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Author: Sue McEwen
Alternative to commerical shampoos & conditioners
What to use instead of commerical shampoos & conditioners
Shampoos and conditioners contain toxic ingredients, but what can we do when we become sensitive to that?
Not washing our hair is not really a good option, and just using water doesn't really work that well.
Why do we need soap and conditioner?
Soap is acidic and causes the hair shaft cuticle to lift, releasing the dirt so the hair shaft is no longer smooth making it hard to comb or brush. This is when its really easy to knot hair.
Conditioner is alkaline, and it smooths down the hair cuticle, making it easy to comb or brush though it, limiting the ease dirt sticks to the hair.
Here are two effective ways to wash your hair without using commercial shampoos and conditioners.
1. Hand soap and white vinegar.
If you are ok with using commercial hand soap then this can be a good option or can use handmade soap. Simply wash your hair using soap then rinse.
To condition your hair:
Use up to 1/2 cup of white vinegar poured over your head (with you bent over so the vinegar is only applied to your head and does not run down your body - why? It will sting if enters any cuts, nicks or scratches. Half a cup is enough to use on long hair. No need to leave it on, so once it's gone through the hair and you make sure its all wet, rinse it off.
2. Bicarb(onate of) soda and white vinegar.
One tablespoon of bicarb soda to a cup of warm water. Mix well by swishing with fingers. Rinse head with bicarb solution, massage in (yeah, there is no lather so it doesn't feel quite right after having been used to soap or shampoo), then rinse.
Apply white vinegar as above in 1.
Please note: Vinegar will sting if you get it in your eyes, and it will also remove any product from hair, and no, your hair will not reek like a salad dressing. It will dry without scent.
Bicarb soda allows the cleaning of hair without removing the natural oils. This means our body will not try to replace the oils that are removed as when washing with detergents (shampoo or soap). So for anyone with oily hair I do recommend trying a bicarb soda wash instead.
All soap is made with lye.
The lye can be made naturally from water soaked through wood ash, or caustic soda (Sodium hydroxide (NaOH)) can be used. Both will burn unprotected skin as they are extremely alkaline. Freshly made hand soap when manufactured using cold method, where the mixture is unheated, relies on the reaction between lye and fats/oils to create saponification. Then the bars of soap will need to cure for around 2 months to allow the reaction to complete or it will irritate the skin. When soap mixture is heated to fasten the saponification reaction or process, the soap can be used within a day of being made.
My hair is waist length and I use bicarb soda to wash it. I've found it is less oily and its returning more to the natural state it was in before I started getting creative with it (perms, dyes). I am now looking forward to going a total and natural silver (lol).