Why You Should Go No 'poo

Submitted by Courtney on Tue, 05/03/2011 - 14:19

After the birth of my son, my landlord came downstairs to see us and, after coddling my baby some, began to lecture me about NOT washing my hair. Though admittedly I could not understand every word she was saying, she continually told me not to wash my hair for a month as doing so would be bad for my baby.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I love to wash my hair every other day. I envision myself as the women in shampoo commercials: grinning foolishly as I massage the suds into my scalp, “oohing” and “ahhing” as I go. I was always striving for that shine, that smoothness, that perfect mop of hair that I’ve always seen in magazines and television. Why WOULDN’T I wash my hair?

I will admit that for something that is “dead” we do regard it rather highly but fact of the matter is, hair does get greasy. Hair gets dirty. If I did not clean it, it would be as smelly and as stinky as anything else I haven’t washed for a month. I’d probably develop dreadlocks! Here’s the thing, though: many shampoos that are on the market today (which, in all honesty, shampoo is just a nice word for “detergent”) contain unnecessary and harmful chemicals that can be doing more harm than good.

Know Your Shampoo

Think I’m lying? Think again. I came across an article in regards to a study researchers at the National Institutes of Health performed which showed that several shampoos (I’m looking at you, Pantene, Clairol, Suave, Head and Shoulders…) contain a nerve damaging poison called MIT (aka “methylisothiazoline). This delightful chemical can cause great neurological damage with repeated use, as well as cancer and liver disorders (source: http://healthnews.benabraham.com/html/your_shampoo_has_bad_toxins.html).

Another research study from “Science Daily” is calling out the ingredient “DEA” (diethanolamine), stating that it is a potential carcinogen and birth defects (in mice, anyway) such as memory function defects. (http://healthnews.benabraham.com/html/your_shampoo_has_bad_toxins.html). And this is when just the mother is using the shampoo on her own body! Just goes to show you how much is really passed on to our babies through the placenta while they are in utero or in our breast milk.

Go Natural

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a girl who likes great looking hair so I set about looking into ditching my “Herbal Essence” shampoo (nothing all too “herbal” about it, let me tell you) and checking into natural shampoos. I was saddened to see that a lot of natural shampoos in health stores – while they contain lesser quantities of the “bad stuff” commercial brand shampoos do – they often still do contain a lot of the same ingredient.

Here’s the thing: after 3 days, my hair is greasy and on the verge of becoming dreadlocks. I do need to still shampoo my hair with a natural shampoo, but I worked in a few tricks ever so often to reduce the amount of time I spend washing my hair. Try some of these tricks and see how they work for you in reducing your own personal shampoo use:

  • Beat the grease with a pinch of baking soda and apple cider vinegar
  • Try using a natural shampoo bar that contains hemp (these tend to dry out my hair, so I use it only once a week)
  • Add a small amount of lavender and witch hazel to your hair and brush it through to give your hair a bit of a “pick me up”
  • Nab your favorite essential oil, and add three drops of it to one pint of your favorite herbal tea and add a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar. After a few minutes of passed, rinse and enjoy your wonderfully clean locks
  • Some women swear by adding a pinch of baking soda or baby powder to their hair to absorb the oils (and to also lighten their “roots” if they happen to color their hair)

There have not been enough studies conducted on the hygiene products that we use today to determine how safe they truly are. That, however, does not excuse us from taking a stand and doing what’s best for our bodies – which is always taking the most natural approach possible. Use items like shampoo sparingly and make a concentrated effort to find alternatives, first by replacing one wash by one of the above suggestions for a week at a time. Find a method that works for you, and take pride in the fact that you are taking a stand for your health.

photo by Fleur Suijten

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