Thursday, June 27, 2013

Shampoo Free — No More Toxic Hair

After months of reading about the benefits of going shampoo free, I have decided to experiment with it.  Notice I said "shampoo free," i can't stand the common vernacular "no 'poo." It makes me giggle; why would anyone poo their hair? So instead I'll use "shampoo free." 

So, why shampoo free? Lots of reasons really. Shampoo wasn't really a common item until the early 20th century, about 1914. Before that folks used soap, which if you've never tried it, can leave your hair a gross mess. 

But over the decades shampoo has become a toxic concoction. Lots of chemicals in those fancy bottles. Since we are trying to lead a healthier lifestyle, getting rid of as many harsh chemicals as we can is part of the plan.

Shampoo is a detergent. As it cleans It strips away oils from the hair, which sounds like a good thing, but it's not. The scalp produces oils to protect the skin and hair. So when it's stripped, the body needs to make more oil to compensate. And,  stripping  the oil removes the natural softener and detangler. Then a conditioner needs to be applied. Do you see a marketing ploy here?

This is all basic information I've been gathering. Just google "no poo method" and you'll find all kinds of info...and claims.

Some of the claims are dubious, just like the shampoo commercials that promise the hair of the gods if you use their product. "My hair is thicker, more luxurious, blah, blah, blah." I preferred reading the reviews of those who tried it and explained why it didn't work for them, and those who experimented with various recipes til they found one that did work for them. Those seemed much more honest.

I decided to give it a try after visiting with Middle son and his girlfriend. Her hair is long and straight. She had issues with various shampoos so decided to try shampoo free. And her hair looks great — healthy and clean. Middle son no longer uses any cleanser in his hair, he just rinses it. (His is fairly short.) Their results convinced me to give it a go. 

 I used this basic recipe for shampoo:
1 tablespoon baking soda mixed in one cup water til dissolved

And this for conditioner:
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar mixed in one cup water. I decided to add  2 drops of rosemary essential oil. Rosemary is supposed to be good for hair, and it has a nice woodsy clean smelll. 

I wet my hair, then parted it in the middle and poured a bit if the baking soda solution on. Then i sectioned off other parts around my head, making sure to bet the nape area, bangs, and around the ears. I massaged it in to the scalp then rinsed.

Then I poured some of the vinegar solution on the bottom 1/3 of my hair (the ends). I usually don't need to condition the top so much. I combed it through my hair then rinsed. 

Really, its the same process as shampooing, just with different products.

It came out clean and shiny. A little frizzy, but that's what happens when I air dry instead of blow dry.

One week after starting shampoo free. (Second wash)
It has been three weeks since I started, or about 9 washes. The pic above is at one week. 

My hair does feel thicker, although I know it is not actually thicker. I think it must be the natural oils left on the hair strands beefing them up. It is also wavier, especially when I air dry.  In the pic above I had blown it out "straight" but there's still some wave evident. it was a terribly humid day, but I didn't use any styling product. 

The first two weeks were pretty icky; my hair felt like beach hair, a little stiff and crunchy. It was also pretty oily, especially at the crown. I wanted to wash it every day, but restrained myself — thank goodness for ponytails! Over the weeks there has been improvement, and I'm down to one wash every 3 or 4 days

After a few weeks in I may begin messing with the recipe. Husband says he misses the "clean" smell that shampoo gives, so I might try other essential oils or maybe distilling some herbs in the water. I've also read some recipes using coconut milk, aloe, and other natural ingredients that I may try.

One tip, if you want to try it....brush your hair well, from root to tip at least once a day. I usually do mine before bed. The brushing helps distribute the oils down the hair shaft.