Blog Update!
For those of you not following me on Facebook, as of the Summer of 2019 I've moved to Central WA, to a tiny mountain town of less than 1,000 people.

I will be covering my exploits here in the Cascades, as I try to further reduce my impact on the environment. With the same attitude, just at a higher altitude!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The shampoo dilemma solved

Random wet hair pictureBecause I posted on the whole coconut oil as hair moisturizer the other day, I thought I would follow up with an answer to the question people had on what I do for shampoo.

I've been planning on writing on this topic for months now. To start, I will describe what I'm working with here so you can get an idea if this advice will be at all useful for you.

I have long (not quite mid-back since I cut 4 inches off a few months ago, but a few inches shy of it), colored hair that is curly in front and straightish in back. If I were to blow dry it straight without a straightening iron, it looks totally crazy frizzy. I have an oily scalp so I need to wash my hair every day. The ends are mostly healthy (since I cut off the length) with few to no split ends, but the ends are dry (hence the coconut oil conditioning search).

Let me preface this whole discussion with the simple fact that no, I haven't tried the no-poo method yet, nor the apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinse, and don't plan on it. I'm really not up for the transition time it takes for my hair to supposedly adjust. And, quite frankly, if I don't wash my hair, my scalp stinks.

Anyway, I've been using Aveda products for the last few years (Color Conserve for shampoo, Scalp Benefits for conditioner and Damage Remedy Intensive Restructuring Treatment) and am aware that they use SLS (sodium lauryl sulfates - the sudsing and main cleaning agent) in their products. The issue with SLS is that there have been some studies showing they potentially have nasty effects in the body, particularly in the liver. Allegedly.

Additionally, there's the issue of plastic with the bottles. So, initially, I was trying to get aware from packaging and worrying less about the chemical content, but still aware of them. As a result, I tried out a few types of shampoo bars. All the ones I tried (J.R. Liggett and my own homemade soap with similar ingredients) left my hair exceptionally greasy in spite of washing it daily with the soap.

I tell you, I had real high hopes for them. They sudsed up like crazy, way more than my shampoos with SLS, and I thought "Hot Damn!" my hair is gonna be clean. After rinsing, my hair felt weirdly squeaky and difficult to deal with. Once it dried, it felt really soft and was a lot less frizzy except it never really felt clean. After 3 - 4 days, it looked like I had squeezed a bottle of Canola into the area near my scalp. I went back to my regular shampoo.

I have heard that people swear by using the ACV rinse to combat the squeak and the greasitude and it was all a matter of "adjusting" but, frankly, life is too bloody short to spend farting around with magic potions on the off chance that in a month maybe my hair won't look and feel like shit. But I digress.

I also tried shampoos like Burt's Bees Very Volumizing Pomegranate Shampoo. It doesn't contain any SLS ingredients and it shows. It smelled great, but the lather was less than impressive and I couldn't stand using it for more than a few days. It didn't feel like it cleaned my hair, I had the same squeaky action and it left my hair dried out. I went back to my regular shampoo.

Triple Tea Tree TreatSince the shampoo bars weren't working (I still have yet to try Lush's shampoo bar with sodium coco-sulfate although I suspect I'll still run into similar problems) it looked like I would have to reduce the packaging element by buying something in bulk. Luckily, my local store sells a couple kinds, one of which is Giovanni's Tea Tree Triple Threat (or Treat or Something) Invigorating Shampoo. To say "invigorating" is an understatement.

At first, the intensive mintytude of it was overpowering. I have not experienced something so damn minty that it made my skin actually hurt before, but since then I have either gotten used to it or I was overly sensitive the first time. Either way, this stuff is Certified Organic and uses none of the nasty chemicals like lauryl/laureth sulfates. They make other shampoos as well, so if I'm finding the tea tree oil to be too drying or the superpowered peppermint oil too annoying, I'll switch to one of the other ones they carry in bulk.

So, to make an incredibly long story short (or in this case, short story long). I have found a shampoo that lathers pretty well, cleans nicely, has no chemicals or packaging and I don't have to walk around looking like a giant stinky greaseball, mess with funky powders or liquid rinses in the shower or smell like a vinegar and oil salad all day long.

Phew! I hope that answers the question.


Anonymous said...

Finally I got here first, rather than 535th. Woohoo!

After numerous experiments with crappy shampoo bars (to be fair Lush bars worked well though I couldn't stand the smell) and other "green" shampoos, Giovanni's became my favorite. The problem is that recently it also became my husband's favorite - what's up with man taking the wife's shampoo?

Not liking smelling the same (you can't tell us apart other than by the scent of the shampoo we use), I've decided to borrow my kids' shampoo - California Baby shampoo and bath something something.

The plus side is now I smell as good as a baby. And it is so mild that I get away with not using a conditioner (yeah, I am that lazy).

So if your scalp revolts against Giovanni's someday, California Baby may be an option :)

Robj98168 said...

This no poo thing cracks me up!I have the answer: GO bald. Shave the rest. I keep saying. Works for me! I have it on good authority that guys love bald chicks. SeriouslyI just use Dr Bronners Peppermint soap comes in liquid or bar.
But remember never take advice on cocktails from a teatotaller, never take advice on hair care from a baldguy

Lisa Zahn said...

Oh, I love Giovanni's products! We sell them at the co-op where I work. My favorite for wavy/curly hair is the 50:50 Balance.

knittinandnoodlin said...

I've been wanting to try weaning myself off of shampoo for awhile. Thanks for pointing some options I can try.

I have a question, though. I decided a couple of months ago to stop coloring my hair because of all of the nasty, icky chemicals I was probably soaking in. What kind of hair coloring do you use? Are there earth-friendly hair dyes?!?! That would be really exciting!

Burbanmom said...

I had the same problem with Burt's Bees shampoo. Felt like I was washing with water. The shampoo bars left my hair feeling weird. Kind of soft, but puffy and bloated. Like the rest of me.

Anyhow, to make my short story longer, I convinced my local goat soap lady to make a shampoo bar. Works like a frickin' charm. Nice lather, but most importantly, CLEAN FEELING AND NOT PUFFY.

So the next time you're at the farm market, see if a local soapmaker has a shampooo bar. Or let me know and I'd be happy to pick one up for you, just so you can try it out.


lacemase said...

I use JR Liggett's shampoo bar and I love it, but I have to say there is an almost month transition period to deal with. I didn't noticed that my hair looked greasy, my scalp just felt kind of greasy/itchy and weird. So to help me get through the transition period I alternated between the shampoo bar and my regular Aveda (first every other day with the bar, then 2 days in a row, etc.) for the first month and the transition was painless!

contessa20 said...

I have long hair (just past the waist) and hated Burt's Bees Pomegranate shampoo & conditioner too. It did the same thing to my hair; it just never felt clean. Bizarrely enough too, while I was using it I got a small grayish patch of hair up front but as soon as I stopped using it it went away.

I went no-poo/ACV and had zero transition time. My hair was immediately soft and clean with no greasy or dry spots. Everything was completely even the very first time. Maybe I was just lucky but I'll never go back to using any kind of shampoo/conditioner full time. I'm thinking I'll give the coconut oil a try as a sort of hot oil type treatment this week though.

EcoBurban said...

I'm with 'burban mom - I convinced a local soap maker to replicate the natural ingredients of my favorite Aveda shampoo without all the gunky, crappy chemicals. While it's not 100%, it's passable for use every other day which cuts my plastic usage in half. I also have been a die-hard Aveda user for years, both products and color treatments. I truly believe that they aren't the worst choice out there by far.

While I agree, plastic and chemicals in beauty care is bad, I also think it's wasteful to spend so much on coloring and cutting my hair to not take care of it. I can really make my color last at least a good month longer by using the color conserve conditioner. That's one less treatment per year that keeps money in my pocket and hair color from going down the drain!

Michelle ~ Blogging from the Boonies said...

Thankfully, I have the kind of hair that works really well with the baking soda and honey wash and ACV rinse and have been doing that for years. But, in the past, when I did use products on my hair, my all time fave was the Giovanni brand.

maryann said...

I've tried a bunch of the organic shampoos and conditioners, haven't found one I like either, most leave my hair greasy feeling. I have just the opposite porblem though, I have a lot of hair but it is baby fine and pin straight, so straight even perms and curling irons don't work on it. I switch back and forth between the conventional shampoo I'm trying to use up and soap that I make. My recipe for bar soap is palm oil, palm kernel oil, castor oil and grapeseed - so far the best oil combo I've found- nice hard bars and good lather.

Anonymous said...

My hair looked great the first time, and every time thereafter, that I used the baking soda and apple cider vinegar. I say give it a whirl one day that you don't plan to leave the house and see what happens. I certainly wouldn't have been up for a month of greasy hair, and I probably wouldn't have bothered to try if I had read all these horror stories about "transition." Seriously, I tried it, it worked great. I told my friend. She tried it, it worked great. I don't doubt that some people have trouble, but it's certainly worth trying once.

Sam said...

Crunchy, I have the same scalp issues as you do. I tried Burts and it made my scalp super dry initially to canola oil greasy the next. And it stinks to the high heavens! The ACV rinse/baking soda solution hasn't been terrible (no overly greasy scalp), but my hair isn't all silky either. I am debating with myself on whether I should go back to using shampoo (even a mild baby one) or whether the scalp issues are because of the water quality (hard).

Adrienne said...

I'm a no-pooer and instead I co-wash (conditioner wash; using a bit of gentle condish to scrub my scalp). Shampoo hasn't touched my head in about 8 months. When I fell like I need some extra cleaning power I add brown sugar to my condish and scrub with that. I love it!

If your hair is revolting against you and getting greasy, it might be that you are OVER washing and your scalp is producing more oil to make up for it. Have you tried cutting back on the poo, in either amount or frequency? That's just what came to mind. Good luck!

FYI I have long, curly, curly hair. It's gotten less frizzy and more controlled since ditching the poo.

Meg said...

I'd say the baking soda/ACV transition took me about a week, and that was mainly figuring out how much of each was necessary, etc. And I used to have very greasy scalp and had to wash every day or every other. Now I wash every 2nd or 3rd day and my hair looks great! No more greasy days!

But, you have to find what works for you.

Anonymous said...

I had the same issue. My hair needed some SLS or it just didn't feel clean. My partner actually started getting acne on his scalp from Burt's Bees because it wasn't cleaning his skin well enough.

Anonymous said...

My experience with no shampoo (just rinsing with hot water) and going from SLS to no-SLS shampoo, and using bar soap while camping, is that they all have similar adjustment times - I went from SLS to no-SLS while we were on vacation this spring, and it was about a week of greasy ick.

Unknown said...

Hey robj98168, women do like bald gys - my hubby is one of the bald and the beautiful!

I have extremely thick hair, so I can get away with not shampooing every day. However, I have not found a natural product that I like, or that comes in enviro-friendly packaging. I'm going to try some of your suggestions. Normally, I use a daily lemon and vingear rinse on my hair and I shampoo thoroughly once a week.

Mindful Momma said...

One quick tip - if you do decide to stick with the Giovanni - whatever you do - don't attempt to refill that damn bottle! I started using a Giovanni conditioner that is available in bulk at my co-op so that I won't waste so many bottles. But you should have seen the mess I made trying to refill it in the store. The opening is so small, each squirt from the refill bottle clogs it up and you end up with product all over the place. My advice - buy a larger bottle with a nice big opening and use that to refill!

Katy said...

I have been experimenting with organic shampoos for about two months now. I have been trying to give my hair an adjustment period, but it seems like every 3 weeks, I just break down and have to go back to my old shampoo. With the kind I'm using now, it just never feels completely clean.

I think I'll have to check out Giovanni.

Anonymous said...

Hey Robj98168, my man is bald and I love it! Great look on him! And I use the Dr. Bonner's as well, except I use the no fragrance one - the castille liquid soap. And I have shoulder length blonde hair with a stylish doo.

Crunch, talk to me about this coconut oil. Minute to minute updates would be good as far as I'm concerned. I went and bought some yesterday, on your recommendation, but I'm not so sure..... Do you just put it on the ends? How long are you leaving it in? How many times a week do you use it? Does it make you smell like a pina colada? (Not that this would be just wouldn't help my diet) I know you are trying to save the planet and all, but I need to have good hair if Peak Oil is going to get me.

Talk to me Crunch...

And how's Mr. Crunch doing?

Anonymous said...

Hey Robj98168, my man is bald and I love it! Great look on him! And I use the Dr. Bonner's as well, except I use the no fragrance one - the castille liquid soap. And I have shoulder length blonde hair with a stylish doo.

Crunch, talk to me about this coconut oil. Minute to minute updates would be good as far as I'm concerned. I went and bought some yesterday, on your recommendation, but I'm not so sure..... Do you just put it on the ends? How long are you leaving it in? How many times a week do you use it? Does it make you smell like a pina colada? (Not that this would be just wouldn't help my diet) I know you are trying to save the planet and all, but I need to have good hair if Peak Oil is going to get me.

Talk to me Crunch...

And how's Mr. Crunch doing?

Chile said...

Well, Crunch, you know you can count on me for a totally off-the-wall and different solution to problems. The root of your problems with shampoo, so to speak, is that your scalp is oily. So is my sweetie's, under certain conditions.

His scalp ceased being the disgusting oily mess that makes me wash his pillow case twice as often as mine when I got him to change what he ate. It had not improved all that much when he went to a vegan diet with me.

The big change happened when he cut out added fats and oils. No more olive oil or Earth Balance heaped on his oatmeal, rice, or pasta. No more huge handfuls of nuts for snacks. No more avocados regularly. He got sufficient natural fats through the foods he ate and his scalp cleaned up. He also dropped weight and felt great.

So, if you want to go radically different - which I'm well aware if not appealing at this time but I offer this perspective for others and for you to possibly try in the future - put the oils on the outside (skin & hair), not on the inside. :)

Crunchy Chicken said...

Sandy - Take a deep breath.

Envision yourself standing on a white sand beach at sunset on a tropical island. The light from the setting sun is glistening off the water and you can hear the palm fronds gently rustling in the breeze. Breathe in slowly. Breathe out.

Now, scoop about a tablespoon of coconut oil in your hand and watch it melt in your palms. Work it through your hair from the ear level to the ends. Make sure you have enough to cover all the strands. Use more coconut oil if you need it.

How long you leave it on there is up to you. Fifteen minutes to start is fine, I left mine on overnight the first time (I just wrapped one of those turbie twist style towels over my head).

Wash, let dry and marvel at how shiny and soft your hair is.

Feel free to dab a little onto dry hair - just warm up a tiny amount into your palms and distribute. Super extra shiny! And way cheaper than a salon gloss treatment.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Chile - My scalp oiliness has more to do with genetics (I come from a long line of greaseballs) than anything going on internally or externally.

When I was exercising a lot (marathon and triathlon training) I would eat a high carb/low fat diet. And by low fat I'm talking about 15%. My hair was just as greasy as ever.

Anonymous said...

I actually blogged about this topic before, too. I have fine, wavy/curly hair and live in a dry climate after living my whole life on the east coast where the weather always held my curls and my hair always had body. It was like a huge switch in the dry climate to flat, limp, greasy after one day hair. I used tons of products to find what works and last year switched to all natural products after another round of searching. I haven't tried no poo yet - the flat, limp or flyaway hair part is what I want to avoid.

My favorite shampoo so far is Giovanni's Root 66 Volumizing shampoo. It even feels thick when you wash with it and holds my curls up better. I also use a natural styling spray to help keep the curls made by the Abba co. I never condition - I don't ever need to for some reason and I never get split ends.

I read a blog by a raw food model and he has curly, thick hair and he only uses organic, extra virgin coconut oil on his hair and has been told by the stylists at the photo shoots that he has the best hair and they ask him what products he uses.

I've been using the org. e.v. coconut oil as a body moisturizer (small amount) and I love it. I eat it in recipes and use it on my skin - the stuff is so good for you on so many levels - it even helps your metabolism. Nutiva brand makes a high quality organic, e.v. coconut oil.

Unknown said...

I started the baking soda/ACV route about a month ago. I'm ambivalent. A big improvement from the Burt's Bees shampoo bars or any of the other stuff I got at Ellwood's. My scalp, though, still yearns for Aveda. (I have a very dry scalp to go along with my very dry skin. Any suggestions on how to adjust for this would be welcome.)

Yesterday, I tried the coconut-oil regime, and I haven't seen my curls this manageable without gobs of Aveda Be Curly (or other expensive products) in...I can't remember. I tried some coconut oil on my feet and I actually almost have smooth heels and somewhat non-repulsive feet.

Hannah said...

Until a few months ago, I washed my hair every single morning for the past 40 years. I would wake up the next morning and my hair was hideously greasy again.

For almost three months, I've been alternating between baking soda and various shampoo bars, washing only every other day or even every third.

I use a either an ACV rinse and or a honey-lemon juice rinse. I often pour them over just the long section and not my scalp--and I rinse them out with cool water most of the time, but you can leave them in with no smell.

I am absolutely amazed. While it doesn't have that squeaky-clean feel I used to love or that super-smooth texture, it now has a bit of body and it doesn't look greasy for several days.

Might not work for you at all--but just to reassure you, you won't smell like a salad.

Anonymous said...

My husband is a total grease ball as well, and it only took him a couple of days to adjust to JR Liggets with a cider vinegar rinse (he only uses a 10% solution and it doesn't leave him smelling like a salad at all). My hair liked the JR Liggets the first time I used it, but then I switched back to regular shampoo just to get rid of the stuff we have on hand. As soon as that's gone I'm going back to the bar shampoo for good.

Heather said...

@ knittinandnoodlin - Henna is a natural alternative to chemical hair color. It turns your hair reddish, but some people also use indigo with it and can make their hair as dark as black. I'm going to be trying that for the first time this week, dying my hair black naturally over chemically-dyed black. Try for more info.

I've been no 'poo for a few months and my hair is just fine. Most of the time I still use conditioner, but I definitely don't have to wash my hair as often. I also use baking soda and apple cider vinegar to wash. A note on using baking soda: If you have hard water (which I do) you should rinse with a 50:50 white vinegar and water solution BEFORE using the baking soda, otherwise you get soap scum. Lovely.

The apple cider vinegar makes my hair shiny and soft and manageable. Much better than the oily scalp and crunchy ends that I used to have.

Kelsie said...

I LOVE Giovanni Triple Treat/Threat. I haven't bought any in a long time (I'm using Dr. Bronner's now), but if I ever go back to "conventional" shampoo, I'm reaching for the minty, tingly, scalp-gasm goodness of the Giovanni.

Glenda said...

Heather, thanks for the hard water tip about rinsing with 50:50 white vinegar and water before using the baking soda wash. I tried going no-poo earlier this month and my hair looked and felt horrible. In hindsight, I bet I was having "soap scum" issues. I'm getting my hair cut super short today, so will give the no-poo option a try again, this time using the hard-water rinse first.

Anonymous said...

i love the no poo method. it didn't take my hair any time to get used to it, but i was using a fairly mild shampoo before that.

my hair sounds a lot like yours, Crunchy -- longish with oily roots, frizzy ends. i use the baking soda paste just at the roots, massage it in, let it sit, and that's all... i don't even do the vinegar rinse. my hair has never looked or felt healthier. :)

statia said...

We sound like we have the same "poo" problem. I'm on the never ending quest for lather. Giovanni didn't cut it for me though, and since my hair is naturally curly, I need to find something that not only lathers, but doesn't leave my hair a tangled mess.

Jamie said...

I have been no pooing since July 15.

I use baking soda and water first, rub that through my hair, rinse and then follow with a ACV rinse. I do that every other day, with just rinsing my hair the alternate days.

Let me just say. I was a person that would wash my hair EVERY morning, sometimes hours before work and by the time I got home I was one big greasy mess. I love my hair now. I have NO greasy hair. I washed my hair yesterday around noon...and today is a stay at home day...and I still have no oily hair..usually if i went 24 hours without washing we would have an oil slick... :)

Anonymous said...

Crunch -

Thanks for the lowdown instructions for the hair hopeless. I wasn't born with the gene that allows me to do cute things with my hair. My sister ended up a hairstylist, and she got all those qualities. Me? I can barely put a ponytail in my hair without requiring surgery from the lacerations.

That, combined with my chemical allergies, has left me conditioner-less for over five years. My hairstylist requires therapy after she's done with me. Besides the pin straight hair with no conditioning and my allergies..I present quite the challenge to cute hair.

Now is this a problem of epic proportions? No. I know this. But this may be the highlight of my week! And someone else says it softens your feet?

It's the small things that make you happy, ya know? And I get to smell like a coconut!

mudnessa said...

thanks for the post.

i have hair very similar to yours, hip length a little longer maybe, very very thick, i actually shave the bottom half of my head and have since i was 12 its so thick. very coarse and frizz does tend to be a problem. its curly but is just wavy because of the length. i do not have oily scalp issues at all, i can go a week without washing and it gets a bit itchy. have build up issues but not visual grease, i actually love my hair when it is days dirty.

i HATE sls and when i use a shampoo without them i definitely notice less frizz. the major problem i have is with the size of the sls free shampoos and the amount i end up using is way too much, especially since i only wash one a week or so.

my husband was having dandruff issues, mostly because he HAS to wash his hair every day, i had him using a acv rinse and it really worked but i have not tried it on my hair, again because i would use a whole bottle . . . seems the problem is with me and amounts . . .

I think i may look into baking soda and acv and with coconut oil i think i might be a happy girl. or maybe a shampoo bar, it may work for me since i dont have grease issues.

thanks for the post crunchy and to all you with suggestions in the comments, with your help i will finally make this transition away from chemical laden plastic bottles lining my shower.

My said...

I'm also a fan of Dr. Bronner's castile soap.

JessTrev said...

I am so thrilled you're out in front of me on this one too. I thought I was all out of my whole foods brand shampoo and conditioner (even bought a couple of shampoo bars from lush which are squeaky like yours, soap-y) but just found some pack ratted under my sink. So i will have to wait awhile for further experimentation - I was going to try the baking soda for shampoo and acv -- and still may. I used to use Giovanni's and loved it. No bulk around here of that tho. I *do* have bulk of Calif Baby for my kids and I can 2nd cindyw's rec. I used it all spring. I digress tho - I read somewhere that you are only *supposed* to use a tiny amount of shampoo. Not even for enviro reasons, it is supposed to make your hair look better - weighs it down less!

Leah said...

I tried that shampoo a while back, and liked it but have since moved on. The main thing I remember about the bottle is that on the back it said "When you laugh I can see you smile." What was that about? Who was watching me in the shower? Creepy.

Olive said...

i tried going no-poo for 3 months and it never worked for me. one evening i had to go to a wedding and was like "ok im going to use regular shampoo for one night because it's a special occasion" BAM! back on the shampoo train because i realize in hindsight that i looked like an utter greaseball. it isnt right for everybody's chemisty and unfortunately it wasn't right for mine. wah wah wah.

i use the burt's bees soy pomegranate and really like it. esp how it smells. YUM. i agree it doesnt have much of a lather but i dont feel that is important - i mean suds aren't making it more or less effective anyways.

Anonymous said...

I think I'll try the baking soda and acv thing. Like you, Crunchy, I have a very oily scalp, and have for (years) have had the problem of it stinking! Alot! If I don't wash it everyday....yuck! Well, just two short months ago I did a web search on "stinky scalp" and found some folks who swear by using sulfur soap one to two times per week. The theory is that there's bacteria lurking in that oil on the scalp, and the sulfur kills it (for a while.) Well, wouldn't you know, a 99 cent bar of surfur soap from Walgreens, used once a week (use on weekend or day when you won't be around too many people - the sulfur smell is as strong as a new perm!) -sulfur kills the stink for a week! I can actually get by washing my hair every other instead of every day! I'm still a greaseball, so it doesn't reduce the oil. The sulfur soap is very sudsy, makes lots of lather, but once water hits the hair for rinsing, the lather vanishes and the hair feels like horse hair. Drys kinda fly-away but its worth it to tame the stinky scalp! The next day, just go back to using your regular routine. For me, that's using cheapo shampoo, and less than a pea -drop of conditioner for ends only. But like I said above, gonna try that baking soda and acv thing.

Delora said...

I've seen Giovanni's in bulk-sized bottles (32oz) at Costco from time to time. I'm east coast though, so your stores may vary.

Harper said...

Until this post I had forgotten about the dreaded stinky scalp. I haven't had it for a while and have no idea what changed in my life to stop it. Age? Luck? I'll cogitate and let you know if I come up with something useful.
I've switched to twice a week shampooing (still using up what I have) and my hair looks amazing on the morning I shampoo - glossy and wavy with some bounce - very irritating. I am considering the baking soda acv route but I am so not a morning person that the thought of mixing things up in the shower gives me the heebie jeebies. I was leaning towards shampoo bars because of the less packaging and I have a bar that is supposed to condition as well as clean -- if it's like the crappy conditioning shampoos I've tried I'll probably still need to do some conditioning. Coconut oil sounds like it would work for my hair but the whole putting it on for 15 minutes+ before shampooing . . . again not such a great idea for someone who must adhere to a strict schedule of morning tasks or she finds herself without deodorant with unrinsed conditioner in her hair at work.

Anonymous said...

Anybody have any experience with Druide? Their website is undergoing some changes, but I've thought about ordering from them in the past, when I could. I hear really good things about their products. (May be easier to read in French. Forgive them, they're Canadian.)

Clare K. R. Miller said...

You know, if you use the shampoo bars properly--as in, washing your WHOLE head (not just trusting the lather to do its thing) and rinsing with diluted ACV--you'll have a lot less transition time ;) Seriously, I've been using shampoo bars for a couple of years now and didn't have any transition time. The big thing the ACV does is to balance the pH of your scalp and hair. Without it, your hair is not going to act at all like it does with ordinary shampoo.

Anonymous said...

Rob--I use Dr. Bronner's peppermint soap too (in a bar)! Though, maybe you shouldn't trust a girl with a boy's haircut for advice either... haha.

Crunchy--I found my transition time (back when I had mid-back length hair) wasn't too bad when I first weaned myself off shampoo slowly, and then started using a glycerin-based soap (nice lather and not harsh at all). But I also only showered 2-3 times a week... Now I use Dr. Bronner's and a baking soda rinse every once in a while when I'm feeling the need for some extra cleanliness... As for styling products, I bought some "texturizing" gel right after I got my hair cut off--I was at summer camp and couldn't do much else--but I've seen recipes for a flax seed gel that I'm planning on trying out. Apparently it's what they used to use back in the 20s? Anyway, it should be interesting!

Maeve said...

genetic greasy head... How familiar I am with that. Day one. lovely fresh fluffy hair. Day two. the 'perfect' hair that a person can actually do something with. Day three. eww gross what's that on my head?

I think it's the real reason my ancestors wore braids, buns and bonnets.


Just posted to commiserate, wonder how many others with scandinavian /british isles heritage deal with this.

I haven't tried no-poo either. The caveats about hard water, and month-long grease, and so on, have me very leery. I just don't have time to fiddle-fart around with figuring out the ratios of stuff, nor do I want to wear hats for weeks on end.

I'll probably do it eventually, but right now isn't a good time.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I totally had a whole shampoo dilemma last year too, and SO many people left their suggestions, and I also tried that vinegar stuff and it SUCKS. And just like you, I found Giovanni products in bulk, and am happy with 'em. My personal fave, though, is the 50/50 one (or the protein something-or-other). Takes a good sized dollop to get a lather, but it works just perf.

Lee said...

I've been using the baking soda and apple cider vinegar rinse method for nearly four months now, and it works fine (the link above details how to go about using this method).

In fact, when I went travelling and used some shampoo and conditioner samples that were in the motel room, my scalp and hair rebelled and I ended up with a case of scalp zits :-( Not good.

My hair is just past my shoulders, and tends to the dry side. I don't tend to get dandruff, but do get eczema (if this helps people decide whether to give it a go or not).

The best thing about the baking soda / vinegar alternative (apart from the cost) is that I don't get the itches. Im obviously allergic to some of the chemicals in standard shampoos and conditioners, and have found my skin has improved with this alternative.

As an aside, my body rashes from eczema have improved as well. I think this may be because there is no 'run off' in the shower of the chemicals from the shampoo and conditioner.

So now I just use baking soda (for shampoo), apple cider vinegar (for rinse), and Dove soap bars (or similar no-name brands) for my body. Cheap, and very effective.


Oldnovice said...

I had a hard time trying the baking soda washes with the vinegar rinses. NO suds just didn't work for me. The good thing about that interlude of "try something else", however, was that I stopped using "dandruff" shampoo. Head and Shoulders and Selsun Blue have been making $$$ off me for FORTY years. D'OH! One would THINK that using these products for forty years would have eliminated the problem. It was a real "DUMBASS!" moment for me.

Started using the cheapest shampooo I could find that gave a little suds. I have ONE little place on my scalp (right next to my face) that still has a sore-like itchiness. I've been using my face cleanser/lotion and reaching into my hairline to accommodate that twice/day while I still wash my hair only every third day. I think that's working, but would be interested in hearing how others overcame dry/itchy, flaky scalps.

nicole said...

Oh, how I tried and tried to be a no-poo kinda gal. Three summers in a row I've tried but this year after my longest attempted transition (2 months!) I finally came to acknowledge that I have one greasy scalp.

So I'm back to poo. Well, actually body wash - the stuff that washes my body does just fine on my hair. I have cut back shampooing to every other day and am limiting the amount I bathe my scalp in.

One part of the no-poo experiment that did work though is the Apple Cider Vinegar rinse. I've got long (halfway down my back) hair and in the summertime we drive around with the Jeep lid down -- lots of fun, but lots of tangles. The ACV just used towards the ends, away from the scalp, does a nice job of smoothing the mess out. And, I really (REALLY!) don't smell like a salad bowl once I'm out of the shower.


Anonymous said...

Aveda will refill their bottles . . .

Unknown said...

My salon has just started carrying Purology shampoos and cond. I like the fact that they are sulfate free and 100% vegan.
I've been playing with the ACV rinse instead of washing my hair traditionally. I've discovered that I like it for about 2-3 days, then I feel I need to actually shampoo because my bangs look greasy and my hair feels a little dirty. (Especially if I've had a sweaty workout and product in my hair.) I have an "anti-gravity" hairstyle and use a paste type product in it daily. ACV does a decent job cleaning over all...I was surprised.

Anonymous said...

Giovanni products are the BEST! Interestingly enough, I work for a rather well known hair care company who uses SLS as well as parabens, so I stopped using their products (even though they were free) and went back to using the entire Giovanni line of shampoos and conditioners which I was using before my job with the hair care company.

My next concern is hair color. I know it's not good, but the natural alternatives are horrible. I can immediately spot someone who uses it on their hair. Black ends and brown roots and an overall dull finish. So unattractive.

Trish said...

I love Ilumina Organics Spicy Citrus shampoo and conditioner. I have tried many others but theirs is great. This is why: It smells great and makes my hair feel sooo good. Sounds stupid, but my hair feels like it did when I was in my 20s. I am breastfeeding and am trying to limit the estrogenics in my bloodstream (and in milk for my daughter) and the shampoo and conditioner have none! Also, I am a life-long runner and just had a squamous cell cancer (SCC) removed from my forehead. I take good care of myself but all of the sun damage finally took its toll. Anyway, I was reading about SCC and found a study that showed that mice with sun damage got more skin cancer tumors when lotions with mineral oil or laureth sulfate were applied. Sooo, I thought I am so glad I am not using other shampoos anymore because they all have laureth sulfate in them. Maybe using Ilumina Organics shampoo and conditioner will reduce the chance I will get more skin cancer on my forehead!

Unknown said...

Well, I see everyone has there own personal favorite shampoo and conditioner.

I happen to love theRock Star Organics line. They make everything from shampoo to hair pomade. They say it's for kids, but I use it on my hair and love the smell and how soft it leaves my hair.

Plus if I ever squirt a bunch of it in my eye it won't burn.:)

Anonymous said...

Hi Crunchy Chicken:)

Love your site! I welcome you to visit my Go Green blog.

For those brunettes looking for a safer alternative to conventional hair color--try Aubrey Organics Color Me Natural. This rates a healthy 0 on the Skin Deep database ( and is NOT linked to cancer-per the database. This is super affordable at only $9.57 on and when you use my Coupon Code (CEL445) you get $5 off if you are a first time customer on Wahoo! I can't wait to try it myself.

I just picked up the Giovanni 50:50 balancing and the tea tree shampoo so look forward to using.

Also, consider a 100% natural boar bristle brush to keep hair healthy looking:)

Anonymous said...

Hi Crunchy, great posts, I have been using Solay Shine Organic green tea shampoo, its worked wonders for my oily scalp and itching, doesnt leave a film either, leaves my hair really, really nice and my daughters who has very thick hair, its a great company, the url is, they have also 2 oz sizes for samples to try,

djh/texas said...

i have been using either j. r. liggetts, grandpa's pine tar soap, or chandrika soap to wash my hair for some time now. the j. r. liggetts works very well but sometimes i just want to use something that smells better and so then i use the chandrika. actually, now if i try to use shampoo - even natural shampoo - my hair rebels and gets very fly-away and weird. and if you want to prove it to yourself that natural soap doesn't remove all the oil from your hair just try washing dishes with it - LOL

Tree Huggin Momma said...

Whoo Hoo! I have been trying Organic Shampoo Avalon Perpermint with Babosau Oil. The problem is that both my 11 year old daughter and I look greasy as soon as our hair dries. We have exactly the same hair as Crunchy so I know exactly what she is saying. I am all for protecting myself and my kids from toxins, and saving the planet, but I won't do so at the expense of personal hygene. The no poo thing sounded to harsh for my hair to be honest. So I am going to go out and get this shampoo. If my Co-Op doesn't carry it, I am going to order it in bulk. Thank you Thank you Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I just have one comment for you all. If you're buying a product and it has the word "organic" or "organics" somewhere on the label, but if it doesn't have the USDA Organic Seal on the front label, then you are NOT getting what you think you're paying extra for. Health food store-type bubbly shampoos are not certified organic products. If a product really were USDA certified organic it would proudly bear the USDA Organic Seal on the front label.

So, what the heck is the stuff that you are rubbing into your head and washing down the drain?

Anonymous said...

So . . . I wonder what is going on, chemically, with the baking soda - ACV? It seems like baking soda would almost be turning the natural oil on your scalp and hair into soap - the alkali saponifying the oils (which is how one makes soap) and then the ACV rinse neutralizes everything.

Wow.Is there a real chemist out there that knows?

Anonymous said...

I have been using Giovanni since 2003. My version is the tea tree option. I got tired of it after so many years, thinking how much tea tree oil can one put on there hair! It is an astringent. So, I took a trip to the local whole food market, and after many experimental bottles, have found a few close favorites, than decided to use Giovanni tea tree interchangeably.

Recently, scanning an ad for Rite Aid of all places spotted a B1G1 free sale on Giovanni. While in the store noticed some bottles had a clear tint and others a yellow tint. To my disgust, after I returned home, glanced at the label and noticed a BIG PROBLEM. The INGREDIENTS ARE NO LONGER THE SAME, and have horribly changed. I wish I knew what happened to what used to be a hugely successful product. DOES ANYONE KNOW ??

I agree with anonymous about the labeling. If your shampoo product doesn't have the USDA Organic Seal on it, your only getting a loaded bottle of deception. If your going to pay extra to have a good quality shampoo, may as well make sure it is really genuine natural/organic that you are forking over the greens for; otherwise what’s the point.