Sunday, October 10, 2010
Natural Shampoo. Still Working on That.
So I did return to "regular" store bought shampoo and conditioners for now, but am reading the labels and trying to find the most natural ones that I can (free of anything with the word Paraben in it) and with ingredients that I can recognize or look up to see what harmful effects they have been associated with. I'm far from a militant purist, but want to move towards better choices. I know that our skin (including scalp) is like a giant sponge (think pores), and it literally absorbs into our body whatever is on it. Makes me think twice...three times even about what I put on it.
Another thing I've learned, by reading up on it, is that we can train our hair/skin to self-correct. If you have oily hair/skin, the tendency is to use products that strip off that oil. The weird thing about that is, when you totally strip off the oils, the body overcompensates by producing MORE oil. Then you want to strip it off even more and the cycle is in motion. Over time, you can readjust the body to not overproduce (or underproduce) oils. First of all, by not stripping off all of the oil, and secondly by adding in natural oils (vs chemicals). You would be surprised at what a couple of drops of olive oil, almond oil, sesame oil ect...the kind you use for cooking, can do when gently patted on skin. I have a dropper bottle that I put regular organic olive oil in, a few drops of my favorite organic essential oil for fragrance and use it as a facial moisturizer. Can you say INEXPENSIVE???!! I put a drop or less on the tip of four fingers of one hand, then rub the four tips of the other hand over that and gently tap those 8 fingers over my face and throat, then gently blend it. You don't need much! Again, if you use too much, your skin will try to overadjust and you may have breakouts. Experiment with different natural oils until you find one your skin likes, and an amount it likes.
Also, you can train your hair (really just rebalance it) to be more oil-balanced by slowly washing it less, and by using gentler products. For example, even though I have returned to store-bought shampoos, I will vigorously rinse my hair one day, and on another may rinse it with a combination of about 1-2 tsp of organic apple cider vinegar mixed in a little bottle (3 oz travel size) of warm water and dump the whole thing on my head and rinse after combing through (no shampoo). I've found that slowly my hair is producing less oil, is more manageable, softer, and requires less washing with the shampoo I'm hoping to replace one day. Some people say they wash their hair once a week with great results. I'm not there yet.
We have a cultural idea about cleanliness that borders on OCD and I'm right there in it with you. Most cultures don't scrub themselves raw quite like we do. The balance is in not wanting to smell bad, wanting to feel fresh, and also maintaining oil balance in hair and skin. And of course, I hope to reduce the overall challenge to my body as I age that it experiences with chemical exposures.
For a year or more, we've been using Dr. Bronner's liquid Castille soap for cleaning our skin. It isn't perfect, but it is a step in the right direction. And I'm still looking for a good recipe for shampoo and conditioners that give me the results I'm looking for (which, of course will be different for everyone).