Yesterday I promised I'd tell you how to ditch shampoo and conditioner. For good. This kind of thing thrills me to no end, partly because it's a shunning of the consumerist mumbo jumbo we're fed by beauty companies on a daily basis (and I have a deep-seeded disdain for consumerism for the sake of consumerism), and partly because it's a step closer to living a more natural life.
I ditched my shampoo and conditioner two months ago. I even shunned the organic varieties. Because a) I couldn't find an organic shampoo without a truck load of ingredients in it (to me, this is not sustainable), and b) they generally cost a small fortune and I'd rather spend that money on organic food.
Instead, I researched traditional hair cleansers and shampoo/conditioner alternatives that have undergone the most minimal processing and have the least impact on the environment. I've investigated, and investigated, and investigated. I've come up with this list of natural alternatives. These cleanse your hair without stripping it of it's natural protective moisturiser (sebum). They nourish without causing your body any harm. I also found an alternative to hair gel, for the boys.
- Bicarb soda: This is what I use, for now. I've posted instructions here. Bicarb soda won't produce a lather, it's nothing like washing your hair with regular shampoo. But, it cleanses beautifully and leaves your hair shiny and toxin-free.
- Liquid castile soap: A good alternative if you want something a little more 'shampoo-like'. Buy the plain stuff and add essential oils to suit your hair type. For oily hair, bergamot, lemon or patchouli. Dry hair, sandlewood or rosewood. For normal hair, lavendar, rosemary or ylang ylang. For dandruff, thyme, peppermint or rosemary. Melrose Health make castile soap here in Australia. And we love local. Add 20 drops essential oil to 100ml liquid soap.
- Soapwort hair cleanser: I'm giving this one a go next. Soapwort is a flowering plant and can be easily grown in your own backyard. Which is way cool. For ease, you can buy it from healthfood shops. The root is high in saponins, which produce a mild lather that'll gently gently cleanse your hair. It's perfect for sensitive skin. Boil 20gm soapwort root in 500ml water for 20 minutes and let it sit for 10 mins. Strain and store in a bottle for a few days. Massage into hair and scalp as you would normal shampoo.
- Pure pulse shampoo: This is apparently an excellent option for fine, dry or damaged hair. If you can get past the fact that you're massaging chickpeas into your hair, it could save your scalp! Mix 50gm chickpea flour and 400ml water to a smooth paste. Gently heat for 20 minutes. Massage warm paste into hair and scalp. Rinse thoroughly. Thoroughly.
- Soap nuts: These are exciting little buggers. They're actually berries from Soap Berry Trees found in various parts of India, North America and Asia. They contain saponins, like soapwort. They've been used in Ayurvedic preparations for centuries. They're completely toxin free, chemical free and come in natural cotton packaging. Check out this little video for an idea of how to use them to make shampoo, as well as to wash your clothes, dishes, anything really. My only gripe is that I don't live in India, North America or Asia, therefore they don't gel with my 'buy local' campaign. In saying that, apparently a 1kg bag can last a few months. And the money goes to the small communities that harvest them and sell to exporters via co-ops (fair trade).
- Avocado! Blend 1/2 ripe avocado, 1tsp avocado oil and 1 egg yolk until smooth, then spread throughout hair and leave for a few minutes before rinsing. Excellent for fine or dry hair.
- I massage coconut butter into the ends of my hair and leave overnight. Honest to goodness, easy peasy moisture boost
- Apple cider vinegar, which I use after cleansing with bicarb soda. It helps to seal the hair cuticles and balance the pH.
- No alcohol, no plastic polymers, no artificial fragrances: Sprinkle 4gm xanthum gum over 100ml warm water and whisk to dissolve. Strain if necessary to remove any lumps that may have formed. Add 10 drops of essential oils to suit your hair type. Store in fridge.
What do you guys think? Are you ready to ditch the shampoo/conditioner we've become addicted to?