Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Farewell to Shampoo

My name is Sarah, and I have not used shampoo for three weeks.

Ok, I know it sounds gross.  You may already be thinking, "Who knew Sarah was some kind of crazy hippy chick??!?"

Before you click off and go read the blog of someone with impeccable hygiene, wait a sec.  I am not being gross (at least not purposely), and I'm definitely not a hippy chick (my husband would have a cow).

I simply have opted out of the world of shampoo craziness.  My love-hate relationship with shampoo proceeded as follows.

1.  I used whatever cheap shampoo my mom bought for me and didn't care how my hair looked because I just wasn't like that (ages 8-12).
2.  I spent large sums on various types of shampoo, switching every couple of months because they seemed to stop working after a certain point (ages 13-26).
3.  I stocked up about a dozen bottles of various types of shampoo -- whatever was on sale with coupons that I could buy for around a dollar a bottle.  I used them all with varying success (ages 26-28)
4.  Finally, I got fed up with all the craziness -- the expense, the lack of effectiveness, and worst of all, the super-scary ingredient lists, and started researching natural shampoo alternatives.

I came across something known as (no joking), the "no 'poo" method, involving the use of baking sode for cleaning the hair and apple cider vinegar for rinsing/conditioning the hair.  Some of the more extreme proponents use this is a springboard to go totally "no 'poo," using only water to clean their hair.  I'm not going there.

After working through some logistics, I decided to give this baking soda/apple cider vinegar hair cleansing method a shot.  And surprisingly, I kinda liked it.  My hair has been much more balanced without the build-up that certain shampoos make so much worse (I'm looking at you, Pantene), and I feel much better about what I'm using to clean my hair.  Not only that, my sensitive skin that is prone to eczema has cleared up about 90%.

So, in case you're crazy like me and want to give it a try, here's the routine.

You'll need:
1 box baking soda
1 bottle apple cider vinegar
Some essential oils (I use lavendar)
1 cup measuring cup
2 bottles, one with a spray top (plastic is ok -- I bought some aluminum bottles)

First, put a tablespoon of baking soda in the measuring cup.  I usually eyeball this, but if you are uncomfortable doing this, feel free to measure.

Second, put 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar in the bottle without the spray top.

Third, in the shower, fill the measuring cup to the top with water.  Swirl the baking soda around with your finger until it dissolves.

Pour a small amount on your scalp.  I like to start at the top, then do the sides, then the back.  You will want to concentrate on your most oily spots.  The baking soda/water combo will not sudse, but it will feel a little slippery or slimy.  Massage it into your scalp very thoroughly.  You can leave it in your hair for a couple of minutes, then rinse.  Your hair will feel very clean.

Then fill the vinegar bottle with approximately twice as much water as vinegar.  Swirl it around to mix.  Rinse your hair with the mixture, concentrating on the ends.  Your hair will feel smooth at this point.

Leave the vinegar in for a couple of minutes, then rinse it out.

After you dry your hair with a towel, you can put several drops of essential oil in the spray bottle.  Dilute the oil with water until the level of scent is comfortable for you.  Use the spray top to spritz your hair.  This helps cover up the smell of the apple cider vinegar, which will linger until your hair dries, but not after.

So there you go.  You, too, can be a crazy hippy chick.  Just don't tell my husband....


  1. This is great! I wanna try it but haven't gotten there yet. Your hair looks great, though.

    1. Thanks-- take your time. You'll know when you're ready!