic Ingredient2) Saw Palmetto Extract*Known as Biotin carrier.
Acure Organics Ingredients: Organic euterpe oleracea (acai) berry, organic rubus fruticosus (blackberry), organic rosa canina (rosehips), organic punica granatum (pomegranate), organic fair trade certified rooibos, cetearyl alcohol, behentrimonium chloride, stearylkonium chloride, vegetable glycerin, glucono delta lactone (fermented sugar), organic argania spinosa (argan) oil, cetearyl glucoside (from corn and glucose), guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride (guar gum conditioner), glyceryl stearate (vegetable-derived), L-arginine (amino acid), organic fair trade certified theobroma cacao (cocoa) seed butter, sorbitan olivate (from olives + sugar), panthenol (pro-vitamin B5), cellulose (plant derived), d-alpha tocopherol acetate (vitamin E), lactic acid (vegetable derived), hippophae rhamnoides (sea buckthorn) seed oil, organic curcubita pepo (pumpkin) seed oil, ubiquinone (CoQ10), argania spinosa (argan) stem cells, glycerophosphoinositol lysine (from sunflower), prunus dulcis (almond) extract, cinnamomum aromaticum (cassia bark) oil.
Yes to Cucumbers Ingredients: Water, (aqua), cetearyl alcohol, behentrimonium chloride, cetyl esters, passiflora edulis seed oil, cucumis sativus (cucumber) fruit extract, camillia sinensis leaf extract, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, spinacial oleracea (spinach) leaf extract, prunus armeniaca (apricot) fruit extract, glycoproteins, guar gydroxypropyltrimonium chloride, glycerin, fragrance (parfum), trimethylolpropane tricaprylate/tricaprate, potassium benzoate, citric acid, potassium sorbate, phenoxyethanol.