Are you someone who stays away from cosmetics and chemicals for skincare and hair care? And keep an eye for natural skin/hair cleansers that are alternatives to soap and shampoo? Then, you will be excited to read this article. Along with cosmetics, you can strike off soap and shampoo as well from your shopping list. And, go all natural!!!
Why are soap and shampoo bad?
As such, soap and shampoo, when used correctly, may not harm your skin and hair. But when overused, which is often because most of us do not know how much is too much, both soap and shampoo can strip off the vital natural oils from your skin and hair.
Also, soaps can disturb the Ph levels of the skin and hence you will be forced to use a range of skin products from moisturisers to serums to keep your skin healthy.
And it doesn’t stop there. As you continue using such store-bought products, the skin loses its ability to rejuvenate itself, leading you to look for anti-ageing creams and whatnot over time. Not to forget are the more concerning harmful effects of chemicals used in the beauty products.
And the same applies to shampoos because using shampoo can make your hair lose its natural lustre. So, this, in turn, gives rise to the need for conditioners, serum, styling gels and so on to make your hair look healthy and beautiful. But, alas, we end up with many problems such as hair fall, premature greying, split ends, frizzy hair, etc.
While optimal use of soap and shampoo is fine, you can altogether ditch them both for good. Read on to find out how.
Soap to bathe? Maybe not!
That’s right. You can clean yourself with natural cleansers and keep your skin glowing and healthy.
Ayurveda says, “Do not apply anything on your skin that you wouldn’t eat”.
So, what are the natural cleansers to use on the skin instead of soaps and shower gels?
1. Gram flour or Besan flour
Gram flour, also commonly known as besan, is a great alternative to clean your body and face. You can use gram flour to clean yourself every day. It will act like soap and scrub and help cleanse effectively.
All you need to do is mix two or three tsp of besan as needed in the water to make a smooth paste in a bowl. Then, step into the shower and apply it all over your body, spread thoroughly and massage gently using your hands. Then, rinse off. Adding a pinch of turmeric is also beneficial.
If you have dry skin or combination skin, you can add moisturising ingredients such as a bit of coconut oil, olive oil, or almond oil to avoid your skin getting dry.
Pro tip: If you add turmeric to your cleanser, it can leave a mild yellow tinge. To avoid it, you can look for turmeric powder specifically used for bathing purposes (poosu manjal) or Kasturi manjal.
You can experiment with other ingredients such as milk, rose water or yogurt to mix with besan to make the paste and have a luxurious bath every day with a variety of natural cleansers. On your off days, you can use the same mixture as a facial mask, let it dry, and scrub it off during your shower.
2. Green gram flour
Just like gram flour, you can also use green gram flour (pachai payaru maavu/moong dal flour) for daily bathing. In addition, you can also find herbal bath powder made of green gram flour added with ingredients such as sandalwood, rose petals, fenugreek etc., which are readily available in the market in various brands.
Have some patience and enthusiasm? Dry these ingredients in the shade for a couple of days, grind them into a fine powder, and then mix well with green gram flour. Your all-in-one body cleanser, facial cleanser, and facial scrub free of chemicals is ready to use!
What are the natural alternatives to shampoo?
Shikakai is a natural cleanser and an excellent alternative to shampoo. However, you cannot expect a smooth experience of using shampoo because when you use shikakai, it will not lather, and so you may have difficulty scrubbing your hair with the cleanser. But the benefits you will reap is definitely worth the effort.
You can make it easier by mixing shikakai with fenugreek or hibiscus, or henna. These three have a viscous quality and give a mushy texture to the cleanser, making it easy for you to apply and cleanse the hair. Further, these ingredients are immensely beneficial for the health of your hair, and hence it makes all the more sense to add any one or all of them.
You will also be able to purchase shikakai powder mixed with these other ingredients and a few more such as amla, bhringaraj, neem, etc., all of it excellent for hair care.
Mix your herbal wash powder in curd or milk and apply it over your hair. Keep it on for about ten minutes, and then gently massage while washing. Such natural cleansers give your hair a well-conditioned effect, all bouncy and lustrous.
When you hunt for herbal bath and hair care product brands, make sure you read the ingredients carefully for any additives. There is no need for any preservatives for these preparations; it naturally has a long shelf life. So, find those products that are devoid of any unnecessary additives to make them all-natural and healthful.
Use in babies
Both besan and moong dal flour is safe to use in babies. Always add a few drops of coconut or olive oil while preparing the cleanser mix.
Just as the body cleansers, natural hair cleansers are also safe to use in babies. But you must make sure it does not get into the eyes, for it can be very irritating for your baby. Also, you can sieve the powder to ensure the hair wash powder is fine enough and not abrasive on your baby’s scalp.
Using such natural ingredients to replace your regular soaps and shampoos comes loaded with benefits, but there are some minor snags.
- Using the natural body cleansers won’t need any effort; it is just like using soap, except that you need to prepare the mix. But using a natural hair cleanser would require some effort. Both application and rinsing are not easy.
- Unlike regular products, the natural ingredients can create quite a mess in your bathroom, on the floor and even splatter on the walls. So, make sure you give the bathing space a quick but thorough rinse as soon as you finish bathing, else it can easily make the whole area look messy. Also, once besan or shikakai dries, it will require more effort to clean it up. Hence it is essential to clean while the bath area is still wet. But don’t get discouraged because of this. You will get into the habit of giving a quick clean up daily, so it won’t be a problem anymore.
It is always good to restrict or reduce the use of chemical-based cleansing products for your skin and hair. When you switch to natural cleansers, your skin and hair can take some time to get used to. So, be prepared to give a bit of adaptation time. It would be a smooth sail after that!