Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Simple Suggestion #192... Try natural hair care

After many months of living without shampoo and conditioner, I figured it was time for an update on a Simple Suggestion I posted back in April. That one suggested checking out the Queen of Green, Lindsay Coulter, who is a wonderful resource when it comes to simple and sustainable living, but it was actually about alternative hair care.

The idea of low chem hair care seems to be catching on. In the past week, a friend told me she has dropped shampoo from her life thanks to apple cider vinegar, and I've seen two Facebook posts about soda/vinegar hair cleansing. People are slowly waking up to the fact that the chemicals and parfums in shampoos, conditioners and other personal care products just aren't good for our overall health. So they're opting for simpler solutions.

I'll admit that I was skeptical about the soda and vinegar idea, but since starting the routine back in April, I've had softer hair than ever before, with less dandruff. It only makes sense, if you think about it. Shampoo tends to strip hair of its natural oils, and then conditioner cakes on other chemicals so hair and scalp have to work harder to get back into balance. But the soda/vinegar routine has fewer chemicals and a better pH balance without the hormone disrupters and neurotoxins sometimes found in so-called professional products. On occasion, I've tried my old shampoo again, and discovered that it turned my hair into scented straw and gave me an itchy scalp.

So here's what I do for my natural hair care: I keep an old 1 cup (250ml) measure, a bottle of apple cider vinegar and a box of baking soda in my bathroom cupboard. I put a splash (maybe 2 tbsp or 30 mL) of vinegar in the bottom of the measuring cup, set it on the bottom of the shower, and pour a little baking soda (again, maybe 2 tbsp or 30 mL) into my hand. Once in the shower, I wet the soda a little and work it through my hair. Then I fill the vinegar measuring cup to the top with water for a rinse. Easy peasy! Just have to be careful not to get the vinegar in my eyes and nose. A spray bottle of vinegar water would make it easy to clean my body the same way, but I haven't found a spray bottle yet.

And for those who like to put a little something in their hair to spike it up or smooth it down, honey has a similar texture to many store-bought pomades. Granted, it's a bit sticky, but I'd rather have sticky than something full of questionable substances with names that I can't pronounce. For those who wonder, bees have never paid any attention whatsoever to my hair, and I'm out in the garden with them a fair bit in the summer. I usually add a little water to the honey (a quarter teaspoon of each, warmed in the microwave) when I'm smoothing my hair down, and when dry, my hair feels like it's been hairsprayed.

In our chemically complicated world, there are ways to make personal care simple. If you have any that work for you and that you're willing to share, I'd love to hear about them!

P.S. For more Simple Suggestions, click here.

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