Sunday, 31 July 2016

Organic, Simple, Natural, Affordable & Plastic-Free Hair Care

I'd never thought before of washing my hair with a bar of soap. I'd always assumed that I needed shampoo and conditioner. I'm about to test out washing with bar soap and rinsing with apple cider vinegar. Many of you may have tried this before and I'd love to hear of your experiences. 

As plastic-free July draws to a close, I find myself still stopping each time I find another thing that always enters my house in plastic and consider the alternatives. This is today's new experiment. Shampoo bars can contribute to a zero plastic waste household. I think they'd be a handy thing to travel with too - no oozing bottles.

In the past, I have tried to choose the most natural shampoos and conditioners I can find. However the list of ingredients is still long and incomprehensible, and the plastic packaging significant, - even if recyclable. Besides, those shampoos are loaded with so many synthetic materials and chemicals that I can actually no longer use them - my scalp screams and my eyes hurt. Beware of the commercial shampoo bars - they are full of chemicals too.

I really like refilling my old bottles with bulk shampoos from my local cooperative shop, but now it's time for something different - a new experiment in simplifying:


  • Shampoo: Paper-wrapped organic fair trade bar soap
  • Conditioner: Diluted Raw Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse (bought bulk in glass jars). Use 1tbsp to 250 mls water.


Shampoo Bar
I'm pretty keen to embark on some of my own soap making soon using natural ingredients - such as coconut oil, olive oil, shea butter and natural essential oils. Until I do, I'm going to buy some natural bar soap. Actually I am going to begin with the bar I bought for my DIY laundry powder and go from there.

My inspiration for this was reading the packaging of the Dr Bonner's soap package and seeing it was good for hair too. I have been enjoying the peppermint one grated into my laundry powder mix and of course as a hand and body wash. 

Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse
After washing my hair, I'm going to try rinsing with raw apple cider vinegar (1 tbsp: 250 mls water). It is meant to help balance hair pH, remove the build up of silicone sludge from commercial hair products, smooth the hair cuticles, treat an itchy dry scalp, work as a natural de-tangler and promote healthy hair growth.  Just pour it on (avoiding eyes), massage in then rinse - you don't need a conditioner. While your hair is drying it may smell of vinegar, but once it's dry, the smell goes.

I love multifunctional things - a great permaculture principle. It makes me wonder why we clutter up our laundries and bathrooms with so many products when a handful of good ones can do the job of many.

I'll let you know how I go with this and would love to hear your experiences of abandoning commercial shampoos and conditioners.




13 comments:

  1. Will be interested to see how you get on, I am making to plans to make some goats milk soap this year with milk from our own goats, I make apple cider on a regular basis with apple peelings and the cores.

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  2. I've been using soap or bicarb with ACV rinse for a few years. I love not having plastic shampoo/conditioner/hair goo products in our bathroom :) I hope it works for you too.

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  3. I had always used liquid shampoo and conditioner, and no matter which brand I tried my hair always ended up greasy and gross. I tried the bi-card and vinegar method for a while but found it annoying and my hair got greasy again after a couple of weeks. Then I learnt about shampoo bars. I think I'm onto my 3rd bar in about a year - they last forever! I wash my hair every two days and it always feels great, no conditioner required, and no greasiness. I get mine from Lush. I'm a total convert!!

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  4. I never use conditioner on my hair, & it is just fine. I understand just using water will work & also using baking soda. Also, there is no need to lather hair two times. One lathering & a good rinse works well. I have thick, straight gray hair. Thanks for all your helpful info. Mary Ann (GA - USA)

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  5. Great Article Morag ! If you are worried about carbon footprint re DR Bronners Products coming from America, there is a lovely local soap making business right here on the Sunny Coast in Eumundi (Willows Natural Products) that makes a DIY laundry soap from coconut oil and olive oil and a shampoo from Coconut oil, olive oil and Castor oil :) Support local, buy local :)

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  6. I read Lindsay's blog (treading my own path) and started using rye flour to wash and apple cider vinegar to rinse my extremely curly hair. Works great.

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  7. I have used the soap and apple cider vinegar as hair wash. I have fine, curly/frizzy hair and it doesnt work for me unless I am happy to have greasy stringy hair.Vinegar is too harsh for me (as is bicarb). One thing that is amazing on my hair is aloe vera (straight from the plant). At first it seems sticky but when it dries it makes my hair soft and my curls defined.

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  8. I have been using bicarbonate soda to wash and ACV rinse for years and years and I love it. Grey hair, and it never looked better. I sometimes make a tea with rosemary from the garden and add a little local honey as the water component in the rinse and that makes hair even shinier.

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  9. I have been using my home made soap for about 2 year, so much better than shampoo, rinse with vinegar, have yet to find a suitable conditioner for my witches hair, but working on it. Aloe gel seems to be the best so far.

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  10. Have been using shampoo bars for many years / vinegar as the rinse and recently added rosemary sprigs into the vinegar - lovely, lovely clean aroma that dissipates over the next day

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  11. I would be very interested in how you go. I fell ill with an auto immune disease this year and I am only washing in unscented doctor bronner on my body and using something very gentle for my hair from the healthfood shop but I would like to go even further.

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  12. I've been making my own pure coconut oil soap for several years now, and also use it for my hair. Works great!

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  13. I have been using shampoo soap bars for about 2 years now, makes my hair feel clean, and if it gets too wiry (grey hair, think Albert Einstein!) I rinse with vinegar which makes it go lovely and soft. I tried just using water for a while, which is supposed to balance out after a while, but stopped when my daughter said my hair smelled of sick :-( I then tried bicarb wash/vinegar rinse, which suited my hair really well, but I just didn't like using the bicarb. I now buy melt and pour shampoo soap, and personalise with herbs and essential oils before pouring into soap moulds. Not quite making my own soap, but almost as satisfying :-) The shampoo bars last for ages, and it is great not to have to buy new bottled shampoo every couple of weeks. Also cuts down hugely on plastic use.

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