No More Shampoo!

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Inspired by articles that promised fuller, healthier, and less shampoos per week, I embarked on a three month "no shampoo" experiment earlier this year. I still cleaned my hair, just not with commercially manufactured shampoo. I used a solution of one tablespoon of baking soda dissolved in 250ml (1 cup) of water that I mixed up in an old Camelbak water bottle (old school with the bisphenols in it, so I put it out to non-food & drink pastures), and rinsed with lemon juice and conditioner to detangle.

Though the no shampoo movement is most beneficial to the curly- or wavy-haired, (apparently curly hair, once it gets a rest from shampoos, turns soft, manageable and non-frizzy.) I was pleased enough with the results that I don't plan on buying shampoo ever again.

What really convinced me was an article that mentioned that due to the presence of (low priced) harsh industrial detergents in shampoos, the natural oils found on the hair are stripped which causes the hair follicles to overproduce oil. I know from experience that I cannot use harsh, mass-produced detergent-based soaps (as opposed to old-fashioned soap that is oil or fat-based) like Irish Spring. They leave my skin beyond dry, no matter how much I try to moisturize afterward, much like trying to condition hair after cleaning with a harsh shampoo.

Then this article on the harmful environmental footprint of shampoos reminded me of the other reason I wanted to break the shampoo habit. The chemicals used in the manufature of shampoo is neither good for me nor Mother Nature. Frustratingly, the author makes the case for the many reasons not to use shampoo, but only offers dishwashing liquid as an alternative, which is not much different in my book. So I'm here to proclaim my no shampoo status to the world.

I was also secretly hoping, due to the hair follicles no longer overproducing oil, for the tantalizing possibility of only washing my hair once a week. Alas, that's more frequently a benefit of the curly-haired, unlike my very straight locks. Before the experiment, I washed my hair every other day. During the experiment, I needed to wash my hair every other day due to oil buildup. One reason for the three-month trial experiment was to give my scalp and hair plenty of time to readjust to the gentler baking soda treatment. Alas, I still need to wash every 48 hours.

Finally, of course, this is a way to save money on shampoo, as baking soda is practically a give-away item, especially when purchased in bulk amounts like the four pound box I bought for not much more than the familiar baking aisle-sized one pounder. I added lemon juice as part of my process only because I have a lemon tree in my backyard. Lemon juice's acidic nature enhances the glossiness of hair; an alternative to lemon juice is vinegar.

I have shampooed a handful of times since my experiment officially ended, mostly because I was traveling by plane and didn't want to be detained by the TSA for having a Ziploc baggie of white powder and trying to explain that it really is baking soda. And I definitely noticed the overproduction of oil in my hair right away. Hours after shampooing, my hair had a greasy texture I hadn't experienced in months, even after long periods of exercise.

So there you have it: frugal, environmentally-friendly, and better hair. Though I shouldn't anymore, I'm always amazed that the frugal way of doing things so often is healthier/better-for-you/tastier/superior in a way that is preferred, and also for the planet.

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