No-‘poo take 2
In a previous post, I gave bar soap as shampoo and apple cider vinegar rinse a try, with my main goal being to reduce my consumption of plastic by avoiding buying shampoo/conditioner bottles. The results were not great, my hair was only half-clean and my scalp was a tad itchy. Since I usually only bathe every other day, my hair wasn’t clean enough to make it through while still looking good enough to go to the office. I went back to my bottled shampoo and pledged to give it another try with something different.
This past weekend while wandering around Whole Foods, I looked to see if they had a Dr. Bronner’s bar soap shampoo that I had heard about. They didn’t, but they did have J.R. Liggett Old Fashioned Bar Shampoo (original formula). At $6.99 for the equivalent of a 24oz bottle, not a horrible expense and I was willing to give it a try. It uses a combination of olive, coconut and castor oils with no detergents to strip the hair. The soap is minimally packaged in paper and made relatively local in New Hampshire, which made me happy. It smelled pretty good too.
The first wash was a moderate success. I didn’t use conditioner at all, since the packaging mentioned that many people found they didn’t have to use it. The top of my head was a bit underclean, but the back looked quite nice. I could comb my fingers through it while it was damp without too much trouble. I haven’t used a hair dryer in about 15 years, I don’t even know how to any more, so I dried my hair like I always do, with no product and just pulling the top back in a barrette once it was sufficiently dry. I was guessing that the underclean portion might be due to my oversoaping, undersoaping, or not rinsing properly, or perhaps that I was washing in cold water because it was very warm, so I was willing to give it another wash to try.
I tried again this morning. I used warm water, and paid attention to use a good amount of soap lather and to rinse well. The results look even more successful than previously. I’d say it’s darn close to a regular shampoo/conditioner wash, though i don’t think I’d say it was equal to it. I’m willing to continue using this bar shampoo and see how this goes. I’ve been told after you stop using detergents in your hair it can take some time for your hair to adjust, so continued experimentation is definitely in order. I’ll let you know how it goes.
The previous experiment at homemade deodorant was a failure for me. Which is not to knock the recipe itself, it works for others but did not work for me. During the same Whole Foods trip mentioned above I also looked at the various commercial deodorants. I’ve tried the rock one before, and while I keep one in my car for stink-emergencies, it’s not something that I like on a daily basis, I find my pits get itchy and just feel too watery. Crossing off all the “crystal” deodorants from the list, I looked at the other stick deodorants, which were all encased in plastic. One was in a cardboard shaker, which looked interesting. It was a simple powder made of baking soda, corn starch, arrowroot powder, and essential oils. I thought “Hey! I can make that at home! I’ve been meaning to try arrowroot powder as a stew thickener anyway!” One bag of Bob’s Red Mill arrowroot powder later and I was ready to try making powdered deodorant.
Having no recipe to go on, I decided on a 4/2/1 ratio. 4 parts baking soda to 2 parts corn starch to 1 part arrowroot powder. My guess is that the baking soda is to control the odor, and the corn starch & arrowroot draw in the sweat and “thicken”, as it were, to control wetness. I made a small batch without any essential oil (automatically unscented deodorant!) and patted some on my pits. As I mentioned, it’s a powder. A powder puff applicator would probably be useful, and I don’t currently have one. I’ll have to look around. Also since it’s a powder I foresee issues if I don’t remember to put the powder on before the black outfit, and figure I’ll probably see residue when wearing short sleeved dark shirts.
Minute powder concerns aside, it worked great! The weather this week has been in the ’90s. While I didn’t push the deodorant to the max with heavy outside work, I did get sweaty occasionally on my way home from the office and in the evenings, and a quick sniff proved non-stinky. I was impressed by the wetness control as well. I was sweaty, sure, but it wasn’t as bad as it would have felt sans-deodorant. I think I’ve found a new default deodorant without the worries of chemicals and the problems of plastic.