When I started this blog, the term “consciousness” wasn’t hip yet. Luckily, conscious living and consuming became a bit of a trend. For me this process of becoming more conscious of how much waste I produce, what kind of products I use and what I consume, this awareness that almost felt natural to me, happened when I felt I was finally growing up.
The search for natural shampoo
Due to my mixed roots, my thick, dark hair is naturally curly. I’ve mistreated my hair, dyed it in many colours chemically (until I met Dianne te Mebel of Instituut Haar & Gezondheid) and used random beauty products for my hair and body. A couple of years ago I started getting rashes after showering and searched and found natural alternatives for the industrially made shower gels I used until then. The years after this though, I struggled to find good alternatives for my hair shampoos. I tried many shampoos that were advertised to be organic and natural, from many different countries, bought in local “organic shops” (“Natuurwinkels”), as well as online. The problem I had with these shampoos was, that most of them would clean my hair, but they would flatten my curls, make my hair frizzy and take away its shine. From some of the shampoos I ordered online from companies that branded as being completely organic, biological and natural, I figured out they had some chemical ingredients anyway AFTER I got them delivered at home.
Do you know what you put in your hair?
I’ve considered making my own shampoo and did some research, but you know, it’s one of those things that’s still on my To Do List for one day when I will make the time for it. For years I’ve continued my search to the perfect, natural shampoo and I occasionally tried some of the regular shampoos again as well. These actually sometimes make my curls pretty for a while, but contained chemicals and/or stuff like: Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), Parabens, Sodium Chloride, Polyethylene Glycols (PEG), Diethanolamine (DEA), Triethanolamine (TEA), Dimethicone, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Triclosan, Retinyl Palmitate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Synthetic Fragrances, Formaldehyde and Alcohol. WHAT? You don’t know what these are, apart from one, or maybe two?? EXACTLY! That’s my point! Then why would you put them in your hair?
What if I would have remembered her sooner?
I’d never been in touch with Dianne te Mebel again since writing those blogs, when all of a sudden I remembered she KNOWS how to treat hair. She treats hair consciously and has been doing so before this became hip in Amsterdam. I decided to ask her advice about shampoos. I contacted her and she told me to pass by, so she could introduce me to her self-made natural shampoos and other natural hair products.
Instituut Haar en Gezondheid
Dianne’s salon is very centrally located next to the Amstel river that Amsterdam has been named after and it’s warm, welcoming and cozy. I don’t think she advertises much, because for sure people always come back after having visited her the first time. When I entered, I felt like all of the clients present were regulars that have been coming there for years. Dianne’s salon Instituut Haar en Gezondheid (Institute of Hair and Health) specialises in dying your hair naturally with henna (CLICK).
Natural hair products!
As soon as I entered, I was pleasantly surprised. I saw beautiful shampoo bars that looked like a piece of art, natural argan oils that Dianne brought from Morocco herself, natural apple cider vinegars that will give your hair a boost, henna brownies, hair masks that look super tasty but are for your hair, rosewater to condition your hairs and many more natural products without packaging that instantly made me happy; I knew I found what I’d been looking for.
The shampoo bars smell like spices and weigh about 120 grams each. They’re being wrapped in some paper (with a cute ribbon) to safely take home (I’ve already reused these for a present), but other than that there is no packaging = no waste. They’re easy to take with you (Even in your hand luggage when flying!) and will last you about 50 washings. Oh and they’re vegan and only tested on humans!
Heavenly hair washing
To make my morning even better, Dianne announced that she’d be washing my hair for me, to demonstrate the shampoo bar. I love having my hair washed and she was explaining what the shampoo bar was made of and where she gets the ingredients, so this was heavenly.
The Eden henna shampoo bars come in a few different “flavors” and Dianne chose me the “Henna Color shampoo Eden Red/Auburn”. Besides henna, my shampoo bar contains jojoba, rosemary, juniper and grapefruit, also cocoa butter and shea butter. Since my hair hasn’t been dyed for some time and is about black, we don’t expect that the henna will actually color my hair (apart from maybe the grey ones), but last time Dianne dyed my hair, it was revitalised and conditioned and super healthy again thanks to the henna (Read about this HERE) and this lasted for months.
Already after a minute I loved the smell. My hair felt clean. After washing my hairs twice, she also conditioned it with her “Sweet Rose Conditioner bar” enriched with sweet orange oil, shea butter and avocado oil and then sprayed in some of her apple cider vinegar (includes plants, blue malva and lemon), which made my hair shine and made the skin on my head feel fresh. Of course I had to test her rosewater and argan oil as well and this stuff smells and feels so amazing!
(I don’t like posting pictures of myself on this blog, but I just had to show you how happy Dianne’s hands & products made me)
After this visit I really stretched the time I waited until washing my hair again, just to observe the effect of Dianne’s products on my hair. After a week, my hair still felt and smelt clean. I just really couldn’t wait to try the shampoo bar myself, so I decided it was time. I figured out that you only need to make the bar a little moist to get enough shampoo on your hands and then hair. It foams a lot very easily! There is no way I’ll squirt shampoo in the shower instead of in my hands again and it’s just a tiny little bit that I need for every washing. I’m sure this bar will last for quite some time! It’s been a couple of weeks now and I’m still happy.
So. My conclusion? Until one day I’ll get to my To Do List and will make my own shampoo, I will never use anything else again.
Oh wait, I almost forgot. I’ve got some exciting news as well.
1.: Soon Dianne will dye my hair with her natural henna products at Instituut Haar en Gezondheid again and I’m very much looking forward to this.
2. : There’s a webshop! See: www.hennabrownies.com . For now most of the website is only in Dutch, but Google Translate is your friend and of course you can leave me a message if you have a question. The Henna brownies come in 25 colors and there’s a step-by-step manual on the site (If you’re not confident enough to color at home with the manual AND you’re located in The Netherlands, FYI, every once in a while there are workshops in the salon where you can learn to color your own hair, how to best treat your hair and receive more tips while enjoying a healthy lunch).
Which natural products do YOU use for your hair?
Are you as conscious about what you put in your hair as about what you put in your belly?