Love this kind of topic, had a hair dye disaster a few years ago which made me look up a lot about what’s good for the hair in an attempt to save it. Especially my scalp was having a hard time. Got totally hooked on the subject after that.
I’ve tried so many different alternative ways of washing and caring for my hair (baking soda washing, egg washing, birch leaf washing, rye flour washing, conditioner washing, SLS-free washing, all kinds of different oil treatments and deep conditioning treatments, vinegar rinse, etc etc…), I went a bit crazy with it for a while, lol. I recognize and have tried many of the things mentioned here, except ayurvedic herbs, which I’d like to try, but haven’t gotten too yet.
My hair is slightly wavy, with fine strands but with a thick growth. If anyone knows about curl indexes, then I’m a 2A. My hair can’t handle big amounts of oil, it looks greasy directly, especially at the scalp. It’s also kind of “slippery”, do ups fall down in no time. It has to be managed wet, styling it dry is impossible (I jokingly call my hair my flyaway steel springs, it’s really the best description for it).
My scalp is a case of it’s own. It’s very sensitive, both to different products and to getting too dried out - which ironically makes it greasy since it starts stress producing sebum within a day. Well, that was the case before I started adjusting my hair routine anyways. Nowadays I wash my hair every 4 - 5 days.
These are the things that I have found working really well on my hair and scalp:
A mix of coconut oil and avocado oil infused with rosemary put in the ends as long time as I can before washing my hair, which usually tbh means right before washing. Pure coconut oil works good as well. I only put it on the ends, cause that’s really the only part of my hair that needs it. When I feel the need for a real deep treatment I make sure to put it in for a few hours. I rarely sleep with it for exactly the same reason irmar mentions - too much of a hassle. I do the deep treatment when it feels like it’s needed, which means often in the winter, but only at times during summer.
I’ve tried oils in my scalp, but if I don’t wash it out well enough, it ends up looking greasy. On the other hand, if I wash the oil out too harshly, it makes my scalp counterreact like mentioned above -> greasy result again within a day. Coconut oil is still the oil that has worked best with my scalp, but I can’t seem to get the formula right, so I’ve given it up for now.
When it comes to washing my hair, the no 1 priority is to not dry out my scalp too much, but still get a freshlooking hair. Washing with gentle products has turned out to work the best for me. During winter, when the air where I live can get extremely dry, I sometimes CO-wash (conditioner only) with a glycerinfree conditioner, mostly for the sake of my scalp. The rest of the year I nowadays either rye flour wash or SLS-free wash my hair. My hair, and especially my scalp, really likes rye flour washing, so I do that when I have time. It doesn’t dry out my scalp, and I feel like it also adds body to my hair (even though in my case that’s not really needed). But since I’m often in a rush I often end up washing my hair with SLS-free organic shampoo, which works almost as fine. My hair doesn’t care so much if it’s SLS-free, but my scalp really does. SLS is too harsh for it. I also normally put some conditioner on my ends (oil rich in winter, and glycerin rich in summer).
I always finish off with rinsing my hair in cold water. It really adds shine to my hair. I’ve tried vinegar wash, but it didn’t really do much for my hair in the shine department or to prevent ichyness in my scalp, but this is different from person to person I think. I know people who swear by it and say it makes all the difference to them.
Now here comes the thing I’m still trying to figure out: the drying and styling!
I’ve tried just letting it airdry without brushing it - I end up looking lika a witch, I can’t go to work like that. Which is what I have to do if I wash it in the morning since it takes hours to dry. Washing the hair in the evening helps nothing, since my hair is unstylable if not styled wet, as mentioned before. Trying to fix that mess of a scalp in the morning ends up looking not so good. Besides, sleeping on it like that, unbrushed and wet, usually ends up creating some heavy mats in my hair, which isn’t good for the hair. But I also know that brushing it wet is harmful to the hair, so is using a hairdryer.
Solution: Bought a hairdryer that has a really cold setting and I use that to blowdry my hair almost dry, but only at the scalp, since that’s the area that ends up a mess. Then I comb the rest through with my fingers and comb it properly once it’s dry. It’s a compromise, but it’s the best I’ve come up with so far to take some care of my hair and at the same time look halfway decent.
If I want to enhance my waves and make them last longer, then I put in flax-seed gel in the hair. You can put it in wet or dry, just like with normal hair gel. I make it myself, it really easy, and it’s the best hair gel I’ve ever tried, and totally natural. It also adds shine to the hair.