Hi, all, Anna-Liza here. While I’m no longer the biggest hippie on the block (I never actually was, but who am I to mess with the illusions of others), there are still some things I do or think that strike some people as rather flower-childish. One of those would be my belief that one should avoid using on one’s skin or scalp anything that can’t be eaten.
Well, I guess anything can be eaten, but I’m thinking more along the lines of “eaten without ill effect”.
As a result, one of the most obviously weird things about my personal care regimen (and really, I don’t know that what I do can properly be called a “regimen”) is that I don’t use shampoo. At all. I wash my hair with baking soda.
“Horrors!” you say. “She must have hair the consistency of year-old straw!” Mais non, mes petits-choux, and I can prove it.
Okay, maybe you’d have to touch it for me to really prove it, but if you were here I’d totally let you fondle my head. All in the name of science, of course.
Even my hairdresser approves. It’s simple, it’s cheap, it’s environmentally friendly. Hell, it’s practically humping the environment’s leg, it’s so friendly.
First, you need baking soda. Brand name baking soda is not necessary. A tablespoon or two dissolved in warm water is plenty – I use a pint-sized deli container. Literal pint, not teensy. Wet your hair first, then pour the baking soda solution so it gets on all of your scalp. Massage gently for about 30 seconds, then rinse it out.
I balance the pH after this by rinsing my hair with diluted apple cider vinegar. I use very little vinegar – maybe an inch at most in the bottom of a plastic jar (formerly used to hold peanut butter), then filled with warm water. Pour over scalp and, if you want to, rinse. Some people prefer to use the vinegar full-strength. Don’t worry, you will not end up smelling like salad. The vinegar smell disappears once your hair dries. If you rinse with plain water again after the vinegar rinse, there will be no smell left at all.
I do use a leave-in conditioner now that my hair has gotten curly. When my hair was straight I didn’t bother. A lot of people will merely put a few drops of almond or other light massage-quality oil in the palm of their hand, rub their hands togther, then put the oil in their hair (focusing on the ends and not at all on the scalp). I like grape-seed oil. Some people add a little essential oil of rosemary to the massage oil.
ETA: As Darlin’ K mentioned in his comment, you don’t do this every day – depending on the weather, my level of activity, and what my hormones are doing, I end up doing the baking soda thing once every 4 to 7 days and just rinsing my hair in between. Also, be really careful to keep both the baking soda solution and the vinegar out of your eyes – they sting something fierce. AND, there’s no lather. That was the thing that was hardest for me to get used to.
If you need a deeper conditioning treatment, avocado makes an awesome conditioner. Mash it up, put half aside for guacamole (okay, you’ll probably need more than one avocado for the snack version), and coat your hair with the rest. Encase your avocado-ey hair in a cheap shower cap or plastic wrap, then wrap a towel around it and let it soak in the lovely avocado-essence for at least five minutes. You can add the garlic and lemon juice to the guacamole and relax with a snack and a little light reading while you’re treating your hair. Can you say “spa day?”
You’ll need to wash your hair after, and it will be lovely!
By the way, I’ve been treating my hair this way for years, even back when it was straight and so long I could sit on it. Think of all the money I used to spend on shampoo that I can now spend on yarn!
See? Still a knitblog.