Monday, May 16, 2011

Cheap Shampoo

Recently I became aware of the likely cause of my continual outbreak of itchy bumps on my neck and cheeks after I wash my hair. Apparently, the brand of shampoo I have used since college, Aveda, has gone and changed its shampoo base to some kind of crazy soy-based goo, to which I am highly allergic. I am so grateful to Nancy at Laura D's Day Spa who helped me figure this out. She recommended another brand of product, but being a bit skeptical about the whole thing - and a relentless cheapskate - I decided to research a bit and try some other homemade options.

From water-only, or WO, to baking-soda-based solutions, and lots of other recipes in between, I have been experimenting on my thick, fine, wavy, graying, past-shoulder-length hair. So far, I've settled on a baking-soda solution followed by a very dilute apple cider vinegar rinse. The results have been varied, mostly because I think my scalp is getting used to not being abused by chemicals, but overall I have been pleased with soft, clean, wavy locks which smell only slightly like a tossed salad ;-) I have yet to add the essential oil to the vinegar solution which my research tells me will make me smell nice. Patchouli-vinegar salad, anyone?

While I have yet to acquire a decent natural fiber bristle brush (remember, I'm a cheapskate, and those things are expensive!), I have been first massaging my scalp, then brushing my hair gently (with my cheap Walmart brush) from scalp to end, trying to move the scalp oil down the length of the hair shaft, before I shower. I've been doing this as it supposedly is a natural conditioner our bodies produce and if we would just stop using all those crazy (ridiculously expensive or outlandishly cheap, it doesn't matter) hair products, our hair would be its natural self.

So far, I have been pleased with the cost (next to nothing) as well as the results. Here's my recipe:

  • 2 Tablespoons of baking soda spooned into a clean Annie's salad dressing 8-ounce jar, filled with warm water (the mouth is wide enough that I don't need a funnel)
  • Same jar filled about 1/4 way with Bragg's organic apple cider vinegar, filled with warm water

First I dump the baking soda solution on my already-wet hair while I'm in the shower. The weirdest part is not having bubbles, but hey! Who needs bubbles if your hair gets clean without them? I find that the 8 ounces is just enough to cover my scalp, which is really the only part I'm concerned about mechanically cleaning. Then I massage my scalp a bit to "scrub" the baking soda into my scalp for a little cleaning action.

Then I rinse it all out and make up the vinegar solution. Tipping my head back (don't want to get vinegar in my eyes, it could sting) I pour the entire bottle on my scalp, just as I did with the baking-soda solution. I rinse it out well and let it drip dry in the shower a bit.

Once I'm done showering, I wrap my head in a thick cotton towel and let my hair dry in the towel (about 10 minutes into it, I flip the towel around so the dry part is on my head and the wet part makes the twist, which makes it hold in place better). I let my hair dry in the towel for about half an hour, then gently unfold the towel and let my hair just fall wherever it wants to so it can finish air drying.

I do NOT play with my hair as it dries as it interferes with the natural curl setting in. Once it's nearly dried, I bend at the waist and let my hair hand down, and slowly massage my scalp and work any dampness out with a gently shaking with my fingers to lift the hair from my scalp. Gently, I work my fingers through my hair to the ends, but am very careful not to break any parts that are sticking. I just work through it slowly, once, and then stand up and let it continue drying undisturbed.

Voila! Clean hair for probably half a penny!