After reading Sleeping Naked Is Green, I felt inspired to start making my own small changes. I already do a lot of what was talked about in the book, but something I had been curious about and even managed some failed attempts at, was giving up shampoo. In truth, I don't think the author ever really did it, but I wanted to.
For as long as I can remember I've always had dandruff and buildup. Actually, I've had dandruff caused by buildup. No matter what shampoo I used or what kind of water I washed it with, I always had buildup. And my hair is super-italian-greasy and heavy. It gets pretty gross after a few days of not washing.
I figured I'd give this no shampoo thing a try, so I read up about it on the internet first. Turns out it's not just as simple as, stop washing your hair. Your hair gets stripped of it's natural oils when you use shampoo, so it over-compensates and starts producing massive amounts of oil to recuperate. When you initially stop using shampoo your hair will be extra-ultra greasy. It takes a while for your hair to balance out and stop over-producing oil.
I avoided this period pretty easily (or at least shortened it drastically) by only shampooing once a week for a long time. My hair was at least half way to balanced. I also mixed up a solution of 1 tablespoon baking soda and one cup of water. I keep it in an old Dr. Bronner's bottle in the shower. I massage it into my scalp when I "wash" my hair. The baking soda helps to break up excess dirt and grease in your hair. Another thing I did to help with the transition was to use shampoo only on the bottom part of my hair, where it didn't touch my head.
Baking soda will feel strange at first, mostly because it feels like almost nothing. It won't lather, it won't smell fruity, and it won't make your hair slippery and silky int he shower. Actually my hair feels kind of weird and stiff when it's still wet after I've scrubbed with baking soda. However, once it's dry it feels AMAZING. It's so light and soft. It's almost annoying how much lighter it is (in terms of weight), because before all of the grease was keeping my hair weighed down and out of my face, now it just kind of flows and moves easily, it falls in my face a lot more.
I also don't have gross buildup and my dandruff has gotten much much better. Better than it was when I was using shampoos made especially for dandruff. I still have a little bit of it and my scalp stills gets a bit itchy. I think that has to do with genetics (thanks dad for the oily hair and dry scalp you passed on to your only daughter) and a little do to with the baking soda itself.
One thing I read online is that the baking soda can cause a little irritation or dandruff because it is so basic. If that happens you can rinse with a solution of 1 tablespoon vinegar and a cup of water to neutralize the base. I used to use vinegar to wash my hair when I was swimming a lot. Yes, it smells bad in the shower (use apple cider vinegar for less of a smell), but it will not leave your hair smelling like vinegar. The smell is gone as soon as the vinegar dries.
As soon as the Logger finishes his current bottle of Dr. Bronners, I'm going to mix up a batch of vinegar solution and let you know how that goes. Yay for no more 'poo!