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Update 11/13/14 – Two years later, this is still a great post about getting started for very cheap. It is easy to do and won’t overwhelm you that as a skin care routine may. However, I found that over time the baking soda washed dried out my fragile hair too much. I now water wash, which leaves my hair soft and healthy. I use Mommypotamus’s Orange and Honey Shampoo and the vinegar conditioner once a month or so.
We all know that BPA is bad, but one thing that the Bag It documentary focused on is phthalates. These are used to soften plastic and exposure can cause a wide variety of health effects. They can be found in many plastic products, including children’s toys like rubber ducks. The scariest part, though, is that phthalates may be in many of your beauty care products, and they don’t have to be listed in the ingredients. You know that generic ingredient “fragrance”? This could mean a wide variety of ingredients, one of which could be phthalates. Maybe they are there, maybe they aren’t, and you could probably call up all your shampoo and soap companies and ask. But on top of all the other bad chemicals in hygiene products (like sodium lauryl sulfate), this was not a risk my mom and I wanted to take.
We are currently using Kiss My Face olive oil soap (ingredients: olive oil, water, and salt) and have high maintenance faces, so we thought shampoo and conditioner would be a good place to start for removing harmful chemicals from our life. I got on the internet and the general consensus was baking soda shampoo and vinegar conditioner. What? I thought. That can’t work! But we have those two cheap ingredients in the house, so may as well try.
Wow! My mom has really dry hair, and immediately noticed a difference. Her hair was silky and light, free of product and residue. I, on the other hand, have very oily hair, so I required a transition period. Add a conditioning treatment fail (one cup water, one egg yolk, and 1 tablespoon olive oil; works well on dry ends, NOT on oily hair) and a trip to Florida, and my transition period is finally coming to an end after about 2 1/2 weeks. Luckily, with the exception of the conditioning disaster, my hair has not appeared oily and in fact looks better than it ever has. I’ve been trying to grow my hair out for years and almost immediately the appearance of its length has increased due to healthier ends. There is no smell at all. No smell of dirty hair, and no smell of vinegar. I am very excited about this first step to a homemade, harmful chemical free home. Best part? It costs almost nothing!
Homemade Shampoo and Conditioner
So here are the recipes. We are currently storing them in 2 old containers we would have recycled. Glass would be better, of course, but I like the dispensing effect of a squeeze bottle. A 1 1/2 batch lasts one short-haired woman and one very long-haired woman about a week.
- 1 c water
- 1 tbsp baking soda (I buy mine in 13.5 lb bags from CostCo for less that $10)
Mix together in a container. Apply and work into hair. Rinse well. This will not lather and you may have trouble working it through your hair, but I promise it’s working. If you have really oily hair, you may need more. You can use this every day, or as your hair adjusts, you can slowly reduce the number of washings.
- 1 c water
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- Optional: essential oils (rosemary, thyme, and lavender are great for hair health; citrus oils should not be put in plastic containers)
Mix together in a bottle and apply to ends of hair. Rinse out. This will remove mineral build up and leave your hair nice and shiny.
Update 9/17/12: I’ve been using this homemade shampoo and conditioner for about two months. My hair looks and feels fantastic. It has a lot more volume, the ends are healthier (this is also due to the fact that I put a little shea butter on the ends before bed), and it feels clean. It doesn’t even feel oily in the mornings like it used to. I did use commercial shampoo once, and my hair had to go through a mini transition. And when I got my hair cut, they put in leave-in conditioner and it left my hair feeling icky for a few days. I would definitely recommend using the homemade hair care exclusively if possible.
Update 11/15/13: After a year on this method, I switched to water washing and now only wash my hair once a month or less.
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