Like many trans people I did extensive research before starting HRT. I wanted to know exactly what changes my body was going to go through, and thanks to trans men sharing their own experiences both on and offline, I learned a great deal about what I should expect from going on testosterone. I knew about the fat displacement, the increase of body hair, the odor changes… but there was one thing that nothing I read mentioned as a side effect/change.
My hair changed texture. I went from having silky, wavy, fairly easy to maintain hair that only needed conditioning when I bleached it, to still soft, but courser, curlier hair that needs almost daily conditioning to be at all manageable. Of course, the current length of my has something to do with this too, but I had periods of long hair pre-T too and it was Not Like This.
On top of this, I have remained as greasy as ever. I was a terribly greasy teenager during puberty number one and puberty two: electric boogaloo has been just the same. I know I’m not supposed to wash my hair every day, but if I don’t my hair will be so oily it feels wet and I just can’t do that.
But to the point, prior to starting T the only time I cared about what hair product I was using was when I needed color safe shampoo when I dyed my hair. After T, I all of a sudden needed to find shampoo that was good for oily hair and wouldn’t also wreck it like my shitty cheap garbage shampoo was doing.
My first answer came with Lush’s I Love Juicy shampoo. It was great, it worked, and then Lush went and discontinued it. Since Lush had worked before I decided to search for another Lush product and found the Jumping Juniper shampoo bar. Even though I’d never used a shampoo bar I said, what the hell I’ll give it a go…
It fried my hair.
It made my hair an absolute rats nest even when I was using a conditioner. During this period of misery, (which was mid-2020, so there was no hope of me getting a hair cut to make my hair more manageable—and don’t tell me to cut my own hair, trust me, I’ve thought about it, it would be a disaster) I discovered the YouTube channel of Royalty Soaps and went on a binge watching spree of their soap making videos.
One day I decided to have a gander at the Royalty Soaps webstore to see if there was anything that interested me, as I was in the market for getting away from Lush who did me so dirty and I’d just watched a video where shampoo and conditioner bars had been mentioned, and I hit the jackpot. Two shampoo bars specifying that they were good for oily hair.
I bought the Sea Forest shampoo bar, as that was the scent that appealed to me more, and I fell in love instantly.
In a matter of days my hair was feeling better, and not only that, their shampoo bars are cheaper than Lush by roughly two dollars and you get more for your dollar too. I paid 12 dollars (plus shipping) for 1.9 ounces of shampoo bar from Lush and 10 dollars (plus shipping) for 3 ounces from Royalty Soaps. Definitely worth it in my book.
Eventually when I had the money to spare I went back to try one of the conditioner bars. I got the Citrus Sunshine conditioner bar, and it too improved my hair situation dramatically. I’ll be trying the Citrus Sunshine shampoo bar next and I’d also eventually like to try the Lavender Vanilla shampoo and conditioner bars, because those purport to be good for damaged hair and mine totally is.
The one thing I will warn for is if you are sensitive to smells. Many of these are fragrant soaps, though the Blameless shampoo and conditioner bars are unscented according to the website. However, I found that once you got the shampoo/conditioner bars wet to use the smell lessened dramatically. I was a little concerned with the Citrus Sunshine conditioner at first because the bar gave me a headache when I first took it out of the box, but the smell is so much more muted when I use it in the shower that it doesn’t bother me at all.
So if HRT has forced you to rethink your entire hair care routine, or if you just need some relaxing soap making videos to sooth you through the ongoing pandemic, maybe check out Royalty Soaps. Their shampoos and soaps are also very eco-friendly, vegan and sulfate free, and all the ingredients are listed right on the website.