Ditching the shampoo – why bother?

(Not sure what this has to do with veganism? Cick here.)

Mooching about raw food forums has introduced me to a vast array of people who take ‘purity’ to a whole new level. Not content with paring down what they put in their bodies for optimal health, many are equally concerned with what they put on their bodies.

Of course when you consider that the skin is the largest of the body’s organs, there is a lot of sense in limiting the chemicals to which we subject our skin.

Washing hair with baking soda and apple cider vinegar is one topic which keeps catching my eye.

I have problem hair. I’ve dyed it repeatedly over the last 10-15 years, I’ve used heated straighteners or curling irons almost daily. To combat the damage from the heat and chemicals I smother my poor abused straw with even more chemicals in the form of deep conditioning treatments. It’s a never-ending cycle of abuse.

I’ve read countless stories of people in similar situations who have reaped wonderful benefits from ditching commercial (and chemical laden) shampoos and conditioners in favour of home made solutions. After an initial period of readjustment hair is apparently softer, shinier and more manageable.

Well, I want me some of that!

Vanity aside though, this appeals to me for a number of reasons.

Happily I’ve found vegan friendly shampoos and conditioners (no animal derived ingredients and not tested on animals) on the high street but of course every time we buy something in a plastic bottle, something that has been produced in a factory and that has been transported x number of miles in the back of a truck, we contribute to environmental damage. So if there’s a way to avoid that without turning into Worzel Gummidge, I’m all for giving it a try. Hey, I’ll also save a few quid. Happy days.

So, here’s a recipe unlike my usual offerings.

Take a clean shampoo bottle and fill it with 1 tablespoon of baking soda mixed with 8oz of water. Mix well each time you use.

Take another clean shampoo bottle and fill with 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and 8oz of water. Mix well.

The baking soda is your shampoo, the vinegar your conditioner.

Both need only be applied to your roots and scalp, rubbed in and then rinsed thoroughly as you would commercial hair cleaning products.

My experiment:

Today I have tried this for the first time.

I skipped the baking soda step as my hair was washed with commercial shampoo just yesterday and is prone to dryness.

I admit that I miss the lather of my shampoo and the fruity smell of my usual conditioner. My hair is still damp as IĀ  type this but my roots feel very soft and not at all greasy so far. The ends feel like they might be drier than usual and if that does turn out to be the case I’ll consider adding a little coconut oil to the ends to provide a little conditioning treatment.

I’ll report back in a few weeks with the results of my experiment. In the meantime, if someone wants to send me a hat, I won’t argue!

And for those of you who are wondering who on earth Worzel Gummidge is, have a look at this.


The Result.

Unfortunately I have returned to the dark side. I’m back on the ‘poo.

Initially the experiment was a roaring success. I won’t lie, I certainly missed the smell of commercial hair products but other than the lack of artificial fragrance, I was pleased with the results.

I didn’t look like our friend Worzel there, I didn’t even need a hat. I completely escaped the expected greasy first few weeks. My hair was soft and slightly more shiny (at least I think so. I mean, how can you accurately measure something as unquantifiable as hair shine?!) I didn’t smell like a chip shop from all the vinegar conditioner. Or I did and I really need to find some less tactful friends.

If it hadn’t been for the flake issue I would have kept it up indefinitely. A few weeks in though and my scalp became increasingly itchy so alas, I returned to my anti dandruff shampoo (Superdrug’s take on Head and Shoulders. It’s labelled as vegan) and within a couple of washes the itchiness had cleared.

I’ve now been sucked back into the non eco but beautifully smelling world of commercial shampoos and conditioners again. Naughty girl.

Perhaps the answer lies in alternating the anti dandruff shampoo with the natural hair washing methods to see if that solves the problem. Unless anyone has found natural ways to beat the itch?


4 responses to “Ditching the shampoo – why bother?

  1. YAY! I’m so interested in this – I’ve been reading all about it but have been too scaredy cat to try it myself yet, so thank you for being brave enough to go there. šŸ™‚ I look forward to reading all about it and my sister and I watched Worzel all the time. Such a bizarre show.

    • Hehe, that YouTube clip was such a nostalgia trip for me too!
      So to give you a hair update; my hair is now dry, the roots still look perfectly clean and it’s nice and soft at the top. The ends are still dry but no worse than usual.

  2. I’ve been wanting to try this for a long time. Maybe with your experience I’ll finally do it šŸ™‚

  3. I’ve thought about this, but to be honest I currently wash my hair less than once a week (after gradual weaning from twice a week) so there are probably more productive things to cut out…

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