I have been using volumizing shampoo and conditioner ever since I was a teenager and started to care about my appearance. I have generally preferred to always keep long hair (let's just forget that failed pixie cut experiment in 11th grade....) or a bob, and in both cases my hair needs VOLUME. I have a thick density of fine strands on my head and they are all straight as a stick.
So when I have used anything other than volumizing products, my hair is flat and lifeless. The longer your hair, the heavier it is and the harder for it to have bounce, body, and volume.
I have avoided conventional haircare products for about a decade now. I banished parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, formaldehyde, and other common harmful ingredients in the products I use on my body before I ever cleaned up my diet.
Sometimes I feel like Billy Joel wrote I Go To Extremes just for me:
"Darling I don't know why I go to extremes
Too high or too low there ain't no in-betweens"
Because when I ditched harmful conventional hair care, I went to the other extreme: no 'poo.
No, not poop. Shampoo.
I lied to myself for years about how well it was working for me. The harsh truth is that I looked unkempt and poorly groomed during that era. My hair was dull, got greasy quickly, and probably never really looked all that clean.
As a result, I wore my hair up in a ponytail or bun most of the time.
I should have given up after a few months, but I am nothing if not stubborn. My husband likes to call me a stubborn ox ;-)
Here are a few rare photos of me with my hair down during that era so you can see what I mean about my hair looking dull and unkempt (click to enlarge). You may say "well, she doesn't look awful!" but when you compare to today you can see the big difference.
These are a HUGE difference compared to now....just look at how shiny, healthy, and happy my hair looks! Also watch the video below and look at around 4:40 to see how shiny my hair is.
After about 4 years (seriously, I stuck out no 'poo that long) I finally caved and started trying non-toxic shampoos and conditioners. They were such a huge step up from the no 'poo method that I was absolutely thrilled with the results.
A Few Non-Toxic Hair Care Brands I've Used
Griffin Remedy Daily Shampoo and Glossing Conditioner were my first shampoo and conditioner purchase after I ditched this mainstream volumizing brand I had been using (that link goes to the EWG Skin Deep Database so you can see how harmful the ingredients are).
Going from spending pennies on my haircare with baking soda and raw apple cider vinegar to these products gave me some sticker shock for sure, but I was so happy to feel like a normal woman with a normal modern hair hygiene routine that I didn't care.
Note that I never used the Griffin Remedy volumizing products because they are not gluten-free (barley). I only avoid gluten in hair and skincare products that I have a high risk of accidentally ingesting. I actually have an anti-aging face mask and toner that I love that use rye extract.
Remember: even if an ingredient causes you digestive upset or other health problems when you eat it does NOT mean it's not potentially a great ingredient for your hair or skin care. I react poorly to a number of 100% Pure's products that have food-based ingredients that I eat all the time without negative consequences. The reverse is also true - I don't eat castor or meadowfoam oils but they are great on my skin!
Always spot test new products, no matter what the ingredients are!
And I was fine with the results. I think Acure is a great brand and have no reason to not recommend them as an option to explore when cleaning up your products. I had to wash my hair every other day with their products and never felt like I actually got any extra volume from them. I did have to buy new bottles about once every other month, sometimes every 3 months. I've heard from other women, though, that they can go 2-3 days between washes using their products - we are all unique!
Beautycounter Volume & Shape Collection
I was introduced to Beautycounter years ago but didn't join the company as a consultant until 2016. A big reason why I joined is because their #1 priority is to produce SAFE products based on evidence in the scientific literature about ingredients. After safety comes high performance. THAT is something that is missing in so many natural, non-toxic brands.
Baking soda and raw apple cider vinegar are natural and non-toxic but perform awfully for me as haircare. I know some people truly thrive using them, but they did NOT work for me.
Once Beautycounter introduced their Volume & Shape shampoo and conditioner in 2017 I decided to give them a try. I admit I had sticker shock at first, but hear this: I've been using them since Oct 2017 and am actually still using the original bottles 6+ months later! I expect them to last me 7 full months - crazy!
The products are concentrated so I use less to get my hair clean and conditioned, and my hair has adjusted to them so that I only need to wash every 3rd or 4th day.
I'm saving money on my haircare by using these products since they last so incredibly long. And it is a joy to not need to wash my hair every other dang day since it's a hassle the longer your hair is (I hate using a hair dryer, just sayin').
NOTE: I have not used the Volume & Shape Mist because it contains gluten (wheat), as explained above.
Real Volume From Non-Toxic Haircare
Y'all....I was absolutely blown away when I saw the results from these products. CRAZY. VOLUME.
My hair had bounce, lift, and I could actually work it with just my fingers to make it BIG. And FLUFFY. With so much BOUNCE and BODY. Just LOOK!
Let's go back to 1994 and talk about how popular big waves in the hair were. Back then I would apply mousse and hair spray each morning to achieve a wave like that, and, ahem, it didn't look anywhere near as good as my hair does now without ANY styling products in it.
Go ahead, laugh at 5th grade me...(sorry for the quality, photo of my yearbook photo; couldn't find the print!)
Volume & Shine With Boar Bristles
My other secret weapon for non-toxic volume AND shine?
Let me rewind a bit: I actually started using boar bristle brushes way back when I was doing no 'poo. I bought the kind that have ONLY boar bristles, with no other kind of detangling bristles.
Boar bristles are great because they help to distribute your hair's natural oils down the length of the hair strands so that they don't concentrate at your scalp and lead to that greasy hair look.
Remember in old movies when women would talk about brushing their hair 100 times every night before bed? That was with a boar bristle brush!
Using a boar bristle brush can help make your hair shinier and extend the time between washes.
The only problem is that they are a pain to use, especially with long hair. I never liked the way it felt to use them since the ones I had didn't have any other "teeth" to grab my hair. Sometimes my hair would actually end up MORE tangled after a boar bristle brushing.
And then I saw this brush at a big box store:
The Wet brand brushes all have special pliable, gentle bristles that are safe to use in, you guessed it, wet hair. THAT alone is amazing.
But they make a brush they call the Shine Brush that also has a layer of boar bristles.
Perfect combo. I absolutely love to give my hair 100 strokes with this brush because it feels good and doesn't tangle it.
You do have to wash boar bristle brushes every so often using some sort of soap (or your regular shampoo) since your hair's oils do transfer to the bristles and build up over time. I take mine into the shower with me about 2x a month to clean it.
Watch This Video For More Info
And you can see just how bouncy and voluminous my hair is!
WANT ONE-ON-ONE HELP WITH YOUR SKIN or Hair CARE?
I am happy to assist you in choosing the best products for your skincare & hair care needs! When you email me it is helpful if you give me the following background info:
- Top Skincare Concerns: fine lines, dark spots, oily skin, dry skin, uneven texture, uneven tone, acne, rosacea, etc.
- Budget: do you want to overhaul everything at once or do you prefer a long term plan replacing one or two things each month?
- Routine Preferences: do you want a minimalist routine or a very robust twice a day + weekly treatment routine?
- Current Routine and Products used: what do you use now and how often?