So if you haven't already figured it out by the products I make and sell, we tend to go pretty natural in our household. In my journey to research more about the chemicals in the beauty products that my family and I used, it was clear that what we were using wasn't the best. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has a great website that tells you how safe the products you use are. Looking up the products that we had been currently using, most of them were rated about a 4 or 5 (On a scale of 0 to 10; 0-2 being low hazard, 3-6 being moderate hazard, and 7-10 being high hazard). I guess I was a little surprised that all the items we used (most of them being for sensitive skin and/or for babies) were still rated this high. So I set out on a mission to find products that were rated 0-2 (preferably 0) and that didn't cost an arm and a leg (why is it that the more natural and non-toxic you want to go, the more expensive things tend to be?).
I figured that one of the best and least expensive ways to get a good product with ingredients that I trusted was to make it myself. One of the first items that I wanted to switch out to a natural product was our shampoo and conditioner. Of course I dove right into Pinterest to find a recipe for shampoo. Boy was I in for it! There are SO many DIY recipes on Pinterest to try! It's a bit overwhelming. One recipe that I kept coming across and seemed really interesting to try was called "no-poo". If you're like me when I first read about it, I thought, "what in the heck is 'no-poo' and how could this possibly work?" It's actually really simple. You use baking soda as your new shampoo and vinegar as your new conditioner. With traditional shampoos and conditioners, the chemicals in them strip your hair of all its natural oils. This can leave your hair very dry and unhealthy. You are also exposing your skin (your body's largest organ) to many toxins which will be absorbed directly into your blood stream. By using the no-poo method, you aren't using the toxic chemicals on your hair (and indirectly, your skin) and you are giving your hair a chance to get it's natural oils back. Did you know that some of the toxic side effects from the ingredients in chemical shampoos include Ecotoxicology, Allergies/immunotoxicity, Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), & Cancer? And that's just from the Fragrances alone. We are exposed to so many different toxins in our daily lives, if I can choose to eliminate some of those toxins, than I'm going to do my best to steer clear of them.
Now be forewarned - there can be a transition period for people when you first start going this method. It can look like you dunked your hair in a vat of Crisco. Not a very appealing thought, especially if you have a job to go to everyday and need to look professional. I will admit, this is now my 3rd or 4th attempt at going the no-poo route and I think I may have finally achieved the result I wanted. My first few attempts were not so successful. I went through a very long transition period that I never was able to get out of. I just looked like I hadn't washed my hair ever. I even had my mom asking me when I would give it up and just wash my hair. From most of the blogs that I read, the transition period for people was about 2 weeks or so. I would go over a month and not ever get past that greasy, static-y, gross look. So I found a few shampoos at the supermarket that were rated a 1 and would use those in between trying the no-poo method several more times. I finally came across a new blog that gave me a better method to start the no-poo method. In most of the original blogs that I read, the blogger would put a little (maybe a teaspoon to a tablespoon) of baking soda into a cup, dilute with water and then wash their hair with it. This method never worked for me. In this newer blog post, the blogger just used the baking soda straight and would massage it directly into her scalp/hair. So I tried this method and it actually worked! I was so excited that I didn't have to look like a grease head and have unmanageable hair and could still go with the no-poo method. I'm now about 7 weeks into the no-poo style and I have to say I really like it. I wash my hair now about every 2-5 days with the baking soda and then rinse with the apple cider vinegar.
So here are a few pictures from when I first started out:
No, your hair doesn't stink from not washing it with a "regular" shampoo. There can be a slight vinegar smell from the conditioner, but this doesn't bother me (I use vinegar in so many of my cleaning supplies and laundry, I have begun to equate it with a clean smell). If it does bother you, you can also add a few drops of essential oils in the vinegar when you rinse (I've used lavender and melaleuca on mine on occasion).
You can try a few different applications. You can try the baking soda diluted in water and rinse or you can just put the baking soda straight onto your hair. Go with the method that works best for your hair. Everyone's is different.
And to answer the question I asked earlier - Natural and non-toxic tends to be more expensive because, well, let's face it, you get what you pay for, unfortunately.
Here are a few more pictures as I've gone through the last few weeks of no-poo:
If you do end up going through that transition phase with greasy hair, you can also try dry shampoo. Simply brush (I use a large makeup brush) some arrowroot powder/cocoa powder mixture on your hair and comb through. (For the dry shampoo, start with a base of arrowroot powder and add the cocoa powder for color; the darker your hair, the more cocoa powder you'll add.) This will help soak up any excess oil in your hair and make it a little more manageable between washes. And as a bonus - you'll smell like chocolate!
So if you've seen me around the last couple of months, let me know what you think, or if you've even been able to tell that I haven't "washed" my hair. If you've tried this method, let me know how your experience was too!
If you'd like to read more on what some other bloggers went through in their no-poo adventures, here are some good links:
The Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep - http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/