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Hair Care Without Chemicals

Hair Care Without Chemicals

Last weekend, I said goodbye to my cheap shampoo and conditioner. I used up the last of them, rinsed them out, put them in the recycling bin and swore I would never go back.

I made this decision months before it finally happened, though. I told myself I didn’t want to waste what I already had, didn’t want to spend wads of cash on expensive natural products, didn’t want to experiment with my already unruly hair — I had a lot of excuses, and plenty of excess chemicals that I just kept using.

I finished my final bottle, though, and I’m ready to go natural and never look back. Here are some steps that’ve helped me in my quest to find ways to care for my hair naturally and green my beauty routine.

1. Find new ways to shampoo and condition your hair

I found many options online for shampoo and conditioner concoctions, and none of them required expensive, unnatural ingredients — the recipes were cheap and easy across the board. The recipes I’m currently using require only baking soda and water for shampoo, and apple cider vinegar for conditioner. With these ingredients, I’m already starting to see smoother strands and less buildup on my scalp. Another option is to make soap and shampoo from everyday oils or with various plants and roots. Your hair may look and act differently at first as it gets used to your new routine, and you may have to experiment to find what works for you — every head of hair is different, but once you find a way to kick chemicals to the curb, you hair and scalp will enjoy newfound health.

2. Color your hair with natural dyes

I used to love changing the color of my hair from time to time, but I thought only about the visible changes, and not about the unseen chemicals that were entering my body. Now, I’m looking into new ways to add vibrancy to my locks without the toxins. Henna plays a big role in natural hair dyes, and you can buy henna from many health food stores and co-ops.

3. Make sure your hair care isn’t hurting the Earth

Considering the chemicals I was putting into my hair was my first priority, but another important part of caring for your hair — and the planet — is making sure that you’re using efficient appliances and tallying how many resources your routine eats up. Most hair cair products come in plastic bottles, so if you want to buy your hair care products from the store, keep an eye out for those that are creatively packaged, such as shampoo bars that come in cardboard. Also, don’t be afraid to get creative! Consider curling your hair the old-fashioned way — with paper — or try saving money by cutting and styling your family’s hair yourself!

Keep in mind that you can’t make every change all at once — nor should you have to. Like I said, it took me many months to finally embrace my chemical-free routine. But now that I have, I can rest easy knowing that my hair is healthier — and knowing that I won’t have to stand in the store for many long minutes trying to choose which shampoo is cleanest or greenest. So take whatever small steps you can take, and eventually they’ll add up to a cleaner routine for yourself and for the planet.

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Shelley Stonebrook

Shelley Stonebrook is an Associate Editor at Mother Earth News—North America’s most popular magazine about sustainable, self-reliant living—where she works on exciting projects such as Organic Gardening content and the Vegetable Garden Planner. Shelley is particularly interested in organic gardening, small-scale, local food production, waste reduction, food preservation and cooking. In her spare time, she posts in her personal blog, The Rowdy Radish.

104 comments

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11:39AM PST on Jan 24, 2014

Thank You.

9:09AM PDT on Jun 16, 2013

good recipes. i am also in the same situation, need to use up all the existing products that i purchased (which is quite a few during my recent travels) before i can start using more natural products. and i would also want to try the henna dye, am currently just going to the saloon and walk out with chemical-laced hair!

5:06PM PDT on May 1, 2013

I use natural shampoo from a great store that makes everything! Happy that I found it!

10:11AM PST on Jan 30, 2013

interesting article and comments

8:19PM PST on Dec 26, 2012

I use natural stuff for my hair, makeup is another thing because I can't find a lot of variation for natural products for makeup, but lotions, soap, shampoo, conditioner are easy to find, and aren't that expensive

9:16AM PST on Dec 25, 2012

Thank you Shelly, for Sharing this!

8:10PM PST on Dec 24, 2012

Good luck and it sounds as though you've handled the move wisely.

4:02PM PST on Dec 22, 2012

A note about my tip: you do not have to wash your hair every day. I usually wash with my baking soda ACV process on Thursday and Sunday. You will have to "play" with it to determine how often to clean. Some heads are oilier & some are drier than others. Too often and you will have dry brittle hair, too far apart and your hair/scalp will be extra oily.

3:54PM PST on Dec 22, 2012

I have been practicing this exact procedure of hair are for 3.5 years. I highly recommend it.

I use 2 tbsp of baking soda, make a sludge with some water in a cup and disperse in small "blobs" on my head. Using my hands I scrub my scalp and hair gently then rinse very well. When rinsing you will know you have removed all of the baking soda residue when your hair is literally squeaky clean.

Then I use 2 tbsp on Apple Cider Vinegar. I use the natural ACV with the "mother" still in it. Again, in a cup, and I don't dilute mine, pour small amounts in various places through my head and run my hands through my hair. Let it sit at least a minute, then rinse.

10:19PM PST on Dec 19, 2012

Thanks for the share!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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