Benign anonymous photo to avoid backlash

I saved the best- and most controversial- post for last in the hygiene series: Shampoo. Some of you have been shampoo-ing since before you could walk, and others (ladies) spend an arm and a leg on fancy expensive shampoos. Recently, I read in Mark’s Daily Apple about the (gasp) idea off going poo-less. Many people have been doing it for years, and feel that shampoo contains the word ‘poo’ for a reason: it contains chemical crap that is bad for us. Not only does it strip the natural oils from your scalp and hair, but it causes the over-production of oil resulting from dry scalp. This inevitably leads to your hair feeling greasy after a couple of days of no washing (think camping trips).

It’s a vicious cycle: shampoo-dry scalp-excessive oil production (ew!)-shampoo…Rinse and Repeat…

Here’s the skinny: According to MDA, “conventional shampoos are universally riddled with noxious but unregulated chemicals that have been linked to everything from endocrine system disruption to neurological and immune system damage. Among the biggest offenders, according to the Environmental Working Group, include the ubiquitous phthalates (remember the lotion post?), parabens (for preservatives), coal tar (for dyes and dandruff),  and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate/Sodium Laureth Sulfate (for lather and de-greasing power). Other risky chemicals include 1,4-Dioxane and methylisothiazolinone.”  Methylisothiazolinone (MIT), another shampoo ingredient, may also harm unborn babies.

What are your options?  You can:

1.  Shampoo less frequently:  This is like us saying only eat bread on Tuesdays… But I suppose less is better, though not best.

2.  Only use conditioner:  Unless your conditioner is free of the above contaminants, see #1.

3.  Find a “natural” product:  Almost as elusive as the holy grail, there are some products out there that are free of toxins, but end up costing quite a bit more than #4.  Even still, most “natural organic” shampoos are far from it.

4.  Go poo-less:  Transition to no ‘poo’ by using alternative natural products.  The first 2-6 weeks will be a transition period where your hair may feel greasy and gross. Think baseball caps, updos, and braids.

  • Try a baking soda (1T to 1-2 cups water) mix to cut the grease. Mix well, pour slowly on scalp and gently massage your scalp with your fingers (NOT NAILS), starting with the area a crown would cover. Focus on the back and fill in the circle. Then finish with the temples and remainder of the scalp.
  • Rinse with apple cider vinegar (same ratio), focusing on the ends and not scalp, to restore the pH balance. You can also use lemon juice which is milder and smells yummy!
  • Be patient. If you haven’t noticed, I had been sporting braids quite a lot in the last few weeks. If it becomes unbearable, try cracking an egg on your scalp, massaging it in, and rinsing after a few minutes. I’ve found it really helpful during the transition period.

Here are some links to success stories:
Free the Animal
Mark’s Daily Apple Forum
The Mommy Files

I know this one is the hardest to consider, and summer may be the toughest season to experiment with this.  But, I have to say that my hair has felt thicker and had way more volume and body than before, even if I am still struggling with the transition period!  I know everyone has a line that they consider to be “too extreme” when it comes to going Primal.  I’m not here to tell you that everything in your bathroom cabinet is carcinogenic or toxic, but I do believe you should take steps to consider what the modern commercial market is pushing and why.  What does your body truly need to be healthy, happy, and hygienic?  Post to comments!

WOD 07.24.10

Run 400m
21 HPC
21 Thrusters
Run 400m
15 HPC
15 Thrusters
Run 400m
9 Thrusters

*Courtesy of CrossFit Gotham

3 Responses to “Caveman Hygiene: Shampoo”

July 24, 2010 at 7:16 AM

I’ve been poo-less for months now. My fine (and thinning) hair feels thicker and more luxurious. I’ll not go back, that’s certain.

July 25, 2010 at 7:14 PM

It’s funny that your link to “natural” products goes to Deva. That’s the brand Michelle uses. Although I’m normally pumping from some 5-gallon CostCo special “poo”.

Question-if I go “no poo”, what do I do about styling my hair? I don’t want to walk around with white-boy fro all day long!! And it’s disgusting to have several days build up of hair product in your hair.

I may need to wait until I’m not on-site with a client before I try this No Poo madness!!

[...] 4th) and I can finally honestly say that I’m sold on being shampoo-free. Here’s the original post in case you didn’t know I was adopting this “caveman” hygiene technique. [...]