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No, really. I'm serious. I haven't washed my hair for three years. Almost four now.
Why? Take a look at this ingredient list:
Would you drink that?
Hopefully not. Most likely if you found this blog you don't use that kind of shampoo though anyways. (Because, of course, you know it contains paraben, phthalates, petroleum byproducts, and other dangerous toxic chemicals.) You probably go for something more natural. But even "natural" shampoos don't look appetizing to drink, do they?
But you'll put it on your body?
Hopefully not. (At this point you should hear Gob Bluth saying this in your head....)
Whatever you put on your body goes into your body, right? (I hope you know that.) If you wouldn't be comfortable drinking it, why would you be comfortable slathering it all over your head and then rinsing it down your body?
I first started to think about this when I got into more "natural" food and body products about seven years ago. Rather than spend two dollars on a seriously cheap (in all senses of the word) bottle of shampoo I opted for the more expensive, more "organic", more "natural" shampoos for ten to fifteen dollars.
It seemed like a lot to spend on shampoo but it was worth it because it was better for me. Right? At least it wasn't Suave. But really, folks? Turn over that bottle of 'natural' shampoo. The ingredient list is at least close to as long the generic shampoos. Can you pronounce half of those ingredients? (If you can, props to you. You are probably a chemistry major.) Do you even know what a third of those ingredients are? (If you do, that's also awesome. You must be a science geek).
I'm not a chemistry major. Or a science geek. And I'm also lazy. And cheap. So rather than either A) looking up all those ingredients to find out what they are or B) spending a ton of money continuing to buy expensive, organic, unpronounceable-ingredient-filled "natural" shampoo, I wanted to find a less complicated, less expensive, more truly natural way of cleansing my hair. What did I land on?
Baking soda and apple cider vinegar.
Surprise. Or not. I'm guessing you have probably heard of this. Most likely you even know someone who does this. (At least you would if it were common among your community to talk about personal hygiene choices....) It has become more popular to use a bit of baking soda as 'shampoo' and then apple cider vinegar as 'conditioner'. (If you want more info on how exactly to do this check out this fabulous mommy-blogger.)
So what's the problem with those things? Nothing in particular. It mostly worked fine. My hair is auburn so the baking soda did turn it a little more red than normal. My hair (used) to be greasy - the baking soda would dry it up a little more and crack it a little more than I would have liked. The vinegar? Just made my hair greasy.
So, really, I guess it didn't work.
I tried different ratios of baking soda to water or vinegar to water, tried doing the vinegar rinse just once a week, or month, tried only 'washing' my hair once a week. Blah, blah, blah. And so on. It was better than shampoo, but I still wasn't really happy.
Drum roll please.
I'm here to reveal to you something wonderful. You can skip it altogether. I haven't used baking soda or vinegar regularly on my hair for close to a year now. (I got really freaked out of the "organic" ingredient list when I was pregnant... I didn't want that getting to my baby). So what do I do now instead? Nothing. That's right.
I do nothing with my hair.
Well, not nothing. I probably rinse it around twice a week in the shower. And occasionally if I am feeling very fancy, I revert to using the baking soda or vinegar rinse. Oh, and I comb my hair every once in awhile. And about once a year I go to an Aveda salon to have my hair trimmed. (Note: my stylist always comments on how healthy my hair looks!)
But that's pretty close to doing nothing, right?
But that's it. And my hair is fine. It took a few months for it to adjust to not being 'washed', but now it's great. In fact, it's super healthy. It's the healthiest it's been in a long time. It doesn't vacillate any more from super greasy to cracked and dry. (Granted, with a four-month old who is wanting to grab and put everything in her mouth you probably wouldn't know this if you saw me because my hair has adopted the elegant 'hey-everyone-I'm-a-mom-I-wear-a-per-ma-bun'-style.)
Give it a try. Allow your hair a few months to adjust (Note: if that seems long... think about how long you've forced your hair to "adjust" to all those chemicals in your shampoo. Think about it.) If you give it a try, let me know what you think. It doesn't get much easier than this.
(p.s. Oh, and just in case you ever stay over at my house I have to warn you... There is no shampoo in the shower. My husband doesn't use it either.)
1/15 UPDATE #1: A Few Photos.
I have had people ask to show more photos of my hair. This is in response to that request. Keep in mind these are completely candid photos, no airbrushing, no touch ups, nothing. Just point and shoot with digital or phone cameras, etc. :)
The "Before": when I was using conventional shampoo. I think I also might have been dying my hair at this time... can't remember for sure.
The "in between" when I was using apple cider vinegar and baking soda. Notice how it changed the color of my hair and dried it out. This is also a particularly unflattering photo taken on a hike... ;)
A few "after photos" to give you an idea of what my hair is like now. Again, keep in mind these are very candid shots taken while hanging out with family and friends, not professional photos that have been touched-up or edited. In the last one, I hadn't even brushed my hair... we were camping with friends.
|Photo by my friend Diana of The Kitchen Rag|
1/20 UPDATE #2: Do I smell?
For reasons that are still unclear to me, this article has been picked up by numerous news sources. Since then various people who have never met me have made numerous assumptions regarding my hygiene, parenting skills, and even my mental-health. (Ah, the lovely internet...) One common assumption by these anonymous commenters is that my hair must smell awful. You can read my response to that accusation in this post: "WHAT's that SMELL?!"
1/21 UPDATE #3: What else don't you wash?!
Apparently when you come out and say you don't use shampoo on your hair, people assume you don't wash anything else.... Just to clarify, I do.
I wash my body.
Yes, I use soap to wash my body. Granted, I think that we use soap too much, but that doesn't mean I don't wash my hands or cleanse the areas of my body that naturally tend to exude odors.... So, yes, I use soap. This is the soap I have by my sink and in my shower. It has three ingredients. I have made my own soap in the past, and plan to again, but this is a nice convenience to have right now.
I brush my teeth.
I have friends who make their own toothpaste, which I think is awesome. However, I have never found a recipe that works perfectly for me so I use this toothpaste instead. And I love it. It leaves my teeth feeling incredibly clean and my mouth feeling refreshed.
I wash my clothes.
|See my recipe.|
Yes, I wash my clothes. Again, just like our bodies, I think we wash our clothes too much. But, I do wash my clothes. I make my own laundry soap using very minimal ingredients. It cleans the clothes very well, doesn't gunk up my washing machine, and saves me a LOT of money.
What are your thoughts? Do you use shampoo, a natural alternative, or nothing at all?
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