Having studied Ecological Sciences at Edinburgh University, I am a shoo in for ethical living and I believe passionately in living in a way that is kinder to the planet. However, the possible benefits to my health as a result of living more ethically only became evident when I started using shampoo free from parabens and artificial ingredients.
I have suffered from eczema since I was a baby and since I was 12, the eczema has been focused on my hands. To be utterly frank, it has dramatically affected my life. The hand eczema left me feeling self conscious of the appearance of my hands and the skin was wrinkly and thin. More so than anything else, it actually meant that I couldn't use my hands very well. My hands would itch and crack when I bent my fingers. It sounds dramatic but it was truly awful!
After almost ten years of suffering from eczema on my hands, I had all but accepted that this would be something that would impact me for the rest of my life. I was keen to try alternatives to the steroid creams, which thinned my skin, and the water based creams, which seemed to make me itchier. One thing I did notice was how itchy I felt when I washed my hair and washed dishes. I switched to using rubber gloves and I looked at using natural shampoo.
1. Jason Moisturising 84% Aloe Vera Shampoo (£6.49 for 473ml)
The first shampoo I used was the Jason Moisturising 84% Aloe Vera Shampoo. Now, I am no doctor and I am not saying that this is a cure but, for me, as soon as I started using this shampoo, the irritation that I felt to the open cuts on my hands was decreased. It has been a gradual process and I definitely think that there are other factors which inflame my eczema but using natural hair products has improved my symptoms and I am happy to say that it is now restricted to small patches on the palms of my hand.
This shampoo is such great value; you get a huge bottle for your money. This specific type, along with the Lavender Volumising Shampoo, is great for my hair, which is uncoloured, long, straight and fine with a tendency to be greasy at the roots and dry at the ends. The Long & Strong Jojoba Shampoo and the Super Shine Apricot Shampoo tend to be too rich for my hair and I feel like they leave a coating of heaviness so it is worth having a good look at all the different types.
The benefits of natural shampoo isn't restricted to the Jason either, for me. I have tried lots of different paraben-free and artificial ingredient free hair products and I have found that they do not irritate my skin (although, I have found anything overly acidic can cause smarting). Here are another two which I am using right now:
2. Green People Quinoa & Artichoke Shampoo (£14.95 for 200ml)
A friend of mine, who luckily enough has exactly the same texture of hair as mine, recommended Green People Quinoa & Artichoke Shampoo. This is fast becoming a favourite. Despite the unexpected ingredients (quinoa and artichoke?!), whatever they are doing is working well! The lack of lather is often a complaint of natural shampoos. The sodium lauryl sulphate and sodium laureth sulphate found in conventional shampoos are what make the shampoo lather (and can also irritate sensitive skin) and so if this is missing, that feeling of the lathering cleaning the hair is absent. My favourite feature of this shampoo is that despite the lack of lathering agents, it lathers really nicely. It leaves my hair feeling light, super soft and shiny. The instructions recommend using a small amount and I completely agree. The small amount that suffices also justifies the higher price.
3. Odylique Tea Tree & Herb Shampoo (£12 for 200ml)
This pioneering brand created the UK's first genuine organic shampoo, certified by the Soil Association in 2004. The first thing I would say about my third shampoo is that it does not lather as nicely as the other two so if this is something that influences how clean your hair feels, then I would not recommend the Odylique Tea Tree & Herb Shampoo. However, if you train yourself out of this mindset and take the time to gently massage your scalp with this shampoo then you will love the aroma and the way it soothes sensitive skin.
Do you have any recommendations for natural shampoo? Let me know in the comments below.
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