Look at the list of ingredients of most shampoos and you’ll see a lot of chemical names. I’ll freely admit I don’t know what half of them are. Since my teens, I’ve struggled to find anything that would both get my hair clean, and not result in scalp itching hell. There is also the issue of not wanting to pile potentially hazardous chemicals into the water system.
The substances used in beauty products have all been tested – on animals. That’s a great big ethical discomfort all by itself. It’s also flawed. Short term animal testing does not tell us much about the long term effects of use on humans. It doesn’t tell us what these chemicals are going to do when we mix them up with a whole bunch of other stuff, wash them down the drain and send them off into the water system. There are all kinds of things we know perfectly well are ok in small doses and deadly or damaging with longer exposures. X rays. Chemo therapy. Sunlight. We’ve been assured chemicals used in farming were safe, only to find out years into the real world experiment, that they were killing high level predators. As soon as we wop the ‘science’ label on our beauty products, or anything else, a frightening number of us seem to imagine nothing bad will happen. The truth, as illustrated by thalidomide, organophosphates and other things that have since been banned after first being though fine, is that we the users are where the real scientific research happens. Slowly.
Hair is just one issue amongst many. I’m flagging it up because I appear to have found a good solution. Green, light on chemicals of uncertain effect, no sign of scalp irritation and resulting in clean hair. Having tested this on me for a while, I am reasonably confident in suggesting it.
Just washing with water may get sweat and dust out, but it doesn’t give you much to sort out hair oils. When you first stop using regular shampoo, even if that’s just to move to a milder, greener product you may find you produce a lot of grease. You probably always did. Regular shampoos strip out a lot of oil and thus stimulate oil production. Giving them up means grease.
I spent a lot of time pondering what other creatures do to maintain fur and hair. Licking was straight out. Water I’d already got. What I’d not tried, was a dust bath. Pick a flour you are fine eating. I’m currently using rice because I hate cooking with it, but any fine flour will do. Take pinches and rub it into your hair, thoroughly. This takes a while and gets flour everywhere, just to warn people. Brush it out. The flour combines with the hair grease and off it comes. I like to follow through with a water rinse, because that feels really nice. If you brush the worst of the flour out, you do not then clog up the sink. If you buy organic flour, you’re about as close to green hair as I think it may be possible to get. I have long hair, of a tangly, misbehaving disposition. It comes out smooth, clean, silky and looks good for quite a lot of days post dust bath. It’s slightly more fiddly and messy than regular washing, but uses far less in the way of chemicals, uses far less water than conventional hair washing, costs far less than shampoo and works better than anything else I have tried so far. It’s also a great way of using up flour that is past its best and smells nice, in a ricey sort of way at the moment.
I can’t claim this is fool proof, allergic reaction proof, or absolutely guaranteed to work for everyone. I mention this in case anyone tries to do it to a llama, resulting in terrible consequences and a desire to sue. That should cover me for llama misuse. It works on me, I suspect it will work on other people, I also think if it doesn’t, it probably won’t kill you.