Do we really need shampoo and conditioner?

Earlier this week, I started an experiment.  I’d been reading snippets / across / the net about people who forgo store-bought shampoo and conditioner, and decided to try it myself.

That’s right – I’ve stopped using shampoo and conditioner. Well, for a little while at least.

The horror, you say!  Why would a grown woman with a professional job stop using two of the most basic personal hygiene products?

The chemicals in shampoo and conditioner actually make your hair greasier and harder to manage – and aren’t all that great for your health.

Contrary to what Suave and VO5 and Pantene claim, there are rumors that store-bought shampoo and conditioner actually make your hair more of a pain than it should be.  Here are some of the ingredients and what they do:

“Alcohol and isopropyl—which are included in nearly every commercial product on the market—strip hair of its natural oils. Unfortunately, they have the same effect on the scalp, and can eliminate healthy bacteria and needed moisture from the body. Many colour pigments in shampoos have been shown to act as carcinogens in small animals. Mineral oil—another main ingredient—is a petroleum based by-product that can block the skin’s pores and increase acne. Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) are detergents and surfactants have been linked with serious health threats, but are often added to shampoo to pump up the foam.” (link)

Supposedly, baking soda acts as a natural shampoo, and apple cider vinegar as a natural conditioner – without the unwanted side effects. I’ve been on a real anti-chemical kick lately.  So I’ve been trying to purge most of the unnecessary industrial chemicals from my home and replace them with simpler, less harsh things that fulfill the same function.  (Mopping with borax and water instead of Mr. Clean, washing the fridge with baking soda and water instead of kitchen spray, etc.)  This was the perfect opportunity to do something a little more ‘out there.’

I was (and still am) skeptical of whether this will work. But I’m hopeful.  Heck, people kept themselves clean somehow in all the centuries before Herbal Essences came along.  (Granted, they may have had a different idea of what ‘clean’ was…)

It’s been four days since I began, and I’m still able to function in public without feeling too greasy.  I admit though, I wish my hair would acclimate quicker – I feel a tiny bit greasier each day.

Apparently it can take several weeks for your hair to stop overproducing oil, and there are a number of different ways you tweak the homemade recipe to suit your hair.  I think I just need to be patient and start experimenting.

I am your green guinea pig.   I’ll keep you updated, perhaps with photos next time!

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3 Comments

  1. Andrea said,

    August 1, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    I think this is an awesome idea. I can’t wait to hear how it goes. Chemicals in shampoos and soaps have concerned me for a while and I”ve experimented with health food store brands but they are so expensive. I’m 2.5 months pregnant now and I’m even more paranoid. I’ll definately follow your experiment.

  2. sophiaonfire said,

    August 1, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    Thanks, Andrea! I appreciate you reading, and I’ll be sure to update regularly and let you know how its going. :)

  3. bev said,

    September 21, 2008 at 1:44 am

    hey! just wanted to let you know theres also other alternatives. i have recently been using jason natural products. i too have been researching all these bad checmicals found also in deodorant and even in toothpaste!! its crazy. what i also did was go to youtube.com and search homemade shampoo and its amazing how we can create our own!


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