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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Road to Shampoo-less-ness

I have been trying to remove the chemicals from my house for the last year. The next step is Shampoo and conditioning products. I have been scouring the Internet for shampoo replacement ideas (an ongoing process). I started making my husband’s “shampoo” about six months ago with oil, water, tea tree oil and castile soap. It works great on his hair, but didn't really cut it on my thick, long and curly locks. I used the same mixture for about 10 days before I gave up on it. I understand that there is a hair detox period, but my hair just got dryer and dryer.

I dreaded the idea of using baking soda.

I started entertaining the idea of a shampoo bar, like the one on Frugally Sustainable. I am not quite ready to make it, though. Then, I found a soap that just might be what I was looking for. I thought I would give it a chance.

African Black Soap is made with coconut oil and/or palm oil, Shea butter, oats, aloe leaf juice, plantain extract, vitamin E, vegetable glycerin, and essential oils. It has a reputation for fighting acne, detoxifying and healing skin conditions. I also read that it works miracles on curly hair… let’s see!

Although I was going to buy a bar from, but decided to order the Nubian-Heritage bar from Vitacost since I was making an order anyway. I even read all the reviews; most of them mentioned how soft their skin was and a couple did say that they used it on their hair. I’ll take that as a good sign.

I decided that taking out shampoo chemicals should coincide with taking out conditioner too. I took a small spray bottle and filled it with ½ Apple Cider Vinegar and a couple drops of lavender oil. After washing I sprayed my hair with the ACV and left it in while I dried before I wrapped my hair in the towel and let it sit a little longer before combing it out.

My log:

Wash #1 – So glad the vinegar smell goes away fast. My hair feels dry but combed out easily enough.
My skin feels awesomely soft from the lather!
Day 2: The next day the hair in the back of my head, close to my scalp was really oily.

Wash #2 – Soap seemed to lather more in my hair than before. Still felt dry when I combed it.
Day 3: The next day I could tell there was some improvement. It wasn't as oily, but still feels a little thick and sticky.
Day 4: (usually wash my hair every other day) I woke up with a head of nappy hair. There is no other word for it. It was nasty and sticky dread-lock like; though it didn't look bad when brushed out. And was not frizzy either, like it normally would be if I brushed my hair when dry.

Wash #3 — I was thinking that the stickiness of my hair could be because I have not been rinsing the vinegar out. So this time I let it sit, combed through it with a wide-tooth comb and then rinsed before getting out of the shower. It seems less sticky. We shall see.
Day 5: Every day seems to get a little easier. My hair is still stiff/sticky (which really is a bummer!). BUT the hair by my scalp is soft and easier to run my fingers through. So that makes me think that I need to stick it out until my hair grows out.

Day 6: Wash #4 – This time I used barely any vinegar and caved in a little by using some stay-in conditioner spray. I don’t really think it helped though. I might go back to the chemically-rick Suave if my hair doesn't improve soon!
Day 7: Blah.

Wash #5 – I think and hope that my hair is getting better. I would hate to quit and go back to Suave.
Day 8: I went through the whole day with my hair up again.

Wash #6 – My hair felt a little oily at the roots. Funny how light and normal my hair feels when it’s wet…

Day 9: Wash #7 – I know I shouldn't wash my hair 2 days in a row. But I have a meeting tomorrow and I can’t look like this! So I decided to switch it up (couldn't look worse than it does…) I used Baking Soda mixed with water in a squirt bottle first. Then added a little bit of the African Black Soap before rinsing.  This made my hair dry! But the ACV made it easy to comb through. Wow! I can feel a difference, but since it was still a little dry so I put a little coconut oil on my fingers to comb through my hair when I got out of the shower.
Day 10: I might just stick to last night’s routine! My hair feels much better today and looks better too. Not perfect, mind, but getting there and I feel encouraged.

Day 11: Wash #8 – I did the same thing, minus the coconut oil. Next time I buy the Black Soap, I will buy the kind without the oatmeal, which feels great on my skin but my hair tends to stick to it.
Wet hair. It does dry much faster!
Day 12: My hair is less dreadlock-thick feeling. Still a little sticky but getting better

Day 13: Wash #9 – After letting my hair down it feels dry on the end and oily by my head before I washed. Same wash as #8.
Day 14: At least my hair looks a little better than it did a week ago. But I am still unsatisfied. I hope this continues to get better or I might have to start testing more methods. Blah.
Day 15: I woke up looking like I was balancing a nest on my head. This seems to be the norm lately. I had to comb my hair which made it look like a frizz ball (typically I can only comb it when it is wet so the curls stay intact). Luckily it looks great when it is up and hidden from site.

Wash #10  - Baking Soda. Soap. Vinegar.

I am going to stop there and post an update again in a month or so since I don’t have much else to report in the encouraging department. I am just hoping that this whole icky hair business goes away and I get my silky feeling back (without resorting back to the chemical stuff). We shall see.

Any words of encouragement from people out there who have taken shampoo out of their routine?

Shared at Tip Tuesday, Cheerios and Lattes and Frugally Sustainable.