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  • Writer's picturelouisechrystal

Why no-poo?

Updated: Jan 5, 2023

It's so easy to just shampoo. There are countless brands to use and some of them do actually do what they say they will! At least for a little while but eventually it stops working and the scalp issues come back , or the frizz, or your hair becomes lank and then it's back to the search for the perfect shampoo... And repeat. Then there's all the plastics involved and the fact that they are full of synthetic detergents that and other chemical preservatives that aren't good for our skins natural biome...

As a hairdresser I have extensive experience of many shampoo ranges but I could not find any that were as natural as possible. My research finally brought me to cleansing conditioners otherwise known as co-washing. This has been around forever but I believed it was just for curly or dry hair so I never really paid much attention until I kept having scalp issues and what kept coming up in my research was that the sulphates in my shampoo where likely to be causing the problem (my diet was also a contributing factor but that's another story!). So my journey into alternative ways to cleanse my hair and scalp continued.

I swapped out my shampoo for a sulphate free one. I didn't immediately notice much difference until after a few weeks my scalp became itchy and seemed irritated. Although it was sulphate free it contained a sulphate derivative that is still a synthetic detergent. I tried a few scalp masks but what worked best was an apple cider vinegar rinse, simple and very effective and no chemicals. I decided to ditch the synthetic detergents and plastic as I discovered that shampoo is generally around 80% water. The cost to the environment in shipping these bottles globally as well as all the plastic being used really bothered me. That's when I discovered New Wash which is a cleanser that is refillable and replaces the need for multiple products. No sulphates. And it comes with a brush to cleanse your scalp which makes a lot of sense!

It worked great and for the first time in my life I could air dry my hair as there was no frizz at all and my usually very straight hair had a wave! The down side is the cost. Even though it replaces all those products, with 4 teen kids, it is too expensive.

The pandemic hit at this point and I had time to try something I'd been keen to try for a while, making my own hair products. That way I could eliminate any synthetic chemicals and incorporate herbs and essential oils.

There was another hairdresser, Louise of Wilderness Hair, who was doing the same in her salon, making shampoo from soapnuts and detanglers and salt sprays all with natural healing herbs. It was inspiring to see and I tried a few of her recipes which were great but the issue was longevity. They would spoil after a few days because of the water content. This led me to shampoo bars where I could still use herbs and clays to benefit from their healing properties but the shelf life would be much longer with no need for preservatives.

I made my first batch using oils infused with herbs that I foraged from my garden and I've never looked back. After the mandatory icky hair period everyone experiences when changing from shampoo to shampoo bars, my scalp cleared up, as did my kids. We use the brush to clean our scalps and stimulate blood flow and we use an apple cider vinegar rinse afterwards. The science is that soap is alkaline so the acidity of the apple cider vinegar balances the PH. It also strengthens the hair fibre and closes the cuticles down to promote shine and get rid of frizz allowing us to airdry our hair and embrace our natural texture.

I've managed to cut down on plastics and improve all of our scalp health, not to mention we all get complimented on how good our hair looks!

If you're a crafty like me then you'll enjoy the whole soap making process too. What's not to love!

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