No, Not a new ‘flavour’ of shampoo, but the first new attempt to use fewer nasty chemicals on my body.
Let’s face it – our skin is our largest organ AND it absorbs anything we put on it. Despite the long-held belief – which I occasionally still hear someone spout that ‘our skin is waterproof, sealing our flesh in and protecting it from everything’ – IT ISN’T.
Just think ‘nicotine patches’ – if our skin were truly impermeable these wouldn’t work – would they? They don’t contain a magic key to open the skin door.
I was reading around this when I read “shampoo and conditioners are applied to the whole body if used in either the shower or the bath” Oh! Come to think about it – so they are – and especially if you have washed your body while waiting for the shampoo or the conditioner to work and therefore rinsing those off is the the last bit you do – leaving them clinging to your skin.
So, what’s wrong with that? Nothing, if you like the idea of parabens and petrochemicals left on your skin.
Parabens are there more for the producer than for you – they are a type of preservative. They also happen to be a exonoestrogen and as such are able to mimic oestrogen in the body, and it is this factor that has shown a link to breast cancer.
Petrochemicals – well, I don’t know about you, but I just really don’t like the idea of putting a petrochemical derivative all over my body (not now I think about it) This may not be rational – there are some studies out there that say the 1.4 dioxine is cancer linked – and others that say the exposure is minimal – you get more driving your car. What sort of concerns me is that if all these minimals in our lives are put together they they turn out to be maximal – to have those undesired effects within our body.
Now, I figure, if I can cut down on those that I CAN avoid – the ones I can’t may just remain at minimal levels.
There are also lots of other nasties in shampoo and conditioner – some to make the foam, some to coat the hair after the foaming chemicals have raised all the scales and made it tangly.
And apparently we do not need either of them – our hair and scalp was made to be self-cleaning … only it takes a while – anything from four weeks to 3 months to achieve its new equilibrium.
However, this doesn’t mean you do not clean your hair – you can go completely cold-turkey on any cleaning product and just wash with warm water – this may take the longest to transition, depending on hair type, or you can go the simple solution way – using Bicarbonate of soda and / or borax then vinegar (apple-cider) or citric acid as the neutraliser/conditioner.
I looked to my friend Krissi – a long-time advocate of No Shampoo – for advice and she favoured the bicarb solution and just rinse. However this can lighten hair and as my hair is darker [and the grey coloured with a temporary colour two shades lighter than my hair – so the coloured grey looks like highlights 😉 ] I didn’t want to just do that. (If I had blonde/ going white hair I’d definitely do that!) [Incidentally, Krissi used to make all organic, no nasties cosmetics – and this part of her life I borrowed for the character Marian Wood in A Respectable Life – with her knowledge 🙂 ]
Now, my new friend, Borax [sodium tetraborate – a naturally occurring mineral] link here (more about this when I get the courage up to tell you*) in a combination with Bicarb is also recommended by various No Shampoo (also called, unpleasantly, No Poo) websites, and as I am very happy to rinse my body in borax* (you will understand when I do get to tell you, honest) I went for this. *OK up-date – deep-breath! I’ve told all about my Lichen sclerosus now – find it HERE
Having made up the mixture of 1 dessert-spoon of borax link here and 1 dessert-spoon of Bicarb [sodium bicarbonate] link here, in a litre of water I doused all my hair in it. Massaged it in*, then rinsed it under the shower, then made up another litre of warm water with 1 teaspoon of citric acid, link here, in (you can use apple-cider vinegar instead if you prefer) . Again I massaged it in a bit then thoroughly rinsed it out. Lastly, another litre of water with a couple of spritz of almond oil, or a pin-head drop of all-organic moisturiser dissolved in a litre of water (my favoured solution), and poured over, then rinsed out. It sounds long-winded – but really it isn’t – as you don’t have to work up a lather, and you are not coating your hair in a thick slime (conditioner) the rinsing takes barely any time at each stage. You only need a large plastic jug to make the mixture up in, and a dessert spoon and a teaspoon, to measure out the ingredients.
My hair is very fine, and there is not as much of it as I would like! Usually, for the first day after I wash it it is all fly-away and won’t stay up in a clip, but irritates and tickles my face if down … but by day three it gets greasy and hangs limply and separates into ‘strands’! I also have to give it a good condition too, other wise I can’t get a comb through it for the tangles. Generally I was only happy with my hair on day two.
What happened with the borax bicarb solution?
The first time I left the borax and bicarb on MUCH too long* (five or six minutes) as I was concerned that my hair wouldn’t get clean! And my hair came out like straw! Not the desired effect. However, it didn’t take long for it to ‘calm down’.
NOW I know it is almost a case of pour it on, give the hair a good squeeze, maybe massage the scalp a little and you’re ready to rinse, less than a minute!
The second time, five days later, my hair was much better as I’d reduced the time the borax/bicarb was on my hair to about 1 min – and though my hair started out feeling heavier (less fly-away) than it would after a shampoo wash, it did not change and get any greasier for days. And, I realised it wasn’t tangly after washing – which, if I ever used just a shampoo – without a conditioner, my hair definitely would be!
The third time (six days along) my hair was even more manageable again and I’d left it a whole week before I felt like it needed washing. Today I’m going to wash it again … and though it has not quite been three weeks I think it is beginning to find its equilibrium.
I’ll continue to fill you in on this experiment as it goes along …
Anyone already transitioned to No Shampoo?
Any good advice / thoughts about ditching the commercial products?
You know I love to hear from you, do share 🙂 – Ann
** March – Hair update – Why didn’t I know about this before – It is the best my hair has ever been!!**
*** ONE YEAR LATER – I WILL NEVER USE ANYTHING ELSE FOR HAIR-WASHING – IT IS THE BEST! ***
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