I've been trying over the last little while to stop using some of the corporate products I have come to rely upon. Sometimes I am trying to avoid the big companies. Other times I am trying to opt for healthier alternatives for my body. And often, I am trying to learn to cut down on the waste stream I produce (including all the things I throw in the recycling bucket).
One of the things that used to fill up our recycling container was all those plastic shampoo containers. In my effort to break the shampoo-bottle addiction, I tried out a number of alternatives, starting with a couple of choices easily available in many mainstream stores.
1. Burt's Bees used to be a tiny company in Maine. Then it was a small company in North Carolina. Well, now it is part of Clorox. Nevertheless, I still love some of their products so I first tried their Rosemary Mint Shampoo Bar.
After using it for a couple of days, I almost gave up on the idea of using a shampoo bar at all. My hair felt sticky and I looked like there were sticks coming straight out of my head. My comb got covered in white waxy mess.
I had heard that the transition from commercial liquid shampoos to bars might take a little while--so after things had gotten better with other products, I went back to this bar. It was still awful.
What a shame. It is certainly pleasant smelling.
2. I thought my very fine and relatively dry long hair might have hated the Rosemary Mint because it was drying, so I tried their baby shampoo. The scent is subtle and extremely appealing--just a bit of apricot for a smooth scent with a fresh kick.
My hair responded much better to this bar, although it left a sticky residue that even a vinegar rinse did not remove. Although the residue was dulling, it did give my bone-straight hair a bit more body...
David's experience with the bar has been much better. His short curly hair looks great these days--and he is on his second baby shampoo bar now.
I was a little disconcerted to discover that the Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database did not give it a great score, mostly because of the product's use of tocopheryl acetate, panthenol, and unidentified fragrance. There are certainly more dangerous chemicals in a lot of American cosmetics--but given that I think of Burt's Bees as a "natural" company, and that this particular product is designed for babies, I was quite surprised.
3. After hearing more and more about the potential dangers of various products commonly used in the beauty industry, I decided to start reading my labels more carefully. While picking up a prescription in a mainstream pharmacy, I ran across Skin Free Extra Moisturizing Soap, which advertises that it makes a great shampoo. Its Skin Deep rating is much better: a perfect zero.
I love this bar. It is clear and scent-free, lathers beautifully, and feels great in the hand with its ever-s0-slight bevel shape. But if I use it for several shampoos in a row, my hair takes on the quality of hay. Not particularly pleasing. So I alternate using this bar with other options.
4. My absolute favorite shampoo bar so far: J. R. Liggett!
This bar, a much squarer bar than the others, lasts a long time, doesn't leave much residue in my hair, is almost scentless, and makes my scalp feel more honestly clean than any of the other bars have. This one is a keeper.
5. I have another favorite: baking soda and vinegar. I put a tablespoon or two of baking soda into a bottle, fill it with a cup or two of water from the shower, and shake until it is clear. I pour it over my hair and rub it in. There is really no real lather and it takes a while to get used to this feeling--but my hair feels deep-down clean after a BS wash.
For conditioner, pour a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar into cool water and rinse your hair with it. Then rinse again with clear water. The first time I tried it, I was utterly amazed at the softness that resulted. Whether you use baking soda, a shampoo bar, or even traditional shampoo, this is a great find!
6. The other thing I do? I now wash my hair every other day, or every third day. Although it took a little while for my hair to adjust, it is pretty happy with this routine now. I never would have believed that I could make this transition!
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What have you found that works for you?