Once I discovered the shocking truth of what goes into most shampoos, I made the switch to natural, plastic-free shampoo. But the journey wasn’t easy. Welcome to the Transition Period.
I had read about the transition period but when I started my natural shampoo journey, I thought I was one of the lucky ones who had got away with it. I used Lush shampoo bars, AA Skincare shampoo bars and Beauty Kubes, all with no transition period.
Then I went on my honeymoon and realised I didn’t have a tin to carry my bars in so I used some travel bottles of chemical shampoo I had found and thought I’d use them up. When I came back and went back to natural shampoo, BAM, that’s when I got hit hard with the transition period.
Luckily, I was hell-bent on reducing my plastic use and the amount of chemicals in my daily routine, so I pushed through and it was totally worth it!
What is the transition period?
Chemical-rich shampoos strip your hair and scalp of its natural oils, causing dryness, and leave chemical residue in your hair. When you switch to a natural shampoo, there can be a period of adjustment while your scalp over-produces oils and tries to regulate itself. This can leave hair looking oily or, as in my case, waxy.
The first time I experienced the transition period, it came as a shock as I had previously been using natural shampoo for a while with no issues. Suddenly, my hair felt thick with a waxy residue. I thought it might be OK once I dried it, but it just didn’t seem to dry. The texture was heavy and waxy and even after double the length of time it normally takes to dry my hair, it still looked wet and felt waxy. In moments like this, you gotta love a plait.
For me, the transition period lasted a couple of months. Some people don’t have it at all, for some it lasts a couple of washes, for others it could be longer. I think mine lasted a long time because I was trying lots of different shampoo bars so I didn't give my hair time to get used to one. And of course everyone’s hair is different so it will vary. But I can promise you it will be worth it!
How to get through it
1. Don’t give up! Please don’t be tempted to go back to chemical shampoos like I did. You will end up having to start all over again. Stick with it and you will be so happy you did once you get through the other side!
2. Try a Baking Soda wash. Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) lifts grease and helps remove product residue. It also unclogs the pores from the synthetic nasties that have been building up and allows them to release natural sebum which protects and moisturises your scalp.
- Add 1 tablespoon of Baking Soda to 2 cups of water and either mix in a spray bottle or jug
- Wet your hair and apply the mixture. Rinse thoroughly.
3. Don’t rub the shampoo bar directly onto your hair. Some of the instructions tell you to do so but I found it better to rub the bar in my hands and then apply to my hair. I would then add a bit of water and repeat.
4. Don’t use too much. When your hair feels waxy, it’s tempting to use more in one go. Less is often more in this case.
5. Shampoo twice. Having said don’t use too much, it can be helpful to rinse and repeat. The second wash creates a better lather and can leave the hair feeling cleaner, softer and shinier. (Now I’m through the transition period, every couple of weeks I still shampoo twice)
6. Apple Cider Vinegar is your friend! I was nervous about this as I didn’t want my hair to smell of vinegar. Once the hair is dry though, turns out it doesn’t smell at all. You may want to start with less and build up. Apply after shampooing as a conditioner. It also helps ensure all the product is washed out and helps restore the natural PH level of the scalp.
- Mix 2-4 tablespoons of ACV to one cup of water and either mix in a spray bottle or jug
- Apply the mixture to wet hair. Leave for a couple of minutes and rinse
- Let it shine!
There are so many benefits to using plastic-free, natural shampoo. You can read the reasons I switched here, including the shocking chemical ingredients found in most supermarket bought shampoos. Obviously a major one for me was reducing plastic use. Apart from all the plastic bottles I’m saving on shampoo, I actually don’t need to wash my hair as much since switching to natural shampoo, and I barely use a separate conditioner as the natural shampoos I use are moisturising. Every couple of washes, I use a natural conditioner like Beauty Kubes or just use an Apple Cider Vinegar rinse as I love the shine it gives. ACV comes in recyclable glass bottles with aluminium lids in most supermarkets and is of course a multi-use product.
My hair is shinier than ever, it looks and feels great, I’m saving water as I don’t have to wash it as much and that in turn saves me time and money. It really is win win.
We have my favourite natural, plastic-free shampoo in stock, check out Beauty Kubes here. I've not yet heard of anyone getting the transition period with Beauty Kubes so you might be able to avoid it all together! A more recent discovery is Awake Organics Natural Shampoo. This is another option where I've not heard of anyone going through the transition period. It's particularly good for colour treated or thinning hair.