Upgraded Hair Care, Follow- Up Report

It’s been nearly two years since I ditched the shampoo/conditioner routine. I was tired of spending a small fortune on organic products that still contained some questionable ingredients and wanted to lessen my contribution to the failing recycling system. I was delighted to discover an entirely radical approach. Super- cheap (a little over $10 TOTAL over the past 22 months!), zero plastic containers, and completely natural products (baking soda and apple cider vinegar).

Shampoo is a brilliant self-sustaining marketing ploy. It strips natural oils from the scalp, causing it to produce… more oil. Since I gave it up, my scalp hasn’t been oily once. After the first month of settling into the new habit, I have never considered turning back. My hair looks great, I can go for up to two weeks in between treatments, and I’ve just now spent 30 minutes searching for, and failing to find, any split ends.

I haven’t had my hair cut in two years now. It’s straight and long, so that in itself is no big accomplishment. I started wondering if I’ve ever gone this long in between cuts before, and am certain I haven’t. Usually split ends annoy me around the one year mark, and I make a trip to the salon. Not last winter. Not this winter. So I inspected my hair and couldn’t find a single raggedy one!

As I’ve been sharing this triumph with friends, there have been a lot of how-to questions. Hence this post. If you’re interested in saving big bucks, time and energy without sacrificing appearances, here’s the 411 on how to no-poo.

Place 1 teaspoon baking soda in a small jar. Repurpose a 4 oz squeeze bottle (check under your sink; they seem to breed under there!), add about an ounce of apple cider vinegar. Once you’re in the shower, get your hair thoroughly wet. Add about ¼ cup of warm water to the baking soda, swish until mixed and pour it over the crown of your head. Use your fingertips to scrub your scalp and work your way down to the ends. Rinse thoroughly. Very thoroughly. Otherwise it will feel gritty and you won’t get the full benefits of waiting so long in between treatments because it will make you nuts.

Fill the squeeze bottle with warm water. Pour over your scalp, keeping your chin up as vinegar is not eyeball friendly. Rub it down the length of your hair using the same motion as you would with a bar of soap. Let it sit for a few minutes while you finish your shower routine and rinse it out. I noticed that when I didn’t rinse the vinegar out completely, my hair looked I’d added mouse (do people still do that?) or some other hair- styling product that is less 1987. Not my thing, but you could play around if it’s yours.

I have thick, straight, long hair so you might need to experiment some with quantities or ratios to get it just right for you. I will add that the first few applications didn’t sell me completely. My hair had a tacky feeling that I suspect was old product lingering. So plan accordingly and give yourself a month before making the call.

I’ve used approximately 50 teaspoons of baking soda and 50 ounces of organic ACV with no visits to the salon over a two year period. One box and one and a half bottles, totaling about $14. I’ve contributed no plastic containers to the waste stream (let’s face it, that’s likely where most plastics go these days) and rarely have to fuss with anything hair related. Now that I’ve discovered GarageBand, I’m so very tickled to have all that extra time so I can play creatively. I’m sure you have other things you’d rather do with your time and money too.

For all you fellow rebels, you’ll also get a kick out of bucking the system. It brings me great joy to bypass the messages from the advertising industry and figure out what really works best for me. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

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