Morrocco Method: My 100% Natural Haircare Routine
I was living in Finland in 2013, when a bad case of eczema on my hands led me to search for natural health remedies. I began cleaning up my diet, as well as my household products. I began to learn all about how we inundate ourselves with toxic chemicals on a daily, if not hourly basis, from all the conventional hygiene and cleaning supplies on the shelves at grocery stores and pharmacies. A seemingly harmless ingredient like sodium laurel sulfate, present in just about every household product for its ability to create that nice soapy lather, is a corrosive skin irritant. Why would I want to rub that on my skin and hair? On a small student stipend with a limited budget, I was interested in the idea of homemade shampoo, finding “no-poo” recipes online, with household ingredients like honey, apple cider vinegar and coconut oil. But they most definitely did not work for me. The topic is discussed on a website titled Empowered Sustenance, in which author Lauren Geertsen informs her readers why she tried and proceeded to quit the no-poo trend, switching instead to products by a company called Morrocco Method (MM). Intrigued, I ordered their Five Shampoo Sample Kit, with five 0.5oz bottles, thinking that since the shampoos are highly concentrated, I could get a lot of use out of them when diluted with water. I was wrong. My first several weeks attempting the Morrocco Method went terribly and I gave up. It was only midway through 2016 that I revisited the company’s products, this time for a much better experience. I’m now going on two and half years of exclusive MM use.
The Detox Phase
It’s incredibly important to note that when switching from conventional shampoo to an all-natural, non-foaming alternative, there’s a good chance you’ll experience the detox phase. During this phase, the scalp and hair release the toxins that have built up over years of exposure to the chemicals in regular shampoo. Hair may be sticky and oily for quite some time. For some, it’s a matter of weeks. For others, it could be 6 months before soft, clean hair appears. Daunting, I know. But the self-conscious phase is totally worth it in the end to reduce the body’s overall toxin overload.
MM recommends rotating through all 5 of their shampoos. For example, on Day 1, you wash with the Apple Cider Vinegar shampoo. The next time you shampoo, use Earth Essence, followed by Pine Shale, and so on. The idea here is that you are providing your scalp with a variety of different nutrients for overall health benefits. With this in mind, I recommend beginning your MM experience by ordering the Travel Set of 5 2oz shampoo bottles, so that you can try all 5, and only purchase larger bottles when you have a better idea of each one. Two of the shampoos didn’t work as well for my oily-prone hair, though that could have just been because I hadn’t perfected the routine yet. Maybe I should give them a try again. But for now, I regularly use Apple Cider Vinegar, Earth Essence and Pine Shale.
Hair conditioning is another factor to consider. During the detox phase, I did not have any need for conditioner. But as my hair adjusted, the ends began to tangle very easily - especially in winter with all the static electricity. I have tried both of MM’s conditioning rinses, and wound up adding Pearl Essence Crème Rinse to my routine. At the beginning, I used it on my scalp and throughout my hair, which resulted in excessive oiliness. Now I add a handful of the diluted conditioner to the ends of my hair during a wash, which creates just the right balance of conditioning. I also use the Sapphire Volumizer Mist Conditioner & Moisturizer on dry hair for added help with tangles.
Three Tips for Transitioning
1) Water Quality
When I first tried MM shampoos, I was living in Helsinki, accessing city water. Fortunately it was winter, and I hid the horribly greasy hair under my beanie as much as possible. After several embarrassing weeks, I gave up and went to a shampoo / conditioner combo, which although purchased from a health food store, was still laced with toxins. When I tried the MM shampoos again several years later, I had hard well water. It was even worse than the city water! Fortunately, however, during the detox process, we installed a water softener, and suddenly my hair improved significantly. If you are considering going for an all-natural, suds-free shampoo like MM, keep in mind that your water source may make or break the experiment. If you live on city water, you should in any case consider a water filter for your shower, to protect yourself from chlorine, fluoride, and other harmful chemicals and toxins swirling around those drains. But you can also consider using filtered water through a water-conserving technique demonstrated in this MM video.
2) Shampoo to Water Ratio
Secondly, when diluting the highly concentrated MM shampoo, the ratio of water to shampoo is critical, and takes some experimenting. The company recommends a 1:1 ratio, but I wash my hair more frequently than the average MM customer. To save on costs, I’ve pushed this ratio to the extreme. My happy balance is 1-part shampoo to 3-parts water. Sometimes I do the suggested double wash, which is supposed to cleanse the hair in the first wash, and nourish the scalp in the second wash. I’ve also found that just one wash can result in a beautiful hair day, as long as I use enough shampoo. My hair is long and very fine, and my scalp begins getting oily within a day of being washed. If I have appointments out of the house throughout the week, I often wash every other day. If I’m working from home for several days, the length of time between washes increases. On these days, I often work MM’s Volcanic Dry Shampoo into my hair before brushing into a ponytail or braid. It works brilliantly to minimize shine and add some extra volume. The routine, as well as the shampoo to water ratio, is going to be different for everyone. My suggestion for those starting out is to try 1:1, and experiment from there. My biggest problem at the beginning was simply not using enough shampoo on my hair.
3) The Scalp Massager
Thirdly, if you’re going to give MM a try, you must incorporate the scalp massager into your routine. I only purchased the scalp massager within the last six months, and it has truly made a world of difference. Prior to implementing this product, my good hair days were unpredictable. Sometimes my hair would look fabulous, and sometimes I wouldn’t use enough shampoo, and wouldn’t work it through my hair enough, leaving sections dull or oily. Now, when washing my hair, I apply the shampoo throughout my hair, and then I use the scalp massager as a tool to further distribute the shampoo before a rinse. Good hair days are now very consistent.
Bonus: Zen Detox Hair Mask
For additional support, especially during the detox phase, I highly suggest the Zen Detox Hair Mask. This product helps remove the residues left behind by conventional shampoos, as well as the unavoidable exposure to toxins that we all experience on a daily basis. I relied on the Zen Detox quite a lot when I first became an MM convert. It’s a good idea to continue to use it seasonally, which leads me to the strangest habit I’ve picked up from MM: Lunar Hair Cutting.
Taking it to the Next Level: Lunar Hair Cutting
I know, it sounds super weird, but I cut my hair four times per year: on the spring equinox, summer solstice, fall equinox and winter solstice. The Morrocco Method encourages cutting hair by the phases of the moon to promote hair health. As a gardener, the practice makes sense to me. Farmers have historically planted seeds according to the moon, believing that the gravitational pressure from the full moon will cause seeds to burst open with life. Whether or not Lunar Hair Cutting is affective, I really appreciate having a set schedule for cutting my hair. Otherwise, I completely forget how long it’s been since the last trim. Following the practice is easy, but does require some planning ahead. Simply pick one of the good hair cutting days for a trim, based on the five goals of Root Work, Beautify, Thicken, Strengthen and Lengthen.
To push this idea even further, one can match up different MM products according to the 5 Lunar Hair Cutting Goals. It’s also recommended that the Zen Detox be used on the first day of each season, to promote overall health. It’s also important to note that in addition to hair care routines, your environment, as well as lifestyle and dietary choices, also affect the health of your hair. I should also just note that Morrocco Method strongly discourages the use of heat on hair, making the comparison that blowing hot air on the leaves of a tree repetitively, day in and day out, would be very harmful for a plant. Likewise repetitive electronic heat is harmful to our hair. Without the excessive use of mousse and hair spray, my hair falls flat within minutes of using a curling iron, so that’s easy for me to avoid. I used to wash and blow dry my hair every day, according to conventional habits, often with styling products to give more volume. Now I usually allow my hair to air dry. But during the winter season, I do occasionally use a hairdryer, especially if I’m in a hurry to get to an appointment. I also usually blow dry my hair for special occasions.
What about the cost?
In terms of cost, over the last three years, I’ve spent consistently between $268 - $275 annually on MM products. I often cut my own hair or otherwise have it cut very affordably at Hair Cuttery. Considering these are my only costs for hair care, I’d imagine it’s about on par with what I used to spend annually on shampoo, conditioner, styling products and frequent haircuts. Prior to switching over to MM, I never would have considered going a day without washing my hair. Therefore, I had the added cost of utilities for water that went to washing my hair daily, and the electricity that went to blow drying my hair daily. The annual cost for MM products will most certainly be much lower for those with short hair, as well as those who can go longer between washes.
I also don’t color my hair, so that’s another cost saver. But for those individuals seeking a natural hair care routine, plus the ability to color hair, check out the MM Henna Hair Dyes. I wrote a blog post about my experience with the Neutral tone here.
Go ahead, give all-natural hair care a try!
While the learning curve for Morrocco Method hair care is steep, the benefits far outweigh the effort required to make the switch from conventional, chemical-laden products. I love knowing that every single ingredient in each product is completely raw, natural and health promoting. I also love supporting a company that is committed to environmentally friendly values. To find out more about making the switch to 100% natural hair care, and for 20% off your first order, sign up for the MM Healthy Hair Club. And let us know how it goes in the comments below!
Also, for fellow cat lovers, MM offers a Volcanic Dry Powder Cat Shampoo for pets, which provides an all natural flea and tick repellent. Unlike the conventional repellents, my cats love it when I massage this powder into their fur.
Have you made the switch yet to natural hair care? If so, how’s it going?