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Seacoast, New Hampshire, United States
I'm just a girl, I'm a lot like you.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Shampoo Free

A couple of months ago I would not have even entertained this notion, now I am obsessed.  I don't know why I feel surprised, this is how I operate.  All or Nothing.  I want to quit shampoo.  No, I do not want to smell bad or look grimy.  I can't even tell my husband for fear of disgusting him.

The truth is, I have become increasingly aware of the amount of chemicals we are exposing ourselves to.  I want to live healthier and greener.  If you look up sodium lauryl sulfate you may be alarmed to see what we are constantly, and quite liberally, applying to our largest organ.  It hardly seems necessary to me that we should have to expose ourselves to toxins in the name of hygiene.  Ok, ok, I know we have been using these things for quite some time and we all seem relatively unharmed.  I still thing there is a better way.  There is!

I did not just wake up one day and decide to stop washing my hair (far from it).  One morning I was sitting innocently at my desk and pushed my bangs out of my eyes.  To my shock and embarrassment, a small flurry of white flakes swirled in front of my eyes.  This seemed so sudden. I did not remember seeing any flakes the day before.  I have long shiny dark hair and side swept bangs.  I felt like the white flakes were shouting for the world to look at them. 

I decided to look up natural remedies for dandruff.  There it was, apple cider vinegar.  This first article promised that the vinegar would restore the pH balance to my scalp and remedy the dandruff almost immediately.  I chose to do more research, this is where is really became interesting.  I quickly learned that fashionistas and the eco-conscious alike were quick to brag about the benefits of apple cider vinegar and baking soda in their hair.  Shiny, free of tangles, no dandruff, silky smooth... the list goes on.  I decided to stop to get some cider vinegar on my way home from work. 

Tsh at Simple Mom really drove the idea home for me.  Here is a link to her blog.  Tsh explains how shampoo is a detergent that strips your hair of its natural oils and creates a need for more shampoo.  I do remember my very wise great grandmother explaining all of this to me (in less scientific terms) when I was young.  Of course, I did not listen.  Sorry Do-Do.  These chemicals are cleaning our hair by stripping all of its natural oils and nutrients.  Our hair is left stripped so our scalp works overtime creating even more, excess oil.  It is that simple and that hard.  The more shampoo and conditioner you use, the more you need.  For a daily shampooer like myslef, this is a tough chain to break.  Just a day without shampoo used to make my hair look stringy, greasy and limp.


Ok, I discussed apple cider vinegar but this does not clean your hair.  To cleanse your hair without shampoo, a simple baking soda and water solution works really great.  I keep a solution of baking soda and water in a squirt bottle in the shower.  I wet my hair, spray the solution into my roots and scrub.  I squirt a little into the length and ends but I feel the solution runs through my hair anyway and the roots are what really needs to be scrubbed.  After a quick and vigorous scrub on my scalp I rinse with cool water.  The apple cider vinegar comes next.  The solution I use is about 50/50 vinegar to water.  I use about 4 ounces each time I wash.  I squirt the vinegar liberally through the length of my hair and sometimes soak the ends in the bottle for a moment.  I comb my fingers through my hair and rinse with the coldest water I can stand. 

Try to avoid applying the apple cider vinegar directly to your scalp, this may cause your hair to feel greasy.  Yes, you read correctly, too much vinegar will cause greasy hair.  I won't try to explain why because science is not my strong point but there is a lot of information out there. Also, I cannot stress the importance of the cold water rinse enough.  The cold water smooths the hair's cuticle leaving it to feel smoother and look shinier.  I also believe that the cold water rinse leaves the natural oils in my hair with a far less greasy feeling than hot water. 

Be warned, these bottles get cold sitting in the shower!  If the cold liquid bothers you you can avoid this by mixing smaller batches right before each wash.  I use about 1/4 of the bottle every time I wash.  I know some people use much less.     

So I have tried it and quit and tried it again.  To be honest, I really like the way my hair feels and my dandruff is gone.  So, why do I keep quitting?  I will follow up with more on this topic, including pictures, soon.  I fear this post is getting too long and I need to get to bed.

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