So we started buying "natural" shampoo. Unfortunately, natural means different things to different people. For me, if there are ingredients that I cannot pronounce, or that I have to do research on to figure out what they are, I begin to believe that, maybe, there could be a problem there. For example, what is Sodium Laureth Sulfate anyway, other than the second ingredient (after water) in my "natural" shampoo? Some say it is a carcinogen, but OSHA and the American Cancer Society say it's not. And what about Cocamidopropyl betaine? Even after reading the Wiki article my only take away was that the American Contact Dermatitis Society voted it Allergen of the Year in 2004. Polyquaternium-10 seems relatively harmless despite its un-readability, it's a polymer (I read that as fake stuff) that helps your hair lie flat. Near the bottom of the list I find Methylisothiazolinone, which I won't even try to pronounce, is a biocide. Biocide. That means, in the most basic sense, that it kills life.
Oh Me! Something needed to be done, and my friends at the Ladies Homestead Gathering Inspired me by having a meeting themed on natural cleansers. My time had come. I had one month to experiment so I could report my findings. I searched the internet for an obscure idea I was pretty sure I had heard of, baking soda as shampoo. The recipe I found consisted of a 1/4 cup of Baking Soda
mixed into 3/4 cup of water. This is massaged into your hair then left there while you soap down the rest of your body (which I did using a wonderful anti fungal natural soap made by an herbalist friend and my own hand crocheted washcloth).
Then just keep rinsing until you are satisfied that you are all clean.
I found that my hair felt very heavy while still wet and I worried that it was going to be stringy and nasty looking, but that was not the case at all. It did not feel the way it does when I use strong detergent shampoos (even my 'natural' shampoo counts here) but it was decidedly clean. I did this for a month and was more and more satisfied with how it was leaving my hair. I was able to proudly report to the ladies that this was a natural (or at least non-toxic alternative cleaner that works)
But this wasn't good enough. Baking soda doesn't just fall out of the sky you know. It either needs to be mined or produced in a lab type setting if you don't happen to have just the right type of mineral spring nearby. Remember that part of my goal was to find a shampoo that was sustainable as well as non-toxic. So I did some more internet research and came up with the idea of taking:
The yolks of two eggs (a product I will soon be growing here on Groundwell Farm) and mixing two teaspoons of vinegar into them. After that you proceed exactly as you would with the baking soda wash, making sure the water you rinse your hair with is not warm enough to set the egg yolks.
My first thought was "No way is that going to work". But to my surprise, it did! Again my hair felt different than either washing with shampoo or with baking soda, but once it was dry it felt just fine. There are still other methods to explore (some folks use whole egg, while others say the whites set up too easily and dry out your hair) But for now I am satisfied. (If any of you wonderful folks out there have other ideas though I will be glad to be a guinea pig for them.)
I can wash my hair with the full confidence that I am doing no harm to myself or to my environment, and that alone makes me feel much cleaner!