Xanga Archives 03/07/2006

A word on HAIR CARE.

I have been searching for a shampoo to wash my hair that doesn't make my head itch. Soap is the only cleanser that doesn't, but it makes my hair feel limp and dirty, even greasy, so I started doing some research on the more expensive shampoos and the ingredients they put in them. I found a lot of information, but here's the basics.

Once water is added to make a liquid shampoo, it is almost impossible to create an all natural product and still keep the bacteria and mold out. This creates a need for shampoo manufacturers to add chemical preservatives

Commercial shampoos found in grocery store aisles are actually made from various detergents, synthetic materials, processed chemicals and cleansers, and stabilizers that are harsh on your hair and scalp and strip it of it's natural protective oils and moisture. In order to compensate for the way in which they strip natural oils from your scalp, you reach for the bottle of conditioner. These conditioners simply coat the hair weighing it down. When that coating is removed your hair has more body.

Most over the counter shampoos use harsh surfactants or foam
boosters such as ammonium laurel (or laureth) sulfate,
sodium laurel sulfate (SLS). SLS, often called a premium agent
in soaps and shampoos, are used in personal-care products
because they are very cheap. A small amount generates a
large amount of foam, and when salt is added it thickens to
give the illusion of being thick, rich, and expensive. Sodium
laurel sulfates were originally designed to clean floors and can
be found in items like garage floor cleaners, engine degreasers,
and car wash soaps. Sodium laurel sulfate is a strong degreaser
that dries skin and hair, is irritating to the scalp, and may cause
hair loss. It is used in many so-called "natural" cosmetics, but it
is not natural. Other surfactants that may be included:
Cocamidopropyl Betaine, PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate (also known
as polyethylene glycol), Sodium Trideceth Sulfate,
Lauroamphoglycinate, PEG-150 Distearate, Sodium Laureth-13
Carboxylate, PPG-2 Hydroxyethyl Coco/Isostearamide,
Glycol Monostearate, Cocamide DEA, Octylacrylamide/Acrylates/
Butylaminoethyl Methacrylate Copolymer, Polyglyceryl-3 Distearate,
Polysorbate 60 and many, many more.
Many of these shampoos also use dimethicone, claiming that it
seals in moisture. The only problem is that it is silicone based
and it also seals moisture out. So if using this chemical in
conjunction with the above detergents, your hair and scalp will
be stripped of all esential and natural oils and moisture and then
will be sealed with silicone, virtually making your conditioner
worthless to your hair and scalp.
Commercial shampoos use synthetic fragrances or "nature
identical" oils, preservatives, colorants and other additives that
can irritate your scalp. The "natural" shampoos simply add herbal
extracts to their synthetic shampoos. Commercial shampoos use
scents from fragrance oils that are often heavy and overpowering.
So what is the alternative?  Use soap, but soap can leave your
hair feeling limp, heavy, greasy, waxy or dirty.
manufacturers love to spread misinformation claiming that soap
is "harsh." But, the problem with using a natural soap shampoo
is often in the water, not the soap. You need water to shampoo
your hair and hard water makes it harder to wash your hair. Each
hair shaft is made up of little scales, like shingles on a roof. Hard
water tends to make the scales stand up, which makes your hair
feel rough and tangly. Since your hair is tangled and rough, it is
more difficult to rinse out all of the soap. Soap is less effective
in very hard water because its reacts with the excess minerals to
form calcium or magnesium salts. These are not easily soluble in
water and can result in soap film. Washing hair in soft water will
have a different result because it leaves fewer insoluble deposits
on the hair.

If your water is not too hard, just use your all natural soap shampoo and a bit of conditioner. The conditioner will help the scales on your hair lie flat, and allow the last of the soap to rinse out. You might have to experiment with different soaps and conditioners.

If your water is very hard you can use a weak acid rinse, like
vinegar or lemon juice. The acid makes the scales lie down flat,
and again allows the soap to be rinsed more easily. Here is some
information on Natural Vinegar Rinses.
Apple Cider vinegar neutralizes alkali left by shampoos and restores the pH balance. It softens hair. It's a natural fungicide, so it will help to prevent dandruff and many sources claim if used as a regamin, it can help prevent hair loss and actually cause rapid and thicker growth.
More vinegar and herbal rinses to gently clean soap from your hair.
More information on how water affects your cleansing products.
More information on Sodium Laurel Sulfate and it's adverse effects.
More information on the beneficial qualities of vinegar.

I used commercial shampoo yesterday after not using any for weeks. I started itching almost immediately and itched all day. Today, after I did the research, I bought some vinegar, rewashed my hair with soap, rinsed with vinegar (I used the recipe from the hyperlink above) and water mixed with chamomile tea (for blonde brightening), mint (for itch relief), and lavender (for fragrance and scalp health) and rosemary (for general scalp health). I got almost immediate relief from itching (it usually takes a couple of days for it to stop completely) and my hair feels very soft and it's extremely shiny and bouncy. There is NO LEFTOVER VINEGAR SMELL once the hair is dry!

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