While I don’t like to think of myself as a crunchy hippie, it seems like the longer I go and the more yoga I do, the more appealing I find things that might seem a little strange to some. Let me just spit it out, rather than beat around the bush. I have decided to stop using shampoo. It may sound a bit odd, but hear me out.
What does shampoo do? It cleans the sweat and grease from our hair. How? By stripping them from our hair and scalp using various chemicals and detergents with unpronounceable names. When our scalps are dry, the body produces more oil to try to re-moisturize the area. So we wash it again, and the body produces more oil. The hair is being constantly stripped of it’s naturally moisturizing and protective oils, which can apparently contribute to greasy hair on top, split ends on the bottom and other unpleasantness between. Aside from the physical ramifications of using shampoo, there’s also the environmental factor. Buying plastic shampoo bottles a few times a year, which mostly likely get chucked in the trash when empty, isn’t exactly eco-friendly. Whereas the cost of a cardboard box of baking soda and a glass jar of vinegar, the only items required for my no shampoo cleaning method, are much cheaper and much better for the environment.
The recipe is quite simple. To wash your hair, mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with one cup (8oz.) of water. Swirl it around, mix it with your finger, use the handle of a razor, whatever you like to get it all mixed together. Then pour it on! From what I’ve read, and my experience backs it up, focus on pouring the mixture on the root area of your hair. Gravity will help bring it to the ends of your hair, which aren’t usually very greasy anyway. Massage the baking soda water into your scalp, and then rinse thoroughly. To condition your hair, mix 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with one cup of water. Again, mix it up and pour it onto your hair. Give yourself a little scalp massage and then rinse. If you like, you can add a few drops of an essential oil like lemon or lavender, or some herbs or spices to your conditioner, which can help cut the vinegar smell.
My initial results have been very positive. My hair feels incredibly soft, to the point that I can’t stop messing with it. Also, it seems to be really enhancing the natural wave I have in my hair. And luckily for myself and everyone around me, there is no vinegar smell. I’ve only just started out on this no shampoo journey, and my results may be skewed by the fact that I didn’t wash my hair everyday to begin with, but for now I’m quite pleased. Feels good, looks good, smells good, and all for pennies? Yes! And the best part is, I know that in a small way I am doing something good for my body and for the environment.
A couple of disclaimers: First, do not mix baking soda and vinegar! It will cause a volcanic eruption of middle school science class proportions, fun to watch but not good for hair care. Also, do your best to avoid getting either mix in your eyes. I don’t actually know if harm would come to you, but it doesn’t feel good! Finally, it can take some time for the body to adjust to the new system. Different things I’ve read suggest anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months. If you want to pursue the non-shampoo method of hair cleaning, be prepared to have a few bad hair days. Hats and bandanas can help. Good luck!