On June 6, 2009, I made a huge leap into living crunchy by getting rid of shampoo. You can read about my first day using it here. I think this is the first time I have ever taken a step like this and stayed with it as long as I have. Usually I become fearful of what people might thing of me or I give up because it's just too hard. And I did have a few of those moments where I wanted to give up and go back to what seemed easier. After a day or two of itchy scalp with the shampoo I ended up not give it up.
So why did I change to no-poo?
Using no-(sham)poo might seem like a very gross change in lifestyle. Before I made the switch I was washing my hair every other day. Then I started to read the ingredient list and found a list of chemicals that simply weren't good for my body.
This link contains a list of harmful ingredients that you might find all over your bathroom. Here are just a few you would find in shampoo:
(diethanolamine) Do your shampoos, toothpaste, and bubble baths contain DEA (diethanolamine)? DEA, which is readily absorbed through the skin, is a potentially cancer-causing ingredient found in many mainstream cosmetics and toiletries. Reacts with nitrates in cosmetics to form another potential carcinogen/DEA.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
Harsh detergents and wetting agents used in garage floor cleaners, engine degreasers, and auto cleaning products. SLS is well-known in the scientific community as a common skin irritant. It is rapidly absorbed and retained in the eyes, brain, heart, and liver, which results in harmful long-term effects. SLS retards healing , cause cataracts in adults, and keep children's eyes from developing properly.
Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)Just a small note - I stopped using the fancy shampoos from the health food stores because they contain that last ingredient. Also, I do not buy regular shampoo for my family either. Instead they use a natural soap called Nature Rich. So far I have not found anything bad in it. I use this for everything from bathing, shampoo for the kids, to kitchen dish soap. And I can add essential oils to it to give it a jump in usefulness or just to simply make it smell good. I do not like alot of fragrance in products I use so the lack of "smell" doesn't bother me.
SLES is the alcohol form (ethoxylated) of SLS. It is slightly les irritating than SLS, but may cause more drying. Both SLS and SLES cause carcinogenic formations of nitrates and dioxins to form in shampoos and cleansers by reacting with other product ingredients. Large amounts of nitrates enter the blood system from just one shampooing.
I don't know about you, but when I don't wash my wash it gets really greasy. At least it did. That is what has been so great about this change in my hair care. Once I got over the hump of chemical changes in my hair, I found I had to wash my wash ONCE a week. That day was usually Saturday to get ready for church the next day. But even on that Saturday, my hair wasn't feeling so bad. It still looked good and healthy. My hair finally adjusted to the fact that the chemicals were no longer stripping it's natural oil off with each washing. The more I stripped the natural oils and the more oil my skin made for my hair. After a few months of adjusting and needing to wash it just as much as I did with shampoo, I found I didn't need it as often. My body stopped making so much of the natural oil to cover the hair. By the time I got to fall, I found I only need it once a week. I may need to do it a bit more in the summer just because it gets so hot and humid here but for right now, even the once a week of working great.
I took a couple of months to really figure out the amounts and find a solution to dry feeling I had when I used straight baking soda. I also had to do some research and experimenting with what to rinse my hair with after the soda. Many people advocate the use of apple cider vinegar. This wasn't working for me. In some of the reading I found that the cider vinegar works best for those with dark hair. Lemon juice is the choice of rinse of those with blonde or light brown hair. That would be me. To solve the dry feeling of using straight baking soda, I discovered through the Life in Shoe blog that she had hard water and found that boiling water before mixing it with the soda helped alot. She wasn't kidding. That became a part of regimen every week. Sometimes I can stretch my jar to two weeks. It doesn't take me any longer to wash my hair each week than it did when I use shampoo and conditioner. And my hair is so much cleaner and softer.
I do not use alot on my hair. The must chemicals I use on it is a small run a hair spray but I am looking for an alternative there. Pretty soon I think I am just going to get rid of it. I have found a way that I love to wear my hair that doesn't require alot of styling tools (including the curling iron) or chemicals. I swore off permanents and hair color years ago. The less heat I use on my hair the less dead split ends I get. It's just so easy to take care of my hair now and it feels so good. My kids LOVE brushing my hair.
My next venture is going to be to figure out a natural skin care regimen. I have a preteen who is going to need guidance in how to care for her skin but I really don't want to start her on the chemical laden products even if they do come from the health food stores. She has to buy any personal care products she needs so she's going to want something that is affordable yet healthy. So this summer we're going to research some of these ideas as well as deodorant. I will not use deodorant that has aluminum in it. Sometimes I just go without (which works great as long as I am eating well.) If I do need something, I actually have an essential oil anti-microbial hand cream that work great for those days when I do need it. But seriously, the less junk food I eat, the less I need the deodorant.
Now that I realize that I have accomplished something totally crunchy and crazy I am ready to find something to shock people with if they ask. HA!!! The looks are priceless.