So, here’s One Small Change I’ll be making this month (see yesterday’s post for details): I’m going to stop using commercial shampoo and conditioner. See, small! I’ve been buying shampoo in bulk for a while, but am too cheap to buy the really pure, really expensive kind. I did a little research at this site that does cosmetic safety reviews, and my “natural” shampoo rated a 6 out of 10, i.e. moderately toxic. Yuck. There’s a child in the house and I’m still using parabens? Double yuck. What’s bad for us is doubtlessly bad for the earth. Between the petroleum and chemicals that go into making most body care products, even so called organic ones, I know this is one area where I can do better.
Now, perhaps you are looking carefully at this picture and thinking, girl, good luck cause your hair’s a mess. All I’m saying is maybe we’d been camping for a while, or maybe this was my baking soda shampoo phase. Who can remember. Either way, I’m sure there’s an explanation. Moving on to the next level of DIY body care, I mixed up a batch of this shampoo from Rosemary Gladstar’s book Herbs for Natural Beauty:
8 oz strong herbal tea.
3 oz liquid castile soap.
1/4 tsp jojoba oil
ten drops essential oil.
For the tea I used rosemary and yerba de la negrita, a local plant renowned as a hair rinse. Nettles or a mallow family plant would also be great. If I was fair haired I might have used chamomile instead of rosemary. The results, so far, are heavenly. My hair feels clean and light, while retaining the natural oils most shampoo strips away. For conditioner I use a blend of 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar in 3 cups water. The vinegar smell washes out completely, and the results are, again, surprisingly wonderful and nourishing.
Like many of the small and large changes we’ve been making these days, what at first seems like a sacrifice ends up feeling like an indulgence. Which is the beauty of all these changes. We are making them for the earth, yes, but also for ourselves, our families, and our communities. Which is really all one and the same, no?
Update 2011: Just wanted to add that this is still going, and that what I found worked best in the end was using a baking soda rinse (3 tbsp baking soda mixed with a pint or so of water), then the castile shampoo, then the vinegar rinse.