Sometimes when you witness wrong-doing it is appropriate to respond in a strong manner. And other times, it’s helpful to counter with a more subversive answer. This is the latter…
(There are so many ridiculously silly ways I could have titled this post. You see, using alternative methods to clean your hair is usually called ‘no-pooing’ (as in, “no-shampooing”), and honestly – I think we all have a little bit of fifth-grade boy inside of us that wants to automatically giggle every time they hear the term. Right? No…? Just me then. Okeeeeeydokey.)
I’ve written before about the fact that our current body care industry (shampoos, soaps, toothpaste, shaving cream, the bajillion brands of rip-off anti-aging junk, etc. etc.) is not well-regulated for safety.
When I first started my natural living journey over five years ago, I became more aware of this:
“As I began learning about the toxic chemicals that are used in products, I found that the ingredients in my favourite shampoo are associated with things like neurotoxicity and organ system toxicity. I don’t know about you, but to me that does not seem like a desirable side effect of washing my hair.“
So I told my inner frugal rockstar to hush-up, and I marched my booty down to the store to peruse the organic shampoo aisle. Then I died dead on the floor of a heart attack after seeing that they all cost eleventy hundred dollars each. When I finally recovered, I picked one out and took it home to try.
This is what my hair looks like these days (ok, admittedly this is on a pretty good hair day: my baby’s first birthday party):
I have found over the years that my hair likes certain shampoos more than others. Most of the natural/organic brands I’ve tried (which is probably numbering in the dozens by now) have worked on a mediocre level. They’ve been ok, but never amazing. There is one brand I love, but I think the ingredient list is the most questionable out of the crew.
Mostly though, I’ve found that none of them work well long-term. As a result, I’ve had to switch up my brand every few months or so, or I find my hair getting dull and build-up-ish. (It’s a word. Really.)
That’s the problem with shampoos: they strip your hair of its natural oils and leave it greasier and yuckier than it was ever meant to be. The reason most people have to shampoo daily is because their head is being so bombarded with the stripping from the harsh chemicals in shampoos that it ends up over-compensating and producing even more oil. And thus the vicious cycle that never ends.
Quite frankly, I’m sick of it. I’m really, really tired of the price tag and I’m growing very tired of mediocre, high-maintenance hair. So I quit. I’m breaking up with you, shampoo. We’ve got some irreconcilable differences, and I want out.
For the month of February, I’m quitting shampoo.
I will be using baking soda and water to cut the grease and grime, and apple cider vinegar if necessary for conditioning (and nope, it doesn’t smell after it’s rinsed out.) You can google “No Poo Method” for more on the ins and outs if you’d like.
I am also pretty inspired by a success story right under my own roof:
She’s three and a half years old now, and her hair is enviably healthy and shiny and gorgeous… and long! Her hair grew fast as a toddler, and it was nearly waist-length on her third birthday, like you see above. We gave it a trim last fall, and it continues to grow beautifully. We rinse it with water whenever she has a bath (and I rub her scalp a little with my fingertips), and on a rare occasion we’ve used some Dr. Bronner’s to wash it after the usual toddler antics like an entire bowl of spaghetti on the head or unauthorized diaper cream smearing. That’s it. Her hair gives me hope for my own!
I am crossing my fingers and toes, hoping that by the end of the month, I’ll be pleased with the experiment and continue it indefinitely. However, I’m setting a time frame so that I can give myself permission to stop if necessary.
I’m not gonna lie: I’m scared. I tried getting out of this. I tried telling myself I could just try it quietly, and THEN if it was a success I’d blog about it. Then I said “Self, NO, just no. You can’t hide this. Public embarrassment is far more entertaining for The People. And it’s All.About.The.People.” See how much love I have for you guys? Feel the love, peeps, it’s the truth.
So, I’m dubious, but I’m willing to give it a whirl. Are you?
Wanna join me in my Great Shampoo Breakup for the month of February?
Leave me a comment to let me know. If there’s any interest, I might start a FB group and invite some of my expert blogger buds to join who have written on this topic before.
PS. I opened up my email today after having started this post and lo and behold: my friend Lauren is challenging herself to go no-poo for February too! Go check out her post and follow along with her blog to see her updates as the month goes on. I’m not the only nut out there!
Hit me up with your questions, concerns, and thoughts. Surely this is not the nuttiest thing I’ve ever done, and I doubt it’ll ever rank up there very highly. I mean – after all – I *do* have a post coming next week about cloth TP. So there’s that.
Note: I did try the no-poo method once before a few years ago, for around 3 weeks, but I abandoned it quite dissatisfied. I later learned that the hard water we had in Tiny Town at the time was most likely to blame, since several of my other crunchy mama friends in the same town had also tried and given up on it while living there (but had been able to find success after moving to a different province. I’m hoping for the same!)
Been no Poo no Soap for years… am 45 no wrinkles, and have donated 12″ (Hair) to Pantene Great Lengths in 2011 and 2013… got another 12″ to donate
I’ve been “No-Pooing” *insert schoolboy giggle* for 10 months now. I will never EVER go back. My hair has never been softer or more healthy. Just a warning to you though… It may take more than 1 month together over the “funk period” and for your scalp to normalize. But once it does, you’ll be a believer. I promise.
I sure do hope you’re right about that… I’m on Day 14 and starting to really feel the funk. Ugh. Any tips?
I gave up commercial shampoo last summer. I tried making my own but I was unsuccessful and looked online found Dirty Diva Soap on Etsy. It took a while for my hair to adjust but now I love it. My hair is so soft and I still color it every 6 to 8 weeks with commercial color.
I’ll never go back to Shampoo.
I read somewhere that baking soda and vinegar raises then lowers the pH, and its not good for your scalp or hair. I tried it just once and my hair was already being difficult. Then I found something that takes about a “detox period” which makes sense– no matter what you do, you need to give it time to normalize… But I have heard about so many people “trying no-poo” including experienced crunchy bloggers… But not so many stories about people sticking with it… I might try a coconut milk method someone suggested… But it was when I saw the terrible news story about littleowlcrunchy mama that made it click… I have now gone 2 weeks using only water for my hair. I have to brush it a lot to get the oils all the way through, but it makes sense… brushing the natural oils from my scalp all the way to my tips has left my hair less tangly and dry and brittle. Also my head used to be itchy all the time and now it isn’t. As I said, I might try an occasion rinse with coconut milk, and an essential oil or two, but I’m very impressed so far with water only 🙂
I will go no poo with you this month. My last real shampoo was February 1, and I’ve only rinsed with water since then. I’m looking forward to trying the baking soda and Apple cider vinegar rinse this weekend. Wish me luck!