Watch out for the hippies

My last post was whiney and shallow, I'll go ahead and admit it.  I've gotten over myself and promise that I will NOT go out and buy Rogaine. While I'm admitting things, I need to tell you all something:  I have not washed my hair since last Thursday!  Don't freak out!  It's not that I haven't cleansed my hair for nearly a week, it's just that I haven't used shampoo or conditioner.  Instead, I've been conducting a little experiment and "washing" my hair with baking soda and "conditioning" it with a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water.

The hippies have finally gotten to me.

The "hippie" you have to blame for this craziness is Lori.  Lori doesn't have a blog, but she left me an informative and helpful comment on the last post along with a link to this website.  I was stuck on the couch nursing with no book in sight (Maggie would be so ashamed of me) so I read through the link with great interest. This whole "No 'Poo" thing utterly fascinated me!  Also, there was an important phrase in the article: "Stimulates growth."  In desperation I decided to give it a try … what did I have to lose?  More hair?  I was used to it by then!  The supplies were there in my cabinets anyway, and at that magic hour when Sydney FINALLY went down for a solid nap – oh yes, the shower-worthy hour of 3 p.m. – I went for it.  I made a little paste of baking soda and water, massaged it into my scalp and rinsed.  Then with a plastic cup I mixed a bit of apple cider vinegar with water and poured it on the ends of my hair and rinsed.  Very simple.  And strange.  I was a little worried that I'd end up greasy and smelling like vinegar but I didn't have anything of importance – other than a trip to Target (which as you know is of DIRE importance around these here parts) - scheduled that day so I figured it really didn't matter if I ended up a stinky, greasy mess.

To my shock and surprise, IT WORKED.  I took 5 extra minutes to blow dry my hair and WOAH.  My hair was silky and full of body … which never happens, I always have to use a huge handful of conditioner to get my hair detangled after I shampoo!  I had to give it an extra litmus test so I busted into John's office where he was (and still is, mind you) fervently grading papers and MADE him run his fingers through my hair and SNIFF IT before I told him what I had done.  No grease, no stink.  Dare I say that I actually LIKED my hair a little bit?  I have repeated this process every day since.  When I wake up in the morning my usual oil-slick head still feels clean!  My hair is more manageable and looks good at the end of the day!  It is SO WEIRD.  My hair is still falling out, but not by the GOBS.  It makes sense because I'm not putting a bunch of chemicals I can't pronounce on my head.  DUH. 

I probably should have thought of this sooner.  About a year ago something suddenly clicked (loose?) in my mind as I was scrubbing the tile in my shower.  I could literally feel my nose hairs burning, I felt a bit light-headed, my throat was scratchy and the skin on my hands was tight and dry.  The wheels started turning at warp speed, the light bulb went on and I was all "OH. Maybe chemicals are BAD for me or something?"  Reading the warning labels on most of the cleaning products in my cabinets only confirmed my concerns.  They all said to be sure to ventilate the area where they are being used, keep everything out of reach of children and to call a poison control center if any amount was accidentally ingested.  Honestly, it all kind of freaked me out.  I read a post about using non-toxic cleaning products on Whoorl and decided to give it a (ha ha) whirl.  It was helpful that my husband was in full support!  He actually was really excited about making the switch.

It was kind of like going on a new diet:  I went through all the cabinets, gathered up and donated everything that I could replace with a non-toxic alternative and went on a spending frenzy at Target.  The three main brands that were available to me at the time were:  Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day, Method, and Seventh Generation.  At first it was a lot about trial and error:  I liked some of the products and did not like others.  One brand of hand soap left my hands smelling like what ever I was trying to wash off them in the first place.  I could never settle on a laundry detergent that I liked better than Tide (and still haven't.  Also?  Can't replace bleach. I haven't found a better way to get socks white).  Yet when I was pregnant I could scrub my shower and bathtub and kitchen counters and sink to my heart's content because?  No fumes.  No harsh chemicals.  No toxicity.  Which should be important when you're trying to grow a person, dontcha think?  I wash all of my breast pump components, bottle parts, pacifiers, etc. with non-toxic dish soap, which makes me feel better because it all eventually goes IN MY BABY'S MOUTH.  I also don't get "dishpan" hands anymore … which I thought was caused by hot water.  Whoops.

Here's a list of products I have been able to replace to my satisfaction with non-toxic alternatives.  The cost is comparable and many of these products actually have a much more pleasant smell than their toxic counterparts:

-Dish soap
-Hand soap
-Surface scrub
-Furniture/dusting wipes
-Surface wipes
-Tub and tile cleaner
-Toilet bowl cleaner
-Glass cleaner

…and now, shampoo and conditioner!

For many reasons going non-toxic has made sense for our family.  We're not complete converts (I still use certain spray cleaners with bleach in them for my moldy shower and oft-coffeestained WHITE kitchen sink, but only sparingly.  I also make sure the area is ventilated and that anything the baby might touch is far, far away), but in most cases making the switch hasn't been too painful. 

But I don't think I will ever be able to give up my Swiffer Wet Jet.  That thing?  Miraculous.


7 thoughts on “Watch out for the hippies

  1. C. says:

    The baking soda/vinegar concoction doesn’t dry your hair out? Mine has been a little dry lately. Maybe I’ll give this a shot when I get back from Christmas vacation. I have very fine hair that’s difficult to do anything with. You should post a picture for us sometime and let us know what your exact measurements are (baking soda to water ratio, etc.)

    Thanks! 🙂

  2. A'Dell says:

    Ok I am intrigued by the hair thing. I am totally trying that today…whenever my baby decides to nap too. I love a good experiment!

    And I am also on a mission to quit using weird chemical-y household cleaners. I’ve been making my own though with borax, baking soda, vinegar and the like. It’s totally trial and error though – some works and some, not so much.

    My hands used to smell for HOURS after I scrubbed the bathtub with some Lysol concoction…no more. That stuff just can’t be good to have in the house.

  3. anne nahm says:

    I am surprised the vinegar doesn’t dry out hair. It’s an interesting idea, and I was kind of horrified to read all the ingredients and their side effects listed on that poo post. Thanks for the link.

  4. Lisa says:

    We’ve done some of this “converting” since our first was born too. But I don’t think anything but the toxic chemical stuff can really get the shower clean … tell me if you find something …

    for laundry I do really like Charlie’s Soap.

  5. A'Dell's mom says:

    My hair has been falling out too, but my last baby was born 27 years ago. My doctor has told me my hair is thinning on the crown and suggested Rogaine, and massaging my scalp when I shampoo. I’ve been using it for a month now, and waiting for my March 4 appointment to an endocrinologist. My daughter sent this post to me, she tried the no ‘poo yesterday and I’m trying it today. If it stimulates hair growth it’s goodbye Aveeda. For years I have been using baking soda, ammonia, water and bleach to clean…never ammonia and bleach together, talk about toxic! I clean my white Corian counters with baking powder. You might try keeping a light on in the bathroom to keep the mold from growing.

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