'Raw Beauty': All About Hair Care
The fourth chapter of our “Raw Beauty” series, is all about hair care. London-based make-up artist, session stylist, and green beauty maven Khandiz Joni shares her wisdom on how to make the switch to natural and healthy hair products, and recommends her favourite shampoos, conditioners, treatments, and styling products. And we have a special treat for you: Organic haircare brand Tabitha James Kraan offers a special 10% discount to all our readers by using the code: KHANDIZ10!
Chapter Four, All About Hair Care by Khandiz Joni:
Much like our skin, our hair provides us with telltale signs of our internal goings on and can highlight our health situation. However, hair holds on to these indicators longer than our skin might. In fact, the only thing our hair cannot tell us is our gender.
In my honest opinion, switching to clean hair care is the hardest of swap outs because we have become so conditioned to our hair looking and behaving in a certain way. As it turns out, that super silky soft hair – as incredible as it is – is not what our hair is meant to do naturally. So essentially we are undoing years of false promises by clever marketing campaigns.
The truth is that we have been over washing, over straightening and over processing our hair for years. We are starting to see a backlash and it’s glorious. Fashion is dictating that natural hair is beautiful, the fro is in vogue (and long may it stay), blondes are warming up to honey-colors rather than the stripped-to-death platinum we saw earlier in this decade. These are all wonderful movements in the right direction if you want to clean up your hair-act.
The key to making a long-term switch is by starting slowly. Now, I know some of you might balk in horror when I say this, because despite being a staunch advocate of the clean beauty movement, I have come to learn on this journey that in order to really clean up your bathroom shelves, you need to do it systematically – and that means, that sometimes, we need to level up, so to speak. I preface this piece by saying this because we decided to include a couple of products that might not be purest on the market BUT are useful stepping stones to finding a hair care routine that provides you with a look and feel that you are comfortable with, free from the most harmful ingredients. Synthetically derived ingredients in rinse off products are the lesser of two evils. I have noted these products with an *.
Rahua – Shampoo
John Masters – Scalp Spearmint and Meadowsweet Scalp Stimulating Shampoo
NOAH – Regenerating Argan Shampoo *
NOAH – YAL Rehydrating and Restorative Treatment Shampoo *
Tabitha James Kraan – Hair Cleanser in Golden Citrus
TIPS FOR CHOOSING THE RIGHT SHAMPOO:
Shampoo today is a far cry from its roots. Originally from the Hindu word; chāmpo, meaning to massage. Today shampoo is less about nurturing our hair’s natural rhythms and more about stripping the hair of its natural oils. Some purists even go so far as to not wash their hair at all!
If you did wish to go completely shampoo-free, Imelda Burke’s book “The Nature of Beauty” suggest the following method: Mix a tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda and water into a paste and apply to the roots only. Leave it to sit for a minute before rinsing out. Follow this with a rinse of apple cider vinegar and water mix (2 tablespoons of each) to the ends of your hair. Leave for a couple of minutes and rinse out.
While I commend the commitment, I, personally have not been able to go that far, what, with living in pollution filled London. If you, like me, aren’t quite ready to give up the idea of hair cleansing, keep reading.
It’s important to choose a shampoo that suits your hair and scalp needs. Remember that shampoo is only really needed at the roots, so don’t over wash your hair. Also, wash your hair less often. If you find that your roots are getting oily, try a dry shampoo in-between washes instead. The only time it is recommended to wash your hair daily is if you have an excessively oily scalp or sweat a lot when you exercise. Over washing actually does more damage than good. We are perfectly designed beings, and the natural oils (sebum) we produce are designed to keep your hair healthy. It’s modern lifestyles that leave us with lack-luster hair. Brands like Tabitha James Kraan offer a different perspective – avoiding the word shampoo altogether and rather focusing on cleansing the hair. John Master’s provides a more traditional texture, but formulations are free from SLS’s and are therefore effective, low-foam alternatives to conventional shampoos.
INGREDIENTS TO LOOK OUT FOR:
SLS’s (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate): Gives shampoo its foaming property. It also acts as a wetting agent and can be “naturally” derived from the manipulation of coconut oil (Sodium Coceth Sulfate).
PEG’s Silicones that can become contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which is a known carcinogen.
Propylene glycol: An organic alcohol used as a humectant, wetting agent and product stabilizer. Has been linked to a number of allergic reactions.
Parfum: Synthetic fragrances, as you will know by now are a cause for concern, not because they are necessarily all toxic, but because due to “secrecy” laws, you have no way of finding out what is in the formulation.
TIPS FOR CHOOSING THE RIGHT CONDITIONER:
If you live in an area with hard water, you will know all too well that no amount of natural oils will be enough to counteract the feeling of unconditioned hair. It’s ok, I get it. You can still have happy, healthy, soft hair achieved with clean ingredients. Clean brands will substitute the cheaply derived silicones, ammonium compounds and fatty alcohols with nut butter, plant oils, and naturally occurring proteins. John Masters Organics uses naturally occurring fats such as avocado to deeply nourish hair, leaving it feeling it softer and in better condition.
While shampoo is recommended for your roots, conditioner is only needed for the mid-length and ends of hair. Using highly emollient products at the roots just leaves you with greasy hair and you can easily fall back into the habit of washing too regularly.
Senior stylist, Ashleigh from Glasshouse Salon recommends doing a strand test to determine what your hairs requirements are: Pick up a few strands of damp hair (about 10) from just below your parting at the top of your head. Wrapping the strands around your finger, firmly but gently, stretch the strands near roots, mid-lengths and then ends.
If your hair strands stretch and return, your hair is in pretty good condition, which means that the ratio of protein to moister is in good order.
Stretch and no return means that your hair is lacking in protein. This is common in over processed or coloured hair.
If your hair doesn’t stretch, it is lacking in moisture. This is common in courser hair.
Ashleigh says that most people think that if their hair is dry, they need to add moisture, but this is not usually the case. Most hair lacks protein. Our hair is made up of 83 – 87% protein and the rest of the hair is moisture.
INGREDIENTS TO LOOK OUT FOR:
Silicones: They make hair feel silky and shiny. In reality, silicone simply coats the hair shaft but provides no nourishment or benefit. In fact, it actually dries hair out so we need to keep applying more to keep the hair looking good. Much like Vaseline on the lips!
There is no denying that our hair sometimes needs a little extra TLC. Treatments are an excellent way to reinvigorate hair. Think of shampooing and conditioning like parents. Consistent and practical, and treatments are more like grandparents that really spoil us… but if we saw them too often risked making us entitled and a little chubby.
Plant oils are an excellent way to help hair regain shine. Contrary to what you might think about an oil making hair oily, when used correctly, it absorbs into the hair leaving no oily residue. Sunflower and argan oils are excellent for hair.
Rahua Omega 9 Hair Mask – which was recently featured in Psychologies Magazine as one of the best treatments on the market by 23 independent experts – is great to strengthen and rejuvenate dull, damaged hair.
I adore Less is More Rose oil, not only for its hair benefits but also for its gorgeous smell.
Arganic’s Argan Oil is the best on the market. If you haven’t heard about the benefits of argan oil, where have you been hiding? This beauty oil is a multitasking oil for skin and hair – and contains NOTHING but organically, ethically sourced argan oil.
INGREDIENTS TO LOOK OUT FOR:
Synthetic protein – Too much synthetic protein can have the opposite effect and can actually make hair feel brittle.
Kevin Murphy – Texture Master *
Kevin Murphy – Powder Puff *
Less is More – Honeywax
Less is More – Lindengloss Finishing Spray
Less is More – Thyme Lacque
Rahua – Defining Hair Spray
Tabitha James Kraan – Dry Shampoo
Bouclème – Curl Cream
Bouclème – Curl Gel
Rahua – Cream Wax
Naturally, without harsh, synthetically produced chemicals to manipulate the hair, clean styling products don’t offer the same hold, however that doesn’t mean they don’t do an excellent job! Going clean does mean shifting your expectations a little. So while the hold might not offer that stand-to-attention kind of look provided by conventional aerosol hair sprays for instance, they absolutely do what they need to do. And more. The difference with “clean" styling products is that they actually nourish the hair while doing what they are meant to do.
Honey and beeswax are excellent ingredients for your clean styling products: for their ability to give structure to the hair, not to mention retain moisture and nourish the hair. I mention honey and beeswax because of the upsurge in veganism for environmental reasons, and would really like to highlight the importance of sustainably sourced honey and beeswax. The key word there is SUSTAINABLY because this means that bees are nurtured and looked after by expert beekeepers. They are also fundamental to our very survival. These wonderful little insects are responsible for pollinating up to 70% of our food source, not to mention the flowers we all love to have in our homes. So before you overlook brands that include honey and beeswax, rather consider looking for certifications from independent certifiers such as Soil Associate, ECO-Cert, USDA, COSMEBIO and BDIH to ensure that the ingredients have been sourced ethically.
Aloe Vera is another wonderful ingredient used as a gel base. It also soothes the scalp.
Hands down one of my personal favorite clean brands for session styling products is Less is More. I pretty much love the entire range. Their Thyme Lacquer hairspray has the most delicious scent. It’s one of those products that whenever I use it on my clients, they ask me what it is. It also brushes out easily and offers excellent hold for a natural hairspray.
Bouclème is my go-to brand for curls. I have naturally curly hair, which, with the hard London water just looks like a dead spider most of the time, but this brand really restores my curls. They also do a shampoo, conditioner, and treatment that I can highly recommend for all you curly girls and boys out there.
Tabitha James Kraans approach to hair care is refreshing. I love their clever non-aerosol dry shampoo in its sexy, gold packaging. It’s the perfect size to pop indoor hand bag for on the go touchups. They do one for light hair and one for dark hair. Great for in-between days when roots are a little greasy but I love it to had some extra oomph to hair. I apply it before blow drying to give it a little extra lived-in texture.
Rahua’s Cream Wax is a staple in my men’s grooming kit. When I want to create structured, shaped styles that don’t leave the hair looking like it’s slathered in brill cream! When I want that look, Less is More Honeywax is a winner.
You might have noticed, that throughout the series, we have chosen to photograph products in various stages of use… This was done intentionally; to subtly remind us all, that product is there to be used. Buy what suits you, use it until it’s finished. We know how expensive trial and error can be - I always suggest trying out sample products before you commit.
A special treat for you: Tabitha James Kraan offers a special 10% discount on your first order to all readers of The Lissome by using the code: KHANDIZ10.
We’d love to hear from you!
Do you have any questions about haircare that haven’t been answered yet or do you have any recommendations that you would you like to share? Please leave your comments below: