When it comes to needless and toxic body products none are more aptly named, nor more easily replaced with natural DIY alternatives, than the relatively modern inventions of Sham–poo and con-ditioner. For a bit of fun, let’s look at the dictionary definitions of these words …
1 a thing that is not what it is purported to be
poo (also pooh) noun
1 a child’s word for the solid waste that is passed through the bowels [aka. crap, shit, turd, feces, etc.)
con 1 |kän| informal verb (cons, conning, conned)
persuade (someone) to do or believe something, typically by use of a deception
an instance of deceiving or tricking someone
con 2 |kän|noun
As I said, the name of these products speak for themselves. Typical sham-poo is loaded with mildly toxic chemicals. Most are based on chemical detergents, as opposed to real soap (saponified oil). These detergents are also known as surfactants. Many are derived from plant materials, but the most common detergents are not, such as the chemicals Sodium lauryl sulfate, and Sodium laureth sulfate, etc. SLF has been shown to penetrate the lipid barrier that makes up cell walls, and enter the cells. Some research indicates that because of its ability to break through lipids, it can pass through the blood-brain barrier.
Good news: Making your own hair cleanser is easy and cheap. It’s also better for you, and better for the planet.
In many traditional cultures flour has been used for successfully cleansing the hair. In India, for instance, Chana flour (chickpea/garbanzo bean), has been traditionally used for hair cleanser.
I use either finely ground rye flour and/or finely ground buckwheat flour. I find the advantage with buckwheat flour is it has a gelatinous quality to it once wet, which is useful in my “advanced” recipe. For the “simple” recipe, this gelatinous quality is not to important.
Simple Hair Cleanser Recipe
All you need is fine buckwheat flour and water. You can also use chickpea flour. Or any flour. Buckwheat is my first choice, and chickpea my second.
Make a shampoo consistency paste, and apply it to the hair and skalp. Leave in for a few minutes (massaging during that time can be nice) and then thoroughly rinse the paste out with warm water.
Advanced Hair Cleanser Recipe
- Three tablespoons of buckwheat flour (finely ground)
- Some water
- One teaspoon of baking soda
- Some essential oils (as you like)
- A few table spoons of organic, unfiltered, raw apple cider vinegar (there is no need to pre-measure this)
- Dry mix the flour and baking soda.
- Add the essential oils. Rosemary is nice, as is sandalwood, lavender, cedar, rose, and or geranium. Or any other none-irritating pure essential oil you like. Add 5 to 10 drops.
- Add in enough water to make a thick paste. Almost like a soft bread dough.
- When you are in the shower and ready to wash your hair, make sure you have the dough in a mug and the apple cider vinegar, and a tea spoon, handy.
- Pour just enough vinegar into the dough so that by the time it’s all mixed you will have a paste of shampoo consistency. It might take around 3 table spoons, but just experiment until you get the hang of it. I never bother to measure it out. Rather I just pour it in directly from the bottle.
- Thoroughly mix the vinegar into the dough. It will foam up into a frothy paste, perhaps 10 times greater in volume than the lump of thin dough you started out with.
- Rub this foamy paste into your scalp and all through your hair.
- After a minute or two (it doesn’t need much time actually) thoroughly rinse with warm water.
It’s actually a very simple procedure, once you get the hang of it. The main thing is to not over do the vinegar, otherwise the bubbles won’t hold in the paste, and you’ll end up with something very “watery” (or vinegary, a the case may be).
If you find these cleanser overly dry your hair, you can also add in a very small amount of oil. I recommend hemp oil, and/or coconut oil, and/or wheatgerm oil. The coconut oil may need to be melted first though. Just a teaspoon of hemp oil should do the trick. Use more or less, depending on your hair type. You would mix this into the dry flour/soda combo before adding water, etc.
Don’t overdo the oil, otherwise your hair will not come out nice and shiny and soft. It will be slightly oiling or heavy.
Does this really work?
Absolutely. When I clean my hair with this foaming buckwheat mix, friends are amazed when they see the results.
Other hair tips
Avoid using chlorinated water on your hair and body. Chlorinated water does nasty things to hair. Most people don’t realise, as they might have only ever showered with chlorinated water. If your water is chlorinated, I suggest using a Sprit shower filter. Like this one:
I am sure most people will find removing the chlorine from their shower (and baths) will make a significant difference to the condition of their skin and hair.