Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Shampoo. Absolutely not!

Now your reaction might be: “you don’t shampoo! Now that’s just gross!”

I’ve always believed that if we knew half the truth about a lot of cosmetics we buy, it would undoubtedly change our outlook.

Recently Johnson & Johnson were in the news for having “chemicals of concern” [human carcinogens] in their iconic baby shampoo. While all the focus is on their baby shampoo nothing is being said about their Aveeno and Neutrogena brands, which still contain harmful toxins. The company came out with a statement promising consumers that it would be removing quaternium -15 and other formaldehyde – releasing preservatives from all of its baby products worldwide within 2 years. http://tinyurl.com/3guhv3r

Personally I think 2 years is a while.

Five months ago, I made a decision to stop using shampoos. It came like a brainwave. In the old days our grandparents and their parents before them did not use shampoos, they used soap, so why the shift?
In a few words, our water became hard, which made using soap increasingly difficult; so shampoos were invented.

Shampoos are detergents; while they are very effective they are a lot harsher, striping one’s hair of its natural oils. Conditioners - made up of artificial oils - were developed to mask this damage. After doing some research on this issue I’ve simply eliminated shampoos altogether.

My routine involves using the following:

Dudu Osun or “Ose Dudu” [as we call it back home in Lagos, Nigeria] is an age long black soap made by hand, using only pure natural ingredients. I often say all of its ingredients you can pronounce!!
The soap is made using pure Honey, Shea butter, Osun (Camwood extract), Palm kernel oil, Cocoa pod ash, Palm bunch ash, Aloe Vera, Lime juice, Water and fragrance. It contains no artificial colours or preservatives and is biodegradable.
I find that it has a deep cleansing effect; I’ve also used it in treating acne and dark spots.

Raw Ghana Black soap is more organic than Dudu Osun. It has NO fragrance. If you’ve ever tried to buy this soap you’ll see that it’s not fancy at all!

It is handmade by local women in Ghana using Plantain skins, Shea butter, native Honey, virgin Coconut oil, cocoa pod ash and Palm kernel oil. Its benefits are immeasurable.

Neither soaps have alcohol or petroleum-by-products, and they lather really well!
Rule of thumb: If you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin.

Recently Dr. Bonner’s Magic Soap has become one of my favourite substitutes for shampoo. It’s made with Fairtrade certified & organic oils. I’m a huge fan of the peppermint liquid soap!
Dr. Bonner’s Magic Soaps contains olive oil, hemp seed oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, and peppermint oil. You can purchase this at any health food store or online. http://www.drbronner.com

Baking soda: I’ve discovered you can use it for pretty much anything! Its environmentally friendly, in-expensive and can be bought anywhere!
What to do?
Mix 1 Tbsp of baking soda with 8 oz of lukewarm water and wash your hair.
At first it might seem weird because baking soda neither lathers nor has a scent, but it’s a healthy alternative that works rather well. It will remove odor plus any build up from oil and dirt, leaving you and your hair feeling fresh.

Lastly, condition only. This may seem radical, but the results are incredible.
The process?
Wet your hair first, and then gently massage conditioner into your scalp and hair. You will have to work at it to remove dirt and oil build up, then rinse out with lukewarm water. I recommend you do this twice.

The third time you apply your conditioner let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse out with cold water, to seal your pores. This final step is necessary because it gives your hair a healthy sheen.

Conditioners I’m currently using:
Carina's Organics & Uncle Funky’s Daughter Richee Rich Moisturizing Conditioner. It’s free of Mineral oil, Paraben and Synthetic Dyes.