Monday, October 22, 2012

My Product Free Hair Washing Routine

I remember staring at my daughter, when she was still tiny, red and wrinkled, thinking about this marvelous miracle of life.  Holding her, it dawned on me that, I was also cradling my grand children in my arms as her infant body already contains fully formed egg cells. While I have always made an effort to eat healthy and exercise, this realization has sent me on the additional mission to try and avoid products that contain potential endocrine disruptors and mutagens.

Our house hold isn't completely devoid of plastic, all organic or full of eco-cleaning products.  The lists of complex ingredients on the back of bottles gave me headaches.  Trying to remember what was good, all right and bad while actually examining a product in the store was beyond me.  Many of the products I felt confident purchasing were beyond or financial ability, so I took a different approach.  There is simply a long list of products I don't buy.  I don't buy commercial sunscreen, shampoo, conditioner or household cleaners. Instead I rely primarily on baking soda, vinegar and apple cider vinegar.  

I finally figured out a product free hair washing routine that works for me.  It leaves my hair soft and clean and best of all, I no longer worry exactly what the shampoo and conditioner are doing to me, my children or the environment. I have devised a three step process for myself that involves baking soda shampoo, a vinegar rinse and an herbal rinse.  

Baking Soda Shampoo

1 Tablespoon Baking Soda
1 cup water
  • you can put the baking soda in a spray bottle and add water or you can do what I do:  I put the baking soda in a cup and add warm water in the shower, pour it over my head, and use a wide tooth comb to distribute evenly (this assumes I remember the cup and the comb...)
  • this is an excellent clarifying shampoo, (great at removing product build up), but it is too strong for daily use

Vinegar Rinse

2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
2 cups water
sqeeze bottle or spray bottle
  • after the baking soda wash and water rinse, I rinse my hair with a apple cider vinegar wash
  • this helps restore the pH balance of your hair after using baking soda or other soaps, smooths the hair cuticles and leaves your hair shiny and easy to comb
  • too much vinegar can dry out your hair, so if you have dry hair to begin with you might want to try 1 Tablespoon of vinegar to 2 cups of water
  • this can also be used as a detangler for children.  The vinegar scent disappears as it dries. 
The baking soda shampoo followed by the vinegar rinse are the only two steps that are necessary, but I have added a third rinse.  I used the Calendula flowers from my garden to make a Calendula hair rinse.

Calendula Hair Rinse

Enough fresh or dried flowers to loosely fill a quart jar
2 cups boiling water
quart canning jar
  • pour boiling water of the flowers
  • let steep anywhere from 20 minutes to overnight
  • strain out the herbs and transfer to a storage container
  • apply to damp hair, comb through and leave in
The petals of Calendula are soothing, conditioning and good for an irritated scalp.  Over time they may also brighten blond or red hair. 

I found these recipes in a book entitled Making It Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen.  Admitting in writing that this is how I wash my hair makes me feel a little radical indeed, but it belies the very slow journey that has taken me to get to this point and my routine feels anything but radical, it is well, routine. 

1 comment:

  1. Interesting read. Once you have done all the prep, it sounds pretty good!