Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Going Green for a Healthier Scalp

I have to admit, sometimes my green efforts sound outrageous even to me, but I have been surprised by how well most of them end up working. I already use a homemade laundry soap (sort of- mixing washing soda and good old fashioned ZOTE soap) and my clothes are doing great. I have been using green deodorant for years and love how that has turned out. Now, my scalp has made me jump into something I thought I would never do, do green with no-poo (without shampoo)

I have been reading about all the harm we cause ourselves with shampoo, starting with the harshness of the chemicals like parabens and sulfates. Then I find out maybe my shampoo is making my itchy scalp worse. I happen to have somewhat sensitive skin, and I can’t use just any moisturizer, so why would my scalp be any different.

I was considering going “no-poo” for about 2 years but keep getting deterred by the idea of having icky feeling hair, let alone the smell, but I kept reading on different blogs how many women had maybe just a week or two of the ick factor and none of the smell issues. So I decided to give it a whirl. But I could not do this cold turkey! No sir. I needed to ease into it. So first I decided to start by washing my hair less often to begin with, by doing it every other day, then just twice a week. Man was that hard!!! I kept wanting to wash it, but I held strong.

Then I thought “I’m nuts! How can my hair get cleaned without some sort of soap if not a shampoo??” So I looked into it and decided to try out a castile soap with tea tree oil to help my scalp issues. I went for the Dr. Brooner’s brand. It is a soap, not a shampoo, and it uses all natural ingredients. That worked out rather well, and the tea tree oil started helping with my itchy scalp. I went about 2 weeks with that (maybe 3 washes so far). 

So I took the leap. I had prepared the baking soda and water mix (1 tbsp. baking soda to 1 cup of water) to clean my scalp, and also prepared the apple cider vinegar and water mix (2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of water) to condition it, and left them in my bathroom, but couldn’t make myself use them. Then one night I just did it. I had gone 3 days without washing my hair and thought, “if it doesn’t feel clean I can always go back to the castile soap”. 

I poured slowly the baking soda mix from the clear squeeze bottle and worked it into my scalp, rubbing every inch, making sure not to miss anything. I kept picturing a corner of greasy hair if I didn’t make sure every strand was covered. I followed the instructions on the many blogs and did only the roots and not the ends. Washed it out after about 2 minutes of rubbing, and my scalp and the hair felt almost squeaky-clean. How could this be?? It isn’t soap!!! But wait…this does feel a bit….dry?!?! So how the heck is apple cider vinegar supposed to make this feel better??

So there I went. I poured slowly the apple cider vinegar mix from the clear squeeze bottle and worked it into the ends, rubbing every inch. The smell was strong at first. It wasn’t feeling very different, but it did say to leave it in a few minutes. I also made sure not to go all the way into the roots since they said it would make my hair greasy…yeah, vinegar makes hair greasy, go figure!!!

5 minutes went by while I kept showering, and the smell wasn’t so strong. Time to wash it out. I kept picturing myself walking through the halls at work and people craving a salad for lunch al because of my hair, so I washed and washed.

I was tempted to pour a bit of conditioner, but I didn’t. I could always pull my hair back the next day. I wrapped my hair in a towel and let it dry a bit while I put on my moisturizer and pjs. By the time I took off my towel and started to brush it out it was amazingly manageable. If you have ever used conditioner you know there is this creamy feel to your hair, and if you go without you feel it dry and hard to comb through. Well this was sooooo not the case for me. My hair felt clean, really clean. Not creamy like with conditioner, yet completely comb-able (if that makes any sense). I have a bloodhound nose, so I could tell a scent of vinegar was still there, but an hour later is was almost completely gone (like I said, I am part dog).

Ok, so let’s see how it feels in the morning. I’m sure this can’t last long. Nope…morning came and my hair was still feeling pretty good. Brushed it with my boar bristle brush and stilled it as usual (I don’t use product because I have never liked how it feels), and off I went. It is close to noon for me and my hair still looks and feels good. It isn’t a miracle treatment by any means, and it has only been one day so far, but I expected much worse. 

If you are interested in a bit more information about the harms of shampoos (and deodorants and fragrances) here is a link that may interest you http://www.mnn.com/communityblogs/oddlyocean/the-harm-of-shampoos-deodorants-and-fragrances

I’ll do an update as the time passes to see how my scalp is doing, but I was planning on keeping a schedule of Sunday night baking soda and vinegar, and Thursday night castile/tea tree oil soap and vinegar (I liked the tea tree oil part). I may also look into some essential oils to help add some “oomph” to how my hair smells because right now it doesn’t smell like anything at all, and there is something to be said about nice smelling hair.

Have your tried going green for your scalp?

Rossana G-A

FTC Disclaimer: I am not compensated to write this post.

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