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Going Plastic Free: What to do about Shampoo?

Going Plastic Free: What to do about Shampoo? published on 1 Comment on Going Plastic Free: What to do about Shampoo?
My shampoo progression (from left to right): Normal Shampoo, Healthy Shampoo, Bar Soap, Baking Soda
My shampoo progression (from left to right): Normal Shampoo, Healthy Shampoo, Bar Soap, Baking Soda

I first stopped using regular shampoo when I found out that the scents that they add to most products are toxic. Apparently, essential oils are the way to go. If something contains the ingredient: fragrance, it is toxic and to be avoided. Companies don’t have to list what ingredients are in the fragrance so it’s really a mystery of how bad each one could be. At first, to avoid the fragrance in shampoo, I started using my husband’s all natural shampoo. It’s a liquid soap that uses citrus essential oils for scent. I was surprised when using this shampoo that I didn’t need conditioner. This was an all in one liquid soap for shaving, body, and shampoo, pretty impressive right?

Then, I read about going plastic free and that changed everything. I could no longer justify chucking/recycling bottles of shampoo every time we were out. Plus, there seemed to be very reasonable alternative solutions to liquid soap- like bar soap. After all, mostly what you pay for in liquid soap is water, so, I reasoned, bar soap must be just like liquid soap without the water and plastic.

The bar soap that I bought didn’t come with any packaging, not even paper, so I was very pleased. The first bar soap I bought was to replace our hand soap. I wanted to get a non-scented kind. I did, but all that non-scented meant in this case is that they didn’t add any essential oils. The soap smelled like the oils they used to make it which, I discovered, is NOT a very pleasant smell. I hardly used it on my hands.

The next bar of soap I bought was for shampoo. It was made out of kelp and supposed to be an all body types soap. I used it on my hair, but it just wouldn’t wash out well. My hair was dry. I started washing it every second day. I was getting dandruff for the first time. Yet, despite being dry, my hair felt greasy from the soap residue.

Next, I tried the non-scented soap I had bought as hand soap on my hair. The people at the store had told me that they knew customers who used this exact soap as shampoo and were very happy with it.  This turned out even worse! After brushing my hair, the hair on my brush had all these little white pieces of soap scum on them- talk about not washing out well.

Around this point, I was at church one Sunday and noticed how sleek and smooth the hair of all these women sitting in front of me looked. I remembered with nostalgia that my hair used to look like that too when I used toxic shampoos. Now, my hair was a frizzy, gooey, rat’s nest. I could barely put a brush through my hair anymore and would immediately put it up in a bun after showering.

My last attempt to wash my hair with bar soap was to purchase a bar soap specifically for shampooing and conditioning. To be fair, I only tried it once, but if it didn’t leave a residue, it also didn’t remove the residues from the other bar soaps. I suppose I could have tried it again, but I decided instead to take the shampoo issue to a whole new level and to stop using soap on my hair period!

Day 1: I started using a solution of 1 tablespoon baking soda in 1 cup water. I put this solution on my hair and tried rubbing it into my scalp. Next, I rinsed it out with the conditioning agent of 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar in 1 cup water. I rinsed both out. I decided to be committed to trying this new technique for two weeks. On the first day, I still had left over soap junk in my hair, so whatever these solutions did, if anything, they didn’t wash that the soap out. There’s a whole site and movement about not using shampoo, it’s called the No Poo Method.

Day2: My hair still feels like it is full of greasy glue.

Day 3: I scrubbed my hair with the baking soda solution and didn’t use the apple cider vinegar. I still couldn’t brush out my hair. That bar soap was stuck in my hair for good and was accumulating pieces of lint from my towel into my hair too, so that if I succeeded in brushing, I lost a fair amount of hair in the process. If I didn’t succeed, the rat’s nest of hair on my head grew in volume. That night, I told my husband that I was going to cave, this bar soap just wasn’t coming out.

Day 4: I caved. I pulled out my bottle of normal toxic shampoo from under the sink where it sat with all my toxic bathroom cleaners that I don’t use anymore. Washing my hair with it was glorious! It smelled so good and felt so good. It got out that gooey mess of bar soap and I brushed my hair out with ease.

Day 5 and onward: I’m not sure what day I’m on now, but I have resumed washing my hair every second day with the baking soda solution. My husband, to show his support of my new hair washing method, bought me some organic apple cider vinegar. I have yet to use it as I am trying just the baking soda method for now. I was talking to a friend about this new lifestyle change of mine and she explained that she had done that for a while, but heard that baking soda weakens your hair after an extended period. I will need to do more research about that before I continue this method, or perhaps I will switch to washing only with water. This same friend asked me what my husband and I do for fun. I hesitated as I tried to think, “What do we do for fun?”
She suggested, “Research stuff?”

I dare say she’s right. My brother also commented to me the other day, “You and Allan don’t do anything in moderation, do you?”

I suppose we don’t. One of us gets on a bandwagon from something we read in what we think is a reputable source and we need only mention it to the other person before we’re both on board. It keeps life interesting as we try all these new things.

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