Last week, I gave up shampoo. Conditioner too. I had a feeling that once I got involved in all the cloth diapering hullabaloo, I might start finding out more reasons to do certain things differently. Greener things. Hippie things, even.
On a cloth diapering email group, I learned about “no poo.” That people were giving up shampoo and conditioner and all the chemicals contained within, opting instead for an alternative method of washing and conditioning their noggins. And they were actually having much better results than with store-bought bottles of goop. It sounded interesting, but I didn’t give it much thought. Until the subject came up again a few weeks later. That’s when I began reading around the Internet. And I learned how the chemicals in shampoos actually strip off all the good stuff in your hair as they remove the dirt, which was why conditioner was invented in the first place. But all those chemicals supposedly only give your hair the illusion of true health while building up residues and even contributing to damage.
But regardless of all this, shampoos and conditioners, at least those that don’t make my hair feel wrong, they are also expensive. Even though I only have to buy new bottles every couple of months, it’s always a little bit annoying, especially here in Frugal Town. Unfortunately, I had already bought a new bottle of each before I decided to give the “no poo” thing a try. But at least I know that if it doesn’t work, I can always go back to the ‘poo without much of a fuss. I did use a gift card, after all.
Except I’m not sure that I will go back. All I’ve read on the subject says to give it a month. But it’s only been a week and I can already see and feel the difference. And it’s not difficult. It’s a tablespoon of baking soda in a cup of warm water worked through the hair and left in for a couple minutes (or as long as it takes to wash my face). That’s the shampoo part. The cleaning agent. Apparently, the baking soda removes the dirt without disturbing the hair’s natural oils. Every few days, if needed, a conditioning agent may also be applied. The conditioner part is a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar diluted in a cup of warm water. I don’t know why it softens the hair like it does, but it totally does.
I started with just the baking soda the first few days. And by the second or third day, my hair was tangled and stiff, dry and full of static. I was mildly annoyed, but I wore a ponytail and sucked it up. The next day, I used the vinegar rinse, and like magic, my hair was soft and manageable. After that, I just used the baking soda again, and it was better. The next day, I added the vinegar rinse, and so on. Which brings me to today. I think I’ve converted. My hair feels soft and healthy. I’m not sure how it looks because it’s not quite dry yet, but I’m thinking that if the trend continues as it has, my hair will not only continue feeling better and better, but hopefully look that way, too.
And the best part? The baking soda and vinegar costs practically nothing, and these common household items can also be used in thousands of other ways, from unclogging drains to a natural fabric softener and stain remover in the wash. They are also non-toxic, which is another concern when considering the future mobility of the infant currently napping on my lap.
If I had known how easy some of these “hippie” choices really were, I might have been doing things like this all along. As it is, I wonder what’s next. I still would never identify myself as an actual hippie (James would never be married to a dirty hippie), but I always have had faith in nature, even if I never really liked hiking, camping, or challenging “The Establishment” with drum circles and clouds of pot smoke. So we’ll have to see, I guess, how my green inclinations hold up. If there are little easy things that I can do or not do to help keep the earth in habitable condition for my son and any future children, grandchildren, etc., then why the hell not? And if it gives me awesome hair forever, even better.