Thursday, June 3, 2010

Homemade Shampoo Challenge

I've decided to challenge myself for the next few weeks: use homemade & organic shampoo and conditioner.

I read a blog post (for the life of me I can't remember where) several weeks ago about someone going the "no 'poo" route and using baking soda, water, and lemon juice to wash their hair. I am not that hardcore. My hair is extremely thick, dry, and I'm afraid baking soda and lemon juice just wouldn't cut it for me. This lead me to look for other alternatives for eco-friendly shampoo.

Why the sudden decision to switch shampoos? I watched Toxic Town, USA on CNN. Which lead me to look up a list of chemicals to avoid. The shampoo I was using has ingredients in it linked to extreme skin, eye, and respiratory irritating and cancer. Not the "a few lab rats got it in preliminary trials" cancer, the "it's actually been proven as the cause of cancer in humans" type of cancer. And I was using a milder, not so chemical-y shampoo. Yeah.

So I set out to Whole Foods to find a natural, organic shampoo. Yes I was able to find some. Yes they were expensive. No I didn't buy them. Instead...I researched a way to make my own shampoo. Here's the recipe:

1:1 ratio of Castile Soap to water, with a smidge of some light vegetable oil (I used grapeseed, but most recipes I found called for Jojoba...which I couldn't find). I used 1/2 cup of water, 1/2 cup Whole Foods branch Organic Almond Castile Soap, and1 tsp of grapeseed oil. For a conditioner I mixed 1 cup of warm water with 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar. I'll be using these mixtures for the next two weeks on a trial basis.

"Before" Hair:

-light brown
-tendency to fall out in the shower (not enough to leave bald spots...but way more than a strand or two)
-frizzy (sigh)

Day 1:

Ok, I have to admit I panicked a little after shampooing, but before conditioning. My hair just felt so STRANGE. I had visions of sporting a pretty intense 'fro. Or losing my hair all together. But then I conditioned it with the apple cider vinegar and water. Ah...instant relief. But my hair still felt a little odd. My guess would be from the lack of chemicals leaving a slick film on my hair.

I still lost a strand or two of hair, but not nearly as much as I normally do. My hair also didn't break and pull out while I was combing it. Is this a miracle shampoo? Too early to tell. I'll report back.

Now that it's dry, it pretty much feels like it always did. No better, no worse.

I've also started "making" my own toothpaste. By making...I mean putting a drop of peppermint oil on my tooth brush, wetting it, and dipping it in baking soda. I'm a 100% fan so far. My teeth have only felt this clean after a trip to the dentist before...and there's no foamy mess left in your sink or on your towels. The best part? No triclosan, which may cause the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria, may create chloroform gas when mixed with chlorine in tap water, and is listed by the EPA as a probable carcinogen. It's safety is currently under review by the FDA. I will say, baking soda and peppermint oil only is EXTREMELY cheap compared to toothpaste bought in the store. I've also found recipes for homemade toothpaste that include glycerin, if you absolutely need to have that "squeezable paste" consistency. Overall, baking soda only probably isn't a good idea for people with sensitive gums, as it can be a little abrasive.

Sorry this post was so long! I just had a lot to say! I'll be back soon with more updates on how these homemade toiletries are working out for me.

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