As per usual, I will put a disclaimer on this post. If you are not down with dirty hippies, you may want to click the little red x in the upper right hand corner of your screen right about now :) For every one else, here we go!
I don't use shampoo. Or conditioner, for that matter. That's right, you heard me correctly. There is a movement in some ladies called "no 'poo", and if you google it, you will find tons of bloggers who have written about the same topic. Since November of last year, I've only used shampoo and conditioner a few times (like less than 10, tops), and I'll explain why below.
Let's talk about our hair first.
Everyone wants shiny, bouncy, voluminous hair that jumps off of a magazine page, yes? We all buy and apply tons of different products each year, from shampoo, conditioner, detangler, mousse, hair spray, texturizer, gel, pomade, dry shampoo, and the list goes on and on. Every single one of these products has A TON of chemicals in them. I used to use a rather pricey shampoo from Biolage back in the day. Well, if you click that link, you'll see the cosmetic database's listing on all the chemicals in it, as it is listed as a 7 out of 10 (10 being the worst score you can get). I put that on my head, right next to my brain, every day, for years. That cannot be good. And it isn't. Check out a little of the research why, and what it does to your body here.
In my quest to take better care of my body, I came across several blogs discussing the idea of not using shampoo. Initially, I thought it was nuts. And then I read a little more and it started to make sense. Why?
Well, for starters, shampoo is expensive. Take that same bottle of Biolage we talked about earlier, which costs around $18-21 dollars a bottle. Even if you only used one bottle per month, that is over $200 a year, and that doesn't include conditioner or any styling products. Basically you are washing money down the drain.
Next, if you think about what you are doing with harsh shampoos and conditioners, you'll wonder why. Or, well, I did at least. Shampoo basically strips your hair of all of the good oils it produces. When you strip those oils off of your hair every day, your scalp thinks you don't have enough oil, so it then produces even more, which then causes you to shampoo your hair even more to get it 'clean', which then causes your scalp to produce more oil. See where this is going? This is also the reason why most hairstylists tell you not to wash your hair every day, even though a lot of them make commission off of selling hair products to their customers. This is also why they don't want you to come in and get your hair done after it was just washed, because your hair is a lot more manageable when it has some of it's own natural oils.
So where does that leave us then? Because, I mean, really, I am going to have to wash my hair with something, right?
This leads me to my favorite friend, Baking Soda.
Baking Soda is great for a number of reasons (some are listed here, such as it is household cleaner, is used in toothpaste and in deodorant, as a deodorizer in your fridge, as well as many other uses), and I already use a ton of it in our home. Turns out baking soda is actually a mild abrasive that will clean your hair without stripping your scalp/hair of it's natural oils. I've read all over the internet a ton of different recommendations for the mixture of baking soda and water to use, and it varies from a paste to only a tablespoon or two to a few cups of water. I personally use about two cups of water with probably a few tablespoons (maybe three?) mixed in. I mix this up and keep it in a small rubbermaid container with a spout.
I wash my hair maybe every 3 days now, longer when I'm not working. When I wash it, I just pour a little of the baking soda/water mixture over my head, let it sit while I get washed up, and then scrub the heck out of my hair with my hands. Then I rinse it out. This takes me to my next step.
Apple Cider Vinegar is the next step. This is used to seal the hair shaft and leaves your hair soft and shiny. I also keep this in a rubbermaid pourable container, and use a few tablespoons to the 16 oz container. I promise you, that if you pour this through your hair (I only pour through the ends, as otherwise my hair feels more greasy up top) and then rinse well, you will not smell like vinegar after you get out of the shower. Promise.
This leads me to the third piece of it, that I didn't figure out until just recently.
A boar's bristle hair brush, the one I purchased only a couple of bucks from the Scunci brand at CVS. At first when I was doing BS/ACV washes, I was getting really greasy roots and really dry ends, which was sort of odd, because the top of my head would be super greasy, while the bottom ends would be dry and flyaway. (This was after the two weeks they say to give your hair to adjust, after making your scalp so overactive in producing grease, it does take up to two weeks for it to normalize again) Anyway, the greasy dry situation was not a great combination. But, I went back to the internet and read that people were having better luck when they used one of these brushes two times a day for at least 5 minutes. And I wholeheartedly agree, as this step has made my hair look and feel awesome, and I no longer have any grease or dry hair at all. Prior to getting this brush, I did use shampoo and conditioner a few times when the grease got a little crazy and I couldn't wear a ponytail one more day to work. But since having this brush, I have had absolutely no need to use shampoo or conditioner.
Don't believe me?
So this above picture is my hair, after only washing with BS/ACV. And this is actually day two, as I hadn't washed this today. (Don't mind my messy bathroom!)
Here is a picture of my roots, no grease there.
And here is a picture of the back of my hair, no oil or grease there either.
After quitting shampoo and hair products, I've had great results with baking soda and apple cider vinegar. Apparently eventually some people don't even need the two of these products, and can just rinse with water and have great looking hair. I'm not there (yet?). My hair is still shiny, less dry and crackly than it was before, easier to style, and holds a style for WAY longer. There are lots of days (today included) that I don't have to flat iron the ends when I wake up, because they still hold the slight curl under like they did the day before. It is great, saves time, saves money, and is better for my body and the environment.
Also, if you have any other shampoo, conditioner, or hair care product natural substitutions, I'd love to hear them!