Hair care is a tough one when it comes to natural alternatives because we all have different hair/scalp types, habits, and expectations. Many, including myself, have embraced the powers of apple cider vinegar (ACV) as an awesome substitute for conditioner (you can actually read all about it here), but the reality is that many people don’t like the smell, and others find it too impractical to use regularly or while traveling.
So, after extensive research and some admittedly risky experiments on my own head, I have come up with a very simple solution with another product I love just as much: citric acid.
I have talked about citric acid extensively in another article for its awesome cleaning abilities, but it’s a great natural alternative derived from lemons that is commonly used in many foods and skin care products, and it is beneficial for hair care in the same way that ACV is: it helps smooth out the shafts of each hair strand to make it shinier, stronger, and less tangled. The big difference is that it’s odorless and non-liquid, making it the perfect solution for traveling and keeping it discrete.
What you will need
- 1/4 teaspoon citric acid
- 1 cup water
- 1-2 drops of your favorite essential oil (optional)
Before entering the shower, measured the citric acid essential oils into an empty container or jar. Bring it into the shower with you and fill about one cup’s worth of water into it (I visually estimate the volume) and give it a swirl or shake so that all the crystals melt. When it comes to the conditioning phase of your routine, just pour it over your head, making sure it reaches all your scalp and strands, then rinse regularly after even just a few seconds.
- After your hair dries, check the quality of your hiar: if you think it’s too dry, increase the amount of citric acid crystals next time, and if it seems too greasy, decrease the amount. Remember though that some essential oils may have oil-like properties, so adjust their quantities as well if you decide on using them.
- 1/4 teaspoon may not seem like much, but trust me, I have long hair and it does the trick
- If you do use oily essential oils, I find that dipping hair strands in the acid rinse before pouring it over my head works well to concentrate the benefits of the oils there, rather than collecting them at the top of my head.
- I always have a sample jelly jar filled with citric acid crystals, a 1/4 tsp measuing spoon, and my favorite essential ready for traveling.
- As for the rinse container while you travel, if you don’t bring one, there’s always a glass/cup available in any hotel or other accommodation.