This blog post is for all you lovely people who are looking for a zero waste alternative to conventional shampoo and conditioner. It is especially for those of you who have fine, oily hair.
Let me take you on a journey through the mists of time, back to when I used to shampoo and condition my hair with whatever was 3-for-2 in Boots. Oh, younger Jennie. Sigh! Anyway, back then I had super fine hair that was too silky to stay in a pony tail (why is life so HARD?!?), and got greasy at the thought of not being washed every single day.
The following is a fairly accurate visual representation of what my hair used to look like on the day that I washed it:
Such bounce! Such silkiness! Such shine!
Sadly however, each one of these days was followed by the day after, in which my hair looked this:
I'd wake up and my hair would be absolutely stuck to my head at the roots, and then insanely flyaway at the tips.
But that was then.
These days, Gollum Jennie is no more, thanks to the no 'poo method. I won't tell a dirty lie and say that it was so easy and oh my god I just stopped using shampoo and then my hair became one with the universe. No, no, no. It was trial and error all the way.
First, I tried Lush shampoo bars and conditioning bars, and found them woeful. What followed next was a long series of trichological catastrophes, the likes of which I'm fairly certain had never before been experienced by a human head. But it was not all in vain, as in the end, I finally found the right routine for my hair. Read on...
Step 1: Assemble your most insta-worthy receptacles:
Or, you know, old travel bottles you've had since shortly after the invention of the wheel.
A little note about these bottles. This is what minimal waste is all about: using what you have until it has died a merciless death, and only then recycling it and going out to buy pretty jars and the like.
I find squeezy type bottles to be the best. The two smaller ones are from a travel bottle set, and the larger one is from a bottle of dry shampoo I bought from Lush six years ago.
Step 2: Gather your ingredients. For this you will need :
- About a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
- About a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
- Around 100g of cornflour
Step 3: To make the shampoo, just put about a teaspoon of bicarb into the bottle and fill up with shower water. Squirt the whole thing onto your head and massage it in. No, there won't be bubbles. No, there won't be fake coconut smell either. But yes, there will be lovely hair, so it's grand really. What I do after I massage this into my head is I turn off the water and soap up the bod. Then I turn the water back on and rinse it out.
Step 4: For the conditioner, put about a teaspoon of ACV into the larger bottle and fill with shower water. I only have about three hairs on my head shur god love me so I only use about a quarter of the solution. Yes, it smells like vinegar. No, it doesn't smell like vinegar once your hair is dry. Massage it in, turn off the water while you wash your face and then rinse it out.
That's it! Easy peasy.
Again, DO NOT BE ALARMED that your hair smells a little like vinegar while it is still wet; the smell will disappear completely as it dries. If it really bothers you, you can always add some essential oils to the solution.
The not so fabulous news here is that for a few weeks (around 3 for me), your poor hair won't know what is going on. It will be very upset with you altogether.
Ponytails, buns and hats will be your very close allies for those few weeks. You may also find comfort in the thought that you have my sympathy during this difficult time.
It's not all that bad though, because this is where your new best friend steps in: dry shampoo, lovingly handmade by the best person ever: you!
If you prefer it to be unscented, then you can literally pour some cornflour into a bottle and you are ready to rock.
If you'd like to scent it, then put your cornflour in a bowl, add some drops of essential oils. I usually go for 4 drops lavender, 4 drops chamomile, and 2 drops sandalwood, because I use mine at night, and also because I'm fancy like that. Mix it up together and put it in your bottle. Done!
For me, the best time to use this is at night. I massage it into my hair and then I go haboo and let my nocturnal tossings and turnings work it into my hair even more. The next morning I just give it a good brush and lo! I am flawless once more.
This is definitely a picture of me.
I have done some experiments to see how far I could push this, and I could get away with not washing my hair for a week, if I had to. A WEEK! Can't get over it. As it stands now, I "wash" my hair twice a week and powder it for the other days. The powder gives my hair lovely body and gives it some texture so I can actually have lovely hairstyles now.
Sometimes I might give myself a nice scalp massage with castor oil, and to wash that out the next morning, I use a refillable shampoo, and maybe conditioner. Then it's back to my no 'poo routine again.
Another lovely thing you can do for yourself, or have someone do for you, is to scritch and preen. Here's a really helpful video about how to do it.
I was so sceptical at first when I was reading blog posts and watching videos about this method but once I pushed past the transition stage, it was all gravy. I really can't recommend it enough! Give it a go, battle on through the torturous transition stage, and let me know how you get on.
P.S. If all this no 'poo business sounds like way too much of a faff for you, just keep your old shampoo and conditioner bottles and refill them until they beg to be recycled. Problem solved.