Monday, November 26, 2007

No More...Shampoo and Conditioner

I like my hair. It is nice to me. I don't color it, barely ever style it, and only blowdry it on Chicago's famously cold days, and despite my lack of effort, my hair responds by being silky and shiny, with just a bit of wave for volume.

So naturally I don't want to disturb this amazing status quo. I mean, why would I want to change something that is working pretty well for me right now? But since there's a serious lack of hair care products that aren't packaged in plastic, I may have to. Crapola!

Luckily, I don't actually have to give up shampoo. There are several options out there that seem totally viable including:
  • Doctor Bronner's bar soap, which has worked fine when I've used it on camping trips
  • The various shampoo bars available at Lush
  • Burt's Bees Rosemary Mint Shampoo, which I totally forgot about (an entry in Fake Plastic Fish reminded me).
But, seriously folks, we all know that shampoo really isn't what makes for amazing hair. It's the conditioner. I have long hair, which I sometimes pretend to myself might even be called beautiful, so the thought of giving up conditioner makes me want to cry. Seriously. Cry.

Still, I know I will (or might) make it through this because I think I have a plan. Here's an outline:
  • When I run out of my current shampoo, I'll make the switch to one of the various products above, which will probably be fine.
  • I'll slow my use of the two bottles of conditioner I still have to one application per week.
  • When I run out of the conditioner I still have, I'll probably go out (after I finish crying) and buy one of the conditioning bars available at Lush, which don't get great reviews. Then I will hope and hope and hope that my hair still looks nice.
  • If my hair is miserable and looks horrible after a few months of the new regiment, I'll go out and buy a bottle of eco-friendly plastic-packaged conditioner and only use it once a month or on special occasions.
Yep, that's my plan. I'm going to try my absolute hardest to avoid buying a plastic bottle of conditioner, but I'm also going to also allow myself to buy it if, after a few months, I feel it's my only option. And I think that's okay for now, especially if it takes me a year to get through that bottle. We'll see, though. Maybe I'll just cut my hair instead (um, just joking).


Debbie said...

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LifeLessPlastic said...

Debbie, Thanks so much for the info. The link you provided is espeically interesting.

Personally, I'm not a big fan of all the crazy chemicals in shampoos and conditioners so I was hoping that I could get by on Dr. Bronner's, but I think I'll have to try this vinegar and baking soda thing, at least for the sake of trying.

My boyfriend is probably going to to hate me for it while my hair is drying. Maybe I'll try getting a nice oil to cover the smell a bit. It was cool to see that a lot of people on the blog you linked to seemed to like using the recipe you suggested. I'm excited to try it :)

Anonymous said...

Hi lifelessplastic - I commend you for all your efforts! You are a pioneer.

If you are interested in going the no shampoo route, I encourage you to check out this site too:

While baking soda and vinegar works great for some, there are many other things you can try if your hair doesn't like that particular mix. The transition to no 'poo can be tough but worth it!

After 3 1/2 months of experimentation and some desperate days of VERY greasy hair, I now only rinse my hair with water and massage in some corn starch every few days to absorb any excess oil. It's great!!

Good luck!


WillowLuna said...

I haven't used conditioner in a couple of years now and have found my hair is still fine. Though not long anymore, it is thick. I think the trick is not using a lot of products in it. Like you, I don't do much with it except dry it. My hair is healthy and happy, I spend less time in the shower (another enviro plus!) and spend less money on products I don't need. Good luck with your changes!

curious feet said...

I'm impressed. Since I started my plastic week, I've been thinking about this, too. It's a shame there isn't some way that you could bring your own reusable container to the store, and they could fill it up and charge by volume. Unfortunately, I think I'll keep using the stuff--I dye my hair wretched neon colors with awful toxic products that come in plastic bottles, and thus my hair needs a lot of love. I try to at least get natural products so I'm not putting so much icky stuff on my body or washing so much soapy detergenty stuff down the drain. (About the dyeing: I know, I know, but I've given up a lot of other mainstream beauty rituals, so those aren't generating trash anymore.)

Another thing you can do if your hair needs some love, assuming you're not vegan: Treat it with egg whites occasionally. Google would know more about that than I would, but back when I was on a swim team, I occasionally used egg whites on my hair instead of conditioner. The constant chlorine exposure screwed up my hair pretty badly, and sometimes an egg white treatment made it not-so-ruinous.