Can you go shampoo free?

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Wait, Wait, Wait… Don’t get too grossed out by the idea. Let me explain…

I learned a long time ago about the harmful chemicals that are present in most shampoo products. Sodium lauryl sulfate is one of the most common chemicals in all soaps, including shampoo and conditioner. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) is basically a foaming agent that helps to eliminate oil.  What’s interesting is that this same SLS chemical is used in commercial grade degreasers like the ones that mechanics use to de-grease car engines.

Can you believe that? You can probably imagine how bad these harsh and harmful chemicals can be on your hair. These chemical detergents strip the hair of natural oils, but another concern is that they are also absorbed into the skin, which has been linked to a variety of health concerns including certain types of cancer.

So, What Can Be Done?

Many people have turned to hair care products that have more natural ingredients like Wen shampoo or other similar products that do not have sodium lauryl sulfate or other similar chemicals. These do work well for most people, but they are also very expensive (approx. $35 per bottle).  Others turn to shampoos specifically designed for thinning hair such as Nioxin shampoo and conditioner.

Others have tried to shampoo less often, like 2-3 times per week rather than every day. This may work to help replenish the natural oils in the hair, but most people do not like the look and feel of dirty hair, so I have been searching for other alternatives and here is what I have learned…

Baking Soda For Shampoo

The benefit of using baking soda as a shampoo is that it’s extremely cheap and it’s a very weak alkaline which means that it will gently cleanse the oily buildup away without completely stripping the hair of all it’s natural oils.

All you need to do is mix about a tablespoon of baking soda with a cup of water, put into some sort of bottle and gently massage the mixture into your hair. I would recommend that you focus mainly on the scalp since that is where most oil originates. You should still use it on the rest of your hair, but focus mainly on the scalp. Then rinse it out just like you would shampoo.

There May Be A Transition Period

You have to remember that your hair is used to being stripped of its natural oils due to the detergents in shampoos. To counteract this stripping, your scalp most likely produces a large amount of oil. It can take a few weeks or longer for your scalp to adjust to the lack of harsh chemicals being used and to become more balanced. Give it some time before you give up on it.

If your hair feels too dry, you might try using a little less of the baking soda mixture.

Apple Cider Vinegar For Conditioner

Apple cider vinegar is a great replacement for conditioner because it’s a mild acid, which helps to seal the cuticle and balance the PH of your hair. You want to use the same ratio that you use for the baking soda (1 tablespoon to 1 cup of water).

If you typically have oily hair, then you won’t need to use too much of this, maybe just apply to the ends of your hair and avoid the scalp area. If your hair is typically more dry, then you may want to apply more of this mixture, but try to avoid using too much on your scalp because that is where most of the oil originates.

As far as the smell of the vinegar, don’t worry, you only smell it when you first apply it, once you rinse it out, it’s gone and you can’t smell anything.

Using hair growth oils

Many people find that using hair growth oils work best for them.  There’s a few options you can choose such as Coconut oil, Jamaica Black Castor Oil or Wild Growth Hair Oil.

The shampoo free conclusion

I have used both of these techniques on my hair and they seem to be working very well so far. I need to try it for a few more weeks before I can make a definite decision, but so far I love the idea of not using harsh chemicals on my hair and I also love the low cost of these two products.