Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Washing without shampoo

I've been reading a lot of articles lately about how we shouldn't wash our hair with the modern-day chemical concoctions we call shampoo. I can get behind that. Chemicals are drying and icky and tend to give you scalp issues if you have a sensitive scalp.

Millions of Americans use shampoo every day and don't have hair or
scalp issues, but that's beside the point. Lets just agree that chemicals are icky.

And lets just say that, yes, shampoos are chemical concoctions.
There are alternatives! We don't need to be held slaves to sodium laurel sulfate.

1. Wash with water and a boar and bristle brush.
Welcome to pre-Cleopatra. Welcome to pre-civilization. Welcome to England, in th
e dark ages.
You get the point. However, if you have a boar bristle brush, and you do a good vigorous brushing after washing your hair in water, you should be set to go. The brushing is essential to get particles, dust and you know, dirt, off of your scalp, and to distribute the natural oils evenly. You'll have a point where your hair goes through a de-tox stage and becomes a source of fuel with the amount of grease and oil it produces. But after that, and with 100 brushes a night, it'll look fab.

2. Wash with water, baking soda paste. Rinse with vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is acceptable, too, I believe.
This also creates a greasy, oily hair phase, but not as intense as straight not washing, from what I understand. This one is to me seems acceptable. After all, baking soda is used in toothpaste, so it's not a far stretch to use it in place of shampoo, right? And who doesn't love the smell of vinegar? The key is to make a paste out of a small amount of the baking soda, no more than a teaspoon (claims the all-knowing internet). Then rub it into the crown of your hair, and rub rub rub. Then wash it out with water. Then, do a vinegar rinse. Your hair will.... feel a sight more clean than if you only washed with water and a bristle brush. Speaking of boar bristle brushes, you'll still need one for this option.

3. Wash less, with a natural shampoo.
This one sounds the mainstream compromise. You avoid chemically concoctions, but still don't feel as if you're hair, while smooth and shiny, may not be fully clean, in the American definition. It also lets you off the hook for washing your hair every time you shower, and lets you claim that you only use natural products in your hair. No sodium laurel sulfate for you. I believe for this option, a boar bristle brush is not required, but is recommended, as brushing your hair with a boar bristle brush is good in any option.

I tried the first option. For about three days. Half-heartedly. Besides, it was the weekend. But I have no tolerance for oily hair, and with fine hair, it was oily on day two and a half.

Option two sounds appealing only if you're out camping and run out of normal shampoo. "No, no suave, honey, looks like you forgot it, but hey, we've got some baking soda and vinegar...."

Option 3 seems to hold the most promise. Pay a lot of money for natural shampoo or make your own, and wash less. Maybe two to three times a week.

I have to admit, I'm curious to find out for real, what will happen if you choose option two. Option one is not really a good one for people with fine hair, but baking soda, vinegar? That could work. Unfortunately, I don't have the gumption to try it. I admit it. I would choose option 3, and toss in a boar bristle brush for good measure. I say would, because natural shampoos are pricey. Sodium laurel sulfate is inexpensive, lathers well, and makes me feel all American clean and squeaky shiny.


GreenGardenMom said...

The only concern I have about option 2 is: will vinegar/soda make the hair smell bad?

Karen said...

The bsoda gives off no odor, and once the hair is dry and vinegar has dissipated. I used to use option 3, then went to option 2 off and on, and loved how soft my hair felt. My older girls still use it, successfully, and for one of them with long kinky hair it was a must as commercial products made her hair unmanageable. For more than a year now I've being using option 1 and love it the best. My scalp has adjusted to not making too much oil, and what it does produce is spread over the hair shafts as nature intended.