Some time ago, I wrote about making your bathroom more eco-friendly. Apart from our kitchen and food preparation, this is where we encounter plastics and especially single-use plastic most frequently.
Most of the products we use for our daily personal care contain lots of other ingredients or components that are either plastic or palm-oil based, both of which are equally problematic. It is a great success that micro-beads were banned and now the idea of wanting to rub your skin and damaging it with tiny plastic particles seems absolutely ludicrous.
But what about what goes onto your hair and scalp? I am not just talking about hair dye.
It even starts a lot earlier than that!
I am talking about shampoo!
And I have always wondered, what happened before? Before shampoo that is, which was only introduced to Europe by Sake Dean Mahomed (1759–1851) in the 19th c. and back then certainly did not contain SLS. The foam doesn’t do much for you for a start, i. e. it isn’t what actually makes your hair clean as such.
Mostly, hair products aggravate the problem if natural oils are not allowed to settle down. It will react with an over-production of grease.
I decided quite some time ago to use a mild and fragrance-free shampoo by Suma. That was when I was pregnant with my daughter. These products of course still contain vegetable glycerin, which is usually palm-oil based.
Then I tried Friendly shampoo soap and liked it very much and used it for a while although I found that it stripped my hair of too much sebum. Consequently, my scalp, or the hair follicles, to be more precise reacted with an over-production of grease or sebum. This sebum occurs naturally and is actually important for your hair’s health.
Recently I have tried a new method which to my surprise works very well.
This is the so-called “no-poo” method. Meaning: washing your hair with water only.
To make it work here is a method you can try – it has worked pretty well for me so far:
- Brush and comb your hair thoroughly. Part your hair and distribute the sebum (the natural oils) down all the way from the roots to the tips. It is best to use a natural hair brush with boar bristles (alternatively you can try sisal if you are vegan). It will be easier to wash out in step 2.
- Rinse your hair with warm water. It is best to hold your head down over the tub, but standing up works fine, too. You will see an oily film and bubbles around the drain. A lot of it is also likely to be the residue of past product-use. Your hair should be nicely clean when it feels heavy (your hair will soak up all a lot of water) and slightly waxy in texture.
- Rinse it with cold water. This will cause the follicles to contract and produce less sebum.
- Dry with a towel.
To make this method even more effective, here are a few more steps you can take to ensure your hair is nice and clean and shiny (which it will be as you won’t be destroying its own capacity to repair itself).
- A rinse with bicarbonate soda
Mix 2-4 tsp full in 200-400 ml of lukewarm water (not warmer than 45 C).
- A rinse with apple cider vinegar
Mix 1 l of cold water with about 2 tsp full of apple cider vinegar. You can add up to 5 Tbsp according to requirement.
Add a few drops of essential oil of your choice.
The secret of the combination of the two and why I found they work so well is that this is an alkaline rinse first followed up by an acidic one which ultimately neutralises the pH on your scalp – something which is very often put out of balance by most commercial hair care products which then only aggravate the problem which then needs to be counteracted by yet another (often expensive) product.
So, this is yet another step in my journey towards a more eco-friendly bathroom. Holding out until the oils in my hair settled down a bit was definitely worth it. You might want to try and let me know how you got on.