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Transitioning From Chemical to Natural Hair Care Products

I’ll let you in on a little secret: I myself have been suffering from a mild case of hair loss. At first, hair loss didn’t bother me at all. So what if I find a few clumps of hair on the tiles after I showered? Looking back, I don’t know why I remained unfazed despite knowing this.

When I fell pregnant a year ago, my hair fall problems halted. But three months after I gave birth, I noticed accelerated shedding of my hair once again. Handfuls of hair kept on falling as I showered. Another handful will fall out after I’ve combed my hair. And all throughout the day, my mom kept pointing out all those fallen hairs she saw on the floor near my bed. 

A quick Google search revealed I was now suffering from postpartum hair loss. That’s when I suddenly took action. The hair loss freaked me out so much that I decided to ask friends for some advice.

Someone suggested I switch to natural hair care. I said “sure, why not?” and grabbed a few bottles of natural shampoo, conditioner, and sunflower oil from a local supermarket. And I’ll never regret that decision, because here I am now, seven months postpartum, with significantly less hair fall than before.

The switch from chemical to natural hasn’t been easy-peasy, and I almost gave up early on. Turns out that there is a normal transition period to get used to an au naturel haircare routine.

So, what should you expect during this transitional phase? And how do you deal with these changes? You’re about to find out now.

What To Expect?

There are three major changes your hair will go through as you transition from chemical to natural hair care products. They are the following:

1. Suds Out!

One major difference you’ll feel the first time you hit the shower with a natural shampoo is that it’s not as sudsy as before. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t feel properly cleaned up without a huge amount of lather on your head, well, prepare for this.

The reason why natural shampoos don’t lather as much as conventional ones do is that they’re lacking the foaming agents used in chemical shampoos. These substances include the following:

  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)
  • Coco-glucoside 

Research says these products are safe for use, but too much of these can irritate the skin and may cause mild dryness and itching. This is why they’re not included in natural shampoos.

Some organic shampoos now utilize glycerides to mimic the foaming effect of conventional ones. These substances are derived mostly from vegetable oils.

You can keep the shampoos sudsy by adding a bit more water to them as you work the products through your hair. I’ve been doing this personally.

Also, don’t compensate by using more of the shampoo all in one go. Read through your bottle first because some manufacturers suggest one round of washing and rinsing, followed by another round for best results.

2. Changing Hair Oil Levels

Your hair has been used to conventional shampoos containing sulfates. These chemicals leave hair stripped of its natural oils as they remove product build-up on your hair. The scalp compensates for this by producing more oil in an effort to keep dryness at bay.

Now, since natural shampoos are sulfate-free, your scalp might get confused initially and start producing lots of oil, leading to greasier hair. Some people also get dried-up hair due to their scalps producing even less of its natural oils upon transitioning to a natural shampoo (myself included here).

Basically, your scalp’s oil production levels fluctuate as a reaction to the sulfate-free shampoos. This is highly individualized – as mentioned, some get greasy hair while some get too much dryness. This is a natural reaction that should normalize in a few days or weeks.

Once the oil production levels normalize, you’ll find that your hair is now moist at the tips and has lesser oil at the roots.

As for me, I got dryness as a side effect and it almost made me toss out the natural shampoo. But I gave it a few weeks and use an organic conditioner to balance out my scalp’s natural oil production. I also applied a bit of sunflower oil on my scalp before bedtime. Thankfully, the dryness was out about a month after my switch.

Now, my hair truly feels that balanced natural oil production. I have to give credit to the sulfate-free natural conditioner as well. It took care of the dryness I experienced with the shampoo without the sticky, weighed-down feel I usually experience with my old commercial conditioner. My hair felt so much lighter yet moisturized after I air-dry it.

3. Matted or Sticky Mane

Conventional shampoos often have silicones and waxes that can cause a build-up on your hair follicles. The build-up typically stunts hair growth as they block the pores in your scalp.

Organic natural shampoos don’t contain these build-up inducing chemicals. Using these products will ultimately lead to the build-up being released from the hair follicles. Old silicones on your follicles now move to your hair’s shaft, giving you a sticky or matted feel. This side effect usually lasts for a few weeks as your new shampoo tries to gently eradicate all traces of build-up from your hair.

If you feel like giving up on your shampoo, just envision what will happen after this sticky mane period: Thicker, healthier hair due to the hair follicles growing out new hair strands after being blocked by those old silicones and waxes.

Freeing hair follicles from product build-up was one of the best things I loved about natural hair care products. I’m now seeing tiny baby hairs growing back on my hairline after 4 months of using natural shampoos and conditioners. Indeed, these products worked well on my postpartum hair loss!

Dealing with the Transition Period to Natural Hair Care Products

Ease up the changes you’ll possibly experience when you switch to natural hair care products by following these tips.

1. Grab High-Quality Natural Products.

Your natural shampoo and conditioner should ideally be made from high-quality natural ingredients. Products infused with natural essential oils are even better choices. An added bonus to essential oils-laden products: Your hair will smell refreshingly clean and relaxing.

As for me, I really chose a variant that can help deal with my postpartum hair loss. 

My current shampoo contains rosemary essential oil extracts, which is proven to hasten hair growth. It also has coconut-derived cleansing agents.

My conditioner contains aloe vera, sunflower seed oil, and avocado seed oil to infuse moisture to my brittle locks. It’s also got hydrolyzed wheat protein to help further stop hair loss.

2. Gently Phase Out Your Shampoo.

Don’t dive right into a natural hair care routine by eliminating your old shampoo at once. Gently introduce periods of natural shampoo and conditioner use as you slowly eliminate your old shampoo.

Are you a daily hair washer like me? Start by giving your hair a wash every other day for the first week using your old shampoo. The next week, wash hair every two days. Then, switch to every three days. Replace your old shampoo and conditioner with natural ones after this period.

Phasing out your shampoo week-by-week gives your scalp and hair a breather and prepares it for the natural products.

3. Brush Your Hair Often.

Remember the oiliness that may come with using natural hair care products? It’s important to distribute the natural oils throughout your scalp and hair to avoid that greasy feel.

Brush your hair ideally using a boar-bristle brush to bring down the natural oils from the scalp to the tips of your hair. You can also finger-comb while giving your hair an extra massage boost.

4. Resist the Urge to Go Back to Chemical Hair Products.

Don’t let the initial side effects of natural hair care products make you go back to your traditional shampoo and conditioner combo! Give your hair and scalp around 2 months to properly adjust to the au naturel care routine.

I almost switched back to my old shampoo and conditioner because I still experienced hair fall a few weeks after using the natural products. It’s like I felt cheated. The claims were so believable – less hair fall just days after use! 

Back then, I didn’t know this transition phase so I got really concerned why my hair still keeps falling out despite the rosemary-infused shampoo and the hydrolyzed wheat protein in my new conditioner.

Apart from this, dryness also plagued my hair. It made my hair brittle and even accelerated my postpartum hair shedding.

I simply carried on with the natural products just so I won’t put them to waste. And after a month, I felt a huge difference. My hair is now stronger, I experience less hair fall, and it’s softer and tamer than ever before. I’m just glad it all worked out well!

Final Words of Advice

People experience hair fall and hair loss in different ways and degrees. Just because natural hair care products tailored for brittle hair worked well for me doesn’t automatically mean it’s also a great fit for you. You should find natural products that will truly work for your own hair type and hair fall causes.

Now, here’s a wrap-up of the changes your hair will undergo during the transition period from chemical to natural hair care product use:
  • Less lather and suds for natural products
  • Scalp oil production changes, making hair either greasy or dry
  • Matted and sticky hair due to removal of silicone build-up from the hair follicles
While these changes might look and feel bad for your hair, they typically subside after around 2 months of natural hair care routines. You can deal with these changes by:
  • Purchasing quality products with natural ingredients
  • Eliminating your chemical shampoo week-by-week
  • Brushing hair to distribute natural oils
  • Resisting the urge to return to chemical products
Have you ever tried using natural shampoos, conditioners, and oils on your hair? How did it go? Were the products able to help you lessen your hair fall? Feel free to share your stories in the comments section below!


  1. Thanks for this post. Now I know why my hair got oilier than usual after a week of natural shampoo use. I've been using an aloe shampoo and conditioner my daughter uses, and now I have to wait it out to see when oiliness will go away on my color-treated hair.


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