I went to an Indian shop this morning and picked up some beauty supplies. I've read good things about Neem in relation to skin care so I got a tin of face mask in the sale, and some 'natural henna' for the bargain price of £2.99 (approx. $6). I am not brave enough to henna my hair just yet, but I do need the conditioning & thickening effect. I suspect, after reading hennaforhair.com, that this is not henna at all, but a plant called 'Cassia Obovata'..
I've been using Shikakai powder instead of shampoo for a while now. My scalp loves it, but it does dry out my hair a little, so I try not to use it too often. I tried the 'henna' this evening, after a quick scalp scrub with the shikakai. Wow. It is amazing stuff. I mixed a few teaspoons of the powder with some water into a smooth, thin paste and left it to sit for half an hour. Then I just rubbed it through my hair and rinsed. Instantly my hair felt so much thicker & conditioned.
I have baby fine, slightly curly hair which doesn't like to grow long. When I used normal shampoo and conditioner, both natural and chemical laden, my hair would be very lank, with only a slight curl in some parts which drove me so mad I used to straighten it out. When I gave up shampoo after reading about the no 'poo method I found I had an even curl/wave over my whole head. My scalp is incredibly fussy though and didn't like the baking soda much so I've been experimenting with other methods since. Hair is such a personal thing, what works for one person rarely works for another I think, even if they have a similar hair type. I am happy with my current method; mostly following the Curly Girl method for wavy hair, but instead of occasionally using shampoo I use Shikakai powder and I use an all-natural conditioner with the occasional apple cider vinegar rinse to finish. I will definitely be incorporating the 'natural henna' into the routine (once a week) now, my hair feels so silky and thick although it is not entirely dry yet.
I also tried the Neem powder face mask earlier. It was easy to prepare and my skin feels good. Hopefully in a few days/weeks I will notice the difference.
Another amazing product which is worth a mention is Dr Bronner's Magic Soap. The first 472ml bottle I bought (Almond) lasted me 2 years. Of course this wasn't every day use, and I did use a few different products every now and then but generally it lasted a lot longer than most products. I have tried to convert a few people to it but I've found that most don't like the fact it doesn't feel as thick as normal shower gel, and that it does not create a thick lather. I use exfoliating gloves with mine, get them nice and wet and then pour a small amount of soap into them (about a coin sized amount) and scrub my hands together to get a nice lather going. Keep well away from the water whilst scrubbing so you don't wash it away. It takes about 2-3 of these to wash all of me thoroughly. I highly recommend it! I chose rose this time, I didn't appreciate floral scents when I was a teenager but now I am really beginning to like them.