Sounds disgusting doesn't it? Just the idea can give people visions of greasy, smelly, dank-looking hair sitting on top of an equally greasy, smelly, teenage boy...
Why go shampoo-free?
Well, aside from the cost of shampoo and conditioners ($$), most seem to contain sodium laurel sulphates (SLS) and/or products including engine degreasers, floor cleaners, and car wash soaps. In lower concentrations, you will find it in toothpastes, shampoos, shaving foams and as an additive in food as an emulsifier. As stated in our 'Ingredients List' blog, it can also be made from Palm Oil, which makes it especially avoidable for us.
-- as a side note, we still have not heard back from Pantene or Huggies about whether their products contain Palm Oil. As a consequence, we will be looking into alternatives, though perhaps not for shampoos if this method works.
We also are trying to get away from buying a lot of plastic packaging, even though most of it appears to be recyclable now days.
Washing your hair using detergent based cleaners is a bit of a vicious cycle- the cleaners remove the oil and so your sebaceous glands work harder to produce more oil and so on and so forth. When you use conditioners you are really just putting artificial oils back into your hair. It has really been only in the last century that people started washing their hair more frequently. This article** written in 1908 in the New York times suggests that one could wash their hair as frequently as once a fortnight but only once a month to six weeks if your hair was in good condition. The idea is that your body finds a balance of oils on it's own if you leave it alone.
How do you go shampoo-free?
From our research done online (though we do know people who have done this sucessfully as well), it would appear that their are two methods for going shampoo- free (or as some call it, 'poo-free): the water-only method and the baking soda/cider vinegar method.
The water only method is just that- rinse your hair under water on a daily basis, but making sure that you massage your scalp to help distribute your natural hair oils (sebum oil).
The baking soda/vinegar method:
Baking soda is said to remove the grime without stripping your hair of its natural oils due to its basic pH. The vinegar (notably most recipes use apple cider vinegar) has a low pH and is said to balance the pH of the hair and some claim that it also helps detangle and clarify the hair.
This intructable does a great job of explaining this method: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Go-No-Poo/
Both methods seem to have an adjusting period of a month- 6 weeks. Currently E is on week 2 of the water only method and K has actually been doing this for well over a year.
Getting your head around the idea of not washing your hair is a hard one, but one we hope will become second nature in time.
* http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-sodium-lauryl-sulfate.htm http://www.greatvistachemicals.com/surfactants_and_oleochemicals/sodium_lauryl_sulfate.html http://chemistryzone.blogspot.com/2009/08/sodium-lauryl-sulfate-food-additive-and.html
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