Myths we love to cherish: Shampoo is necessary.
Here's what I've learned recently about shampoo: Shampoo is not necessary
Our hair is actually worse off because of it. If we stop shampooing for a few weeks, yes, our hair will feel greasy and we'll convince ourselves: "SEE! I need shampoo!" But this is about how long it takes for our hair to return to a normal ph level. Shampoo causes our hair to make more oil because it's not natural for us to be continually cleaning the oil out of our hair. So for a while our bodies will continue to make excess oil. But eventually this process evens out and we are left with heathly, un-stripped, shiny hair. All that's needed is water and maybe a little baking soda and a rinse afterwards with vinegar for conditioning. Your body will naturally produce the oil that's needed to condition your hair. And you'll save money, buy less plastics (and therefore consume less oil), contribute to less consumerism, AND you'll lessen your daily dose of toxins. And, even more importantly, you'll lessen your children's daily dose of toxins! For the WIN!
Most of the ingredients in shampoo "may" cause health concerns (that's a link, click it). The word "may" is used because most chemicals have never been tested. Of the more than 80,000 chemicals registered and used in the U.S. since World War II, fewer than 500 have ever been properly studied for their effects on humans and the environment.
We've been sold a myth. And it's making alot of people very rich. And it's filling our world with yet another dose of unnecessary chemicals and toxins. Just the thought of one less thing to buy at the store makes me a happy camper. And that is indeed, my goal. How many fewer things can I buy at the store. How much do I really need? What is necessary and what is just pure marketing nonsense.
And keep in mind, all these shampoos and conditioners and styling products get washed down the drain and end up in our water supply and in our oceans.
"Shampoo, for example, contributes to high levels of estrogen and estrogen-like substances (endocrine disrupters) in freshwater downstream of sewage treatment plants that damage fish populations and cause male fish to grow ovaries, a sort of liquid feminism. My hometown of Calgary, Canada, studied the fish downstream of where we add our treated sewage to the river and discovered that female fish outnumber male fish 9 to 1. Estrogen runs through it. One study identifies more than 200 chemicals that are still present in wastewater after treatment. But the problem is likely much larger: environmental damage is difficult to estimate because we're dumping chemicals into the environment that have never been studied." - Bill Bunn
Um, and our scalp is one of the most absorbent parts of our bodies. If you're not willing to do it for yourself, at least do it for your kids.
And if you eat fish, then do it for the fish!
(Though, considering the fish are absorbing all of these hormone disrupters in their bodies, you might want to consider laying off the fish, too...it's the chemical circle of life...I'm just sayin')
If you want to read more here's a great blogpost from New Urban Habitat (and be sure and read the comments)
And Simple Mom has another really great article on the subject: How to Clean Your Hair Without Shampoo
My kiddos are going to be so happy. They hate shampooing their hair. Smart kids.