5 August 2012

Step Down Sunday - 'No Poo' Failure

If you heard bells tolling a few weeks ago, you probably witnesses the death of my 'No Poo' challenge.

Whether the water wasn't boiled sufficiently or I finally reached a breaking point, something went horribly wrong in week 14. The horrible soap scum took over and neither baking soda or extra vinegar would remove it.

Knowing I faced several weeks of injections, I decided I didn't need the extra stress that came with trying to tweak and problem solve my mixes. So after a week of fighting I gave up and declared my bicarbonate of soda and vinegar experiment a failure. Instead I went back to do more research.

The 'No Poo' resurgence seems to have started as a beauty regime for curly haired lasses. Many choose to wash their hair with just conditioner, though they have several ingredients they avoid.
  • Sulphates - While soap is difficult to use in hard water, detergents like sulphates are still effective. The problem is that these harsh chemicals strip the hair off its natural oils making it dry and damaged. 
  • Silicone - Often used to give a smooth coating to your hair, hiding damage but also weighing your hair down.
  • Parabens - Also worth mentioning, parabens are used to preserve the shampoo and conditioner so it has a longer shelf life.
As a short term solution, I searched through the left over bottles of shampoo and conditioner in my bathroom. I decided to use one with sulphates to remove all the soapy grunge on  my hair, but I avoided any silicones. I wanted to get back to a neutral starting point, where I could try something new. (The result was amazing! The lovely curly hair people raved about had been hidden under the soapy weight.)

Beside the chemicals listed above being bad for curly hair, they also aren't great for our environment. So I started searching for a environmentally friendly product. Lush products are brilliant for their lack of packaging, but I'm afraid they all use sulphates.

I happened to pass Body Shop, and though I've not been in for years I thought it was worth checking. I was pleasantly surprised to discover their Rainforest Moisture Shampoo, which is free from sulphates, silicones, parabens, and colourants. Plus it uses Community Fair Trade honey and sugar!
Body Shop Rainforest Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner
It may be because I'm using this product in the bath, but it doesn't lather like normal shampoo. You have to pour a small amount in your hands add a small amount of water and then try to lather it up between your hands. It will foam a bit, but it doesn't spread through your hair.

I quickly worked out I needed a system to make sure I didn't miss a section. With the first application I wash the sides and over my ears, with the second my fringe, I wash the crown with the third application, and with the fourth I go under my hair to wash the back. Finally the fifth application catches any area at the back I've missed. I'm sure it sounds like I'm using a ton of product, but the shampoo is quite thin and I use an area smaller than a ten pence each time. Mr Goldfish hasn't had as much problem with the lather, but he's using it in the shower and has much shorter hair. He's been able to use a single measure of shampoo for his whole head - though he washes it twice.

While this is technically something of a step up from the baking soda and vinegar routine, it's still a more environmentally friendly option than the shampoo I originally used. Plus because the shampoo is gentler, I've not been desperate for conditioner - so I'm using less product in total.

An unexpected bonus is that Mr Goldfish is also trying out the Rainforest Shampoo and Conditioner. So while it may be a slight step up for me, it would be a definite Step Down for him!

To Read More:
Step Down Sunday - No Poo: Week One
Step Down Sunday - No Poo: Week Two
Step Down Sunday - Save Pennies & Planet
Step Down Sunday - 'No Poo' Goes Horribly Wrong!
Step Down Sunday - ‘No Poo’: Week 6
Step Down Sunday - 'No Poo': Week 12
Step Down Sunday - 'No Poo' Failure

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.