Stain Less - The Truth About Clean Hair

Stain Less

Stain Less

By Ruthann Smith
© 2005, Ruthann Smith, All rights reserved.

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Olympian Ian Millar

9-time Olympian Ian Millar optimizes daily grooming with Lucky Braids Products.

The tragedy is that most whitening products and programs actually make coats attract dirt. Using standard products, stains stick and stay. Moreover, grooms agree: their hands hurt. Blue shampoo makes hands ache. The jar of soap that has been around forever actually makes the skin peel off grooms’ hands and horses’ legs. This is no secret and not good news for you, your horse or the environment.

Fortunately, the non-toxic program is also the most effective. Healthy hair is easiest to clean, holds rich color, grows gorgeous tails, resists irritation and gleams. Nourished hair repels problems. Far less work yields the richest bloom.

I had some time to think about hair… while braiding 12,000+ horses. I studied the pervasive problems. Stains are a big one.

What I learned is that things can be different. Perhaps during wee the hours, you’ll snicker thinking of the horses snoring together during the nights, instead of assessing spots. Think: no cold hoses nor scrubbing in the dark. You can knock off most stains with a brush.

So, try this:

Shiny Horse

To eliminate stains avoid:

• Conventional whitening, jarred and medicated shampoos. They dry out the coat so hair is dull, cannot grow and breaks. Plus they promote skin disease!

• Sodium Chloride (salt!) is commonly used to create lather but strips oils, leaving coats parched. Dry skin is readily irritated, does not heal well or sport healthy hair. Dry hair attracts dirt and breaks. So, check ingredients. If there is no list and it is not an equine enzyme: beware.

Most products are not healthy for the horses nor the earth, especially commonplace brands.

• Petroleum products. Silicone and mineral oil lock in stains and suffocate hair, making it slippery and break easily. Plus, they’re toxic.

• Most stain removers. They leave a yellow shadow and dull brittle hair. However, a quality enzyme can dissolve tough old stains without damaging the coat. Very old yellow areas initially need to stay damp with the enzyme to separate the stain from the hair.

• Detanglers. Petroleum products lock dirt in and moisture out.

Use only Shampoo that:

• Is moisturizing and nourishing to condition coats, volumize tails and reduce tangles. For best results, comb tails when wet.

• Provides generous amounts of Vitamin E.

• Uses only medical-grade Tea Tree Oil to soothe, cleanse and condition skin. The other 20 grades of tea tree are harsh.

• Is pH balanced for horses. It will rinse easily without leaving a film.

Be sure to:

• Use an all-in-one shampoo as outlined above + NO detangler- they are toxic and drying. You won’t need a detangler if you use Lucky Braids Shampoo and comb the wet tail. Maintain daily. Use Lucky Braids spray enzyme to wipe off dirt as needed.

• Avert heel scratches by being sure legs are always bone-dry before entering a stall.

• Curry lots! Sweat salt dries out coats and attracts dirt. Groom vigorously before and after riding. To bring out shine and natural protective oils, groom from your back instead of using just your arm.

Eliminate Tough Stains:

• Shampoo with Lucky Braids for healthy hair that resists stains. Comb clean tails wet to reduce tangles and pick easily.

• If tail hair is sticking together due to dust or guck, Spray Lucky Braids enzyme to dissolve bond with dirt. Then, wipe clean with a towel. Hold & comb long hair wet.

• Dampen stained area with Lucky Braids Spray. Then wipe the yellow off.

Bio Pic

Ruthann Smith has spent a lifetime studying sound horsemanship- both as a groom for top international horses and as a renowned braider. Quietly twisting manes atop a ladder, she watched and learned in some of the best stables in the world.

As her passion for great grooming grew, Ruthann became focused on researching, collecting and sharing the best practices of the world’s keenest horsemen. Ultimately, Ruthann used her vast experience to develop exceptional equine grooming products to help raise the bar of horsemanship.

The knowledge she dispenses and the products Ruthann developed solve age-old grooming issues. Making quality horse care easier, they have received the highest honors in the equine industry*. Her Lucky Braids for Top Turnout coat care and braiding products are the best, most versatile, cost-effective and easiest solutions available on the market today.

Now Ruthann offers her LOVE, LOVE Guarantee. If not totally thrilled with a product she developed, Ruthann will refund you in full, regardless of where you purchased it.

It’s her life’s mission to empower horses by educating, motivating and equipping their people to be true horsemen. You can access Ruthann’s tips at: The Grooming Resource on, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and her Horsemanship Clinics.

*After testing 350 products, Lucky Braids All-In-One Horse Shampoo was named product of the year by Horse Journal, the “Consumer Reports” of the industry. They also named Lucky Braids Shampoo and Top Pick for greys and whites. Lucky Braids specialized braiding yarn also got stellar reviews.