Thursday, April 11, 2013

Simple Suggestion #159... Get to know the Queen(s) of Green

(I'm really tired of all the white stuff outside, with more to come this weekend. So I'm jumping the gun a bit and greening up this blog, to go with this Simple Suggestion... and to encourage Spring to show up already!)

If you know me at all, you know that I'm one who is always looking for healthier, more natural and less wasteful ways to live sustainably. As far as I'm concerned, there are way too many artificial products in our lives that, while they promise in their advertising to make life happier and healthier, are actually contaminating our planet's ecosystems and thereby ruining our well-being, whether we know it or not.

So today's Simple Suggestion leads me to share my latest foray into healthier personal care. I stumbled across a lovely simple way to wash and condition my hair on the Queen of Green blog that was started by Lindsay Coulter, currently on maternity leave, and Tovah Paglaro, who is fulling in for her. These gals really are green. They're not pushing 'greenwashed' commercial products -- they're about self-reliance, and about supporting small businesses that are doing things in a green way. Nothing makes me crazier than walking down the cleaning aisle at the store and seeing the fancy so-called-green products that cost two or three times as much as regular products, but contain the same toxins!

Queen of Green Tovah recently published an excellent hair and body care post that's all about keeping toxins out of our air, water, soil, and bodies. I was a bit skeptical, but I've tried the hair part of it, and it's amazing! I'm hooked. (I'll try the rest, too, once I get all the ingredients.)

So here's what you do, if you want a natural way to clean your hair that is free of the kinds of chemicals that are listed on an ordinary shampoo bottle: put 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of baking soda into a small dish (I use half of a 1/4 c (60 mL) measure), and pour 1 tbsp (15 mL) of cider vinegar into a 1 c (250 mL) measure.

Pour half of the soda into each hand, wet it into a paste, and rub it into wet hair. It will feel gritty, but it will lift out any dirt or grease with the use of a naturally occuring chemical (sodium bicarbonate originates around natural springs and has many good uses, but I hadn't heard of this one!)

Once the soda has been fingercombed through your hair, fill your vinegar container with water to the 250 mL (1 c) mark, and use the vinegar-water mix to rinse. I can't get over how soft my hair is since I've started cleaning it this way. The smell of the cider vinegar vanishes, and my hubby, with his fragrance allergies, is happy that I don't smell like a perfume counter. If there are any chemists out there reading this moddling, perhaps you can tell me how cider vinegar (with a pH of between 4 and 5) and baking soda (with a pH of 8) can leave my hair softer and less greasy feeling than the shampoos and conditioners I've used all my life.

Hats off to Tovah!

If you're one of 'my tribe' who believes that we need to live more lightly on the planet even as we look after ourselves, I invite you to click here to visit the Queen(s) of Green. Last year, Queen of Green Lindsay led a "Spring Breakup" campaign to make consumers more aware of the toxins in most commercial cleaning products, and offered some wonderful recipes for making more natural alternative cleaners that don't contain yucky-sounding things like the ethanolomine family (mono, di and tri), sodium laureth/lauryl sulfates, and triclosan, the great hormone disrupter. And now that Lindsay's taking a break to have her first child, Tovah is doing a great job of continuing to educate people about healthy ways to live that are better for us and the planet. I wish these ladies had been around when I was looking into environmentally friendly diapers, etc.

To be honest, living simply can seem like a lot of extra work if you're going to do it well. But that's usually just the initial outlay of time. Those who choose to live simply know that by making our own cleaning and personal products out of natural things, we're sparing our planet, our homes and our bodies a lot of complex chemical consumption conniptions (sorry, I couldn't resist all that alliteration). Mixing up batches of products made from basic ingredients feels better for my planet, my family, and me.

Now, if you come visit us, you won't have to wonder why I keep measuring cup, baking soda and cider vinegar in my bathroom cupboard!

P.S. Looking for more Simple Suggestions? Try here.


Laeli said...

I used to wash my hair like that but I could never get the mix right. It would work for awhile and then my poor hair would start to look like hell. I'm still on a mission to find something that works for my particular hair:(

Maria K. said...

Hmmm. Maybe a different kind of vinegar? with a drop or two of olive oil? I feel like a salad as it is... but Tovah's tip works for my hair type. Good luck... if you find something natural that works for you, let me know.

NatureGirl said...

I have been virtually shampoo free for years. I use mostly just water and keep a squirt bottle with apple cider vinegar in the shower. It actually does double duty...condition your hair and then spray down the shower! I have found that there is few jobs that baking soda and vinegar can't handle! Great post!!!

Maria K. said...

I read somewhere recently that it's possible to keep your hair clean and shiny with just water and a good hairbrush to distribute the natural oils...