L'Association pour la santé environnementale du Québec / Environmental Health Association of Québec

Hair Products and Recipes to Use That You Will Not Regret

Hair can be considered a medium where humans exert their creativity to create an outcome that conveys their identity. It is your choice if you decide to enhance your natural waves, tame the frizzes, dye it a different color, chop inches off, or let it grow down past your shoulders and even your waist. We all have a different way in caring, maintaining, and styling our hair. Despite these differences, I think we can all agree that we prefer to keep our hair healthy, and in order to keep it the healthiest it can be, natural products and recipes with simple ingredients are the way to go. 


Let’s begin with shampoo. When purchasing shampoo, you look at the front label to decide if it’s the one for you. However, have you ever taken a look at the back label, where the ingredients list is found? If you have, you would be met with a catalog of ingredients that you most likely would not recognize. Amongst the multitude of not-so-good ingredients, you should be able to find the words “parabens” and “sulfates,” which, although hard to believe – due to the fact that you imagined shampoo to actually be doing something good – may actually cause damage to your hair, and even worse: your body. 

Overall, when choosing hair products, try to avoid the following synthetic ingredients that are used predominantly in commercial brands. These are:

  • Detergents
  • Formaldehyde
  • Coal tar 
  • Methylisothiazolinone and methylchlorothiazolinone 
  • Parabens                                                   
  • Perfumes
  • Propylene glycol 
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate 
  • Triethanolamine (TEA) 

Often times, the amount of lather that a shampoo makes is how people measure its worth. Natural, non-toxic shampoos usually do not lather very well, but that’s because they do not contain the chemical sodium lauryl sulfate, that actually removes the natural oils from your hair in return for sudsy lathering properties. Parabens are also another harmful ingredient used in shampoos to prevent bacteria growth. They are endocrine disruptors as they mimic the hormone estrogen. 

By switching to a natural and non-toxic shampoo, you will first need to decide if you enjoy products with fragrances (essential oils only) or if you simply cannot tolerate them, in which case you should only use products that are fragrance-free. By going to you will find a well-rounded list of fragrance-free and fragrant shampoos that are healthy alternatives to commercial shampoo brands. Listed below are a portion of the alternative shampoos of that list.

Fragrance-Free Shampoos:

Shampoo with Fragrances (Essential Oils):


Conditioners depend on toxic, unnatural ingredients to smooth and repair dry or damaged hair, but you can still achieve this naturally with only a few simple ingredients that do no harm to your hair, body, and the environment. These conditioners are applied to the hair after shampooing. They are kept in the hair for a few minutes (approximately 3-5 minutes) before you rinse it out. 

Don’t Waste the Crumbs provides us with a simple conditioner DIY recipe using only two ingredients that are most likely already in your kitchen. 


  • 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar 
  • 16 oz water

Instructions: Mix ingredients in a bowl and store in a jar. For use, pour it onto hair. 

Deep Conditioner

In order to get hydrated, nourished and soft hair, you should deep condition. A deep conditioner is applied to your hair and kept in for approximately 30 minutes, after which you would wash it out. Everyone has different hair texture, therefore it’s for you to know how often you should deep condition. Making your own deep conditioner isn’t too difficult; most of the natural ingredients that make your hair smooth and hydrated are easy to find in your local grocery store, a health boutique, or even already in your kitchen pantry. You can consider adding the following ingredients to your homemade mixture, as they have the right properties to keep your hair hydrated. They are:

  • Coconut oil
  • Shea butter
  • Castor oil
  • Jojoba oil
  • Aloe vera gel
  • Avocado oil

Here is a simple deep conditioner recipe that you can quickly whip up in your home:


  • 2 tbsp of melted coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp of jojoba oil
  • 3 tbsp of aloe vera gel
  • ¼ cup of diluted water
  • optional: 4 drops of essential oil (for example lavender, rose, or anything that you enjoy)

Instructions: Mix the melted coconut oil, jojoba oil, and aloe vera gel in a bowl. Make sure there are no coconut oil clumps. Next, add the diluted water to the mixture. Lastly, add in the essential oil (if you opt for it). The 4 drops of essential oil listed is just a recommendation; you can decide how many drops to add.

There is a multitude of natural brands that provide you with the same outcomes as commercial products, such as:

Hair Coloring

If you want to switch up your natural hair color to others, consider natural dyeing methods to chemical dyes. You can achieve similar results to chemical dyes by using natural dyes, all the while saving your hair from damaging chemicals and saving some extra money while at it. Natural hair dyes are different from chemical dyes as they do not stay in the hair for as long. Keep in mind that the color outcome will depend on your hair’s natural color, for example if you apply a natural red dye to blonde hair, the red will be more visible and prominent than if you apply it to brown or black hair. 

Here are five recipes for naturally dyeing your hair: 

Beet Juice – Gives your hair a red tint

  1. Apply 1 cup of the juice to your hair (add more if 1 cup was not enough to cover all your hair)
  2. Cover your hair in a shower cap
  3. Leave on for approximately 1 hour
  4. Rinse out
  5. Repeat until you get desired effect

Carrot Juice – Gives your hair an orange-red tint

  1. Apply 1 cup of the juice to your hair (add more if 1 cup was not enough to cover all your hair)
  2. Cover your hair in a shower cap
  3. Leave on for approximately 1 hour
  4. Rinse out
  5. Repeat until you get desired effect

Coffee – Darkens your hair a few shades

  1. Brew enough coffee to fill 1 cup
  2. Let cool
  3. Mix with 1 ½ cups of conditioner
  4. Apply to hair
  5. Cover your hair in a shower cap
  6. Leave on for approximately 1 hour
  7. Rinse out
  8. Repeat until you get desired effect

Chamomile Tea – Slowly lightens your hair

  1. Steep 5 chamomile tea bags in 1 cup of boiling water
  2. Let cool
  3. Remove the tea bags 
  4. Pour the tea into a spray bottle
  5. Spray hair 
  6. Leave on for approximately 1 hour
  7. Rinse out
  8. Repeat until you get desired effect

Lemon Juice – Slowly lightens your hair (permanent)

  1. Squeeze juice from about 2-3 lemons 
  2. Pour lemon juice into a spray bottle
  3. Spray hair with lemon juice
  4. Leave on for approximately 1 hour
  5. Rinse out
  6. Repeat until you get desired effect

If you prefer to buy natural hair dye, look out for and avoid the ingredients parabens, sulfates, ammonia, and phenylenediamine. You can research other natural hair dye products at:

More often than not, natural hair care products and recipes allow you to get the same aesthetic outcomes as seen in chemical products, minus the damaging and harmful chemicals. All recipes and products mentioned above allow you to care for your hair safely while keeping it healthy.

Note: ASEQ-EHAQ has an online resource for healthy choices at: