Last month I ditched shampoo. Yes, this is true. Perhaps all the talk about plastic bottles, carcinogenic chemicals in beauty products, the fact most detergents are not biodegradable got to me. The cost of ‘good shampoos’ is astronomical in some instances.. and are they really better for my hair?
After cutting my hair back in March, I’ve decided to grow my hair long again, but the problems always arise with the question of how often I should wash my hair. I have friends that could go a week with one or two washes, but my hair is so fine, that it’s difficult stretch the time between washes, leaving the problems of dry hair, the battle of the frizz, brittle hair, etc. Long hair is a lot of work. The real reason I look to alternatives, mostly is because I want healthier hair.
Cuts Thru Grease
Shampoos are detergents for hair. Just like dish washing detergent, laundry detergent, they strip the hair of it’s natural moisturizers by cutting through the grease, that’s why we need conditioner to replace the oils. Then the glands go into overdrive to replace the stripped oil, producing greasy hair, which then needs more shampoo, conditioner, etc.
It’s a vicious cycle.
I’m saying this from personal experience. When I wash my hair with shampoo, it looks good the day it’s washed, and if I go one day without washing, it’s greasy. Since I’ve started using baking soda/apple cider vinegar/honey in my hair I’ve been able to stretch washes two to four days without getting ‘greasy hair’.
People have been using sodium bicarbonate(baking soda) like soap since ancient Egyptian times. Baking soda has tons of uses, it’s essential in cupcakes, it’s a deodorizer, you can brush your teeth with it, add in your bath to soften skin, helps relieve rashes, burns, insect bites… and you can wash your hair with it. In the States, you can buy a 4lb box of baking soda for about $4. Here, in Germany, I’ve only managed to find small packets… I’ve heard they sell it in larger quantities, but not at the average supermarket.
Baking soda will remove the grime without stripping your hair of it’s natural oils. Use one tablespoon per wash. You can dissolve the baking soda in half a cup of water or add a small amount of water to make a paste. I generally use the watery kind because it goes through my hair easier. Massage the solution in your scalp and leave for a minute.
The second part is using Apple Cider Vinegar to soften the hair… after rinsing out the baking soda use a solution of two tablespoons of ACV to half a cup of water. Don’t worry about the smell, it goes away in a few moments. It makes your hair soft, but if used too often, you may experience greasiness.
Mostly I hear to experiment with different solutions until you get what works best. So far I haven’t had any disasters, but I’m still trying to figure out the perfect mix. Since I’ve been using baking soda, I haven’t had itchy scalp, my hair is more manageable, and I don’t think shampoo does a particularly better job.
I would not recommend you try this if you have colored hair. I have not found any information to confirm the baking soda is color-safe, and if this seems too ‘hippy’ of a solution for you there are several dry shampoos or ‘no poo’s out in the market.
Oscar Blandi Dry Shampoo: $19 Got great reviews on Makeup Alley and Amazon, particularly popular amongst blondes who have issues with dry hair, and color protection.
Deva Curl No Poo : $17 This keeps getting mentioned in the New York Times, made from the hip salon for curly hair Devachan, it’s special for curly hair, but they also have specific nopoo’s for color treated hair.
There’s a lot of information out there, but here are some favorites:
Info: Shampoo Free
Of course I washed my hair…
Life Less Plastic
The No Poo Method (video)