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Featured, Green things, Shampoo Free, Thrifty

Ten Shampoo Alternatives for healthy, shiny and clean hair

29 March, 2016

Updated post: I have now been using 100% natural shampoo alternatives for over four years. My hair is stronger, shinier and healthier than it has ever been! I hope you enjoy this post featuring (still) my favourite No Poo shampoo substitutes. I am pretty surprised that the ingredients I fell in love with at the very beginning of my shampoo free journey have remained my favourites. For the last couple of years I have been working as a columnist for Cosmopolitan, writing up beauty experiments, and I also published a bestselling book all about how to give up shampoo which you can grab here.
Amazon Price- $5.56 My Price- $3.56 (2)

At a mere $5.20 or £3.40 (purchase in your own currency) it is a SNIP – less than a bottle of swanky shampoo. But unlike your shampoo it comes with a full refund if you don’t like it!

At the start of this year I began an experiment with my hair.  The purist in me was tired of putting toxins into my body, the spendthrift in me was weary of pouring so much money away on these toxins and the optimist in me was persuaded by our bodies ability to cope without reliance on products! I was in a wash-every-other-day-routine and was a slave to dry-shampoo. I knew there had to be a better way.

Enter the No Poo way of life!

In a typically extreme move  I totally gave up shampoo and have in the last 10 months put everything from a homemade nettle brew to mustard powder on my hair! It has gone quite wrong at times but ultimately my hair is a million times more healthy, voluminous, and grows much faster. Plus I can go away for weeks at a time and need nothing for my hair but a good bristle brush. This really appeals to my hopes of living more simply and with less impact on this beautiful earth (even though I am rubbish at this in lots of ways.)

Here are TEN options for shampoo alternatives I have played with- and sometimes made a lot of mess with! Most are the BEE’S KNEE’s for me and the rest are the dog’s whatchya’s for others…

One- Water! Oh groan, I know, I’m sorry.  What kind of an shampoo alternative is this?! I hear you cry. The best, truly. It took me 9 months to realise it was all my hair needed – and now it has been one month since anything has been on my hair at all. The key is in the massage and the brush. As you soak your hair, get your fingers stuck in, pushing away at your scalp and any particularly grease-o bits. I do a five minute massage every five days.

I also brush my hair each night with my trusty boar bristle brush. I use Kent Brushes who have an amazing ethical record. They’ve been making boar bristle brushes since 1777 and can HIGHLY recommend either the barrel brush, which I inherited from my Nana and LOVE. The Moroccan Oil and Christophe Robin brushes here are pure boar bristle too – they are pricey but consider it an investment in natural beauty that will last your lifetime! (Those are affiliate links, they ship globally for free!) More info here about what the best boar bristle brush for you might be.

My hair is thick and voluminous and does whatever I want it to do. Whooppiiee for H20!! I have to say that some water is kinder to hair than others! Sometimes the chemicals or the limescale in the water of city residents can be a little unkind. Make sure you use lots of lovely natural homemade conditioners every so often, and if after a little while it becomes clear that your water isn’t nice enough consider getting a shower filter or just committing to one of these other shampoo alternatives below.

Two- Bicarbonate of Soda/ Baking Soda. This gets your hair SQUEAKY clean. Every ten days or so I put one teaspoon in a cup of water and dissolve it, chuck it on my hair mid shower and wash it straight out. The only reason it isn’t number one is because it isn’t free and I’m a cheapskate. Using bicarbonate of soda regularly and often, and using too much of it will damage your hair more than shampoo. (Please read this ultimate guide to using bicarbonate of soda/ baking soda on your hair! It is a much needed step but you can have too much of a good thing.) My hair gets a bit bicarb weary after too many times in a row, brittle and waxy and needs a bit of Number Three Action:

Three- Egg. I use the whole egg, whisked in a cup. I pour over my head and massage in. I leave for a few minutes and rinse well.  It leaves my hair SO clean and SO soft and shiny. However, the water must be cool! I have had a couple of scrambled disasters venturing into too warm territory…. Here is some info about how an egg works and how to apply egg on hair effectively.

Four- Soapnuts. These are a natural cleaner and work incredibly well. My hair is like silk after- certainly the closest to shampoo I have found. I heat them in water on the stove for 10 minutes, whiz them with my hand blender and use the liquid. I am too lazy to make this my Go To alternative, but use it if my hair has become filthy. Buy them here and use them for cleaning a million and one things! Buy them from my affiliate chums, Ethical Superstore. They come in a 1 kilo pack and are a real bargain – over 300 washes in there!

Five– Rhassoul Clay. This is LOVELY stuff. For skin and hair.  It is one of the better shampoo alternatives out there as it not only cleans but also conditions. I make a paste with two spoonfuls and boiling water. Once cool I smooth it into hair, after a few minutes I brush it through hair and rinse off. It is truly divine but a little on the expensive side for my thrifty self. (But doesn’t come close to the expense of good shampoo.)Shampoo alternatives for healthy hair

Six- Henna. This is one of the more colourful shampoo alternatives, something to suit those who like to play around with their hair. This is my once-every-six-weeks deep treatment! I mix up about ten spoons of it with hot water to make a paste. Once cool I apply it all over and leave it for two hours. (Epic I know, I use a plastic bag and grips to keep it all in place.) It needs a SERIOUS rinse, and a good brush, but my hair after is brighter, cleaner, softer.

Seven- Tea. This relies very much on the massage bit too, and the result is the same as water except you get a nice smell! Some people swear that the different aspects of the tea change your hair – chamomile adding a special softness and lightness to blonde hair, for example. My favourite is to take some lemonbalm leaves and make a tea out of it. A little video here of that happening and an explanation of my motto “If you can’t eat it, don’t wash your hair with it!” ….

Eight- Lemon. Lemon has some seriously potent anti-bacterial properties and can work as a lightener for people wanting to be blonder.  Squeeze a whole lemon into a cup of water and pour over your head mid shower. Rinse well, unless you have hard water in which case you might want to leave on. Not recommended for greasy hair.

Nine- Tea Tree Oil. Full of incredible properties! Add tea tree oil to the bicarb paste, the lemon or the water only wash to turn them into very effective anti dandruff shampoos. Tea tree oil is perfect for people with scalp issues. In fact, one person I am VERY close to but who shalt remain nameless has had a life-long scalp issue fixed by dabbing on a couple of drops of tea tree oil to the problem areas.

Ten- Rye Flour. Rye flour is fast becoming the star of the No Poo movement, the Bieber of all the shampoo alternatives! it has just the right mixture of saponins and exfoliating properties to make it super kind and cleaning on your hair. I wish i could say “Stick it on” but once again it is a little more complicated – mainly, you need to sieve it first! This video will give you the big HOW TO for rye flour.

A note on conditioner- Half of these, everyone apart from the rye flour, the clay and the egg and the lemon need a rinse with Apple Cider Vinegar. I use a splash in half a cup of water and throw it over the ends of my hair, leave for a few minutes then rinse out. It’s a WINNER.

The biggest lesson in all of this is to not give up  and be a brave old soul – often different hair just needs different proportions of things.

For the ultimate guide to giving up shampoo check out my bestselling book –  a shed load of advice and recipes for alternatives to shampoo and conditioners and styling products can be found here.
Happy Hair No Poo Book

FREEDOM FACE BEAUTY GUIDE

Craftiness, Green things, Thrifty

Homemade Beeswax Wraps

13 January, 2016

Here is my favourite little craft of the last few years – homemade beeswax wraps.

You know what I hate? Cling Film. (Here in NZ they call it Glad Wrap. As if that horrible cloying stuff has ever made a soul glad!!)

I partly hate it because it hates me – cling film started it when it refused to ever stick to itself so all my sandwiches look as if they are wrapped in scraggly, flappy bits of plastic. Oh wait! That *is* what cling film is!

It is the stuff that our great – great – great – great – great- grandchildren will discover on their archeological digs and think, with baffled expressions on their faces, scanning the barren, scorched land around them, “THIS was the reason for the demise of our beautiful earth! My great – great- great- great- great- Nana was a total plonker!” They will write articles in the National Geographic about how we used up the world’s most precious resource wrapping up old bits of cheese.

Crumbs, didn’t know I was such a hater. Feel much better for that.

You’ll be pleased (because I was sounding like it was giving me high blood pressure, eh?) to know I discovered an alternative to Cling Film. It is an eco, recycled, reuseable version made with bees wax and fabric. Introducing homemade beeswax wraps!
homemade beeswax wraps

All you need for these homemade beeswax wraps is some scraps of fabric and beeswax. (Buy beeswax from either your local farmers market, your local honey bee place or here at iherb – ships globally) I did six different sizes ranging from 30cm x 30cm to 15cm x 15 cm. I wanted some large enough to go over baking dishes to then go in the fridge and I wanted some I could sew into little snack packs.

How to make homemade beeswax wraps

1- Cut your fabric (ideally with pinking shears so it doesn’t fray) You can cut afterwards as well – it doesn’t fray then as it has been waxed.

2- Shave on a small amount of bees wax – sprinkle this as evenly as possible over the whole thing. Work sparingly as a little goes a long way.

3- Place on to some tin foil in a medium- hot oven for 5 or so minutes, until wax has melted. 190°C would be good.

4- Bring it out and look at it in the light. You should be able to see any patches without wax on- sprinkle a bit on those areas and pop back in oven.

5- TADA! Done! You can use these beeswax wraps  in replace of cling film and you can wash and dry it and use it again!
beeswax wraps

How to use your homemade beeswax wraps

Use your beeswax wraps as you would tinfoil or cling film (or glad wrap)- wrap up your sandwiches! If you fold the wrap around a simple shape and place in a lunchbox it will hold together. but if you are gonna chuck it straight in your bag you will need to secure with string. (Like the old days of brown paper bagged lunches tied with string!)

You can also use it to cover plates or bowls – again use a string or rubber band to hold it in place over the dish.

Turn your beeswax wraps into beeswax pockets:

I took two of my homemade beeswax wraps and folded them in half and sewed a seam down the side. I left one side open so snacks could be popped in. It can then be folded over and secured with a band or a clip. PERFECT.

How to make homemade beeswax wraps

After use simply wipe down your beeswax wraps and dry them well. You can use a mid eco dishwashing liquid on them too. Store them in a clean place were they are unlikely to get dust on them. After a lot of use they will stop holding their shape and might look a little scummy, with creases. I suggest to whipping up some more.

I am in love with this easy, peasy alternative to cling film and will never again wrangle with that nasty stuff and the great-grandkids won’t be calling ME the plonker. Yay homemade beeswax wraps!
beeswax wraps homemade food wrap
PS – Post includes my affiliate link for iherb – buy all your organic and wellness good with my link and it helps me out too!

Green things

Thrifty and lovely Borage Face Mask Vlog

28 March, 2015

Just a quick one to point you in the direction of my new favourite thing via two different medium (CRUMBS! I must really bladdy lave it.)

‘Cos I did a wee experiment (by this I mean “little” in Scottish, as opposed to experimenting with wee.. although, frankly, I have read good things about that) with BORAGE and it was super duper SCRUMPTIOUS.

It is an annual herb, a gristly, thistly plant with a stunning, dainty flower. It used to be cultivated in many a garden but these days it is more commonly grown accidently, as a weed, rampant along train tracks and wastelands.

It has traditionally been a staple soup ingredient in many European countries – that is kind of obvious from its name, I think. Borage Soup. Served up by warty caricatures in Roald Dahl’s stories…

I’m on a mission to rebrand this weedy herb- to add some glamour to it. The incredible properties of borage are fit for more than sweaty bowls of soup. (Woah, actually, don’t mean to be a downer about soup. Soup rocks. I just feel a bit dubious about borage soup. What can I say, I must be very phonetically sensitive.)

Read the rest here on Cosmo.Homemade Borage Face Mask - before and after
(There WAS a difference honest – this photo was taken twenty minutes apart … I recognise there are lighting difference, however – BLAME THE SUN harrrhahahaha)

And, I recorded this marvellous experiment for my exciting new Youtube Channel

Do come on over and subscri–hiiiiiibe!

Green things

Why go No Poo? Save money, ditch the toxins and release your hair’s natural beauty

21 July, 2014

I hereby announce the publication of the Ultimate Guide to No Poo! 13,000 words on how to give up shampoo, over 32 shampoo, conditioner and styling product alternatives, the scientific basis of No Poo and a whole load of stories from my 2.5 years Shampoo Free.

Happy Hair: The definitive guide to giving up shampoo.Happy Hair No Book Book Add to Cart

Here is a little preview from the WHY section…

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Release your hair’s natural beauty
It was a trip to the hairdressers that confirmed for me that we are all being hoodwinked by the beauty industry! It  was my first visit since giving up shampoo and I was nervous about having to ask her to forgo the products when washing my hair.

I was imagining a dropped comb, a face contorting with repulsion,  and, as the full realization of having massaged the scalp of a head that hasn’t seen a single goop of shampoo for over a year, projectile vomiting into the mirror.

Marvelously, that scene didn’t happen.

In fact, she barely blinked.

(Mind you, this salon is based in particularly wild corner of South London, where one infamous resident has taken to squirting pedestrians with her breastmilk. You’ve really seen everything in Peckham.)

As the hairdresser began cutting my hair she explained that she was “thinning it out”- I guffawed (glamorously) in shock. My WHOLE life hairdressers have been trying to cut my pathetically lank hair in a way that would add volume. I explained conspirationally that I was sure giving up shampoo had actually improved my hair. She looked at me as if I was an idiot “Of course it would! Using shampoo regularly just totally strips your hair out!” I was astonished that a hairdresser would so passionately admit that shampoo may not be bringing out the best in people’s tresses.

Tons of people are finding that giving up shampoo has uncovered a new, better side to their hair.  Dull hair has become glossy, frizzy hair curly, lank hair voluminous. (If you originally had dull AND frizzy AND lank hair your now look like Diana Ross!)

“I stopped using hair products a year and a half ago and curly hair takes to it very well! However the most satisfying thing is loving my hair in its most natural state, without needing products to change or “improve” it.”
~Amy

Save Money
It isn’t the ticket to becoming a millionaire by age 33 (unless , of course, you write a book about it  *evil billionaire laugh*) but giving up shampoo can relieve a tight budget.

Even if you use the traditional alternative to shampoo – a Bicarbonate of Soda wash once a week  you will only get through one jar every two months. If you throw in a weekly cider vinegar rinse too you’ll probably use up a bottle every three months. Depending on where you shop that is a mere £8-13 a year on hair washing paraphernalia.

Moreover, loads of people manage to wean off using natural alternatives regularly so end up spending far less than that.  Inconceivable!

In our home we were using a bottle of shampoo and conditioner every month at a cost of £5. We now use water and are saving £60 every year. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but when we are old fogeys we will be able to go on a luxury £3000 cruise with the savings! Wahey!

“I have to admit my reason for going poo-free was monetary! I have been surprised at the results of using nothing and comments of how wonderful my hair looks! Both my children never shampoo their hair – they are 3 and 6. The 3 year old only ever washes her hair occasionally and it looks beautiful. The 6 year old has her hair washed occasionally by the grandparents and it totally destroys the natural beauty and lustre of her hair. It takes a few weeks for it to come back to normal.”
~Penny

Eliminate Toxins
I gave up shampoo about a week after reading the research published by Bionsen that revealed the 515 chemicals women put upon their bodies daily. I initially thought “Ha! They didn’t research ME!” but then I looked at the back of my shampoo bottle and realized that in my shampoo alone there were about a billion items I didn’t recognize in the slightest.

In an ideal world I wouldn’t lob imposing names out there like big fat toxic grenades, to scare people into giving up shampoo. I’d really rather talk about the magnificent simplicity of taking a lemon from the fruit bowl and cleaning our hair with it. But we do need to ask some big questions about what we readily pour into our pores. So quick! Take cover!

  • Sodium lauryl sulphate and sodium laureth sulphate cause shampoo to be lovely and bubbly but are also skin and eye irritants that come with major warning labels.
  • Cocamide diethanolamine is in over 100 shampoos available on the high street. Cocamide DEA is not only an allergen with high potential as an irritant but it is classed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a Group 2b Carcinogen.[1]
  •  Parabens  have been connected to higher estrogen levels, which wreak havoc with the hormones.
  • Quaternium-15 is a preservative that discharges formaldehyde. It is an allergen that can cause dermititus as well as having been linked to cancer, particularly leukemia.
  • Methylisothiazolinone has been connected with neurological damage and Alzimers, often abbreviated to MIT.
  • 1,4-dioxane has been found in almost a quarter of the products in the Skin Deep Database from the Environmental Working Group. This is cause for concern. The Environmental Protection Agency classifies dioxane as a probable carcinogen.[2]
  • Almost all commercial shampoos involve mineral oil, a byproduct of crude oil being turned into gasoline. It is pretty much the leftover sludge. It is in many shampoos and actually sort of acts like a sludge on your hair. It coats each shaft, indeed adding a glossy sheen, but also preventing any toxins and excess oils ever leaving your hair.

“I’ve been using Bicarbonate of Soda for 8 months now. I had been getting an itchy scalp with regular shampoo but since going poo-free my scalp is itch free and my hair is lighter and more healthy. I think my natural colour is more vibrant too. My husband and son both had eczema but since our whole family of five has gone poo- free they no longer have eczema. Best move ever.”
~Breanna

The book has now been featured in Cosmo, the Daily Mail, the Guardian and The Telegraph. Amazon Reviewers are raving about it, wahey!

Get your beautiful hands on a copy right here, right now for less than a bottle of shampoo… Available in every currency and every country of the world.
Happy Hair No Book Book Add to Cart(That is a link to a discounted Ebook but it is also available on Amazon in Kindle and Print – they just take a huge, enormous 70% tax…)

Green things

No Poo, no toxins, no worries (Shampoo free for two years!)

20 February, 2014

“What’s that your cooking up now, Lu?” asks Tim. “Just sugar and lemon.” “For the pancakes?” “Nope, my hair.”

My husband nods his head, like, naturally.

It’s been over TWO YEARS since I gave up shampoo- I reckon that now makes my No Poo journey a long term one, yeah?

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My No Poo journey has been two years of mixing up concoctions, hair looking terrible, then amazing, terrible again, and then fine. Two years of people hearing about my No Poo experiment and then grabbing my ears, taking a big whiff of my scalp. (Not really, but a few people HAVE asked to smell it!)

I have had long, long hair and a very short crop. Just now it is a weird in between stage as I grow it long again. And I have tried just about every single thing out there as a natural alternative to shampoo, conditioner and styling products.

Here are a few reflections on giving up shampoo….

If you stick at it, it DOES work. But sticking at it is really hard. Realistically, you will go through a least a couple of months of unhappy hair. You need quite a lot of motivation to get through that first bit.

It works with long hair and short hair, although the short hair takes a lot less maintenance. I use to have to brush my long locks a lot but now I only use a brush to back comb my quiff…

Long hair takes a lot more STUFF too – coconut oil as a conditioner, more regular washing. I do this massage thing to distribute the oils away from my scalp and it is MUCH easier doing this with short hair.

In the past I have loved bicarbonate of soda, eggs, and soap nuts as my preferred natural shampoo alternatives. Now? Now I just use water.

There are people all over the world doing this- just quietly getting on with it. While we were in Spain, at the eco community, it was completely normal to be No Poo. Here I am, blogging all the ups and downs and there they were, just not washing their hair because of the chemical – free policy on site. No biggie.

If I want to style it I use a mixture of sugar and lemon as a nice crispy hairspray. For a wax I use beeswax and coconut oil, and for a gel I break off a bit of my Aloe Vera plant and use the gel inside. And if I want to use a hair clip I break off one of our Venus Fly Trap leaves and for a toothbrush I use a thistle. (Pahaha, totally just kiddingly about those last two… Although my life does increasingly resemble the Flinstones, just with less bones.)

When I first began this there were lots of baffled responses but the one that stuck with me the most was the person that said “Oh, I know lots of people who have done that. But they all eventually go back to shampoo.” I guess this filled me with the most doubt about my experiment – am I going to go through this whole thing, just to give up?

Two years later I can say, for sure, that there is NO going back to shampoo. Not in a million years. I can see no reason to. My hair cleans itself. I spend ZILCH on shampoo – not even on natural alternatives now I have short hair. I just use water. It is enormously thrifty and enormously green. My hair is strong, healthy and shiny. No Poo 4 EVA!

I need to write more on No Poo!l, eh? haven’t blogged nearly enough about it, considering I am such a devotee. What kind of stuff would you like to read about it?

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*UPDATE* I wrote a book on giving up shampoo! It is the ultimate guide to No Poo covering everything you need to know about No Poo. It covers the science of it as well as providing loads of practical advice for doing it. Buy a discounted version here or find it on Amazon in print.Happy Hair No Poo Book

Green things

My little tin is full of Eco Make Up from Dr Hauschka

10 January, 2014

For most of my life my combined cheapskate-ness and desire to tread gently on the earth has led my philosophy towards Make Up to be “None at all unless it is second-hand.” So all of my make-up has been primarily and kindly donated from my mum and sister’s dregs. (I know, I know, I am TOO glamourous.)

A bit before Christmas though I decided to attempt a chemical-free life in 2014 and knew this would have to extend to my face. I threw out my secondhand mascara and went online to search out an eco make up range.

I came across Dr Hauschka and was delighted when he agreed to send me a parcel of goods to check out.

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They are passionate about the environment and creating luxury beauty products for people who want more than the average toxic sludge.

I received a Rouge Compact, a Translucent Powder Compact, a Volumising Mascara and some Foundation. And it is POSH and LOVELY and I feel like a grown up!

I don’t usually wear loads, and if I do put stuff on my skin it is normally on certain areas like my chin – it seems to be getting patchy and dark the older I get?- which is probably really totally against the Laws of Make Up.

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It all smells nicely, applies smoothly, and I feel great in it. I’d go for the waterproof mascara next time (but I have been crying a lot recently.) It is pricier than the cheapo ranges out there, however it is REALLY important to me that it isn’t full of toxic nasties.

If you are looking for environmentally friendly make-up, made wholly from natural products Dr Hauschka is your man.