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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Does Your Hair Do need No Poo for its Shampoo?


If you're fed up with your hair and frustrated that no matter what a product claims to do, you still can't achieve the results you want, then maybe it is time to just start over with as basic as you can get.

The decision to steer away from commercially made shampoos usually stems from scalp sensitivity and/or the growing awareness of the potentially toxic chemicals often added to skin and hair care products.

Washing your hair with baking soda and vinegar, the No-Poo method, is cheap, shampoo-free, conditioner-free, natural hair care. By using this form of hair washing you can avoid a number of chemicals used in conventional shampoo and conditioners. The skin is the largest organ on the body and whether a substance enters the body by mouth or topically on the skin, if it is toxic, it is going to be absorbed into the bloodstream and organ systems. When we think of the daily onslaught of products we use in our daily lives for beauty and hygiene, it can be disturbing to comprehend how hard our systems must have to work to try to eliminate these poisons. And for those that get stored in the fatty tissues, we can only imagine the potential for problems over time.

Emulsifiers, preservatives, solvents, and fragrances are all used to achieve the thick, creamy consistency we want and a long shelf life for the commercial market. However, they have their drawbacks and risks of toxicity.

Examples of common additives are as follows:
Propylene glycol is an inexpensive phytochemical that serves as a solvent and skin conditioner. The concern is that it alters skin structure, allowing the penetration of other chemicals into the bloodstream.

Methylparaben is a common synthetic preservative with concerns being possible hormonal changes and its link to certain types of cancer.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate is a surfactant which means it helps emulsify and blend different liquids. It can cause problems with skin irritation and again is a substance which alters skin structure.

Phthalates are fragrances which can effect the immune system, respiratory and endocrine function.

Shampoos advertised as leaving your hair squeaky clean do so but eventually may strip away protective oils and dry out the hair. What happens is that when hair dries out the protective cuticle layers are open, resulting in hard to manage fly away hair.

Many of our hair care products are strongly alkaline and cause a dulling buildup on the hair shaft.
Healthy hair is on the mildly acidic side of the pH scale between 4.5 and 5.5. Apple cider vinegar has an acidic pH of 2.9. Apple cider vinegar rinses help to balance the pH and remove buildup, giving you a softer, shinier, easier to detangle head of hair. Rinsing will close the hair shafts resulting in a smoother surface.

Problems such as overproduction of sebum and dandruff are often a part of the cycle of washing the hair on a daily basis, which may not always be necessary. Those of us who shower daily usually also feel the need to wash our hair, thinking if we don't we'll look like we didn't wash our hair, meaning drab and oily. Fact is, the oily secretions of our body become out of whack when we continually strip away the natural oils. We wash, our body responds to the demand to replenish by secreting more oil, we wash, our body secretes some more, and the cycle continues till things are out of balance. If you just stopped, yea for awhile there will continue to be an excess of oil dirtying up your hair, but in time the body slows down this oil production and balance is achieved.

Changing your routine will be met with a period of transition. Try not to use the poo method once and say it didn't work. For some people, this adjustment period could take a week or even a month or two. You'll find over time that you'll only need to shampoo every few days.

This is how it is done:

Have the following ready before going into the shower:
Add 1 Tbsp. baking soda to a dixie cup or whatever small cup you choose. Add just enough water to form a paste.
Have the vinegar handy in a plastic squeezy bottle. Have a plastic 1 or 2 cup size measuring cup.

Wet your hair. Apply the baking soda paste to your scalp and give yourself a wonderful massage to stimulate blood flow. Using your fingertips, start making a circle on top of your head, beginning with the back and fill in the circle with your fingers making little scrubbing motions. Don't forget your temples and the base at the neck. This massage method cleans the pores and loosens built up grime. It isn't necessary to work down the length of your hair. When you rinse, the runoff will clean the hair on its way down. Don't get any of this in your eyes.

There are two choices for applying the vinegar:
1. Dilute 1/2-1 Tbsp vinegar to 1 cup water for short hair or
1-2 Tbsp vinegar to 2 cups water for long hair.
Pour the vinegar/water mixture onto your hair and scalp. Repeat this again if desired. Let sit a minute or so and rinse with lukewarm water (a blast of cold water will seal the cuticles of the hair). Some people don't bother with a final rinse to wash out the vinegar. Leaving it in does help with tangles but for some this proves irritating to their skin.
2. You can just pour a tablespoon or two of vinegar directly onto your scalp, let it sit on your hair a minute or so, and then rinse. Vinegar is rather strong so use your own judgement which method to use. Some people find this undiluted method too strong for their scalp.

Periodic apple cider vinegar hair rinses will also help prevent or get rid of a flaky or itchy scalp
For help with dandruff it is recommended to use the direct application method. Massage the vinegar thoroughly onto the scalp and let sit for at least 15 minutes.
The acids and enzymes in the vinegar kill the "bottle bacillus", a bacteria that is one of the causes for many scalp and hair conditions. The bacteria clogs hair follicles allowing dry crusts to form that itch and flake.

Now to resolve any problems:
If your hair becomes frizzy, use less baking soda or don't let it sit on your hair as long. Baking soda is a very effective cleaner, so you may have to play around with how much to use.
If your hair becomes greasy, use less vinegar or try applying the vinegar only to the ends of your hair.
If your hair dries out, use coconut oil or jojoba oil by applying just a bit to ends and scrunch. Leave this in. Repeat once a week or as needed.

Vinegar will not strip hair color the way chemical lighteners will so it shouldn't remove hair dye. The effect of vinegar is more subtle.

 A wonderful option for your vinegar rinse is to use an herbal vinegar.
The addition of herbs to the vinegar allows the rinse to enhance hair color, help bring out desired highlights, and condition hair at the same time.


Vinegar rinse for lighter hair
Chamomile and Calendula have long been used for home hair rinses to condition and try to keep that lovely blonde color from turning what we know as "dirty blonde".
Nettles are full of minerals, chlorophyll and antifungal properties used to prevent and treat scalp funk. Nettle is also a stimulant used to enhance hair growth.
Lemongrass and grapefruit essential oils are additional antimicrobial aides as well as offering their fresh citrus aroma.

Vinegar rinse for darker hair
Sage and Rosemary are often used to help darken greying hair and bring out auburn tones.
Sage, rosemary and nettles are a tonic for dry hair and itchy, flaky scalp. It is also said that these invigorating herbs enhance hair growth.
Basil and lavender essential oils combine for an uplifting, refreshing aroma.

Vinegar rinse for all hair types

Lavender has been called the 'mother of all essences'. Just as its skin-reparative properties have earned it a well-deserved reputation with skin care, lavender can also contribute to a healthy, conditioned head of hair. Its use helps to degrease oily hair and is among the list of herbs said to stimulate hair growth and prevent hair loss.