One of the biggest consumer trends these days is to use non-toxic solutions for things such as cleaning products and personal care products. In a recent discussion, one woman named Heather was explaining to me why she quit shampooing her hair five years ago. Conventional wisdom states she would have greasy hair that smelled bad, but she didn’t! She had beautiful and healthy looking hair. Here’s what Heather shared with me...
The movement to ditch the shampoo is ungloriously called the “no-poo” movement. The people who ditch the shampoo do so because of the toxic ingredients in shampoo. Shampoo is actually a detergent and not a soap. Soap is made from a fatty acid and is usually made from naturally sourced materials. Detergents are usually synthetic in origin and contain chemicals that make it suds up.
Detergents strip oils – that’s what they do. And your hair needs natural oils in order to be healthy. So your scalp starts overproducing oil to compensate. So you need to shampoo more often. It’s a vicious cycle.
Your shampoo contains toxic ingredients. These could include: parabens, phthalates, petroleum byproducts, sodium lauryl sulfate. Some of these products have been tentatively linked to an increase cancer risk, can affect hormone levels or irritate the skin.
Going without shampoo means you will have some type of adjustment period. Your hair may be greasy or frizzy or just flat out doesn’t look good for a few days to a few weeks. But once your scalp gets used to its oils not being stripped away, it will adjust and should look good from them on. Some natural shampoo alternatives include:
1. Baking soda and apple cider vinegar.
Mix one tablespoon baking soda into two cups of water. Pour over your scalp and massage into your scalp. Rinse well with water. Then rinse with a diluted solution of apple cider vinegar. Rinse again with water. Use this method every 4-7 days.
There are some people that love this method, but there are also others that hate this method. The biggest complaint is that the baking soda is too harsh for the hair and will damage the ends.
2. Rye Flour.
Yes – you read that right! Rye flour is supposed to have certain hair-nourishing vitamins that clean the hair without stripping the scalp of its natural sebum. Take a tablespoon of finely ground rye flour and mix into water. Pour over the scalp and massage into the scalp. Let sit on the hair through the rest of the shower. Rinse thoroughly. Repeat every 4-7 days.
People who try this method generally love it! The biggest complaint was the mess in the shower and the fact that the rye flour doesn’t always rinse out well. And don’t substitute in this method. Regular flour or wheat flour is NOT the same thing.
3. Water only with a boar bristle brush
In the shower, rinse with water and massage the scalp with your fingers. At night and on untangled hair, use a boar bristle brush to help spread the sebum from the scalp through to the ends of the hair.
4. Natural Soap-Based Cleaners
If you don’t like the do-it-yourself options and really wish to find a purchased product, look for a natural soap-based cleaner that doesn’t strip away the oil from the scalp. Luckily, there are plenty available as consumers change their preferences to natural non-toxic ones.