The Great Hair Experiment

I just kind of jumped into everything without an explanation. Right now, I'm testing out different conditioners and trying to find the best routine for my hair.

The Sulfate-Free Shampoo Route

I used sulfate-free shampoos for at least eight months. I don't necessarily believe the sulfate cancer-scare, but sulfates do irritate skin. I have acne, so I don't need any extra irritants bombarding my skin.
Also, inflammation is the new anti-aging buzzword. Supposedly, many age-related problems are caused by inflammation, including damaged skin and thinning hair. I go mostly on logic, and the following seems logical to me: irritation causes inflammation, inflammation damages hair follicles, over time the damage accumulates and the hair follicles stop producing hair; sulfates cause irritation, therefore repeated use of sulfates can cause hair loss.
I have also read that SLS eats away at protein, so it can eat away the hair follicle and cause hair loss (Source).
Nothing's certain, but why take the chance if I don't have to? My hair may be a pain in the ass, but that doesn't mean I want it to fall out. It's better to prevent it now than to freak out later if it happens.
Anyway, I mostly used Organix Soft & Silky Vanilla Silk Shampoo and Conditioner. I love vanilla—it's my favorite scent—so the shampoo and conditioner are almost perfect for me. They're my favorite shampoo and conditioner set. The shampoo seems to clean nicely, the conditioner is soft and creamy, and they both smell divine.
When I needed to, I used Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat Invigorating Shampoo and Conditioner. They are the most refreshing hair products I've ever used. (I tried Herbal Essences Degunkify Tingling Deep Cleaning Shampoo way back when... no tingle whatsoever. It was very disappointing.)

Shikakai Replaces Shampoo

I've decided to try foregoing shampoo altogether. Instead, I'll see if Ayurvedic herbs can make my hair truly healthier. I haven't used shampoo since August 20.
Ayurvedic herbs are supposed to help exfoliate the scalp and promote hair growth/prevent hair loss and make hair stronger and silkier and bouncier... Okay, yeah, they sound like too-good-to-be-true miracle treatments concocted by anti-everything-chemical crazies, but Indian women do have some of the best-kept hair, and they've used these methods for a very long time.
At first I used shikakai on its own, but now I'm trying out different conditioners to see if I can get better results (I color my hair and it's wavy, so it needs help). I'm not using the conditioners' matching shampoos. Saves my hair and my money. Plus, I'm trying out conditioners that I wouldn't normally try because their matching shampoos contain harsh sulfates.
Right now, I clean my hair with shikakai, then I apply conditioner. I don't put any other products on my hair: no leave-in conditioner, no anti-breakage serum, no nothing. I want to see how the conditioners perform on their own.
That's the (basic) story so far.

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