And on top of that I don't use shampoo. The practice is often call the 'no-poo method'. There are many benefits to doing this from the health of my hair, a more zero waste bathroom and saving money.
It is healthy because I am not putting a multitude of chemicals, commonplace in shampoo and conditioner, on my body on a daily basis. These include sodium lauryl sulphate, parabens, cocamide diethanolamine, 1,4-dioxane and many many more that I can barely pronounce and that are known irritants and carcinogens. Furthermore by not washing my hair every or every other day with harsh detergents; I am not constantly stripping my natural sebum. This means I have gotton out of the vicious cycle of strip-overproduce-strip-overproduce, so greasy hair is banished.
From an eco point of view, I use a lot less water and electricity by having shorter showers. It also reduces the amount of plastic in the bathroom because let's be honest most shampoos and conditioners come in plastic bottles and we don't reuse them when we have finished.
The final benefit is cost savings. Hair products can get pretty pricy- especially when trying to use green and natural products. I haven't worked out exactly how much I spend now but it is probably no more than a couple pounds a year which is considerably less than the £60-£100 I was spending before.
Now I will be the first to admit it has been a bit of a journey to find what works for me and it hasn't always been pretty. I started about 3 years ago trying to make my own shampoo from a recipe I found on the internet using castile soap and coconut milk- I looked a hot mess. I also tried water only but unbeknownst to me if you live in a hard water area (like most of southern England) its probably going to be a no-go. Finally I found Lucy Atkins eBook Happy Hair, and I was on my way. I follower her schedule and tried a few of the different options that she explains in the book mainly: bicarb, egg, rye flour, shikakai (ayurvedic herb), apple cider vinegar and coconut oil. I got to the point where I was washing my hair once a week but it was still a bit greasy and I didn't really wear it down towards the end of the week. My real
breakthrough happened when I started to use a boar bristle brush. It is honestly the most amazing thing and transforms my hair. It is important it is 100% boar bristle because the bristles actively move oil from your scalp down the shaft of your hair. I happened to have one at home in an antique dressing table set that I never used but if you need to buy one, kent brushes make really good quality one and you could also take a look at your local auction house if they have any brush sets. Either way it might be a bit spendy but it will last for decades if you look after it and think of how much you will be saving on hair products.
My current routine looks something like this:
-once every 4-6 weeks I will boil and cool my biggest pot of water (about 6 litres), I do this because I live with incredibly hard water and this makes it softer (think about the chalk lining your kettle).
- I lean over the bathtub and use a small mug to wet my hair then I use one of the following 'shampoos'- 1 tsp of bicarb in a mug of water, a couple teaspoons of Shikakai or rhassoul clay mixed with a bit of water so it a paste. I then clean my hair.
- I use the rest of the cooled water to rinse it out, this is especially important if using bicarb as you really don't want that sitting in your hair.
- I finish off with 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar mixed with a cup of cooled water as a rinse. I smell a bit vinegary but after my hair has dried there is no smell.
- throughout the month, every 3-4 days, I brush my hair thoroughly with first a tangle teaser brush then the boar bristle brush. I tend to do it just before bed as it can take a couple of hours to settle down.
-I also wash the boar bristle brush once every couple of month with some leftover shampoo I have from my pre no poo days. I fill a shallow bowl with shampoo and warm water and let the bristles sit in the water for an hour or so, taking care not to get the wood wet. Then rinse it out and dry.
I also just want to address the point that if you google no-poo method you will probably come across a few videos or blogs claiming bicarb and no-poo ruined their hair. If you wash your hair every day with bicarb and use quite a lot yes I can imagine it would really strip your hair and cause some damage. I on the other hand rotate what I put on my hair so realistically I use no more that 6 tsp a year and I have noticed no adverse affect, and have been doing it for over 3 years now.
Some kit that I find very useful:
-A old fashioned shower cap, so I can keep my hair dry in-between washes.
-Some plastic squeeze bottles this helps really get the bicarb water mix into my roots and evenly distribute the apple cider vinegar wash.
- My aforementioned boar bristle brush
-A large stock pot to boil some water in- if you live in a hard water area.
I personally would never go back to a normal hair washing routine, I feel this saves me time and money, my hair is in great condition and I feel in control of what I am putting on my body. Also when on holiday whether I'm flying and have liquid restrictions or I'm wild camping on Dartmoor I hardly have to think about my hair. If you are curious to give it ago I cannot recommend enough Lucy's book Happy Hair which really gives you a breakdown of how to go about making the switch. No-poo is really customizable and you can easily find a routine that works perfectly for you.
Thank you for reading, Grace x