So the post I’ve been laboring over all week is just going to have to wait a little bit longer. After being unexpectedly swept up in a couple of projects over the last several days, I decided not to rush (and stress over) it, but simply tackled something else instead. This something else may be shorter, easier, and much less thought provoking, but it’s also a topic I’ve been itching to dig into for months now.
Remember my Eco page? Yeah, no worries if you don’t; it’s been shamefully neglected. But today I’ll take one small step to remedy that because we’re going to talk all-natural hair care. Not only is the option I’m going to offer you cost-effective (i.e. pennies cheap) and completely chemical free, but it’s also managed to remedy multiple scalp issues here. Plus, it leaves my once coarse hair so soft it refuses to stay in a braid, and it infuses crazy body into Jordan’s luscious locks. I stand behind it 110%.
There really isn’t anything about my hair care routine that I don’t like, but what’s especially nice is the minuscule price tag. I think probably one of the biggest problems I encountered when embarking on my chemical-free journey was/is how cost prohibitive those green choices can be. And if you’re buying for more than just yourself (a family of five, for example), it can seem especially daunting.
I found myself laughing when a friend recently asked me–how do you afford it (all)? but it was a legitimate question. Start perusing those eco-friendly sites (especially if you choose organic, as I do) and you might immediately want to throw your hands up in frustration. My solution? Buy what you have to…and make the rest.
Which isn’t always an easy answer, either. A lot of us already have a ton on our plates, which doesn’t leave much extra time to whip up the multiple concoctions that we need to take care of ourselves, our families, and our homes. Fortunately, I get that, too. Time and money are both limited here, so my solutions are most often cheap and quick, yet highly effective. And slowly but surely, I’ll get around to sharing them all with you on my Eco page. Eventually. Because, you know, the time.
But when I divulge our hair care routine, it may likely be met with some skepticism. Perhaps even a smidge of scorn. Not that I don’t completely get it–baking soda and vinegar seem…weird. And unconventional. Where’s the fruity smell and copious suds? I mean, who wants to walk around smelling like salad dressing all day, right? And how does it even clean without all of those magic bubbles? I’ll just say this, it does. Better than any shampoo I’ve ever used, if you can believe that. So, you ready for some clean simplicity?
1 tablespoon baking soda
8-12 ounces warm water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
8-12 ounces warm water
3 drops rosemary essential oil
3 drops lavender essential oil
Note: The essential oils are optional but highly recommended. I’ll give reasons why below.
First, prepare both the hair wash and the rinse prior to showering. (Years ago I purchased two plastic condiment bottles and they do the job beautifully.) If your hair is longish like mine, apply the entire bottle of wash over your scalp and hair; rub in gently and thoroughly. Honestly though, I spend hardly any time on this step. Maybe, maybe 30 seconds. Don’t expect any suds (it’s not a shampoo, per se), but focus on any greasy spots or perhaps areas of irritated scalp. Rinse clean.
Next, apply the entire bottle of hair rinse and, if possible, let it soak. (If you’re in the shower, let it work its magic while you wash up.) As instructed above, rub it into and through your hair gently but thoroughly; let it sit for a minute or two if feasible (not strictly necessary); rinse well.
Something to Add
The baking soda rinses clean from my hair in mere seconds, but I spend a tad bit more time making sure the vinegar has been thoroughly rinsed out. However, I need to add a couple of notes here because when I asked the girls if they had anything to add to this post, I found out they do things just a little bit differently. Riley Mae (who likes to often lament about unfortunate she is to have inherited my husband’s oily tendencies) rinses for much longer than I need to. She scrubs with the baking soda until she feels that squeaky clean feeling that signals the excess of oils is gone.
Ditto with Taylor, who says she can actually feel the baking soda cutting the oil and rinsing it from her hair. Since birth, Taylor has had to deal with more than her fair share of skin issues: psoriasis and eczema have been extremely persistent through the years. Her scalp used to be especially bad until she began using these two natural solutions. The dry, itchy, and scaly spots have virtually disappeared, as has the dandruff. It may only be a topical solution, but it helps. A lot.
But you’re worried about the smell, right? I mean, I was; especially considering that I’m not huge fan of the pungent odor on a normal basis, let alone after practically bathing in it. I consoled myself with the fact that my husband is a fan, so even if the smell lingered I wasn’t going to alienate him, but only myself. So if reeking like vinegar is also a concern of yours, never fear. If you choose to use essential oils, they do a great job of masking the diluted vinegar smell, but even if you don’t, the odor will disappear once your hair is completely dry. In fact, my husband says that all he ever smells on me is the oils, even when my hair is still damp.
After talking to the girls, I also found out that not everyone here even uses the essential oils, nor do we use the exact same ones. Jordan skips them altogether (but is a staunch advocate of rubbing coconut oil along her scalp line), and both Taylor and Riley Mae use only the lavender.
Personally, I’m a huge fan of essential oils. Huge. I’ve found them to help in situations where nothing else can. But while the health benefits are often unparalleled, they are super potent little bottles of oil and should be used intelligently. Dilute them accordingly; test first if you’re unsure because they can cause skin reactions in sensitive individuals; keep them away from your eyes; do not ingest (there is some controversy here, but several are definitely toxic); and if pregnant or nursing you’ll want to check with your doctor first. But if used carefully and mindfully, their benefits are incredible. I’m just going to add a very brief list of their perks, but for more on rosemary click here, and for more on lavender, click here.
Rosemary Essential Oil
- stimulates the hair roots
- improves hair growth and thickness
- increases circulation in the scalp
- eases anxiety
- boosts brain function
- antiseptic, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory
Lavender Essential Oil
- promotes hair growth
- soothes eczema
- eases anxiety
- promotes sleep
- effective treatment for head lice
Don’t feel like you need to limit yourself to only these two oils, however. Click here for a list of nine of the best essential oils for your hair. (I’m an ardent lover of tea tree oil myself!)
I’m going to add one word of caution here, although I’m not sure exactly how necessary it is. Mixing an acid (like vinegar) with chlorine creates toxic chlorine gas. So if your water is chlorinated, you might want to take this into consideration. I did a quick internet search and couldn’t find any cautions anywhere, so I’ll leave it to your discretion. However, if you do live with chlorinated water, instead of opting out of this all-natural hair care routine I would instead strongly suggest purchasing a chlorine filter for your shower head. Chlorine strips both the hair and skin of its natural oils and the problem is easily remedied with a decent filter. We don’t have chlorinated water but do use a filter for other reasons and have found that this one does a pretty good job.
Let’s Wrap This Up
For years, I bemoaned my lot in the hair category. Sure, it was super thick and strong, but it was also coarse and somewhat frizzy. So much crazy volume drove me crazy, and I wore it short in a pixie cut for many years just to avoid dealing with it. But this hair care dynamic duo? Ugh. I can’t praise it enough. After washing and rinsing, my hair is completely tangle free, smoother, and drastically softer than it’s ever been in my adult life. And one of the best parts? I only need to wash it twice a week. And that is a fabulous time saver.
And that’s it, literally, for hair care in our home. As I said: quick, easy, and cheap. Perfection, in my little green book. Thin, thick, straight, wavy, long, short, coarse, fine, light, dark (…graying). We’ve used it on all hair types here, with fabulous success! So even though it may seem strange, I suggest you give it a try. You just might find yourself pleasantly surprised.
Wishing you all a most beautiful week! Much love ~ Melinda
For more green recipes please visit my Eco page (more to be coming soon-ish, I promise!)