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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

Thrifty

Happy Hair: The definitive guide to giving up shampoo (The Ultimate NoPoo book)

13 August, 2014

ARGH! Here it is! My first book! A comprehensive guide to giving up shampoo and how No Poo will help you ditch the toxins, save money, and release your hair’s natural beauty…New book published on No Poo

I have had this book on my mind for six months – I have always felt there was a great need for a book that pulls all the No Poo information out there together in one easy place-  but it was only at the start of July that I decided to crack on with it. Cue late nights typing furiously and whole afternoon’s spent eyeball-deep in CHEMISTRY of all things. Ugh. I had to, like, figure out science for this thing.

In fact, that is the section I found most fascinating  – the Science of No Poo. Because it isn’t just some hippy poppycock – it is a proper, legitimate process that genuinely works.

This book will help No Pooers get through the transitional stage, find an alternative that works for them (there are over THIRTY alternatives to shampoo, conditioner and styling products) and gives solutions for common problems encountered.

There are several pages answering Frequently Asked Questions covering hair dye, hair straighteners, hair types, exercise, swimming, headlice amongst other glorious things.

And lots of testimonials and funny stories.

In fact, even if you are just curious about No Poo, I think you will find it entertaining. (I have freely thrown down my dignity on the altar of reader’s laughs.)

And so, on to buying this ultimate guide to No Poo. (ARGH, WHY DIDN’T I CALL IT THAT?! That’s a good name that. GAh.) The very best way to get this book is as a simple Ebook from my Estore – of which I will get EVERY penny! It is a PDF so you open it up and read it in your Kindle just as you would normally, or on your phone or Ipad or simply read in on your PC. Add to Cart, yeah?

If you don’t mind paying a bit more, and giving an awful lot of it to Amazon (70%! 70% I tell you!) you can also buy the book on Kindle or in Print, if you like things with a spine. (It is currently Number 1 Bestseller in its category- Wahey!)

And all for less than a bottle of good shampoo.

Perhaps you might even be the first person to review this book?! (Please do!) Head onto Amazon to do that. 

And if you can share the book all about with your mates/ any journos you know I will come and nuzzle my nice smelling, clean No Poo locks into your shoulder in a succulent internet cuddle.

And, feel free to join a whole load of No Pooers on my Facebook Page where we can share stories and answer questions. Please come and join in the fun!

And muchos, muchos gracias for all your support so far, you have all really encouraged me through this whole book thing.
Happy Hair No Poo Book

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, Thrifty

A year without shampoo – FAQ’s answered honestly!

17 January, 2013

*UPDATE* Since writing this post I have written an ebook that covers everything you might possibly want to know EVER about giving up shampoo. And it costs less than a bottle of the good stuff!*Amazon Price- $5.56 My Price- $3.56 (2)

My last shampoo wash was exactly one year ago. I massaged the bubbles into my scalp and murmured “Fare thee well, small vial of hygienic, slightly toxic, luxurious liquid that maketh me skint, I know not when I will see you again.” And thus began my journey into No Poo.

I was on an every other day habit- sometimes stretching to 3 days but not without liberal use of God’s gift to humankind, dry shampoo. I was beginning to question the number of unknown substances coming into contact with my skin each day and I was continuing on my mission to pinch any unnecessary pennies.

I had heard of this “self cleansing” hair shenanigans several times over the last few years, and I guess I believed it, but not nearly enough to entrust my own locks into it. Does hair actually wash itself? It seemed like no one would be able to answer the question except myself, actually TRYING it.

And then, this curious part of my personality kicked in. My Ferris Beuller cells; the joy-riding, authority-defying streak that (fortunately) only rears its maverick head when someone tells me I can’t do something! The queerer and more implausible something sounds, the more I want to give it a go.

Giving up shampoo was suitably extreme, and only a dash anti-social!

And now it has been a whole year. A year of having great looking hair- with the odd mix of some greaseball days with chocolate running into my eyebrows at funerals thrown in.

I have given my suggestions for alternatives and have spoken about the highs and lows and getting started.  My one year “no poo” anniversary seems like a good chance to answer some of the questions I am often asked…
nopoo hair

Does No Poo hair smell? No. I even asked my sister who has an altogether more glamorous, less unkempt vibe than me and she said it most certainly doesn’t. However, if you were to really press your nostrils into my scalp you would smell HUMAN. We are a bit scared of that human smell I think.

What do you do instead of using shampoo? Once a week I give my head a good soaking in water, really rubbing my scalp, massaging my natural oils throughout my hair.  Once a fortnight I use a natural wash either from an egg or bicarbonate of soda or soapnuts.  (Follow this link for how to use them.) I use a tiny bit of coconut oil as a detangler (and for everything else on my body too, from moisturiser to deoderant!) And once every six weeks I do my whole head in organic Henna, to both dye my original mousey blonde and as a kind of deep cleanse.  So at least once a week it gets something, be it water, a hippy like natural wash or some Henna.

How long does No Poo hair take to get greasy now? It takes one week to get to the stage it used to get to after 2 days. However, this is still, after one year, increasing. I suspect when I am 50 my tresses will never know grease again.

Do you use conditioner? No. Every 2 weeks I rub a teaspoon of coconut oil (er, yeah, I buy it in bulk!) through the ends, this keeps it nourished. When it is knotty I use a small amount of Apple Cider Vinegar, watered down 1/5, and brush it through in the shower. But some people, particularly those with curly hair use ONLY conditioner, which is interesting…

Does No Poo get knotty? Yes. Honestly, it does. If you were diligent and brushed it every day it would be FINE. But I am lazy and the hood of my duffle coat is causing HAVOC, and I have a constant winter wrestle with an unwelcome dreadlock at the back of my head. I MUST brush more. I could up my Apple Cider Vinegar rinse, but I am content just rubbing a little coconut oil on the ends ever so often to detangle.

How long did it take to get used to No Poo? It took 6 weeks to get to 3 days without grease, 12 weeks to break 4 days no grease. However, I went cold-turkey for the first 2 weeks, and then used alternatives sparingly so I think this was quite a fast process. If you wean your hair gently onto more natural options it will take longer to get used to its natural oils and balance out its production of them.

Does No Poo make your hair grow faster? Actually yes. Genuinely. I think massaging the scalp, which is imperative for getting the oils to do their thing, really helps with growth.

What about styling products? I find my hair is a lot more pliable now, so I don’t use any. Except for when I am rocking a gigantic beehive– but the natural alternatives I use tackle hairspray perfectly well too. I am sure you could find natural styling products that could work with this way of life.

Can you use hair dye when you give up shampoo? I guess using toxic filled hair dye kind of defeats the object! But once a month I use an organic copper henna. I use it as a deep cleanse actually, as well as to get my hair this colour. I love it.

Has your hair changed doing No Poo? Yes, it is MUCH thicker. It used to be limp and thin and flat and now it has much more volume and is buoyant and even sometimes has a wave. *Waves hair around gleefully* “It’s the hair I’ve always wanted!” 

Will you do No Poo forever? Yes! I think so. I don’t see why not. I just see shampoo and conditioner as utterly superfluous now.

Is giving up shampoo cheaper? If you wean from shampoo on to some of the natural alternatives out there such as eggs and soapnuts, and continue to use them daily, or every other day, or even every three days, it is probably NOT cheaper at all! However, I use these sparingly, with water being my main Go To, so for me it is cheap as chips and as thrifty as you can get!

Is No Poo hard work? At the start, as you are finding the routine that works for you, it feels like too much bother. I almost gave up as I was thinking about my hair WAY more than I wanted to. But once you discover what works for you it becomes easy, and gives you a freedom from the tyranny of shampooing! Also, you have to massage your scalp, which can weary your fingers.

Did you have to look smart though, while you weaned off it? I actually began one week before I started my new job! What a nutter! At the beginning I wore lovely vintage scarves to disguise my damp-looking head and upped the smartness of my clothing as a distraction. But now you would honestly not think me a raving non hair-washing hippy in the boardroom.

Can anyone with any kind of hair do No Poo? Sure can.  I think it is easier for some folk.  People with thick curly hair will find this a BREEZE, I suspect. However, my lank, limp, thin hair has also been teachable. Sadly, there is no magic alternative that works for all hair. Every individual will have find the routine and the alternative that makes their happy, which is a pain, eh.

Do you know anyone else who does No Poo? At the start, no. However, over the last few months a few friends have begun and are reporting the same miracles! (After obligatory 1 month of panicked texts to me about hair that WILL NOT LEARN!)

Does No Poo make your skin break out? There is potential, if you have a fringe and you go cold turkey, so have a few weeks of grease, that it could impact your skin in a spotty kind of a way. I DEFINITELY suggest pinning your hair back off your face while you are working it out.

What other toxins have you given up? I try really hard to use vinegar and bicarb around the home, although we have a sneaky Mr Muscle for attacking stubborn stuff when we are in a hurry and someone has done a whopper in the shopper. (Lulastic: creating euphemisms since 2010)  I am still using soap as a body wash as I am working my way through a GIANT bucket I bought wholesale from the organics shop.  However, I am slowly but surely DETOXING my home. Goodbyyyyye, evil chemicals. I really buy into that phrase “If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t rub it into your skin, or sniff it, or fling it around your house.” (You know, that really catchy phrase.)

What does your mother think? For a while, when I was in my late teens, I used to have thick black dreadlocks, made up of my own hair and also a bit of a wig I had found and my mum always used to say “You’ll never get married if you don’t wash your hair, Lu.” Fortunately, she was only ever joking and despite being a beauty herself has always impressed on us the importance of our inners rather than outers. What a legend.  However, I think she sometimes does wonder about me….

I still have one question left – you can take it if you want – have a question? Go on, ask anything…

If you REALLY want to give this No Poo thing a good crack, but are a bit nervous, please consider taking my online course where I can hold your hand and give you heaps of support. Students are finding the videos, interactive worksheets and forum incredibly helpful! And there is a 30 day money back guarantee if you don’t get anything out of it! Get started right away.

PS I’d hate for you to miss a post… do pop over and like Lulastic on Facebook.
And did I mention the book? The Ultimate No Poo book?
No Poo Book