Maybe it's from having parents who were hippies in their youth, but I always assumed that as you get older, you get less crunchy. Yet here I am, entering my thirties as a composting, bread baking, granola making, neti pot using mom who makes birthday gifts by hand and hardly buys any of her food from the grocery store. I've been assuring myself for a while that as long as I continue with a healthy dose of Friday Night Lights and make regular trips to Target, I'm not too much of a social weirdo. Plus, at least my "earthy" tendencies hadn't affected my personal hygiene.
So when I came across a couple of intriguing "Poo Free" posts in the mommy blogosphere, it seemed like a potentially perfect solution. I researched the different approaches and settled on an appropriately simple method from Simple Mom:
- Two 8 oz squeeze bottles (I got mine in the travel section of the aforementioned Target)
- Baking soda
- Apple cider vinegar
- Small funnel
- Essential oils (optional)
- Measure one tablespoon of baking soda into a squeeze bottle. Fill the rest of the bottle with warm water and shake until dissolved.
- Measure one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into the other bottle. Fill the rest with warm water and shake to mix.
- Add a few drops of essential oil for the scent of your choice. I tried a few of these and found some I liked, but honestly I usually skip the scents for simplicity's sake.
In the shower, I squirt a little of the baking soda mixture directly onto the top of my head and rub it around with the other hand to keep it from running right off. Then I repeat on the sides and back and commence to scrub with my fingertips for approximately a minute. It rinses out very easily and leaves my hair feeling clean but not squeaky. I follow this up with some cider vinegar on the ends of my hair and let it sit just like conditioner for a minute before rinsing. That's it. The result is soft, easy to manage hair.
People talk about a transition period when going shampoo free where their hair is more oily than normal as it adapts to not being barraged with detergents and other chemicals. When I first started, my hair was a disgusting, stiff, unmanageable mess and I hated it. That is, until I realized that my poor, fried mommy brain had made the recipe with baking powder instead of baking soda. Once I remade the recipe correctly, I never experienced the transition phase and never looked back.
Here are the pros and cons as I see them, for those of you who are still on the fence or who just like a good list:
1. Incredibly cheap - I can't even calculate how much a tablespoon of baking soda and a cup of water costs, but you're more than welcome to do that and get back to me.
2. Totally safe - For your skin, hair, and the environment.
3. Less "shampooing" required - Because the baking soda only cleans the dirt and oil away, your scalp isn't constantly overcompensating for the beating it would take from virtually any shampoo by pumping out extra oil. Thus, your hair feels cleaner longer.
4. No residue - So many shampoos and conditioners make your hair feel smooth at first by coating it. Baking soda gets rid of residue and vinegar softens and detangles your hair without leaving deposits.
5. Beautifully simple - When you run out, just head to the kitchen for a refill. Or, if you're super efficient, get a box of baking soda and a bottle of vinegar just for the bathroom. No more agonizing in the shampoo aisle over scents and bottle designs and the wording of product descriptions.
1. No suds - I have to admit that it's a little more satisfying to work up a lather when shampooing. No bubbles here. You're just going to be massaging water into your scalp.
2. More intentional scrubbing - A half-hearted rub isn't going to work, whereas it might with a sudsy shampoo. You actually have to massage.
3. The sensory bit - Vinegar smells like, well, vinegar. It does wash out completely and, as I said, you can improve it with essential oils, but the fact remains that you're in a steamy shower with vinegar on your head.
The change has been an easy and welcome one in our house (my husband surprised me by jumping on board with no qualms and my son doesn't have a choice). We don't miss store-bought shampoo or conditioner and I have finally come to terms with adding one more thing to my list of hippie attributes.
I may or may not also wash my face with oil now, but we can talk about that later.
~ Annie Kratzsch