Looking for gentlest low/no poo, or cleansing co-wash conditioner. Recommendations?

Hi everyone. I'm really struggling and could use some advice. I feel like I've tried everything: water-only, baking soda and ACV, homemade products, co-washing, Deva, Jessicurl, Mop Top, Giovanni, sulfate-free, protein, no protein, and on, and on, and on!

My problem: I have gluten issues/yeast issues/skin sensitivities. A few years back, I only washed my hair about once every ten days, and it looked great. Then I got drug-induced lupus, and have had problems with dandruff ever since. I have to wash my scalp frequently now, and with something cleansing. But my poor hair! When my scalp is happy, my hair is not. I have coarse, dry, thick curls, (mostly 3a with some 3b and some 2c...I think) that are prone to frizz, and I don't use products, because my scalp doesn't like them. In addition to all of that, I'm a breastfeeding mom with a young baby, so I try to use very natural products. I feel overweight and unattractive as it is, because I have so little time for myself, and the bad hair is making it so much worse.

I could really use some advice!
By dandruff you mean you have been formally diagnosed with seborrhoeic dermatitis? If so washing daily is not ideal, although that removes the sebum so the malassezia yeast is not fed, it can dehydrate/ damage the skin barrier so it pumps out more oil to compensate. Also frequent or lengthy exposure to water removes the skin's water soluble natural moisturising factors. Baking soda is highly alkaline and will damage the skin's barrier function/ protective acid mantle.

Ideally you would control the yeast through diet modification and appropriate topicals. Diet wise look to be eating anti-inflammatory, the right balance of essential fatty acids especially plenty of those from oily fish, avoid sugar and white refined carbs, lots of antioxidant rich bright and dark coloured low sugar fruit and non starchy vegetables. The good news is this should be good for your baby and for weight management.

I only know of one ketoconazole shampoo that is sulphate free which is Regenepure. Another brand you might consider for haircare products is Komaza Care, they are mostly/ all natural ingredients, seem very knowledgeable about scalp health if you wish to e-mail them.
Hair Loss Shampoos,Hair Loss Replacement,Thinning Hair Treatment
Komaza Care - The Complete Hair Solution

Avoid oils containing oleic acid, also ideally those containing fatty acids like those found in sebum - this means you'd ideally avoid many natural oils and butters, you might try coconut oil that works for some with SD and is wonderful for damaged hair. CO-washing doesn't work for everyone with SD, if it does for you IMO try a lightweight conditioner like Inecto (paraben free and CG friendly) or perhaps better still a conditioner 'base' which is designed to have oils and fragrances added (but don't add anything). Ideally also look to respect the skin's acid mantle because this harbours beneficial bacteria, you cannot 'reset' this with vinegar rinses so stick to pH 4.5 to 5.5 if you can.

HTH!
2a-2c, medium texture, porous/ colour treated. Three years CG. Past bra strap length heading for waist.

CO-wash: Inecto coconut/ Elvive Volume Collagen
Treatments: Komaza Care Matani, coconut/ sweet almond/ fractionated coconut oils, Hairveda Sitrinillah
Leave in: Fructis Sleek & Shine (old), Gliss Ultimate Volume, various Elvive
Styler: Umberto Giannini jelly, Au Naturale styling gelee
Flour sack towel, pixie diffuse or air dry.
Experimenting with: benign neglect

Last edited by Firefox7275; 05-18-2013 at 11:57 AM.
I'm so, so sorry to hear that. Lupus, dandruff, and hair issues! You've been under a lot of stress, you poor thing. But you've come to the right place. Obviously plenty of people here know a lot. On the bright side, your curl pattern sounds similar to mine. (Mostly 2C-3B, mostly 3A and prone to frizz.) I was also about to recommend a boost in your in diet. Nutrients can make a world of difference, I'm sure. Your might be undernourished. I'm certain you're eating right because of the baby and you sound like an excellent mother, but be mindful that you need extra for you too. And seeing as how you're breastfeeding, that takes a toll on your body as well. Be sure you're eating enough vegetables, especially leafy greens. I have a juicer so even when I'm not eating copious amounts of veggies I get my fill that way. And be certain you're drinking enough water. At least 8 glasses a day. I do 12. I think because of my curly hair I'd be prone to dry scalp if I didn't do this. But I've been drinking tons of water since I was a girl and my skin has always thanked me for it. In terms of products, have you tried Shea Moisture Moisture Retention Shampoo? It's the gentlest low-poo I know. They have others too that are very gentle. I also second coconut oil. If you want to protect your hair when you're shampooing, I'd recommend a prepoo. Slather the body of your hair with coconut oil (or another oil like EVOO) and maybe mix in some conditioner an hour or thirty minutes before you wash. Then when you do wash only apply shampoo to the scalp. More frequent deep treats might be in order if you want to restore your hair's health too. It sounds like because you're stripping its natural oils it needs all the help it can get. I deep treat constantly just because I have dry hair. Oftentimes if I know I'm gonna wash in the morning I'll whip up some oils, conditioner and other additives, put the mixture on my hair, and sleep on it 'til morning. Bam! Prepoo/deep treat right there.

Anyways, that's what I've got for now. Also, a lot of people like KCCC for frizz. It's a very natural styling product. You don't have to apply deep on the body of your hair so that it might touch your skin but you could always just graze the crown. Do you happen to know your properties? That might assist us in recommending low poos and conditioners and the like that could suit you? For the record, I'm coarse and highly porous.

Live Curly Live Free - Curly Hair Basics
3A - C, HP, ME, HD. (Coarse, High Porosity, Medium Elasticity, High Density.)

CG since Nov. 2012

Poos: SM Moisture Retention + Yucca Baobab, TJ's Tea Tree Tingle
Condish: TJ 'sTea Tree Tingle*, SM Moisture Retention* + Curl & Shine + Yucca Baobab, Yes to Blueberries
Stylers: KCKT*, SM Curl Enhancing Smoothie* + Curl & Style Milk*, KCCC*, FSG*, CJ Pattern Pusha, Curl Keeper
Sealers: Jojoba* or Grapeseed* oil

* = HG

So you can get a better look at the ingredients:

SheaMoisture Organic Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention Shampoo - NaturallyCurly.com

SheaMoisture Organic Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo - NaturallyCurly.com

SheaMoisture Organic Yucca and Baobab Thickening Shampoo - NaturallyCurly.com

And this is my favorite co-wash:

Trader Joe`s Peppermint Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner - NaturallyCurly.com
3A - C, HP, ME, HD. (Coarse, High Porosity, Medium Elasticity, High Density.)

CG since Nov. 2012

Poos: SM Moisture Retention + Yucca Baobab, TJ's Tea Tree Tingle
Condish: TJ 'sTea Tree Tingle*, SM Moisture Retention* + Curl & Shine + Yucca Baobab, Yes to Blueberries
Stylers: KCKT*, SM Curl Enhancing Smoothie* + Curl & Style Milk*, KCCC*, FSG*, CJ Pattern Pusha, Curl Keeper
Sealers: Jojoba* or Grapeseed* oil

* = HG

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