So I bumped into a post on a lovely blog the other day that really caught my eye! Cleaning and conditioning your hair without shampoo or conditioner. Weird huh?! I thought so, but it also sounded pretty cool.. I don't spend a ridiculous amount of money on hair products like some people out there, but I do know it adds up. I'm also becoming more and more aware everyday that the ingredients in the products we use so much of are pretty bad for us and it is so simple and cheap to replace these with our own homemade concoction!
First is going shampoo & conditioner free (No 'Poo)!
The how and why for for going "'poo free" is pretty long on their blog. So I'm just going to summarize again. I want to keep it on here for myself so I don't have to keep going back and forth, although I am enjoying going back to their blog to read though the hundreds of comments they have racked up on these posts! It's pretty amazing how many people are already doing this!
Shampoo is a detergent. It cleans your hair while stripping it of all the healthy oils your body naturally produces to protect it and keep it soft and strong.
It wasn’t introduced until the early 20th century, before that many people used soap, which washes your hair without removing as much of the natural oils that shampoo does. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stand very well in alkaline water. When mineral levels in water began to rise, that made soap a messy, poor item to wash with. It causes ‘soap scum’ rings around your tub and on your shower doors. Alkali (hard water) makes the scales on your hair stand up, feel rough and get tangled. When washing with water that has a higher alkaline content and soap, the “soap scum” gets all tangled up in your hair, is much harder to wash out, and creates a big mess. Shampoo came out on the market just in time, displaying it’s only real benefit, it behaves similarly in both hard and soft water. Therefore it was a “superior” product to it's competitor, soap. Shampoo didn't come without it's own problems, though. Because it is harsh enough to strip the natural oils from your hair, you need something to replenish them, and so conditioner was born.
Detergent is harsh. We probably wouldn't use the same stuff on our bodies that we use on our dishes, but that's basically what we're doing with shampoo.
It has all kinds of chemicals. Most shampoos contain mineral oil, a byproduct when gasoline is distilled from crude oil. It's no good because it clogs the pores and suffocates the skin, which is a breathing organ. This stuff is so abundant that it actually costs more to dispose of it then it does to package and sell it, so it ends up everywhere. :| It’s added to shampoo and conditioner to thickly coat the strands, giving hair an artificial shine. Since it can’t absorb into skin, like some other ingredients, it acts as a barrier on our scalp, preventing oil from being released, which then requires more shampoo to strip away the grease. This means the more shampoo you use, the more you need.
Most shampoos & conditioners also contain SLS and SLFS (sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate), these are skin and eye irritants that also acts as a foaming agent in soaps, toothpastes, dishwashing liquid, mouth wash, body wash, mascara, and just about anything that produces a foamy lather. The Materials Safety Data Sheet cautions to avoid body contact with SLS, it also puts infants and children (whose eyes are developing at a more rapid rate) at risk for improper eye development when it is absorbed through the skin and accumulates in eye tissues.
Because of residual levels in internal organs, it's questioned how safe our current rates of exposure are. "Debunkers" and companies who sell products containing these ingredients claim that the short exposure (shampoo and rinse) isn't enough for it to build up, and that by itself, in the dilution present within the product, the ingredient won't cause damage. This is basically true, however neither take into account recent reports (within the last five years), exposure due to the amount of products which contain SLS/SLFS and how often we use them, the known chemical reaction with other ingredients commonly found in these products. While not carcinogens, both these substances, when mixed with other ingredients commonly found in shampoo bottles, may cause carcinogenic nitrates to form. Using it in moderation, and even in high amounts probably isn't going to kill you, but it's definitely not improving your health! The suggested safe percentage of SLS or SLFS to be used in products like shampoo and toothpaste isn't adhered to as often as it should be.
Effects of sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS):
Mimic the hormone Oestrogen- This has many health implications and may be responsible for a variety of health problems from PMS and Menopausal symptoms to dropping male fertility and increasing female cancers such as breast cancer, where oestrogen levels are known to be involved.
If you're completely freaked out/disgusted and want to easily find some SLS-free products of all kinds, this site has a nice chart of links to help you.
Skin is our largest organ, and it’s extremely porous.
Substances can easily enter the bloodstream directly
through our skin, and can stay there for a long time.
It's an unnecessary cost. Using it creates dependence because you are stripping your hair of the protective oils, then you need to use other hair products to keep it detangled, workable and styled.
Also, having kids and other family members with different types of hair means buying different types of (sometimes very pricey) shampoos and conditioners. Because this is all natural, everyone can use it! If you need to tweak it a little for oily hair vs. dry hair you can get a couple bottles and make them separately!
And that's it! Doesn't that make you wonder why the heck you've been using shampoo & conditioner for so long? If you haven't said that to yourself yet, keep reading! Once you find out how ridiculously easy this is, you will not only be asking yourself that question but you'll be making your new shopping list. :)
Now here's how.
The new shampoo: baking soda & water.
- The weakest alkaline
- Very gently clarifies hair from chemical build up.
You can always change up the recipe to suit your needs, but the basic recipe is one tablespoon of baking soda to one cup of water. If you have curly or thick hair you may need to add more baking soda, and if your hair is thinner, you add less baking soda.
In the shower I just squeeze the bottle directly onto my head starting from the scalp down to the bottom of my hair. I put more on the top, since the rest will come down on it's own. Massage it in then let it sit for a minute or two. Rinse! Not much different than your regular shampoo other than the fact that there are no bubbles...
The new conditioner: apple cider vinegar & water.
- A mild acidic
- Works well to counteract the baking soda
- Acts as a wonderful replacement for conditioner
- It detangles the hair follicles
- Seals the cuticle
- Balances the hair's pH balance
Just like the baking soda, the standard recipe is one tablespoon apple cider vinegar to one cup water.
Same routine! Pour it on from top to bottom. Let is sit a little while.. Then rinse (if you have oily hair you can rinse it sooner). :)
This stuff is SUPER strong. I don't know why I was so surprised that it smelled so much like vinegar, haha. I guess the "apple cider" threw me off a bit and I didn't think it was going to be so strong, but don't be fooled! You are going to want to rinse this stuff out very well! But it is very worth it. I guess I shouldn't really say it's worth it, I don't really know yet as I've only been doing this one day! But when I got out of the shower this morning and immediately went to brush my hair, I had absolutely no tangles at all! My brush went through perfectly the first time and my hair felt so great. I was so happy!
If you aren't into the apple cider vinegar smell like this lady, you can 86 the other recipe and try hers! Mix one part organic white vinegar to four parts water. Then you can add other essential oils or herbs. She adds a cinnamon stick & 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla to mask the smell of vinegar and leave her hair smelling nice.
I use two 8 oz travel bottles from Target and they work perfectly for my new shampoo and conditioner. :)
Just so you know..
There may be a transition period that lasts from a few weeks to a few months thanks to the lack of shampoo. Very normal! Your hair is used to having it's oils stripped so it may take a little while for the oil to stop producing so heavily. (From what I've read online, it looks like a lot of people have gotten their normal hair back in about two weeks!)
Some say you can wean off the baking soda and vinegar altogether and clean your hair with just water.. we'll see!
If your hair is too dry after the transition period, you can replace the vinegar with lemon juice, or just skip it!
If your hair is too dry, try using less baking soda. or you can try replacing the vinegar for honey!
Eventually you won't need to wash your hair everyday! Some don't even have to wash their hair more than twice a week!
Second, is the Oil Cleansing Method.
I started last night after having read a ton of blogs & comments from people who have had (mostly) positive and negative results. I was so excited because I have tried at least 10 different facail cleansers in the past couple years and am still breaking out. I just turned 21 so I know a lot of it has to do with being young and still having those hormones. I also have super dry patches on my skin and have been using an Olay moisturizer for my face.
Basically on their blog, I added the link above, they have a quote from acne.org talking about how oil dissolves oil. Obviously referring to the oil on your face being dissolved by the oils in the mixture. Pretty interesting! You don't need all the chemicals in your normal face wash that dry out your skin to dissolve all the oils from your (my) greasy face ;) , just some ingredients straight out of your kitchen!
Let me review.....
The most popular blend of oils for this cleansing method:
castor oil- draws out dirt & other gunk from your pores.
extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)- brilliant moisturizer, helping heal & nourish the skin.
If you have normal skin, not too oily or dry, you will start off with a one-to-one ratio of castor oil and EVOO.
If you have acne-prone or oily skin, you will start off with three parts castor oil and one part EVOO.
If your skin is on the drier side, you will start off with one part castor oil and three parts EVOO.
I tend to have oily skin and am breaking out a little bit right now so I'm using three parts castor oil and one part EVOO. I read in some of the comments that quite a bit of people have had good luck using Jojoba oil on their face. So since this isn't a you-have-to-do-it-our-way kind of thing, I decided to add a few drops of the Jojoba oil to my mix.
Anyway, then you rub! Pour a quarter size amount onto your palm, apply to your DRY face, then rub (not scrub) for about a minute.
Next, wet a washcloth with hot water and cover your face until it has reached room temp. This is steaming your pores and removing the impurities & dead skin cells. It should take about a minute! This took me a little bit longer to figure out because it's kind of hard to breathe when you have a wet cloth pressed against your face, but once you do it right it feels soooo good.
Rinse and wring your washcloth to rub off the rest of the oil. I kind of scrubbed my face during this part cause I didn't want to leave any oil on my face. I noticed that it dripped down to my neck also so I had to scrub all over..
I read on another site about splashing cold water on your face to close the pores after you have gotten all the excess oil off. I haven't seen much about this, but I get it. You steam your face to get the crud out of your pores, then you close them so nothing will jump back in.. makes sense!
Some more things to know..
-Olive oil has the same pH as human skin so it's the perfect cleansing balancer.
-The OCM (oil cleansing method) is also great at removing make up!
-You probably won't need to do this more than once a day.
Today after using this oil face wash, I didn't have to use my moisturizer and haven't had dry skin at all! My face feels pretty perfect actually! I am very impressed. I can't wait to see how it turns out and do a review. :)
Sounds good to me!
Some more interesting sites I came across while I was browsing..
- An entire forum dedicated to going 'Poo Free
- We will definitely be exploring some of these uses for Castor Oil. Especially putting it on our hair & eyelashes for hair growth!
- Also, even more uses for Baking Soda!