Natural Hair Care: Three Reasons to Live Shampoo Free

Reader Contribution by Lindsey Siegele
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You could easily be saving at least $20 a month. You could look and feel better every day. You could do something great for your health. You could do all of those things in 10 minutes a day. Intrigued?

Next time you run low on shampoo, don’t run out and buy another bottle. Below are three reasons why that decision will change your life for the better.

1. The chemicals in mainstream hair-care products are bad for you.

Your skin is your body’s largest organ, and it’s absorbent, so if you think you’re safe from chemicals if you don’t eat them, think again. From sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate (two dangerous detergents also used in engine degreasers) to propylene and butylene glycol (compounds used in photographic film processing), your skin is soaking up all kinds of toxins that will eventually enter your bloodstream.

Stick to this rule: If you wouldn’t put it in your mouth, don’t put it on your skin.

Visit the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep to get the dish on the dirty little secrets your favorite shampoo has been hiding.

2. Living without hair-care products is economical.

It’s as simple as that. Shampoos and conditioners, even the cheap kinds, can cost a family of four a small fortune over the course of a year. If you’re a hair-care junky, and you can’t live without your $40 bottle of hair serum, the money you’ll save by ditching your high-end products will blow your mind and possibly save your bank account.

3. Chemical shampoos and products destroy your hair and scalp.

Your hair is greasy, so you take a shower and wash it with shampoo. The shampoo strips away all of your scalp’s natural oils. The next day, your hair is greasy again, and you shampoo again. The same problem keeps reoccurring day after day after day with no end in sight. You begin to think that you have a malfunctioning, overproducing, oily scalp and that the only solution is more shampoo.

Odds are, your hair and your scalp are both completely normal, but what you’re doing to them is not. Human scalps naturally produce the right amounts of oils to nourish our hair. When we strip away those oils, our scalps get nervous and produce too much oil to compensate. Your shampoo could be making your hair more greasy rather than less so.

How to make the change:

The blogging world is quickly catching on to the shampoo-free trend, and many bloggers recommend variations on natural hair-care “recipes.” My favorite comes from Nature Moms, which recommends these simple steps:

  • Combine one tablespoon of baking soda with enough water to make a paste
  • Work the paste into your roots only
  • Massage the baking soda mixture into your entire scalp, paying special attention to grease-prone areas
  • Let sit for a minute, then rinse

If you’re not worried about conditioning your hair, you’re done. For an easy, natural conditioner, dilute two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with water and pour the mixture over the ends of your hair. Let sit for a minute, then rinse.

Don’t worry about carrying around a vinegar odor for the rest of your day; once your hair dries, any lingering scents should disappear.

Your hair and scalp probably aren’t used to such a clean routine, so you may experience a transition period, usually no longer than a few weeks, during which your hair is a little bit greasy. Your scalp will still be creating enough oil to compensate for the chemicals it’s used to, and it might take a short while for your body to realize that the fight is over. Once it does, your hair will be silky; it will grow healthier and longer and your body will thank you for the love.

Lindsey Siegele is the Senior Web Editor at Ogden Publications, the parent company of MOTHER EARTH NEWS. Find her on .

Photo by iStockPhoto/Polina Nefidova.