Monday, January 30, 2012

No Shampoo Success At Last

I have tried several times to implement the popular no shampoo technique without success. I found ordinary shampoo too drying and I had a hard time finding a shampoo that I thought was safe and non-toxic enough. For a long time I was using an organic shampoo diluted with an equal amount of water. That was less expensive and drying than using undiluted shampoo. I tried washing my hair with Dr. Bronners soap, which I love generally and I know lots of people like to use it for shampoo. It always left my hair feeling filmy and somehow greasier.  I tried the baking soda and vinegar no-shampoo method a few times, but I always broke after a few days when my hair never seemed to get clean and went back to shampoo. This is the gross first phase, when your scalp keeps on producing as much oil as when the detergent shampoo was stripping it away. This phase is the major no shampoo stumbling block. It has foiled some of my friends and it bested me more than once.

I finally cracked it though. It takes determination to get through the first phase, and it takes dry shampoo. I had been using dry shampoo way before I decided to cut out shampoo entirely, but at first I didn't think to use it to fix the gross early no shampoo phase. Dry shampoo is the answer. It makes up some of the difference between shampoo-clean and no-shampoo-clean while you and your scalp adjust.

The no shampoo things can take a few tries to get right and that it works differently for different people. Some don't like to use the vinegar wash, others just use vinegar apparently. And, the no-shampoo-holy-grail: some people use nothing but water. Do some experiments, see what you like. If nothing else, you can use hair powder to extend the life of shampooed hair. This process was really gradual for me.

How I Don't Shampoo:
I find the easiest way to do it is to get a couple squeezy bottles, like restaurants use for sauce. Fill one about a third to half way up with vinegar and put a few tablespoons of baking soda in the other. Then fill them both up the rest of the way with water. These are the amounts I use, but experimenting with more or less is a good idea; it helps you figure out what works well for you.

In the shower, squirt the baking soda solution over wet hair. I focus on the front, because I have bangs, which tend to be greasy. Don't worry too much about the ends of hair, they don't get very oily usually. Aim mostly for the scalp. Let that sit for a couple minutes. Rinse.

Squirt the vinegar solution over afterwards. Let that sit for a couple minutes too. Rinse.

That's it. This is pretty much my whole hair routine now. When I first started doing this, my hair didn't always look clean when I  had washed it, so I used dry shampoo afterwards (only on dry hair! Wet hair + dry shampoo = gross paste) Now I mostly just use dry shampoo between washes, like if I oversleep and have to rush out the door, or after the gym if I don't have time for a real wash.

This method has been working really well for me, and I haven't actually used any real shampoo for over a year. But it may need tweaking for you. Don't be discouraged if it doesn't work right away. It can take ages to feel like your hair is actually getting clean. It was totally worth it for me though, I pushed through the gross stage and it paid off. I really love that my hair care routine is dirt cheap, totally diy and based on simple, nontoxic ingredients.

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