Many people believe that washing their hair daily is an absolute necessity and their daily hair care routine involves using multiple products which contain silicones, sodium laurel sulfates and sodium laureth sulfates (SLS and SLES), and waxes. The purpose of the silicones and waxes is to make the hair shaft appear shiny and softer after the natural oils have been stripped away. In reality, these products create the phenomenon known as “build-up” where the scalp and hair follicles are clogged and dandruff and itchy scalp can result. Both additives of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) are commonly used in many soaps, shampoos, detergents, toothpastes and other products that we expect to “foam up”. Both chemicals are very effective foaming agents, chemically known as surfactants. According to Natural Health Information Centre, both chemicals are esters of sulphuric acid and are commonly contaminated with dioxane, a known carcinogen. And these are just two of the chemicals your hair care products may contain. Many salon-grade natural and organic hair care products still contain SLS and SLES and can be very expensive.
One alternative to conventional shampoo and conditioner is using castile soap for your hair. Try washing your hair every other day. Castille soap like Dr. Bronners comes in liquid and bar soap and can be used as body soap as well. Bronners is 100% pure, vegan, and contains no additives other than scents made from essential oils. The peppermint scent makes a fantastic shampoo which leaves your scalp and skin tingling. Lavender and tea tree scents may also help for itchy scalp conditions. Target has recently begun selling Bronners soap and it can also be found in nearly any natural foods store.
In between shampoos, brush your hair with a natural bristled boars hair brush for 100 strokes to help distribute your hair’s natural oils throughout the hair shaft. Your hair may feel softer and less frizzy than before. It is normal for your hair to go through a transitional period for a few washings as the built-up material and dead skin from your scalp is released.
Another all natural, green hair care method which contains zero chemicals and zero packaging waste is No-poo. For full No-poo instructions, see www.instructables.com. In summary, this method involves using no conventional shampoo or conditioners and is meant to be used once or twice per week. Your hair’s natural oils do all the work. The first step is using 1 tablespoon of baking soda in a cup of warm water to thoroughly cleanse your scalp. After rinsing, step 2 uses 1 tablespoon natural apple cider vinegar in a cup of water with an optional drop of honey or a few drops of essential oil to condition and soften your hair. Step 2 can be left on your hair for a few minutes if desired and should be applied mostly to the ends and hair shaft rather than the scalp. No-poo can also be used on children and babies as neither step contains irritants which will sting your eyes like conventional shampoo or castile soap can. You may be amazed at the results of using these ingredients typically used for “baking and cooking” and may find you do not miss your expensive chemical-laden shampoo at all!
For those who typically use hairspray or gel, try making your own homemade version. Take half a lemon and half an orange and chop into small pieces. Boil in 2 cups of water until the mixture is reduced by half. Allow to cool and add an optional 1 ounce of alcohol as a preservative. Use in a reusable spray bottle. The result is a product that provides moderate hold to your hair style without stickiness, typical hair spray odor, and without harmful chemicals. Your hair will remain soft and you will still be able to run your fingers through it. Best of all, it leaves almost no residue so you can still use this homemade version with your No-poo method of washing hair only 1-2 times a week.
Another tip learned from a professional hairdresser is that conventional bottled conditioner makes a fantastic money-saving styling product for naturally curly or wavy hair. Apply a drop the size of a dime to damp hair after washing, scrunch hair and either air dry or blow dry for a natural look without frizz.
You will find these green hair care methods save you hundreds of dollars a year since the ingredients cost you just pennies. Many people who have to rotate their shampoos and have multiple bottles cluttering the shower find they are able to eliminate all those products. In addition, conditions like chronic dandruff and itchy scalp may improve and you are helping to eliminate even more toxic chemicals from your life.