Sunday, February 6, 2011

w/mo2h #3: when the bottle runs low...

No, we're not talking a wine-bottle crisis.

We're talking shampoo bottle.

Have you ever read the ingredients on your shampoo or conditioner? It's sort of scary, but you've been using shampoo since your parents started throwing you in the bathtub and it just seems, well, normal. You've never heard the news say "Shampoo has been directly linked to cancer!" or alzheimers, or autism, or birth defects. So, even if those ingredients look a bit daunting, why would you ever stop using it?

For me, the main point is fear of the unknown, unregulated corporate world. Personal care products aren't highly regulated, so they can make up whatever they want about a hydrolyzing moisturizer protien called Hair-rifficizer, and consumers will nod and feel satisfied when their hair is clean and shiny. Great. I don't really know what all these things are, but I know some are petrochemical-based and that doesn't satisfy me, no matter how shiny my hair gets (mmmm shiny like Gulf birds!). And I don't really trust some corporate marketer to tell me what's good for my hair.

And other considerations include the product packaging (plastics, aka unsustainable oil consumption), the cost of traditional shampoos and conditioners (the alternative below is cheaper!), natural living (my hair actually likes to go a couple days between washes, and your scalp can adjust it's oil production according to your washing habits... less oil if you wash it out less, more if you wash more frequently), and ultimately, the X factor (unknown chemicals and toxins on my body, which Melinda of of One Green Generation writes about here and you can learn more about with any of these links).

So, if I could find an alternative that's not any more expensive, and does what it's supposed to do (take away dirt) without ruining my hair (too oily, too dry), I'd be ok with that. Would you?

As my shampoo bottle runs low and I contemplate what to use next, I've found an alternative I'm willing to try: the No-Poo method. It uses just baking soda (for the scalp) and vinegar (for the hair) as cleansers. You can also add essential oils to mask the vinegar smell and create your own fresh scent!

From all I've read, it seems that it works for many, but not all hair types. But until you detox your hair of all the crazy stuff it's been fed for so long, you won't know what your natural hair type is. I've seen users whose hair has changed in it's dry/oily factor, straight/curly, and in shine. I know my hair is shinier and healthier after a day without shampoo.

Based on techniques from Melinda of One Green Generation and from Erin aka the Conscious Shopper, I'm going to try this:

1. Boil 1 part baking soda to 6 parts water. Cool and put in a squeeze bottle.
2. Mix 1 part vinegar (apple cider or white) with 6 parts water, adding an essential oil or whole spices if desired. Put in a second squeeze bottle.

3. Massage a bit of the baking soda solution into the scalp, leave for a couple minutes, then rinse.

4. Work a bit of the vinegar solution through the hair, then rinse a few moments later.

5. Crystal, the Thrifty Momma, also uses a coconut oil as a moisturizer. Just a tiny bit, she says! I'll only use it if my hair seems to get very dry.

I'm really excited to try this soon, as soon as my shampoo runs out, which should be soon. The conditioner is a bit more full, but Able-Bodied Boyfriend steals bits of that now & then and probably wouldn't mind if it stayed in the shower :)

Does anyone wish to join me in this trial run?? I have a collection of scented oils, if you want to bring some bottles over and make our first batch together!

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


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