My hair has been the subject of many experiments over the years. There was the summer I was a camp counselor and let all my body hair grow out while I cut the hair on my head almost entirely off. That same summer I attempted to use Dr. Bronner’s pure castile soap for all my cleansing needs and ended up with a thatch of hair roughly the texture of straw. Not recommended. When B and I first officially met just after college my hair was a grey-violet hued pixie cut, recently lightened by a friend who assured me that the pain caused by the peroxide on my scalp was directly proportional to how awesome it would look in the end. Sort of true, actually. I distinctly remember the first few days of my roots growing in. The dark specks at the base of each light hair shaft looked like an army of lice emerging. Oh my. Over the years my hair has grown longer and tamer, with the sometimes additions of brightly colored extensions just to keep things lively.
I have a hairdresser that I love (Michelle at Barbarella Beauty Lounge in Berkeley) and this latest move away from the mainstream of beauty product consumerism was actually her idea. Most shampoos and conditioners had been giving me a subtle rash on my forehead, so she suggested that I just stop using them all together. It seems that baking soda and vinegar can replace them entirely.
When I checked this out online I was not convinced it would work. Amidst the glowing reviews of the no-shampoo lifestyle there were tales about unappealing transition periods of greasy do’s. I also must say that the pictures of shampoo free locks, when provided, were not always inspiring. However, the ideas of slashing my hair budget, using fewer chemicals on my body, leaving the rash behind and buying less plastic were all compelling enough to get me to try.
So here is the current hair care line-up:
The routine is this: you mix a tablespoon of baking soda into a cup of water, pour it on your wet scalp and hair, scrub your scalp with your fingertips, then rinse. You do this a second time, now substituting vinegar for the baking soda. Your hair will smell a little like a salad at first, but that fades and vanishes completely by the time your hair is dry.
B and I have both been using this method for about 6 months now and I have to say the results are excellent. Neither of us noticed a transition period or any real changes in the textures of our hairdos, and my skin cleared up entirely. B no longer needs to use any product after washing to make his hair less poofy, and I use just a tiny bit more of the styling serum I have always used. It was actually so easy it felt a little anticlimactic. Highly recommended as a painless way to make your life simpler and cheaper. Give it a whirl!