My journey with shampoo started four years ago. My junior year in high school I chopped all my hair off to donate it. After about a year and a half I decided to grow my hair out again so that I could repeat this process. My hair seem stunted and dry. I washed it every day, blow dried it, and styled it with a curler or straightener. I’ve prided myself on having healthy hair, but now I know that it wasn’t.

Fast forward to my freshman year of college, two years later, I had been using Mane & Tail shampoo and conditioner for a year to help my hair grow out and it definitely made my hair a different texture. So, Mane & Tail was a no go. I also started taking Biotin vitamins. On a side note, I’ve heard of people taking Pre-natal vitamins to make their hair grow—DO NOT DO THIS. This will mess with your hormones and, oddly enough, makes you gain a lot of weight. And does not remotely give you the results you wanted.

My freshman year I went “natural” and wasn’t using heat on my hair and mostly had it in braids or a ponytail. I would wash it every other day and condition it every day.

Now a sophomore in college I found my hair getting longer and was finally out of the slump of being short and awkward. I decided to switch all my beauty products to a company called Lemongrass. It is all chemical free and not tested on animals. I loved the face wash and lotion. It was a little pricey, as it a lot of the organic, chemical free products. So I had to find an alternative. I found a mixture of products from Burt’s Bees, Yes To Carrots, Organix, and oddly enough, Herbal Essences Naked.

I started to notice that my skin was starting to clear up more and I had less random breakouts, my nails were healthier, and my hair had a natural shine to it that didn’t feel squeaky and fake. I attribute this to the elimination of the harsh chemicals found in my body wash in shampoo.

Another important part of this is my diet. I have a pretty well-balanced diet for a college student. My breakfast includes hard boiled eggs, yogurt & granola, and whatever fruit I can get my hands on. Lunch I try to eat a salad and a tuna salad sandwich. Dinner could be a free for all, but I always found a veggie (Brussel sprouts, where you at?!), more fruit, and some healthy fats. I was constantly drinking water (like 64 oz. a day).

Now as I’m in Madrid, Spain for a semester I had to adapt this routine again. I use Pantene shampoo and conditioner which I’m not proud of. I decided to only wash my hair or condition it every three days. I start my week with washing my hair and conditioning it. The next day I shower and pull it up and keep it away from the water. The third day I can tell it’s going to need a wash the next day. But after time your hair will adapt. This process has been the healthiest thing for my hair. It has a natural volume to it despite not being cut since July (5 months). It’s grown a lot. And it just feels stronger and healthier.

If you’re battling with your hair, stop washing it every day. That was the best decision I’ve ever made. Moving forward I want to find a truly effective natural shampoo to use on wash days.