When we moved here I wanted to get away from using chemicals wherever possible either on myself, in the house and in the garden, and have tried using a variety of alternatives and combinations for replacing shampoo over the last year. Theres loads of info on the internet about going ‘no poo’ with long lists of benefits, such as better condition hair, better hair growth etc.
The first homemade shampoo was a bit of a disaster that left me with an oil slick on my head! But I altered the recipe and it was ok, but not great. The recipe called for liquid Castile soap, which is really expensive, so I ditched this recipe and went in search of alternatives, and found soapnuts. I used soapnuts years ago as a replacement for laundry detergent, but have to say that just popping the soapnuts into the washing machine didn’t work great and so ended up going back to detergent at that time.
To make soapnut shampoo you simply boil up some soapnuts in water (and I added a few sprigs of rosemary too), strain and bottle. It lasts for a week in the fridge and to use it you simply wet your hair with it and leave it on for 5-10 minutes before rinsing off. All pretty easy, and for the last 8 months it has worked well – my hair has been in clean and in great condition for very little cost. But just recently it stopped working so well – the ends of my hair were great but the oil slick was back on my head, and sorry, but I just can’t live like that!
I also use the soapnut liquid as our laundry detergent. As Rog suffers with eczema I was pleased to see that the soapnut detergent didn’t upset his skin at all, so big thumbs up for that! Boiling up the soapnuts and using the liquid as detergent has worked better than just adding soapnuts to the machine, so really happy with the results. And it works out to about €20 a year for detergent – much cheaper than traditional detergent.
A popular way of going no poo is to use baking soda – didn’t really appeal, although I do condition my hair once a week with diluted apple cider vinegar – don’t pour it on your head, just the ends of your hair – works a treat.
But that still left me with the problem of a replacement shampoo … another trawl on the internet and I discovered shampoo bars – and some of them are completely natural, organic, no chemicals – hurrah! They’re a bit more expensive ( I paid €18 for 4 bars) BUT they last for 3-4 months each. And a couple of days in, and I t think I may have found the happy balance – clean hair, no chemicals, and no more expensive then buying ordinary shampoo in the supermarket over the course of a year.
So while it is nice to make your own stuff, again it’s all about finding that balance. I would definitely recommend ditching shampoos with chemicals especially as there are other alternatives so easily available.
Just a word of warning if you’re thinking of going no poo – you will have a week or so of awful, greasy hair – it’s just your hair recovering from having all the oils stripped out – there’s no avoiding it, you just have to go into hiding for a few days!