Sunday, 8 May 2011

Shampoo - Part I

This is going to probably be the subject of multiple posts, because what I am now in the process of doing is attempting to go entirely without shampoo and other hair products.  Yes, you read that right.  Nothing non-edible in or on my hair, or at least that is the goal.

The whole "movement", if you could call it that, to go shampoo-free (or "no poo") as the converted lovingly refer to themselves is based on a couple of pretty sound premises which are consistent with the goals of this blog and myself in general, so I thought that I would at least give it a try, because if you can, then why not?  Commercially made shampoo has only been available since the early 1900s, so obviously the human race has survived without it before and may even be able to do so again.  I will start by setting out some of the reasons why a person may be interested in living a shampoo-free existence.  In the coming days, I will tell you about different things that I am trying, and how the experiment is going for me personally.

Some of the most basic reasons why you (meant both generally and specifically) may be interested in cutting out the shampoo ("shampoo" is actually meant to refer to all hair-care products) are due to chemicals, packaging and/or costs associated with such products.

An in-depth discussion of all of the chemicals that are contained in typical shampoos which are detrimental to human or animal health are beyond the scope of this blog post, but very very interesting and worth looking into if you are at all interested in living a life with fewer chemicals.  The chemicals in your shampoo, good or bad, seep into and are absorbed through your skin and scalp.  As just alluded to, some of those chemicals are "good" for us, or at least intended to be (i.e. chemicals to alleviate dandruff), but many are not and have negative side-effects ranging from stunting hair growth (sodium laurel sulfate) to being known carcinogens (various).

Obviously the packaging that is inherent to hair care products is nearly unavoidable.  As you may have noticed, I am pretty adamantly opposed to bringing packaging into the home, if there is any way to get around it.  There are ways, but they are all difficult, particularly when you come to terms that perhaps the whole process is unnecessary.  You could use Lush products, which can be purchased in bars and without packaging.  You could try something like Carina Organics products, which, although they do come in plastic bottles, can be refilled.  You can make your own shampoos and conditioners.  However, by the time you start considering the latter, you have to ask yourself whether it is even necessary to use any of it.  I have considered all three of the above options and wrestled with the "Do I need it or don't I?" question since about January, and after much research, decided to give it a try.  There's certainly nothing to stop me from using shampoo again if it gets greasy/lanky (I have very straight blonde hair, so I'm sure that's the way it is going to go if it doesn't work out).

Finally, there is the money factor.  In a book I recently was reading, I saw a statistic that the average adult uses nine personal care products a day, women specifically report using an average of 15.  That all gets expensive.  If you don't need it, they why do it?  Particularly if there are other concerns, such as chemicals and excess packaging?  Maybe I'm becoming a minimalist, but I'm happy to give it all a try!

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