Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ob Poo-free Post

It seems as though just about everyone with a venue on the internet who goes poo-free eventually does a post about it. So here goes mine...

I had two primary motivations for giving up shampoo. I really don't have anything against shampoo in theory. But in practice, I've run up upon a couple of things.

First of all, I'm trying to reduce the amount of plastic I just toss out every week. Why? Because plastic never goes away and is lethal in many ways: it is often toxic when burned; its potentially carcinogenic chemicals leach into the food we store in it (and then they do other bad things); armies of men and women continue to die in the wars we fight over the oil it's usually made of; and the overwhelming amount of it that we leave scattered about the planet is killing all sorts of creatures.

Plastic is ubiquitous, so using less is a hard thing to do and every little bit helps. Each bottle of shampoo and each bottle of conditioner comes in a single-use container (which isn't always recycled, despite any efforts we make), so giving up shampoo has helped me in my goal to cut back on the plastic.

And my second issue is that I'm not entirely comfortable with the long list of words I can't pronounce that is found on the sides of most shampoo bottles (not to mention the occasional accidental ingredient that might be lurking inside). Did I really want to be rubbing those mystery chemicals (update: more here) into my scalp every day (update: or lethal chemicals)? Our skin is the body's largest organ and it can be incredibly absorbent. I also felt like the only reason I was using the conditioner was to undo the damage that the shampoo was doing to my hair -- one stripped it, the other coated it with god-knows-what. I tried budget products and fancy products and it all seemed pretty much the same.

A pic of my hair from July (a little bit
mussed, as I was riding a bike at the time)
So, I figured I'd try going poo-free for a while. That was back in January of this year. It's been about 10 months and I haven't looked back.

I was inspired by Beth and got the basic info from Tsh. I wash my hair most days with a baking soda solution, followed by a vinegar rinse. I often give myself a vigorous scalp massage when I'm washing and then sometimes try to draw any natural oils down along my hair when I'm rinsing. And that's it! It's a quick regimen!

At the beginning, I spent a week or so with flat hair that felt like it had a dirty/waxy buildup on it at times, and then another week or two just feeling discouraged because I didn't like the way my hair felt -- it just seemed kind of dull and lackluster. But after that, it's been wonderful. My hair looks and feels clean, my scalp feels better than it ever has (I think shampoo was drying it out and making it itchy) and I can't imagine why I'd ever go back. Some days, I just rinse my hair with water and go. And even on really sweaty days (like after a run outside on a hot summer day), the baking soda solution cleans my hair just as well as shampoo ever did (sweat is not greasy -- greasy hair is often the result of the scalp trying to compensate for the damage shampoo does).

I do occasionally use a Liggett's shampoo bar, but there are no plastics or mystery chemicals involved, so it passes my test. If you're trying to cut back on toxins but don't want to go to the extreme step of giving up shampoo entirely, Liggett's might be a good thing to try. I took a bar with me when I flew to Greece this past spring (I wasn't sure what the TSA would make of my baking soda and vinegar potions) and it traveled well in a soap dish. But the main reason I use it is because I have fairly dry skin and hair, so once or twice a month, I like to do a deep conditioning. Lately, I do that by rubbing a bit of a light olive oil into my hair a little while before a shower. I need something more soapy than the baking soda to get the oil out of my hair and the Liggett's bar does the trick. It's a pretty cool concoction -- it sudses up into a rich lather, but it doesn't strip my hair like shampoo does, so it doesn't put me off the poo-free rhythm.

So that's my story. Has anyone else out there gone poo-free?

Update: wait... shampoo can cause hair loss? Yikes!

1 comment:

Kimberly said...

Great post! Your hair is beautiful!