Welcome to the first Cleaner Living Column!

Most people who want to reduce their chemical use, may start with something innocuous like kitchen cleaner, something that no one will really see or care about if it goes wrong or doesn’t work.

NOT ME!

I picked my hair!

For background, I currently have shoulder length, auburn/brown hair.   I have colored my hair since my best friend and I smuggled some Sun-In into my moms bathroom when we were 17, so i really can’t remember my true natural color.  It is somewhat wavy/curly when I don’t blow dry it, and has a fair amount of natural body.  I have never really had any shampoo brand loyalty, having to switch quite often when my hair became “immune” to one kind or another.   I get it trimmed about every 8 weeks unless I get the urge to cut it all off.

Just prior to my epiphany I was shampooing about every other day, sometimes more with L’oreal EverPure Sulphate Free Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner (sounds all natural and healthy).  I would also use a bit of Moroccan Oil on the ends just before drying, you know because my stylist recommended it.

Well, one particularly bad hair day,  I had washed my hair  in the morning, but by the nighttime my scalp felt greasy and itchy while the ends were just split and dry.  Plus my hair had been falling out like crazy!  Huge clumps in the shower, clogging my drain.

So I headed over to Dr. Google and I found all of these posts on the No-Poo Method (quite an unfortunate name).  I read that shampoo really only came out in the 30’s, with women washing their hair once a week.  In the 70’s and 80’s the every day washing became the norm to the point that even my mentioning that I would even skip one day of shampoo might make some cringe.

But the one thing that grabbed my attention and made me want to do this was for the health reasons.  Shampoo is a detergent.  It strips your hair and scalp of its natural oils causing the body to think it needs to produce more, meaning you feel like you need to wash your hair more, perpetuating the cycle of wash, grease, wash, grease….

Think about it like breastfeeding.  Our bodies know how much to produce by the demands we (our babies) make.  Ever nursed every 30 minutes for a couple of days while baby is sick and then that first 3 hour stretch makes you look like Pam Anderson and you are aching to release the pressure of over-production.

Also, my “oh so natural” sounding shampoo wasn’t so great for me.  Looking at the EWG Skin Deep database, my shampoo got a 6 (on the high-end of moderate hazard).  And thinking that higher end “salon quality products” would be made of better ingredients (since they cost a fortune!), think again!  Many of them were in the High Hazard range.

So, I was going to try it!  I mean if all else failed I could go back to shampoo.. no harm done.

I began my experiment and I will give you a little warning-  There is a balancing period where your hair and oil needs to figure out how much it really needs to produce.  So, for me it was about 2 weeks (some report up to a month, but they may have really oily hair) where I either wore my hair up or did the BS every other day until I could wean myself to every third or fourth day.

But I stuck with it and I am happy to report I have ditched the bottle… My name is Dena and I have given up shampoo!

Not only has my hair stopped falling out, but it looks less greasy and doesn’t itch.  Most of the time it looks better on Day 3 of rinsing than it did after shampooing on Day 1.  Plus, my wallet thanks me!* (See the end of the post for the breakdown).

So how can you do this too?  These two articles here and here were particularly helpful in making my decision, but here is what my routine consists of:

“Shampoo”:

1-1 1/2 tbsp of Baking Soda (any kind, I got mine at the grocery store for $.89)

1 8oz color applicator bottle (got it at Sally for $1.89)

– Some people mix there BS mix ahead of time, but I don’t find pouring cold water on my head very enjoyable, so before I get in the shower I put my BS in the bottle and fill it to the top with my hot shower water.  The applicator tip allows for me to get it where I want it, which is my scalp and crown since I tend to have dry ends and the BS will only make them drier.  I find it helpful to apply this to my hair before getting it wet so I can avoid the ends better.  After applying I massage my scalp to dislodge any dirt and grime- your fingers should feel a bit slippery.  Then I rinse thoroughly with warm water.  I do this every 3 days, sometimes going 4 if I put my hair up on Day 3.  In between I just rinse with water and brush with a boar’s head brush from root to tip.

“Conditioner”:

2-2 1/2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV- again any kind, I bought a 32oz bottle for $1.79)

4 drops of Jojoba Oil (got mine at Trader Joe’s for $6.99- I will use it in future products- be on the lookout!)

6 drops of Grapefruit Essential Oil (to cut the vinegar smell- got it at Whole Foods for $5.99)

2 drops Aloe Vera Gel ( Also at Trader Joe’s for $$2.99- get the pure stuff, not the green stuff)

One old 12oz shampoo bottle (rinsed well with hot water)

– I mix all of these ingredients in the bottle and then fill with water.  After my BS wash, I squirt some of this on the ends only, then rinse out thoroughly.  A little goes a long way, and one bottle lasted me almost 2 months!  Jojoba oil is as close to your natural sebum as you can get, which is why I use it on my dry ends.  If you have more oily hair, skip this and maybe even do less ACV rinses, or use less ACV in the mixture.  The Aloe Vera gel acts as a natural defrizzer (is that a word?) which I need, but if you don’t you can skip that too.  I only do this ACV rinse on my BS days.

I have also made a “Detangler”:

1 cup water

2-4 drops of glycerin (you can get it at CVS for $1, but I had some handy!)

2 tsp Aloe Vera Gel (see above)

6 drops of Grapefruit Essential Oil (see above)

1 oz spray bottle (got it at Sally for $1.99)

– Sometimes if I have used too much BS or my hair feels extra dry I will use this after I have towel dried my hair, but before styling.  I mix all of the ingredients in the bottle and shake before each use.  I spritz 3-4 times and comb through.  Then style as usual.  It doesn’t leave any residue and detangles beautifully.

*So for a rundown of cost comparison:

Cost Months Bought Yearly Cost
L’oreal Shampoo $6.99 8 $55.92
L’oreal Conditioner $6.99 8 $55.92
Moroccan Oil $18.00 3 $54.00
Total $165.84
Baking Soda $0.89 3 $2.67
Bottle $1.69 1 $1.69
Apple Cider Vinegar $1.79 2 $3.58
Jojoba Oil $6.99 3 $20.97 (I use it for other things)
Grapefruit Essential Oil $5.99 2 $11.98
Glycerin $1.00 1 $1.00
Aloe Vera Gel $2.99 1 $2.99
Spray Bottle $1.99 1 $1.99
Total $46.87
Difference in Cost for the year $118.97

WOW (and I know some of you readers may save more by ditching those super expensive salon brands)!

I am saving $118.97 a year AND making my hair and body healthier!

I encourage you to give it a try!