Our Homesteading Dream

Living, laughing, loving, and learning on our little suburban homestead.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Taking the Plunge....Going "No-Poo"

Sorry, I know that sounds kinda nasty to anyone unfamiliar with the term....lol....it's not actually as gross as it sounds, it just means not using shampoo or other harsh chemicals on your hair.

I've been trying to cut as many chemicals from our home as possible. I've been making several of our cleaners, laundry detergents, soaps etc. (How-to's to come ;)

We've been using natural shampoos/conditioners/deodorants etc. (Wow are they pricey!!) But when I heard of the idea of "no-poo" I was intrigued!

Here are some great links with more info on the topic:




Basically, your health is the best reason to go "no-poo".

"The number of chemicals in shampoo and other bath and body products is frightening. Your skin is the largest organ on your body. Whatever gets put on your skin gets absorbed into your body, into your bloodstream and into your organs, as has been proven by many studies. Essentially, whatever is toxic to put in your mouth is toxic on your skin as well."

Think about all of the medicinal patches that are out there today! (Birth control, nicotine etc.) They deliver the meds through your skin...the only reasons why more medicines aren't delivered this way is the skin irritations that they cause.

"Shampoo is a detergent, just like laundry detergent, dishwashing powder and the stuff you use to clean your bathroom. It cleans out the dirt in your hair, but is very harsh and also takes the natural oils that make your hair shiny, soft and strong........The oils in your hair come naturally out of your scalp to nourish it. Stripping them away causes damage, and breakage over time. In a way you do need conditioner, if you use shampoo - because it covers up the damage that's been done. But you don't need shampoo in the first place, all you're spending your money on is a big bottle of perfumed detergent."

The scary thing....read your shampoo bottles label. Here are some of the common ingrediants:

"• Alcohol, isopropyl (SD-40) is a very drying and irritating solvent and dehydrator that strips your skin’s moisture and natural immune barrier, making you more vulnerable to bacteria, molds and viruses. It is made from propylene, a petroleum derivative, and is found in many skin and hair products, fragrances, antibacterial hand washes as well as shellac and antifreeze. It can act as a “carrier,” accelerating the penetration of other harmful chemicals into your skin.
It may promote brown spots and premature aging of skin.
A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients says isopropyl alcohol may cause headaches, flushing, dizziness, mental depression, nausea, vomiting, narcosis, anesthesia and coma. A fatal ingested dose is one ounce or less.
• FD&C color pigments are synthetic colors made from coal tar, containing heavy metal salts that deposit toxins onto the skin, causing skin sensitivity and irritation. Absorption of certain colors can cause depletion of oxygen in the body and death. Animal studies have shown almost all of them to be carcinogenic.
• Mineral oil is a petroleum by-product that coats the skin like plastic, clogging the pores. It interferes with skin’s ability to eliminate toxins, promoting acne and other disorders.

Mineral oil is also a byproduct of the distillation of gasoline from crude oil, mineral oil is what's left over. It's so abundant that it costs more to dispose of it then it does to package and sell it, so it ends up everywhere. It's added to shampoos and conditioners to give hair an artificial shine caused by coating it with a thick oil. Mineral oil cannot absorb into your skin like other oils do, so it sits on top and forms a barrier preventing oils and toxins from being released as a normal part of your skin's lifecycle. This is one of the reasons you'll find that the more shampoo you use, the more often you need to use it. In the long run, coating your hair with mineral oil makes it weaker, and more prone to damage.
• Propylene glycol (PG) and butylene glycol are petroleum plastics which act as surfactants (wetting agents and solvents). They easily penetrate the skin and can weaken protein and cellular structure. Commonly used to make extracts from herbs, PG is strong enough to remove barnacles from boats!
• Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) are detergents and surfactants that may pose serious health threats. They are used in car washes, garage floor cleaners and engine degreasers — and in 90 percent of personal care products that foam. Animals exposed to SLS experienced eye damage, depression, labored breathing, diarrhea, severe skin irritation and even death."

These are just some of the more common ingrediants...there are many more out there that are even more harmful! We use these on our children! Our babies!!!!

So...what's the alternative? You can go to the health food stores, spend a ton of money and buy the "all natural" soaps, shampoos etc (check the ingrediants though...some of the "all natural" products still have harmful chemicals) or, you can take this little adventure with me :P

"Going "poo-free" may not initially sound like your cup of tea, but don't be fooled into thinking shampoo is a necessary or healthy part of your body care routine. On top of being excessively harsh, your shampoo may contain ingredients you're not comfortable having on your body or your hair. To really reap the benefits of healthy hair you'll want to return it to it's natural state, and going poo-free is the best way to do it. Try it for a month, and be faithful... see how much you love your new hair . You'll surprise yourself at how soft, vibrant and clean it will feel."

Now if you know me, you know that I can't make any big changes without researching them :P I've been reading and researching about going without shampoo for months now. Not only is your hair supposed to be more soft, shiny etc. but going "no-poo" is also supposed to help with many of the difficulties people have with their hair...more volume, less frizz (which would be awesome for someone like me with thick/long/curly hair) less oily, less dry, stops dandruff, helps eczema and the list goes on! Google "no-poo" and you'll find sooooo much there!

So, here's the next question....What are you supposed to use in place of the shampoo...I mean you want clean hair right?

There are several different methods suggested on-line. The one I'm going with is baking soda and apple cider vinegar 2-3 times a week (or less if eventually possible) and I rinse my hair well with plain, old water whenever I take a shower. (This is not a "no-shower" kind of thing! lol)

Take one tablespoon and let it dissolve in 1 cup of warm water. (I'm using a recycled agave syrup squirt bottle....it holds about 1 1/2 cups of the water/baking soda mixture) Work it through your scalp really well and then rinse with cool water. For a rinse, you can mix 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with 1 cup of water. (The acv will help maintain the natural ph of your hair, helps with any residue build up and makes it nice and silky...I promise, the smell goes away! :P If you're really concerned about the scent, you can add 1 drop of lavendar or rosemary essential oil to the acv mixture.... )

Okay, so the last time I used traditional shampoo, was Saturday morning. (Kind of ironic that it was Independance Day!) One of the things that scared me away from trying this was the dreaded transitional period...the time your body needs to regulate the oil production and kind of detox. Well so far, there hasn't been any problems! My hair feels...well, normal. I usually have to put products in my hair to tame the curls, and haven't had to....but it's been pulled back most of the time because of the heat. I'm going to try and update weekly here just to chart my progress...I hope you'll try it too and keep me posted :)

The next frontier for me is going to be homemade deodorant and toothpaste....more on that later :P

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