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The Shampoo Routine

Posted Jun 06 2009 12:04am
If you have never thought about not using shampoo, then this posting may seem a little weird. Why not use shampoo? Isn’t it necessary in order to have a head of strong, healthy, gorgeous hair? First of all, it comes in a plastic bottle, but who wants to have a glass bottle of shampoo in their shower stall? I have tried to remember what we used when I was a little girl and all I can remember is plastic bottles for shampoo. Since I am aiming to reduce the amount of plastic that I use, I need ideas on how to avoid plastic shampoo bottles. Believe it or not there is a lot of information on the web about this. In fact, there is a movement called the “No Poo” movement. Why avoid shampoo? There are several reasons. 1. It is always bottled in plastic. 2. It often has several questionable chemicals in it. 3. It has been over-marketed as necessary in order to be beautiful and socially acceptable.

These ingredients are four very common chemicals in cosmetics and personal-care products that are of special concern: 1. fragrances 2. phthalates 3. parabens and
4. triclosan (Check out Big Green Purse for more details.)

Fifty percent of all personal care products contain fragrances. They are much more commonly used now than in the past and their affect on the environment is not known. They are implicated in skin problems, asthma, and disruption of the endocrine system.

Phthalates are chemicals that soften plastic, and are found in toothpaste, hair spray, nail polish, perfume and many other products. Scientific investigations have shown they are implicated in abnormal development of male genitals, lower semen quality, and premature breast development in girls.

Parabens are one of the most common cosmetic preservatives. They have been shown to accumulate in human tissue including breast tumors. It is an estrogen mimic.

Triclosan is an antibacterial substance found in antibacterial soap. This product is heavily marketed as a necessary product in today’s world. It is now being put into other products such as hand lotion, dish soap, and toothpaste. The problem with using an antibacterial everyday is that we are selecting for resistant bacteria. Triclosan kills the weak bacteria and the strong survive and become more numerous. We are playing the natural selection game and producing dangerous resistant strains of bacteria.

Other questionable and possibly dangerous chemicals are also found in shampoo such as sodium lauryl sulfate, DEA (a suspected carcinogen), and methylisothiazoline. So what do you do? Read labels! Shop for natural ingredients and buy safer products. Buy products made with fewer ingredients and these ingredients should be familiar sounding. Here are some suggested substitutes for shampoo or ways to improve your shampoo routine:

1. Use baking soda. Many people swear by this. They say to use 1 T. baking soda dissolved in 1 C. water. Work it through your wet hair and rinse. Some people say it takes about a month for their scalp and hair to become accustomed to baking soda. I, personally, could not tolerate it. I looked like a human dandelion seed head for four weeks..
2. Use bar shampoo. I have used Burt’s Bees Rosemary Mint Shampoo Bar, which I like. I ordered a shampoo bar from Lush but have not used it yet. I also bought a homemade shampoo bar from our local farmer’s market. Bar shampoo is a nice substitute for bottled shampoo. So far, I like it, plus there is no plastic bottle lurking around for ever.

One thing I learned from the homemade shampoo bar is to keep my eyes shut tightly – it stings. My old shampoos did not sting but I know some of the soap would leak into my eyes even if they were shut. That means that questionable preservatives and fragrances are touching my eyes and that scares me a little.

Right now I still have 2 brands of natural shampoo in plastic bottles to finish. After that I am sticking with the bar type.
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