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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tips on Tuesday: Shampoo Free

I've received so many questions about my journey to going shampoo-free, I thought it would be the best place to start with my tips.

If you research this out, there is an overwhelming amount of information available. I'm going to post a few links at the end to the pages I found to be the most helpful.

Why go shampoo free?? Many reasons are available. For me, it's just like laundry detergent, I'm dissatisfied with how my hair looks over time. I love a shampoo for a while, but eventually it no longer works for me. I end up with oily hair and feel self-conscious. I figured I had nothing to lose and when I looked into it, I discovered an array of chemicals and things found in shampoos that I didn't really want on my body.

What do I use instead? I'm using 1 Tbsp. Baking Soda mixed with a little water to form a paste. To condition my hair, I mix 1 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) with one cup of water into a spritz bottle.
To wash my hair, I begin by brushing out the tangles before stepping into the shower. Once in the shower, I really wet my hair. A lot of what I'm reading is the hotter the water temperature, the better. And I like a REALLY hot shower. Once the hair is thoroughly soaked, I apply the soda mixture down my part, then work some down each side and under my hair at the crown. You want to massage the mixture into the hair. Think about how wonderful the scalp massage feels when you get your hair cut. Use quick back and forth motions and really focus most of the soda into the area on your head where a crown would sit. It's not important for long hair to get all of the hair, you want to focus on the scalp.

I usually let the soda sit on my hair for a minute after I massage before I rinse it out. Rinse very well. Make sure you really get all of the soda out of your hair.

For the conditioning rinse, I'm still working out what is best for my hair. I tend to soak conditioner and get over-conditioned very easily. Right now, I think I'm getting too much ACV so I'm working on what is best for me. I tried mixing 1 Tbsp into a cup and adding 1 cup hot water and pouring that on my head. I think it's too much for me. I'm changing to spritzing my hair with the mixture, letting it sit for a minute, then rinsing well. I'm also using the ACV every 2-3 washes instead of every time.

Finally, and this seems to be important to all hair gurus, I turn the water down to tepid or slightly cool. Many sites say 'cold water', but I can't take it too cold. I really rinse with the tepid/cool water until my hair is cool to the touch. The hot water at the beginning opens the cuticles and ends of the hair. After you clean these out, you want them to close so they produce less oil. Cold water helps them close.

I'll warn you that there is a detox period that some people will go through. I experienced some of this, but when I switched to this massage method, I was immediately happier with the results. My hair was greasier than normal on the day after washing for the first week. **Note** I only wash my hair every other day. There was one day that I did sprinkle some dry baking soda onto my hair and brushed it in. This helped take away the greasy look I was experiencing. Another site suggests doing a hot water wash on the off days with water only, no soda. I don't like to shower every day so I never tried this.
The other thing to remember with the detox period is that if you have hair that tends towards oily, it will continue to produce a supply to meet the demand you were making with chemicals in shampoo. As your body realizes there is less demand, the supply will be cut.

I'm also looking for a Boar Bristle Brush (BBB) as it is supposed to help distribute the natural oils of your hair more evenly through the hair. It looks like Walgreens might carry them, but I'm assuming any health food store would have them as well. One word of caution, every site talking about BBB says do NOT overbrush as it would stimulate additional oil production.

The best sites I found were these:

This site has excellent info on the supply/demand cycle of hair oil.

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