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Ten Shampoo Alternatives for healthy, shiny and clean hair

27 September, 2017

Updated post: I have now been using 100% natural shampoo alternatives for six  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!

Why did I give up shampoo?
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- Amla powder

Amla is a brilliant hair ingredient- it is actually dried goosberry! It must be prepared the night before use in an iron vessel. A cast iron pan or pot would be ideal.

Mix with a little water until you have a ruunny paste. Ideally it feels like henna. Or, if you don’t use henna, like dipping your ginger nut in your tea for too long and then mashing it into a bowl!

The next morning take your amla into the shower with you. Once your hair is wet apply the paste and leave it for half an hour. (Squeeze all your black heads and all those other things you can do alone in the bathroom. Don’t entertain guests you’ve never met before, which is what I had to do when I realised i couldn’t wash it straight out! More in video…)

I used two table spoons which was enough for my long hair.

Wash out well!

Read all about Amla for hair here. 

Two- 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.

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- Water!
Oh groan, I know, I’m sorry.  What kind of a 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.

For more information see this guide on washing your hair with water only. 

Nine- homemade dry shampoo
Sometimes if you just need to get through an extra day or two, you just want to soak up an extra bit of shininess without doing a full wash, you might want to consider a quick dusting of homemade dry shampoo.

If you have dark hair try mixing a tea spoon of corn flower (or corn starch) with a teaspoon of cocoa.
For red hair, mix a teaspoon of cornflour (cornstarch) with a teaspoon of cinnamon.
For light, simply use cornflour or arrowroot.
Use an icing sugar shaker to give your hair the lightest dusting and keep the rest in a little jar.

Ten- 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 some of the other, more nourishing ingredients.

Extra helpful ingredients:

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.

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.

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


Shampoo Free

Most exciting news ever!

19 April, 2016

No, no, not that. Or that.

Guys, OBVIOUSLY, the exciting thing is that my book Happy Hair comes out in Spanish today!! Woooo!

This morning I woke up and told Ramona how excited I was. I said “Now Dora the Explorer can read my book and give up shampoo and discover healthy, shiny toxin free hair! Haven’t you always thought she looks a little full of parabens?”

Every so often I get a huge surge of numbers to this blog from various Spanish speaking countries due to articles being written about how I don’t use shampoo. I still laugh when I think about one of them that had captioned a photo of me with something like “Lucy Aitkenread, pHD en absolutamente nada”

Now, I don’t speak Spanish but I’m pretty sure I got what way they’d crumbled their cookie! (Or something.)
Pelo feliz: La guía ideal para dejar el champú
So, fair enough. I don’t have a degree in hair, or any piece of paper that says makes me an official spokesperson on health. But what I do have is over four years experience of life without shampoo, using healthy, natural alternatives to shampoo, and SIXTY PIECES OF PAPER (a No Poo book, that’s what I have) that people say has changed their life.

(They do really say that! How cool and nice? You can read the reviews of Happy Hair on Amazon and buy it in English, if you like.)

Two passionate readers of that book, Gabriela and Cyn, who happened to be professional translators, read Happy Hair and knew Spanish speakers had to have it. They have painstakingly translated it over the last few months and it has been SUCH a pleasure working with them.

I am pretty sure that this Spanish edition of Happy Hair is gonna help a whole load more people get the hair they have hankered after their whole life – clean, healthy and strong.

If you know any Spanish speakers please help me spread the word!
Pelo feliz: La guía ideal para dejar el champú en Amazon

El movimiento de lavado sin champú llegó a América Latina.

Lucy AitkenRead tiene 33 años, escribe en blogs, es columnista de la revista Cosmopolitan, hace 4 años que no usa champú y asegura que tiene el cabello más fuerte y más brillante que nunca. Happy Hair: the definitive guide to giving up shampoo fue uno de los libros más vendidos en Amazon cuando se lanzó su versión original en inglés, y AitkenRead espera que la edición en español corra la misma suerte.

Gabriela Rabotnikof tiene 32 años, es traductora y, cuando leyó el libro, supo de inmediato que iba a funcionar en América Latina. “Terminé de leer el libro y me puse en contacto con la autora en seguida para ofrecerle traducirlo. Gracias a Pelo feliz, las personas vuelven a tener el poder en sus manos: el libro cuestiona los productos capilares poco saludables de una industria multimillonaria y ofrece alternativas para tener un pelo sano de manera natural”.

El movimiento libre de champú cobra cada vez más fuerza y es reconocido a nivel mundial a medida que la gente se concientiza sobre los productos químicos que se aplica en el cuerpo. AitkenRead escribió este libro tras la espectacular recepción del experimento “No Poo” que publicó en su blog, Lulastic and the Hippyshake. Lucy cuenta: “Todas las semanas, me escriben mujeres que consiguen tener su cabellera más fuerte, más saludable y limpia luego de haber sufrido durante toda una vida los problemas de la caspa y de esos días en los que el pelo está inmanejable. ¡Ahora el movimiento se está masificando!

Pelo feliz: La guía ideal para dejar el champú en Amazon
Pelo feliz: La guía ideal para dejar el champú
“Este libro me acompaña en la difícil transición que implica dejar de usar champú. Es un compañero ideal que guía al lector en cada paso del camino sin aleccionarlo. Cómprenlo. Léanlo. Y dejen el champú”.

“Hace más de 9 meses que dejé de usar champú y llegué a un punto muerto. Una amiga me recomendó esta guía ¡y recuperé la inspiración! Incluso si nunca se les ocurrió dejar el champú, es una lectura que genera conciencia. ¡Sencillamente brillante!”

“Es una introducción genial al método No-poo y, además, es útil para quienes ya hayan dejado de usar productos químicos. Hace 7 meses que no uso champú y esta guía me dio muchas ideas y explicaciones para algunos de los dilemas con los que me encontré. Buscar el tema en Internet es una buena opción, pero esta guía filtra un montón de información confusa y aclara muchas dudas con total sencillez. Disfruté mucho de la parte relacionada con la ciencia y de las ideas para el pelo ceroso”.
Sra. P.

“Hace casi 6 meses que no uso champú gracias a la ayuda de esta guía. Me acompañó paso a paso y me dio mucha información científica interesante pero no tan específica como para aburrir. Destaco el sentido del humor con el que está escrita, en un estilo muy accesible, y todos los consejos para resolver las situaciones de emergencia. También me encantaron las muchas (¡muchas!) alternativas naturales que la autora ya probó y sobre las que puede hacer comentarios de primera mano. Es una gran inversión”.

To celebrate I have launched a new site – a website solely dedicated to helping people get healthy locks. So far you can read some tips on how to apply egg on hair for a super conditioning natural shampoo, how to stimulate hair growth naturally and homemade conditioner for hair from your kitchen. Yay! See you over there!

Shampoo Free

Baking Soda for Hair (How, Why and When to use it- and when to step away)

29 March, 2016

Today I want to make the case for one of the cheapest, most effect alternative to shampoos that I know! (Imagine a cheesy 1950’s advert here with me holding a tub of baking soda.) “Use Baking Soda for hair that is healthy, clean and shiny!” Lots of people ask me if baking soda for hair is a winner or whether it will destroy your beautiful locks. This is a big deal as it shows me that the world has moved WAY past the “Does it smell?” stage, which lasted about seventeen million years. (The stage, not the smell! Pahaha.) Now people have accepted that No Poo is officially A Thing and are getting down to the nitty gritty about what to use. AWESOME, WORLD! Go us!

I am here to reassure you that baking soda for hair is a WINNER, people! It can really help make your hair healthy – if used in the right time and place. In fact, if you plan on giving up traditional shampoo baking soda has a crucial role. It strips your hair of nasty ‘cones (dimethicone coats your hair shaft and is present in almost every shop-bought shampoo bottle) – allowing it to become a good conduit for your glorious sebum.

Use bicarbonate of soda for healthy hair

Baking soda in hair? Really?!
Bicarbonate of Soda/ Baking Soda is the first alternative people who stop using shampoo turn to. This is because the mechanism between this ingredient and your hair is pure and simple. Baking soda effectively turns the glorious protective sebum of your hair (the bit that makes it looks greasey!) into soap. Sometimes when you use Baking Soda you can feel a slipperiness all over your hair- this is the saponification (soaping up!) in process. It is also the cheapest alternative (apart from water) you can use, costing about 2 cents per application.

How do I use baking soda for hair?
The internet is chockablock with the wrong information about this. Even my own blog has been there with the inaccurate info, when I was first starting out. This is because you use different amounts of baking soda at different times. To start off with you are really trying to strip out your hair of all the silicones piled upon each hair shaft- stuff inherent to most commercial shampoos. You will need a heaped table spoon of baking soda stirred into a cup of water and then poured onto it every section of your hair. You will leave it on for one minute, massaging it through. You will need to do this kind of wash at least 3-4 times at the start of your No Poo journey. Once you start heading through the transition stage you will gradually decrease the amount you use. Once you are through transition you will be using just 1/2 teaspoon in half a glass of water and it will be making your hair as clean as it was at the start. This is because your hair is clear of extras and the baking soda is working straight on your sebum.

What will baking soda do in my hair? 
A successful baking soda wash will firstly make your hair SQUEAK with cleanliness as you rinse it off. Your hair will then be shiny, bright, and light. And gradually, as your hair gets more and more used to it, it will become less greasy. You will soon be able to go a week, possibly two weeks, even three weeks without using anything on your hair apart from to use baking soda for hair - healthy, shiny, clean hair

If it is dull, waxy, heavy, flywaway or brittle then read on….

Why might baking soda for hair make it feel unhealthy and broken?
There are a few blogposts out there where No Poo-ers have suggested that Bicarbonate of soda have destroyed their hair. This is a bit of a bummer as I think as an entry No Poo ingredient Bicarbonate of Soda is the absolute business. (I literally buy it in bulk and use it for EVERYTHING! From deodorant to cleaning.) It is very hard to get wrong (unlike the egg, with which even the most die hard No Pooer has had a catastrophe with) and really truly gives a good clean up to every head of hair, particularly dealing with the waxiness of transition.

Once you understand the science of No Poo (Gosh darn, I wish there was a simple and comprehensive guide to the chemistry of No Poo! Oh wait! What is THIS?! Oh hey there! There seems to be a best selling book that covers that… written by, erm, me!) it is easy to see that using too much baking soda will strip your hair of all of its sebum and the only place that will take your hair is to the Unstoppable Ferris Wheel of Grease Over Production – the very thing we are all trying to leave behind us. If you remove your sebum this effectively frequently your hair will keep producing too much sebum to replace it. Damaging the equilibrium of your hair this way will make it dry and brittle on the ends and heavy at the top.

Avoid the damaging nature of baking soda for hair by:

  • Just as you are trying to INCREASE the amount of days in between washes you should try and DECREASE the amount of Baking Soda you use. If you are already through transition and are using anything more than one teaspoon in a cup of water once a week than I’d suggest you are using too much.
  • Use 1/4 teaspoon – 1 teaspoon for one wash and then use an alternative for your next wash. Ideally something with incredibly nourishing elements such as an egg.
  • Rinse the absolute HECK out of it. Left over BS in your hair will feel grim
  • Every month or so you should so a moisturising head mask – either with heated coconut oil, or a mashed up banana or a mashed up avocado.
  • If you have long hair you need to also use something acidic on your ends in order to smooth down the cuticle layer of your hair shaft. A spoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of warm water sprinkled through the ends of your hair and rinsed off will do this. (This will solve flyaways too.)
  • Try to nail the water only wash. Use hot water to massage into your scalp, scrubbing out the sebum down through your hair shaft to the very ends of your hair. Then scoot your hair under a cold rinse. The colder the better. Hollering allowed. Towel dry – hefty rubbing also helps. Use a water wash instead of another baking soda wash.
  • If your hair is waxy be assured this is a natural part of transition. There comes a point when not even BS can shift the wax. For this you need the super sonic combo of egg, lemon and white vinegar – a mask that will hit reset for your hair, shifting all the wax. YESSSS!

If you want to experiment with alternatives to baking soda, I have done a bunch of hands on alternative shampoo research here and have also come up with three gorgeous homemade shampoos that bring together some of the most nourishing ingredients for healthy, shampoo free hair.

And if you are serious about cutting down on traditional shampoo, do consider buying a Boar Bristle Brush. The best boar bristle brush for you depends on your price range and hair type.   I use this Kent brush, they’ve been making them since 1777 and i inherited this one from my Nana, but 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!

I hope this has answered all the questions out there about using Baking Soda for hair. Now, if you want to know all there is about giving up shampoo successfuly, I reckon you could do with my  my ebook, Happy Hair: the definitive guide to giving up shampoo.  You know what? Read my ebook and you will be the President of No Poo University. Actually, can I be president? You can be the librarian.

All the recipes mentioned briefly here- the conditioning masks, hot oil treatments and Wax Tackling egg combo are in there. As well as suggestions for dry shampoos and loads of tips about getting through transition. It is designed to be a reference point for all the tricky stages of your No Poo journey. It is available here in every country and currency and it downloads on to all computers, Kindles and E-readers and is also ready to print, if you like something in your hands.  All for a few buckeroos.No Poo Guide Transitional period

*BREAKING* I have recently released a brand new Amazon bestseller, Freedom Face – a whole body beauty guide free from toxic ingredients. Discover how to clean, moisturize and care for your body naturally. Loaded with homemade recipes for mascara, deodorant, lipstick, body scrubs and many other products, often using secret ingredients hidden in your home!



If you are interested in both books, can I offer you my Beauty Rebel Bundle One, it includes both my e-books, Freedom Face AND  Happy Hair AND access to my Hair Detox e-course which is packed with video tutorials and worksheets to really help you get to grips with your natural, shampoo free hair.

Beauty Rebel Bundle

Sending love and courage to you for this wonderful, self-loving, toxic-free journey!

Shampoo Free

How going shampoo free cured my dandruff (plus 4 Natural Remedies for Dandruff)

26 January, 2016

Every week or so I get an email about my book Happy Hair that totally blows me away. This week I just had to share it. It came from London, from a reader called Sami, who has had a long, arduous battle with dandruff.

Hi Lucy

Wishing you a great 2016. I just wanted to share my story with you regarding the rye flour shampoo recipe. Iam based in London and I am a male. I had a really sensitive scalp and had issues with dandruff for the past many years. I tried every shampoo expensive to organic. All herbal and other alternate options. So many oils just to solve my issue. I went to many dermatologists they gave me medication and gels but all in vain. I came across your blog while googling a remedy that could solve my issue. Its been 2 months and I cant imagine iam so happy and feels like I have a new scalp on my head.. No dandruff , no itching or flaking no dryness its just all so normal. I just wanted to thank you for sharing your blog and its like an inspiration for me . By the way I use rye flour (wholemeal) and it works great for me…


WOOOO! *puts pants on head and bounces victoriously on the trampoline* What a result!

I personally don’t suffer from dandruff really, only a tiny little patch of it that sprouts every so often.

(Although I have a lot of stuff generally sitting in my hair, sand and biscuits and leaves. I am mama to two wild children who have a hand on way of experiencing the world and their mother. But all of this comes out with my handy boar bristle brush.)

I can imagine how hard having an ongoing problem with dandruff is though, as I have had other battles with bits of my body where it feels like nothing, nothing is going to work. It is defeating and depressing.

Dandruff is definitelty not at all the fun that The Breakfast Club makes it out to be.

It impacts heaps of people too – apparently Head and Shoulders has been the best selling shampoo for yonks and yonks.

Some people find that anti dandruff shampoo works a treat – although research seems to suggest it only works as long as you use it– meaning it is simple keeping it at bay, rather than curing it.

Surely we can aim higher? Surely we can aim at curing our bodies, helping our bodies to thrive?How giving up shampoo cured my dandruff plus 4 natural remedies for dandruff

Dandruff – otherwise known as malassezia

Dandruff can be one of a few things. It might simply be a dry flakey scalp, due to the use of certain products, or diet, or circumstances. (Even constant air conditioning might be impacting your scalp’s health.) If it is this, then simple a good boar bristle brush and the odd sugar rub (to exfoliate the scalp) and more nourishing natural alternative shampoos will be the answer.

But for most people who feel that their scalp is long term getting them down, the problem is bigger than a few flakes here and there. For these people, it is most likely the spicy-curry-like sounding malassezia – a kind of fungus. Now our bodies at all time are a mixture of funguses and bacteria and there is no good or bad, technically. What there is, is a lack of right balance. So if your scalp is full of dandruff, the fungus has gotten the better of it.

Rock on, acid mantle

I love to talk about acid mantles. They absolutely rock. Our acid mantle is the protective layer covering our entire body, skin and scalp and all we have to do to keep it healthy is try not to interrupt it too much.

Learning about my acid mantle was pretty much the thing that made me realise how much the No Poo movement is based in science. So much research is appearing about the importance of our body’s microbiome and No Poo is basically a microbiome promoting regime.

Most of the high street bought shampoos and conditioners get way, way too involved in our acid mantle, stripping it of all the healthy sebum and bacteria it requires to protect us.

If we can get in to a rhythm based on water or one of the many natural alternatives to shampoo, we are handing our acid mantle a mega, mega gift. (And, if we struggle with dandruff or other scalp issues, ourselves a gift too!)

Please read more about the wonderful world of our skin and experiments in no products, but lots of healthy bacteria here.

Support from within
In all my travels amongst the world of Shampoo Free and Natural remedies I have begun to put huge stock in what we eat. Our skin is the talismen for what is going on inside. And if I can sum up everything I know about food into two things it is this:
Enjoy your food (oooh, I know! Counter cultural!)
Stuff yourself with probiotics

Probiotics are the answer to so, so, so many of our health problems. Ferment your food and eat it. Buy pickles and kim chi and kombucha whenever you can. Our acid mantle will almost certainly get stronger if we promote the balance of bacteria from the inside.

Why Rye Flour though?

My own theory about why Sami found rye flour to be so effective is that rye flour is incredibly bacteria – respecting! Rye flour isn’t one of the tamest washes – in fact, it is such an effective saponion that it feels like it rubs out every bit of sebum, some times. But I believe it does it in a way that doesn’t strip out our fungal/bacteria orchestra up there.

Rye Flour Shampoo

Look for the best, wholemeal, organic rye flour you can find. Put a table spoon or two of it into a cup and add enough water to make a paste. Rub into hair, leave for a few minutes and wash out. You will need to brush it heaps when it is dry, unless you seive your flour first. (Really recommend this!)
Please read my Rye Flour experiment over on Cosmo.
And watch my video here:

Other Natural Remedies for Dandruff
Whilst writing my book I came across quite a few effective natural remedies for dandruff – ones that would work expecially for folk who have given up shampoo, but possibly also for the die hard shampoo fans.

Apple Cider Vinegar is an increible dandruff busting natural remedy!
Get your hands on the most organic and the most natural apple cider vinegar you can. Ideally something with the Mother still in it (the original blobby plant thing from which it ferments.)

Add quarter of a cup of vinegar and quarter of a cup of water. Put it on your scalp, half way through a shower. This will be easiest to do using a squirty bottle. Allowing you to get right in on the scalp, covering every bit.

Leave it on for at least 20 minutes and do this three or four times a week.

Warning: if you don’t do a wash after this, the acv will quite possibly make your hair feel quite lank. It will have closed all the shingles on your hair shaft, make it super, duper sleek and shiny – but also looking greasy! (Such a bizarre thing.)

Dadruff often clears up with weeks of using this remedy, but for others it can take up to 6 months.

Rosemary Rinse is an ancient folk remedy for dandruff

One of the remedies I talk about in my book is based on a pretty ancient scalp-reviving tea rinse. Take a sprig of fresh rosemary and place it in a cup of hot water. Let it steep for twenty minutes and use the rinse on your head, mid shower, every week. (Make it fresh each time or do a huge batch of the tea and freeze it into ice blocks and defrost one each time.)

Plantain shampoo is the most secret natural remedy for dandruff

I recently made a mash of plantain, a weed that grows freely in every grassy field pretty much world wide! And I genuinely think it works!

Take a handful of the weed, add a few dashes of water, blitz it in a blender and place all over your problem areas. I think it exfoliates the dandruff and supports the acid mantle. My ittle patch of ‘druff hasn’t been back since.

Read the whole plantain as natural dandruff remedy experiment here.

Go for the long game

We are talking about the business of healing your scalp, possibly after a lifetime of abuse! Please, please give yourself months for this healing work. And eat sauerkraut every day.

PS- Here is a link to my ebook, Happy Hair: The Definitive guide to Giving Up Shampoo.

Shampoo Free

No Poo Shampoo : 3 Homemade Chemical Free Shampoo recipes to try at home

13 October, 2015

I haven’t used shampoo for almost 4 years now. The days of greeting people with how long I have gone between washes “Hi! Look at my nice hair! Haven’t done anything to it for 5 days omg!” have long passed, but when something incredible happens, I still can’t help but slot it gracefully into conversation. “Yeah, that’s great about your job. So, do you know I haven’t wet my hair for a month?!!” By “incredible” I obviously mean “super gross” / “extreme” / “impressive” depending on where you are on the No Poo scale!

(The No Poo scale being the Herbal Essence girl who is so keen to foam up that she does it in a water fountain on one end and then my daughter Juno who hasn’t used shampoo in her whole life on the other end…)

For those of you wondering what the heck-diggidy No Poo is let alone the No Poo scale (WELCOME!! *giddy laugh*)  let me introduce you very quickly:

30 Second intro to the Shampoo Free movement:
1- Shampoo is toxic – most bottles on the high street have known carcinogens and endocrine disruptors – impacting fertility, fetal development and lot of other nasty stuff (read more on the WHY of No poo right here)
2- Instead people might use baking soda and apple cider vinegar or an egg or soapnuts or a host of other things (here is a list of ten alternatives to shampoo) or even simply water
3- People are discovering AMAZING hair as a result! Shiny, quick growing, full. As well as better skin and getting an intro to all the possibilities of a chemical free life WOOO!
4- The No Poo movement is growing so rapidly that some industry insiders reckon we are witnessing the End Of Shampoo.

So what’s with not even letting my hair even get WET? I know. A new thing (low?) for me…  Now, I tend to be a minimalist when it comes to No Poo – I like to keep things as simple as possible, doing the least amount I can get away with. Our hair and scalp are so perfectly designed that I tend to find that the less you do, the better they look after themselves. But this definitely went extreme between June and September.  We have spent the last few months in the UK where the water is incredibly different to the river-water we use here in NZ and my hair went totally bonkers. I pretty much stopped letting water get on it and it righted itself within days. How mad is that? Simply brushing it with my boar bristle brush got it looking nicer than putting it under the shower, or using any of my usual No Poo Shampoos. Weird, eh?

I did rely on the odd little shake of homemade dry shampoo (article I wrote for Cosmo on that here.)

But I realise this sort of minimalist grooming is not for all. In fact, it isn’t even for my oldest daughter, Ramona. She loooooves bubbles and potions and mixtures. So when my girls have a bath I will often give them a mix of non toxic ingredients, usually from the garden or kitchen, with which they can wash their hair.

We have come up with some amazing combinations in our no poo shampoo experimentation.

I am absolutely SURE that these chemical free, no poo shampoo alternatives will bridge the gap for people wanting to have super clean, healthy hair but not willing to go totally minimalist. They might provide the answer for all the millions of people sitting in the expansive middle of that No Poo Scale.

The last two recipes also have the fabulous benefit of being able to be made up in a batch and poured into ice cubes so you can pop one out whenever you want to shampoo, no potion making necessary.

Rightiho, hairy people, let’s do it.No Poo Shampoo Recipes

Egg and Lemon No Poo Shampoo – especially good for heavy/ waxy or tangly hair

1-2 egg yolks depending on length of hair
1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice (this is just one of the incredible uses for lemons)
Any fresh herbs you have to hand – rosemary for itchy/ dandruffy scalps, lemonbalm for extra shine, mint for a strong smell… Grab a handful and mix in.
Add a tablespoon of honey if you have a lot of tangles.

Massage all over your cool (not hot or even warm) wet hair, mid shower and leave on for two minutes. Wash out well with cool water.

This is my favourite for tackling Ramona’s dreadlocks. A kind, hearty winner.

Soapnuts and Essential Oils Squeaky Clean No Poo Shampoo (particularly good for hard water)

Soapnuts , in my opinion, are the power ingredient of the No Poo movement. They are robust enough to give your hair a good clean yet kind and ph balanced enough to keep hair super healthy and soft.

Take 10 soap nuts. Simmer them on the stove in 4 cups of water for 20 minutes.

Take a potato masher and beat them up! Strain liquid out and add essential oils of your choice. A few drops of tea tree deals with dermatitis, a few drops of lavender promotes a healthy scalp.

Pour into ice cube molds and pop one or two out (depending on how much hair you have) to replace a dollop of shampoo.

(Head to my affiliate chums, Ethical Superstore- the best place online to buy soapnuts as they come in a 1 kilo pack – which will make over 300 lots of shampoo- and you can order a few other organic quite inexpensively and get their free delivery. Whoot!)

Rhassoul Clay and Coconut Milk Moisturising No Poo Shampoo

Rhassoul clay is trickier to get hold of (hoorah for Le Internets) but is also a brilliant ingredient to get your hands on. It is kind to hair and has been the game changing ingredient for people struggling to get their no poo hair to take off. The coconut milk in this shampoo makes this one a really moisturising one. If you need less conditioning take some of the milk out.

This recipe will provide between 3-6 alternative shampoos – like the other recipe pour this into ice molds to save it between washes.

Take 4 heaped spoon of rhassoul clay. Add 4 spoons of boiling water, mix well, into a paste. Add 4 heaps spoons of coconut milk. Mix well.No Poo Shampoo recipes to try at home
Yay, team! Here’s to absolutely killer hair, naturally.

PS If you want more No Poo reading, check out my bestselling book for everything you need to know about giving up shampoo… or if you are even more dead keen, and want to be able to hit me up for support on a daily basis? You need my Happy Hair Detox Course where I am helping students discover healthy, happy hair!

Shampoo Free

How to get shiny hair and natural hair growth

21 July, 2015

As you know, I haven’t washed my hair for YONKS. Three and a half years, to be precise. In those years, particularly during the months that I was researching my Happy Hair book, I learnt an awful lot about hair. And there is a lot that I learnt that applies not *just* for those who have given up shampoo completely, but for everyone who would like healthy hair.

Since giving up shampoo my hair has become a lot more shiny and has seen a lot more natural growth. It is like it is unburdened by all the toxins I was sticking in it and just wildly shimmying around up there. However, there is one thing that has impacted this shiny hair and growth the most, folks. How to get shiny hair and natural hair growth - the one tip you need!

How to get shiny hair
The internet is full of tips for healthy hair – but nearly all of them involve more chemical heavy stuff to stick on your hair. The last thing you need on your hair is MORE chemicals. Your scalp produces this awesome stuff called sebum. We often refer to it as grease, which is a dirty word, so I am on a mission to reclaim SEBUM as the natural, glorious, protective oil that it is! It is there for our own good, to coat our hair shaft and make it smooth shiny and to protect it from the elements.

Sebum will get you shiny hair- but you need to help move it along. And this is where my one hair secret rises above all the other healthy hair tips! *da dad di daaaaaaaaa* (Dramatic drum rolly thing)

It is a boar bristle brush.

Everyone who dreams of shiny, healthy hair should have one of these in their cupboard!

A few nights of brushing properly and your hair just goes BLING DIGGIDY BLING.

A boar bristle brush conditions and nourishes, improves the texture and can cut down the need for any other styling products. 

Natural Hair Growth Tips
I have always longed for fast growing hair. I can remember trying to make my hair touch my bum as a kid, I’d lean back, practically in half and be like LOOK MY HAIR GOES DOWN TO MY BUM! But I also act on my fancies quite regularly too – so even as a teenager I’d be looking in the mirror and think, ooh, this hair needs a chop. And then I’d chop it all off. And then I’d be back to square one.

How to increase hair growth became a bit of an obsession of mine, and I learnt that eating healthier (lots and lots of good oils and oily fish) can really help. As can some of those folk tips for hair growth such a rosemary tea and lavender tea.

But since giving up shampoo and using my boar bristle brush every night my hair has been growing at a rate of knots. It stimulates the scalp and your hair is just like LET’S DO IT!  Which means I can whimsically chop it whenever I want. In fact *wanders off the find the scissors*

Boar Bristle Brush (or a BBB. Yeah you know me.)
There is a wide spectrum for the old natural boar bristle brush. You have a Mason Pearson on one end which can run into hundreds of dollars worth – and lots of people think they are worth every penny. Then there is a Denman, which you can pick up on the high street for a few quid. In between there are many others and I reckon a mid range one is the way to go. My favourite brush is a trusty Kent – they’ve been making brushes since 1777 – I have this KENT spiral bristle brush but can also highly recommend the paddle brush – KENT Airheadz paddle brush (Affiliate links but recommended in total integrity.) See my full list of best boar bristle brush in 2017. How to get shiny hair and natural hair growth- the one thing you need

Cut down your washes
I don’t know many women that didn’t wish they weren’t so completely locked into their once a day or once-every-two-days shampoo cycle. It does feel a bit of a trap, shampooing your hair only for it to create a load of sebum again. Did you know that is your hair freaking out? It is your scalp going CRIKEY JIM SHE’S STRIPPED OFF OUR SEBUM QUICK PRODUCE SOME MORE GO GO GO GO GO!!!!

Using a boar bristle brush in between washes – every night, very thoroughly – can help you stretch out your days. It will train your scalp not to produce so much sebum, you are working with it, helping move the sebum from your scalp down your hair shaft.

In the olden days the average woman washed hair a few times a year and it was the nightly brushing that kept it clean and conditioned inbetween times.

For those whose use no shampoo
Lots of people give No Shampoo a crack – but they just can’t break through to the healthy hair nirvana they dream of. I reckon a good boar bristle brush can make or break someone’s no poo journey. Don’t try and give up shampoo without one. Promise?How to get shiny hair and natural hair growth - the one tip you need

Brushing for hair growth and shiny hair – and other benefits
Hard city water, silicones and preservatives in shampoo all make your hair dull and stunted. By using a boar bristle brush regularly you can expose your hair way less to this stuff and let your sebum do the work.

A brush like this Spornette is called a porcupine- it has longer bristles that really get down and grizzly. In fact, the first time you use it you sort of unhearth a load of, um, extras. Dandruff, flakes, gunk.

Using it regularly combats dandruff and itchy scalp by keep your brilliant acid mantel (the protective layer that covers your scalp and body) clear and healthy.

I have curly hair- brushing? Really?
Curly haired friends are divided on this one. It must depend on the type of curl or porosity of the hair.
There are loads of curly haired peeps that have never brushed their hair, and then when they start on this journey, they discover they can use a boar bristle brush to great effect – if done in the evening so their hair has time to calm down again.

And then there are curly haired people who don’t even need it – just the odd scritch and preen every now and then.

With all the people I’ve worked with on this, I’d say curly haired people find giving up shampoo sooooo much easier- as long as it is kept untangled with argan/jojoba/coconut oil.

Extra Brushing Tips

  • Brush section by section
  • Hold the hair from the scalp to the ends as long as you can.
  • Brush at night so that the redistributed sebum has time to settle
  • Keep your brushes super clean by swishing in a baking soda mixture while you shower. (Bristles only, not the handles.)

Here is a video with me talking about the powers of the boar bristle brush, demo-ing brushing techniques and cleaning methods.

I realise I sound absurdly like a salesperson.  (You can see there are no affiliate links of anything here!) I am simply passionate about people finding natural ways to care for their hair and body, and I am a bit of an evangelist for cutting down all those carcinogenic chemicals that are jammed in our shampoo and conditioners.

And if there is something that can get you shiny hair and hair growth, that will last your whole life, has no chemicals and works WITH your amazing, magnificent body? I want to shout about it. Yahoo for the boar bristle brush. *waves pom poms*

PS If you want more loads more information about getting super healthy hair by giving up shampoo, the science of shampoo and a ton of tips and recipes for scalp and hair please do check out my book and join this global movement.

PPS And if you are really quite daunted by the idea but want to give it a crack let me properly hold your hand through the process. My E-Course, Happy Hair Detox, has helped 20 students get started on this journey so far and you are very much invited to join them! Click here for more info and a discounted price- use the code LulasticReader. 

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