That’s *baking soda and *no shampoo.
It’s been 4 months now since I’ve been off the bottle. The one located in the bathroom, that is. But for many it’s been much more. Not just since the stone age, but in the age of the internet too, “no-poo” has seen increased support amongst those looking to relieve their addiction to increasingly present yet potent substances that are poisoning our planet.
But only after months of hellish hair, hours of experimentation and scouring the interweb, have I finally proven it’s possible to have lovely locks not only without the harsh chemicals, but far less often too – from an obligatory every other day deal to 4-5. So naturally, I thought I’d share my shortcuts for any other impatients like I.
[image] “think up a problem, sell the solution for it”: these well-known foundations of the ad and marketing industries ring especially true for cosmetics, with endless lists of intriguing ingredients. But what are these complex chemicals? Where are they all going? As the list above details, petroleum(the definition of unsustainable) is one of the common culprits – found in the plastic packaging and its contents.
While studies show a complete lack of information on safety checks on human health of these chemicals (many of which have been linked to cancer), my main concern is the suspicious silence on the impacts on everything else. One which the recent microbead mayhem may have temporarily disrupted, but as per the Tragedy of the Commons, environmental costs are rarely accounted for, the damage done invisible, or better said displaced elsewhere, with plastic bottles washing up on faraway uninhabited beaches.
… so I’ve taken it upon myself to work on cracking the code to curb my reliance on these chemical concoctions. Starting from the top. Here’s how:
- It’s in the water: The dealbreaker I had to learn the hard way: it’s soft water (check your bathroom/ kitchen sink/ glasses for that tell-tale white scum/ calcified residue – minerals including magnesium, chlorine) that ensures that fresh feeling without harsh chemicals. At home, where we have a water (salt) softener, my hair (finally) tellingly came out shiny. You can also buy a special shower head. But if, like me, you’re short on the $, do not despair! Discovering the downfalls of Danish water now means a bathroom full of bowls of boiled water every hair washing day, but at least it’s now < twice a week. *[EDIT: my hair has seemingly adjusted! And now cleans very well]
- Boar bristle brush (I invested in a spiral Kent brush – the best, according to ‘The Bloggers’
- Bicarbonate of soda: above (usually American) blogs say baking soda. Of course I go off doubly lost in Danish translation and buy baking powder.
- doubles as dry shampoo (also cornflour. Mix with cocoa to give your locks a tasty treat that’s more effective than Batisse – doesn’t stick to each strand)
- Acid rinse: apple cider vinegar (ACV) or lemon juice (lightens hair)
- Castile soap: Dr Bronner’s finest natural soap, made of oils (macadamia, coconut, olive) & stuff to make it not oily, and it does actually foam, not as much as the conventional stuff but definitely with a dash of BS. Oh and you can use it for just about everything – body, plates, home, dog etc.
- To get with the lingo: substances hereinafter referred to as BBB, BS, ACV etc.
- Best invest in a silicone-free conditioner (I didn’t, but luckily my sister did)
- Moroccan oil (expensive but optional), for deep conditioning and calming frizz.
- To accept (as with all the best things in life): THERE IS NO QUICK FIX – to get back to basics (especially if you’ve shampooed basically since birth) it takes readjustment, but hopefully much less time than min
Although I started just using BS (bicarb) I’d recommend starting by mixing a tsp or two into (tbsp) castile soap, diluted with water, to immediately get your hair used to the soap. Add more BS according to greasiness, but try not to over-do it. Like any soap, it is alkaline. Gradually decrease the amount as you go longer between washes.
*tip: mix up in a squeeze pump bottle so you don’t have to slip around creating cocktails in the shower…
2. ACID RINSE
V IMPORTANT: use ACV (apple cider vinegar – can use white vinegar but very diluted due to strength) or lemon juice (lightens hair) and avoid the smell – although it evaporates/ dissipates instantly. Leave on for a few minutes/ until you get bored for squeaky clean locks.
Dr Bronner’s hair rinse. Haven’t tried, but an optional addition recommended by the company (obviously).
Rub a few drops of Moroccan oil into the ends and frizzy bits, to replace those silicone-packed serums.
5. BRUSH and MASSAGE
Your hair and scalp every day if you can.
(Before bed to avoid bad hair day)
The natural bristles of your brush will absorb your hair’s oil created naturally to nourish dry ends.
Plus massage supposedly encourages hair growth (?)/feels pretty great.
6. OTHER UNCONVENTIONAL ALTERNATIVES
TO CLEAN/ GREASY HAIR:
- Egg (as/with shampoo): naughtily non-vegan (although I did use our own chickens’ eggs) but made my hair feel amazingly clean/ healthy!
- Occasional (sulphate free) clarifying shampoo may help you on your way, especially during transition period.
NOURISH (DRY) HAIR:
- Honey conditioning – rub into scalp and strands, leave for few hours pre-wash
- Moroccan oil conditioning – leave for several hours too
- Avocado – why make guacamole in the kitchen
- Olive and coconut oil, but not for No-Pooers washing with castile soap/ BS as it won’t remove oil.
- (Raw) honey (what’s even the difference. I used normal) massage into scalp. To rid of dandruff/ build up. Worked wonders!
- Tea tree oil (pure) apparently highly recommended (also contained in many spot treatments as a teeny percentage mixed with filler chemicals
Any thoughts, comments, constructive critique welcome!