Thursday, 19 June 2014

What? Washing your hair without shampoo?

So you may think I am a little crazy if I told you that I no longer use shampoo to wash my hair...'What?' You gasp! Now before any of you start assuming that I do not wash my hair and start thinking 'Eeuww!' let me just clarify: I do wash my hair, just not with conventional shampoo. I have always been concerned about many of the ingredients added to the body and hair products that we use. I used to work as a biochemist and thus have a fair idea of what some of those chemicals are used for in the lab and I have looked up their material and safety data sheets (or MSDS's), and I have been left thinking 'what the hell am I putting this on my hair/skin for???' Now, I do not want to be sensationalistic. I will admit that the quantities some of these ingredients are used in the products are probably safe (one would hope so considering the products have supposedly been tested and approved before sale, but one can never underestimate the power of greed). But the thought that for some ingredients, the effects on developing embryo's are still unknown, the carcinogenic effects are unknown...was I really willing to take a chance? Plus, what these chemicals do to the environment once we have washed them down our drain pipes also did not sit well with me. So whenever possible I try to use earth and animal friendly options. I am by no means where I want to be with using earth-friendly products - but I do try. When I was still working full time before Bump's arrival, I frequently shopped at Faithful to Nature. If you are keen to give the 'green' living a go, check out this Cape Town based on line store. The products are fantastic! They are all animal-friendly, earth-friendly and therefore human-friendly! And their customer service has always been amazing! They are friendly and efficient and just a rocking bunch to deal with! Anyhow, I digress as usual! Back to the hair washing....I came across this blog post a few months ago and I was intrigued. And so I found myself washing my hair with bicarbonate of soda and rinsing with lemon juice!!!! HowtoHairGirl uses apple cider vinegar for rinsing, but I didn't have any and therefore improvised with lemon juice. I remember thinking 'This can't possibly work...' And yet it does! I was expecting my hair to feel like straw afterwards, but it felt smooth, silky and clean! It didn't really smell of anything so the next time I washed my hair I added a few drops of tea tree oil to the bicarbonate of soda solution and a few drops of lavender oil to the lemon juice solution. This is how my hair looks after washing it with this system (Please excuse the photo...I detest photos of myself....) Looks (and is) sparkling clean, would you not say?

The recipe I use is is written below, however I do suggest going over to HowtoHairGirl's blog as she gives recommendations of what quantities to try as a starting point if your hair is dry or greasy and has a wonderful Q and A section or you can buy a 'ShamPHree' kit.
For the 'shampoo' I used:
2 T Bicarbonate of soda
~2 drops of tea tree oil  (optional)
~250 ml warm water

For the 'conditioner' I used:
1 T lemon juice
2-3 drops lavender oil (optional)
~250 ml warm water

On the blog, HowtoHairGirl recommends making these solutions up in a squeeze bottle. I didn't have any squeeze bottles so I used some plastic containers. I put all the ingredients except the water, into the containers (one for the 'shampoo' and one for the 'conditioner'). I find if I add the water too long before use, the solution just feels too cold pouring onto my head which is just unpleasant! I brush my hair to untangle any knots and wet my hair. I add roughly 250 ml of warm water to the 'shampoo' container and shake it up to dissolve the bicarb as best I can. Then I pour it over my head concentrating on the roots of my hair. I massage it in very briefly (like 10 seconds or so) and brush my hair again (this gives the brush a good clean!). Then I rinse with water. And I do the same for the 'conditioner' except that I try to pour it predominantly over the tips of my hair (avoiding the roots as much as possible) and I do not brush my hair again. I rinse with water straight away. (I don't leave any of the solutions in as she recommends...too lazy!). Voila! Clean hair!

I did not experience any 'gunky' feeling on my hair, as experienced by some of the readers on her blog, but she does recommend sticking it out for a few more weeks as this feeling is probably just all the build up of product working its way down the hair and your hairs natural oils balancing themselves. It only lasts for a short while! I think the reason I did not experience this 'gunky' feeling is because before washing my hair this way, I used to use Earthsap Lavender and Sugar Beet shampoo and conditioner which are totally natural and plant based, or I used the Trevarno Rosemary soap which is also all natural and even better, great for travelling as you can use it for hair and body! 2-in-1! Bonus! So my theory is that my hair oils were already balanced and I had no product build up.

So are you going to have a go at washing your hair this way for a few weeks? I would love to hear how you find it! 

Keep smiling! 

P.S. I am not sure what the done thing is, but I thought I should just clarify that I get no money or perks for my discussions about Faithful to Nature or any of the products - I am doing it becasue I think they rock and more people should hear about them!

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