It’s true. I don’t wash my hair. I don’t lather it up, slather it down or rub anything into it. For the last year a half, I’ve been no-pooing it.
It’s not what you think and it has nothing to do with poop, I promise. I know I’m like a broken record endlessly going on about chemicals and conspiracies, but really, this is an easy one. There is a lot of nastiness in shampoo and conditioner and as far as I’m concerned, you might as well rub doo-doo into your locks.
What do I use? Let’s put it this way, someone recently asked me if I was planning on baking something in my bathroom. I always say, if you can eat your personal hygiene products, you’re in good shape. Dah, dah, dum…I use baking soda and vinegar. Say wha?
I recently had a hair stylist comment that my hair was in really good shape, especially for being so long. (almost to my waist) She asked what I used on it. When I said nothing but baking soda and vinegar, she was skeptical, but it’s true. As a fantastical unicorn-worthy side note, using vinegar also cures* psoriasis on the scalp. (dandruff)
So, I know you are just dying to begin your own no-poo regimen and I will tell you how. But first, I’d like to briefly go over five reasons shampoo is bad for you. Then I’ll divulge my little poo secret.
- Methylisothiazoline – (MIT) This common shampoo ingredient is found in brands such as Head and Shoulders, Suave, Pantene and Clairol. Recent research has linked this chemical to brain defects in unborn children as well as leading to the onset of Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders. Something to rub on my head which causes brain disorders…yes, please!
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – (SLS) This chemical nastiness is what makes your shampoo and body wash get sudsy. Whoever decided that shampoo and soap needed to be bubbly anyway? This is a chemical surfactant that is super irritating and abrasive to your hair and skin. If you’re a greasy-headed fool like me, SLS causes that vicious cycle of drying out your hair, stimulating your scalp to produce oil, stimulating you to wash your greasy head with shampoo and so on and on. Ever get soap in your eyes and feel the awful sting? That’s SLS working for you. It’s unfortunately found in almost every popular shampoo and body wash and is a known carcinogen. (causes cancer)
- Parabens – Parabens are put into soaps to prevent bacteria and is a preservative that keeps products shelf stable for longer. Parabens are especially naughty because they have been shown to increase estrogen levels in the human body. Why is this bad for you? Excess estrogen in the body contributes to the development of hormonal disorders and cancers. NO Bueno.
- Phthalates – Pronounced thay-late. Simply put, phthalates are what makes your soap smell delicious like a watermelon. But it’s not delicious and doesn’t come from a real watermelon. These fragrances are known “plasticizers” which have been related to reproductive and hormonal problems. These problems are especially dangerous and common in kids.
- Formaldehyde – Come again? Yes, the stuff they use to embalm dead bodies. In your shampoo. I’m not kidding. It can cause allergic reactions and damage to the nervous system. It’s one of those ingredients that commonly hides under another name. Some of those sneaky monikers are; doazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, and quarternium-15.
Go ahead. I’ll wait. Go get your shampoo and conditioner bottles and see what’s in there. It’s crazy that stuff like this is allowed to be put into a mass market product that everyone uses pretty much daily and rubs into their head…the area right on top of their BRAIN.
So…want to know how to clean your hair in the easiest, cheapest and most healthy way possible? This is my method:
- I got a little plastic squirt bottle like these.
A bottle of Bragg’s Apple Cider vinegar and an excessively huge bag of Arm and Hammer Baking Soda from Costco.
- When I’m ready to take a shower, I get a tablespoon of baking soda and put it in a tiny glass jelly jar I had laying around. (you can use anything from a dog bowl to a shot glass) I put about four tablespoons of vinegar in the squirt bottle and put these two on the side of the tub. (you can use more or less depending on your preference or length of your hair)
- I keep a jar of baking soda (pint canning jar) and a bottle of vinegar in the cabinet in my bathroom to fill these from. It’s convenient and I’m lazy, so that’s how I roll.
- Once I’m in the shower, I put a little water in the jelly jar – enough to make a watery paste and stir it with my finger. I wet my hair thoroughly and pour the baking soda mixture on top of my head.
- I then work the baking soda into my hair and pretend like I’m lathering up some gloriously watermelon scented shampoo. Then I rinse. Really well. If you don’t rinse well enough, you’ll have some weird baking soda film on your hair and it will look greasy and dull and you’ll be cursing me and saying that I lied to you.
- Then I get the squirt bottle with the vinegar in it and fill it the rest of the way with hot water. (I just hold it up to the shower head until it’s full) Then I squirt it all over head from my scalp all the way to the ends of my hair. I let it sit while I do other shower things like wash in between my fat rolls and shave my moustache. Then I rinse it really well. (remember to rinse it well or else you’ll be disappointed)
You are done! See how easy that was? Now, a couple of notes about no-pooing it. (I really like saying that)
- You think your hair will smell like vinegar, but it won’t. Once it dries, it just smells clean.
- The first time you do it, you will notice a huge difference in the shine and color of your hair. The vinegar strips off all the gross build up from the chemical products and your natural, beautiful highlights will show up and your hair will be shinier. The first time I did it, my husband asked me if I did something to my hair. That’s sayin’ something, people.
- It’s perfectly safe for colored or otherwise chemically treated hair.
- Your hair will not feel as luxuriously (and chemically) silky as it does when you use commercial shampoo and conditioner – but it won’t be tangly. As a person with almost waist length, stretchy and generally gnarly hair, I can attest to the powers of vinegar and its detangling properties. I can comb straight through it.
- I’ve found that you can actually use any type of vinegar for this method, but since I use Bragg’s vinegar for everything else, I figured I’d stay true to form for my tresses, too. Just for curiosity’s sake, I tried out white vinegar and regular apple cider vinegar. I think my hair may have been slightly more tangly with the regular vinegars as compared to the Bragg’s.
*The use of vinegar takes care of the symptoms of psoriasis if used on a regular basis. I’ve used many shampoos and creams over the years and nothing ever worked as well as vinegar. The real cause of psoriasis (dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis) in my opinion is directly related to inflammation, over-growth of yeast (candidiasis) and autoimmune responses. I would suggest looking into those issues as well as curing through food if you suffer from psoriasis.
Have you ever used anything besides shampoo for your hair? What are your suggestions?
Photos courtesy of Grant Cochrane, artur84, marin via freedigitalphotos.net