No soap, No shampoo, No smelly stuff .. at all ….
So if you’d told my younger self that I’d turn into a middle-aged hippy I would have scoffed. However, I seem to be heading unassisted into that definition!
I am obsessive about what we put into our bodies in the way of food and also in the other ways we must nourish our bodies, minds and soul. Sleep, exercise, mental stimulation, love, forays into nature etc. But I seemed to have skipped a step without realising it. Although I’ve always been fonder of baking soda and vinegar for cleaning than smelly chemicals this has not applied to the stuff we use to clean ourselves. Yes we use the eco versions of soaps and shampoos and moisturisers but do we actually even need these?
My light-bulb moment was after purchasing Norwex branded cloths for cleaning the house. The anti-microbial/anti-bacterial microfiber cloths eliminated the need for additional cleaning fluids. Even better they clean things with way less effort and who doesn’t want that!
I started to think about my personal care routine and question habits I’ve had forever. I began with my hair. Now I would never be invited to participate in a hair commercial. My hair is madly curly, thick, kind of wiry feeling and very long. It does two styles – very long or very short. I have spent years drowning it in conditioner to try and keep it from getting dry and the ends splitting. Whilst doing this the roots get greasy and by the 4th morning it just could not be left without a wash. And tangles, boy did I fight every time with knots, you would not believe what a task it would be.
Then I began to read about going “no poo”. Scary thought. I am a mad exerciser and so the thought of having hair not “properly” washed was very scary. And what about my dry hair? How would it cope without the half a bottle of conditioner twice a week?
But thinking about how much less of a chemical load I’d be placing on my body, the environment and also what I’d save in terms of dollars made me take the plunge. I was very thankful to the lovely ladies at the Real Food in NZ Facebook group who gave me advice and support and I just went for it.
To start with it was a disaster. I used baking soda and vinegar and my hair looked like it hadn’t been washed at all and was lank and lifeless. Fortunately vanity is not one of my many vices and my husband – bless him – probably wouldn’t even notice if I shaved it all off, so I decided to continue. Reading more I realised that baking soda was too harsh and that it may take weeks for my hair to adjust and let the natural oils balance. I ditched the soda and just washed my hair in apple cider vinegar. Much better result but still not the bouncy, vibrant look I was used to after a shampoo wash. Then as I persevered I realised that my hair no longer had knots. None! And it was soft. Not of course commercial ready soft (not going to happen with my hair) but way, way softer than previously. And the ends although split from previously were not dry. As I continued I also noticed that my hair didn’t actually need washing very often (although I do!). The natural oils have balanced and my hair does feel better. There is also not the super dry after a wash followed by the icky greasy a few days later. It is content, happy and balanced.
Never being one to do things by halves I decided to try the Norwex body wash cloths and go soap and cleanser free. Now despite the cleaning cloths and the no poo success I was still really, really, nervous about this. As I said before, I’m a mad exerciser and as I dumped deodorant 10 years ago after a workout I am in urgent need of a major shower. The first morning I was gobsmacked. Yep, totally amazed at how clean the cloths get the body without any cleaning products at all. In fact way better at removing sweat than soap. And the positive side-effect of this is that moisturiser is no longer necessary as the body balances those good old oils itself.
Now admittedly I still do soap my hands and moisturise those and my face but I am working on that. And of course I always need to share my crazy schemes with the boys. They have always been primarily no poo but they are now no soap too. Joe reckons its way easier to wash and loves his new body cloth. Max is not as enthusiastic but then again how many 10 year old boys are excited about washing?
And that leaves me searching for my next mad project. Any suggestions?