My friend Ragani, an awesome designer and superb henna artist (she did the henna for my wedding) is sharing with us something near and dear to my heart – eliminating commercial shampoos and conditioners. I’ve written about this on my other blog so I can attest to the effectiveness.
For me lazy is the real mother of invention.
That holds true for why I ditched shampoo, but there are several others reasons too. This is a story about my journey finding a way to simplify my life, and save money too.
In the past I had a love-hate relationship with washing my hair. It is nice when it is clean, and I did not even mind once I was in the shower going about the business of shampooing my hair. I have long fine hair that frizzes easily and I hate washing my hair very often because it gets brittle and too dry, not to mention having wet hair (oh yeah, I don’t even own a hair dryer). But after a couple of days (or sooner for some people), you just need to wash it again or it is greasy and unmanageable. Here I was, using a detergent on my hair to get all the grease out, but my hair clearly needed some oil to not get too dry. It seemed like a never ending battle.
Bubbles get you clean! Or not.
After I found out about all the nasty chemicals in most hair products I always felt a bit strange whenever I used them, knowing they were not good for me. Some of the worst chemicals in most cleansing products are foaming agents. There really is no reason for the foaming agents that contributes to how shampoo cleans your hair. It is there to give you the lather you have been told you need to clean with, but it is all a marketing ploy.
But, there did not seem like there were many other options, so I kept using shampoo and generally feeling bad about that choice. Once I got pregnant, I started to feel even worse about using chemicals I knew were not good for me, and thus started my search for an alternative.
There are natural alternatives.
I did find a hair wash product I liked that did not contain any of those chemicals, but it was expensive and hard to keep up, not to mention difficult to find. I was not able to keep using it as directed because I would run out before I could get more. Stocking up proved expensive, and even then, using the hair mud was a bit of a hassle.
There are also other shampoos out there that would not contain all the chemicals I was trying to avoid, and I am not knocking those if they work for you. However, that involved researching and finding them, and after my experience with the hair mud, I was not feeling up to it. That, and it still left me with the hair cleaning cycle that I hated. Yup, I am lazy and washing my hair even 4 times a week was too much for me.
I also tried using just conditioner. I had read somewhere of someone who swore by only using conditioners. I found several that I liked, and were not full of a ton of chemicals and tried just using conditioner for a few months. This turned out to be a good step along the path, but it did not actually clean my hair enough to make that my chosen method. Also, I have enough hair that it felt like I had to use a lot of conditioner to get my entire head of hair, which was not very effective. It did help me detox from using shampoo so the next step turned out to be easier.
Something in your kitchen now that will work better.
I did some research on other ways to lose the shampoo in my routine and found a couple of blogs by a woman who did just that using products you probably have in your kitchen right now. Megan of Sorta Crunchy talked about her experience trying it out for herself, and Tsh Oxenreider of Simple Mom provided me with clear instructions on how to go about.
If you have not clicked on those links, you are probably wondering what you have in your kitchen that will help clean you hair. The answer is: baking soda. Yup, simple and cheap, baking soda and water is enough to clean your hair. How did it work for me? Fairly well, actually. I was able to transition within a shorter time because I had already ditched shampoo and was only using conditioner. I find that my hair does not get greasy as quickly as it used to when I used shampoo, which is a win for my lazy self, especially as a new mother who often does not get much time for a nice luxurious shower any more. Now I manage to wash my hair about 3 to 4 times in a two week period and don’t have as many problems with greasy hair either.
What about the rinse?
The instructions on Simple Mom and many other sites talk about using a vinegar rinse, usually apple cider vinegar. Since baking soda is an alkali, an acid rinse makes sense (think high school science class). I tried that for a while, but my hair would smell like vinegar afterwards and it started to bother me that I smelled of salad dressing. I switched to a lemon juice rinse, which I like much better, if for scent alone. And since the rinse is not needed every time you wash either, I usually don’t bother.
I keep experimenting with that portion of the process and am still finding out what works for me. I confess I like one of the conditioners I found back during my conditioner-only stage that I still use it sometimes instead of the acid rinse. Interestingly I only need a little bit of the conditioner now as apposed to when I was using shampoo or only conditioner. This results in a bottle of conditioner lasting me much longer than it used to, gaining me yet another cost savings there.
The other things I have been experimenting with are other home-made hair treatments. My current favorite is a good use of that avocado that got a bit too ripe to eat and you hate to throw out which is used as a hair masque to increase moisture and shine. I tried a recipe that includes olive oil, but I think it was too oily, and prefer just avocado, or avocado and coconut milk.
Bonus for baby!
The other nice thing about using baking soda is that it is safe for baby too! I have not used shampoo on my baby since bringing her home. Baking soda and water are tear free too. It does not take much to get a baby clean, especially when they have very little hair to clean. I add a few drops of Dr. Bronner’s baby soap if she is especially grubby, but that and baking soda are all I have every needed at bath time for a squeaky-clean baby.
For more extensive details on going shampoo free these links are the ones I found most helpful: