There are a lot of good reasons to quit shampoo.
Shampoos, like a lot of hair products, often contain silicones. Silicones only make your hair appear healthier – when in fact they are suffocating your hair by coating your hair. However, even silicone-free shampoos do contain a cocktail of additives, and no-one actually knows what impact mixing all those chemicals together actually has! We seem obsessed with our hair. There are shampoos out there to make blond hair blonder, black hair pitch-black, to make curly hair curlier, to make our hair so shiny it will probably start to glow in the dark very soon. It seems like we have long forgotten that the main function of shampoo is to simply rid our hair from dirt and excess oils produced by the scalp.
I quit shampoo seven months ago. I was hesitant at first (I, too, was willing to do a LOT to avoid a bad hair day), but I hated those plastic bottles we buy shampoo in even more. Plastic leaks unhealthy substances like BPA and phthalates into liquids (and food), so who knows how this cocktail of chemicals will affect our body! Besides, plastic is not biodegradable. A simple PET bottle takes around 500 – 1,000 years to decompose on a landfill, which means your shampoo bottle might still be there in 2515! That is, if it does not end up in the ocean, where exposure to UV light, water and oxygen breaks down the material a lot faster – into microscopic particles.
Those plastic particles absorb toxins just like microbeads. You know, those plastic beads smaller than a grain of sand they put into cosmetics for texture or as exfoliants. Of course they are in shampoo, too!
Anyway, in the ocean both broken down bits of plastic and microbeads – full with poisonous stuff – are swallowed by fish and make their way right back to us in our sushi lunch special. Eeewww! I don’t know about you, but I am glad I’m vegan…
We are all so used to using shampoo, the thought of ditching it can be scary. However, there are a lot of no-poo options so you, too, will find the right one for you :). Most no-poo advocates use baking soda, some use Aleppo soap (a traditional, all-natural, vegan, palm oil free olive oil soap, usually from the Middle East or Greece), some use mineral clay. I use rye flour.
Before I switched to rye flour to wash my hair, I used (vegan) solid shampoo bars. You can buy them without any packaging at Lush stores. As far as I know, all of their products are palm oil free, but not necessarily vegan. However, please keep in mind that just like regular shampoo, solid shampoo bars rely heavily on surfactants (surface active agents or wetting agents that give a product the ability to remove dirt). Most surfactants are biodegradable within 28 days, however, in this period of time they can still be very harmful to aquatic organisms. So we try to reduce the use of surfactants (soap included).
Rye Flour Hair Wash
Rye Flour is packed with vitamins, minerals, amino acids and even contains Omega 3 fatty acids! It is ph 5.0 so it does not disrupt the natural ph balance of our hair and skin (4.0 – 5.5). It contains a lot of Vitamin B5, too. Because of its regenerating and anti-inflammatory effects, Vitamin B5 is often used in antiseptic ointments, baby care products or other products targeted to people with very sensitive skin.
My hair is not very long, so I mix 2 tablespoons of rye flour with some lukewarm water (using a small whisk) until the consistency is somewhat shampoo-like. That takes me less than a minute.
I apply it just like I used to apply shampoo, leave it on for maybe two minutes, and rinse it out thoroughly. It did take some getting used to since there was neither the shampoo-smell I was so used to nor any foam. With no foam at all I was worried my hair would not come out clean… Turned out I need not have worried. My hair was clean – odorless, but nevertheless clean.
Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse
Even though I try to live zero waste, it is still very difficult for me to let go of dying my hair. I have had everything from neon pink to apple green and I just looooove wearing those loud colors on my head. Even before I abandoned shampoo I have used apple cider vinegar to rinse my hair on a regular basis. Simply because it is a really effective method to conserve the color of dyed hair by sealing the hair cuticles.
I now use it instead of conditioner. You can leave it in but I prefer to rinse it out to prevent my hair smelling like a salad dressing. I mix 1 – 1 1/2 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with 1 cup of water. You can go up to mixing 1 part of apple cider vinegar with 2 parts of water. Your hair will immediately feel softer.
My Conclusion After Seven Months
I have always had greasy hair. I had to wash my hair at least every second day. Now with rye flour instead of shampoo and apple cider vinegar instead of conditioner my hair actually lasts up to five days!
I also used to dye my hair every two to at most three weeks (after maybe 7-8 washes). Take a look at the photo – I have not dyed my hair for 2 1/2 months now (11-12 washes) and is it only me or is the color still looking fabulous ;)?
At first, my hair felt a bit weird. It did not feel as smooth and soft as I was used to. That was because I was so used to all the additives in the shampoo that only maintained the appearance of healthy and shiny hair. Oh well, I thought, I would rather have my hair look less shiny than using tons and tons of chemicals.
After a while (and probably because all the chemicals were finally washed out) my hair got used to it and after now seven months it feels healthy, light and soft, and not heavy like it used to (especially after using conditioner).
I have no intention of ever going back to using shampoo again. No thanks.