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Trying The No Poo Life
I’ll admit last year I happily hopped on the no-poo bandwagon. So many people rave about it (no-poo life)! My husband was eager to try water washing, so he became my case study in this shampoo-less lifestyle. Not quite brave enough to try it on myself, he didn’t mind me experimenting on him. Frequently, I shove a spoonful of a new recipe in his mouth for a secondary opinion. Or, I like to approach him with a new bodycare product that I’ll just start applying on him without saying anything. The man is used to it.
His method? Start by washing his hair thoroughly every day with only water. After 5 weeks of “transition,” he found (and me, too!) his hair was unbelievably greasy. Hubby even got our neighbor to try it, but with the same failed results. Next up to try?? An apple cider vinegar and essential oils rinse. He simply poured it on and combed it through. Finally, he had results! His hair!! Soft, shiny, not greasy hair, and the dandruff from his psoriasis?? Poof…gone!
Stoked with his results, I ditched my own bottle of shampoo. I used the vinegar rinse and about 4 weeks later, I was a stringy, greasy mess! I had previously read that many fellow no-pooers use baking soda as shampoo, before rinsing in vinegar, so I gave it a try. Instantly, I had perfect, non-greasy hair. Yes…I was hooked!
The Problem with Homemade Shampoo
Three months later, unfortunately my scalp was on fire…holy itchy! The problem with this method, and many other DIY shampoos, is that they drastically raise the Ph value of the scalp, then shock it when it’s hit with the acidic vinegar. Over time this disrupts the scalp’s natural Ph and will cause itching and flaking.
This is much like baking soda in homemade DIY deodorant recipes. Read more about that here.
I often see that castile soap is often used as a base in homemade shampoos, but it’s ph value is 10-11, while the scalp’s natural ph is closer to 5.5. And if your hair is colored or treated, according to Lisa Bronner the castile soap can strip the color. SO, what to do!??
After failing in my no poo experiment, I caved. It was back to my health food store brand, even though I was never entirely impressed with the ingredients. Recently though, I learned that not just soap or baking soda can be used to cleanse the hair.
It’s All About That Ph
I don’t know the exact Ph of this shampoo recipe, but I do know it is not highly alkaline, like baking soda. The Ph levels of each ingredient are listed below inside the recipe so you can see for yourself how this works. Ideally you want the final Ph to be between 4.5 and 5.5. All of the ingredients are in this range, except for the coconut milk which is between 6-7, so I added some apple cider vinegar to counteract the higher Ph.
Many DIY shampoo recipes call for mixing coconut milk with castile soap. BUT!!! While creating this recipe I found skipping the soap and going with beautiful raw honey was the winner. This article does a good job of explaining why raw honey is so good for the scalp and helps tame dandruff and frizz.
Many people use castor oil to successfully grow hair, so I include it in this recipe, but you can skip if your hair is naturally very greasy. I also use jojoba oil, which is technically a wax and closely mimics our hairs natural sebum. Learn more about carrier oils here.
So How Does DIY Ph Balanced Shampoo Work?
This recipe doesn’t lather like regular shampoos, but it does cleanse and moisturize, very well. Don’t use too much though, or you end up with leftover residue in your hair, which makes it feel gunky.
If you’ve been using a regular shampoo you will likely experience a detox period that can last for a few weeks. Just like when you switch to a natural deodorant, your hair needs time to adjust. To minimize this you should slowly replace your regular shampoo with this recipe.
So, for example, if you wash your hair three times a week, I think it’s a good idea to start off with using the store bought shampoo for two of those washes. Then, the next week you can try reducing it to one wash. After a week or two, you can start using this DIY Ph balanced recipe only. Even if you’ve been “no pooing” for awhile, it may still take a few times before your hair and scalp adjust to this recipe.
How To Store Your DIY Ph Balanced Shampoo
In theory, you can store this DIY Ph balanced shampoo at room temperature, but to be safe I keep it in the fridge. If you want, you can make up a big batch, pour the mixture into ice cube trays, and keep in the freezer for later. It’s super easy to thaw out a cube or two every week as needed. My hair is just past my shoulders and I use about 2 teaspoons of shampoo on mine.
- 1 can full fat coconut milk (about 13.5 oz) - ph 6.1-7.0
- 2 Tbsp liquid raw honey - ph 3.9
- 1 tsp jojoba oil - ph 4.21
- 1 tsp castor oil - ph 4.65
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar - ph 3.1
- 1 tsp essential oils of choice (lavender, cedarwood, rosemary, peppermint, carrot, clary sage and tea tree are all good for hair; find our favorite organic, sustainable essential oils here)
- Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. This will separate some, so shake well before each use.
- To use, massage a small amount on the scalp and use your fingers or a comb to spread through the hair. Leave on for a few minutes before rinsing off.
- If your hair is naturally very oily, you can follow this up with an apple cider vinegar rinse made with ¼ cup apple cider vinegar and ¼ cup purified water.
Still feel the need for a DIY Conditioner? Yup, you got it……
More Natural Hair Products…?
Also, if you are looking for a natural, healthy, effective hair serum…you’ve got to head over to my Shop: Pronounce Skincare & Herbal Boutique. I have a hair serum that is nourishing for the scalp overnight and wonderful for ends during they day!
Need an aftershave spray? I’ve got two scents: Cedarwood & Bay / Rose & Lavender. DROOL!!!