No More Shampoo. Really!

>> Wednesday, December 8, 2010

From Stephen:

I've waited a month to post about this particular topic. I first wanted to see if the method actually works. After all, "stop shampooing your hair" is a bold command. It's not at all mainstream. In fact, it's downright strange. I imagine some of our real-life friends are scratching their heads in wonder right now (or perhaps searching for fleas after hanging out with me!).

I'm clean. I promise!

What I've learned in this month is that you don't need store-bought shampoo to have a healthy head of hair. Nor do you need shampoo to have a healthy scalp that smells good.


WHY NO SHAMPOO?

Ashley found this method online a month ago on Simple Mom (but if you Google "no shampoo," you can find it a million other places, too) -- after I told her I was annoyed with how my hair was looking. I have thick, curly hair that becomes unmanageable easily. Plus, I'm always interested in natural alternatives. We both are, for that matter.
  • Shampoos and conditioners are full of chemicals/toxins. If you hadn't noticed, read the bottle next time you're in the shower. Not only is this bad for you (absorption through the skin), it's also not so great for the environment.
  • Speaking of this Earth we love so much, all the plastic bottles and packing isn't so great either!
  • Shampoos are also harsh (see chemicals, above) and many strip hair of vital nutrients and natural oils. Others add on stuff -- weighing hair down, etc.
  • Over time, the stuff gets expensive. Last I checked, a bottle of OK suds at the store runs almost $5. And we're talking grocery store shampoos, not the fancy stuff, which goes up in price exponentially from there.

WHAT TO DO?

Baking soda, apple cider vinegar, and water. That's all you need. We learned on Simple Mom that baking soda "very gently clarifies hair from chemical buildup" . . . and the vinegar "detangles the hair follicles, seals the cuticle, and balances the hair’s pH balance" -- impressive!

Wash:
  • Step 1: In a small bowl, create a paste with one tablespoon of baking soda and 1/4 cup of water. (I use a touch more baking soda -- more like two tablespoons -- because my hair is thick. Play around with the measurements to see what works best for you.)
  • Step 2: Wet your hair. Then squeeze some moisture out of it.
  • Step 3: Pour this solution over your head, staring at the crown. Massage into scalp with your fingers. Work your way from the crown down the rest of your scalp.
  • Step 4: Let it sit for 2 to 3 minutes. Then rinse out as you would for "normal" shampoo.
Condition:
  • Step 1: In that same small bowl (that should be empty now), dilute one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into one cup of water. (Same notes about measurements apple here.)
  • Step 2: Pour onto the ENDS of your hair (not the scalp -- that will stimulate your oil glands to start producing).
  • Step 3: Let it rest for 30 seconds -- tops -- and even shake your hair a bit to distribute before rinsing out.

THE RESULTS

I'm loving it. My hair, as I mentioned above, is soft, clean, and balanced. Better than ever. I didn't experience too much of the "transition phase," as Simple Mom describes. Though, Ashley is still somewhat skeptical if this method will work for her. Whereas my hair is dry, thick, and textured . . . her's is oily, thin, and completely straight. She says she'll try it in the week between Christmas and New Year's, since we have some time off.

If you try it yourself, here are some helpful hints I've discovered along the way.
  • You can buy reusable plastic bottles or even use Mason jars to keep your supplies in. Makes everything easier.
  • I started by using unfiltered apple cider vinegar. However, I've switched to the much less expensive filtered kind, and it works just as well.
  • You can buy baking soda in bulk. Just look for the huge box, likely on the bottom rack of your grocery aisle.
  • If you'd like to add some fragrance, however you need not worry that you'll always smell like vinegar -- it passes in a few minutes, use essential oils like peppermint or lavender. Just a drop or two will do the trick.

Would you try the no shampoo method? And what natural cleaning habits -- self-care or home-care -- do you employ at home? We use baking soda and vinegar for a lot. They're cheap. They're natural. They're good for you and the environment. So, it's sort of a win-win-win-win. We'd love to hear some of your favorite tricks.


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