1 April 2012

Step Down Sunday - No Poo

One evening while driving home, Mr Goldfish wondered if there were any eco-friendly toiletries we should be trying. Recently it’s become clear that it’s not just the ingredients in things that is the problem, even eco-friendly products come with a large amount of packaging. So we might make a bigger impact if we actually make things ourselves. So I popped over to Pinterest to see what I might find.

It didn’t take long to find plenty of people who’d thrown out their shampoo bottles and turned to more natural ingredients. They claim that by using just bicarbonate of soda and vinegar, your hair can be even more manageable. As I’ve nearly finished my current shampoo and have a socially quiet week, I figured it was worth a try.

To be honest I don’t have the hang of it yet, and it’s become clear that I can’t read directions! The idea is that the bicarbonate of soda eats away at any dirt, but doesn’t strip the hair of so much oil. Then you rinse with the acidic vinegar which if you remember your chemistry cancels out the bicarbonate of soda (a base) and leaves your hair pH neutral again.

The first recipe I tried mixed a tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda with a cup of warm water. You’re supposed to rub it into your scalp, but I found the watery mix seemed to run straight off my head. (This was where I made my first error – apparently you should apply bicarb mixes to dry hair rather than wet.) After washing out all the bicarb I rinsed my hair with a ¼ cup of white vinegar mixed with a cup of water. I was quite impressed with the vinegar rinse, which quickly untangled my hair. My hair felt clean and wasn’t greasy, but didn’t feel quite right.

The second time I decided to try the paste recipe, as I thought it might be easier to control. I carefully read the directions this time, but I don’t think they were correct. The recipe called for a teaspoon of bicarb with a tablespoon of water...which turned into a watery mix rather than a nice paste. I ended up adding more bicarb until I achieved a consistency a bit runnier than toothpaste. It was a bit easier to control, but felt a bit patchy as it didn’t spread well. I also found it a lot harder to rinse out (possibly because I’d added so much soda to the mix). Again I finished with the vinegar rinse which still worked well, but wasn’t quite as effective. After my hair dried it still felt like there was some bicarb in there, so I rinsed it again in the sink and added more vinegar mix for good measure. This helped a lot.

I’m not yet ready to give up, so after a bit more research I’ve ordered a couple of condiment squeeze bottles and I’m going to go back to the watery recipe. Hopefully the bottles will let me control the mix better and direct it straight to the roots. Also by applying the watery mix to dry hair, it might not run straight off...I hope.

I really like the idea of using simple kitchen ingredients and it actually feels like less effort than all the shampooing and conditioning I normally do. Hopefully next week my ‘shampoo-free’ project will be more successful!

To Read More:
Step Down Sunday - No Poo: Week Two
Step Down Sunday - Save Pennies & Planet

Step Down Sunday Have you made any Steps Down this week?

If you'd like the code for the Step Down Sunday badge or to learn more about it, go to the Step Down Sunday page.