Monday, September 10, 2012

Out with the old, in with the simplified

Once upon a time... in January of 2010... I discovered that life, as I knew it, was about to change.

I was pregnant!

In those nine, glorious months, I found myself becoming very conscious of chemicals in my life and  I started the process of eliminating many of them. The first and biggest change, of course, was quitting smoking. On the day I discovered that I was pregnant, I quit instantly. It was surprisingly easy- I just threw away my cigarettes and never gave them a second thought. Following that I chose to use cloth diapers, wanting to reduce my new little bundle's exposure to nasty chemicals. Cloth diapers got me thinking about the mountain of waste I was sending to the landfill every month with feminine hygiene products and so I gave washable feminine pads a whirl (Thanks Fuzzibunz!) That led me to the endless joy that I call The Diva Cup, the virtues of which I extol in great length on my Facebook page every month. I also started eliminating chemical cleaners from our household. It was around that time that I stumbled upon the hero of natural cleaning: Baking Soda. Oh Baking Soda, how I love thee! Baking Soda has a seemingly endless number of uses- you can read about 75 of them here. Over these past two years, I've whittled down my arsenal of cleaning products to just four ingredients: baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice and tea tree oil. I love being able to scrub the tub with a baking soda-vin combo and just a quick rinse later, I can fill up the tub for my son's bath without having to worry about some residue in there that's going to give him a rash. Using natural, gentle ingredients to clean my home gives me peace of mind. Having said that, I can't believe how long it has taken me to discover and embrace the use of baking soda as a shampoo. My sister was the first to tell me about it. She casually mentioned that she was no longer shampooing her hair and my response was:

Ew. Disgusting.

I have to admit, "Ew. Disgusting" is my classic response. It is my catch-phrase. My famous last words, uttered right before I jump on that very band wagon that had me saying "Ew. Disgusting" in the first place. I said "Ew. Disgusting" about cloth diaper pails and spoonfuls of Apple Cider Vinegar as a pregnancy-safe cure for heart burn. I said "Ew. Disgusting" about cabbage leaves in my bra to relieve clogged milk ducts and I even said it about (don't judge me) extended nursing. I definitely said "Ew. Disgusting" about Fuzzibunz and The Diva Cup (no wait, that was "OH HELL NO!"). I guess I'm just wildly reactionary like that, first I'm grossed out, then I'm intrigued, then I'm a diehard fan.

So it went with baking soda shampoo.

I held out for a long time, mainly because I didn't think it was possible for me. I have fine, thin hair that demands to be shampooed every single day otherwise I tend to look like I just combed my hair with the deck of an oil rig. I just didn't think that baking soda stood a chance against my greasy, disgusting hair.

Well, I was wrong.

I have not shampooed my hair in seven days and I probably never will again. I followed the instructions found on Tea for Tamara's blog here

1 tbsp baking soda, dissolved in warm water to cleanse.
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar, diluted in warm water to condition.

It's just that easy. I've spent the last week trying out different variations and tweaking the measurements based on my own hair history. For those with oily hair (like me), use more baking soda and less vinegar in your rinse. For those with dry hair, use less baking soda and more vinegar in your rinse. I love the apple cider vinegar- although it stinks to high heaven when you're in the shower, it leaves your hair feeling absolutely silky and, once dry, there is no odour whatsoever. As my hair is on the oily side, I just use it on the ends of my hair. I've read that it also is used as a remedy for dandruff. For those who experience itchy scalp, a few drops of tea tree oil added to your baking soda mixture will solve the problem. For those who miss the sweet fragrance of store-bought shampoo, try adding a few drops of lavender oil. For a truly invigorating shower experience, add a few drops of peppermint oil, rosemary oil or BOTH! Why not? For a deep conditioning experience, skip your vinegar rinse and opt for smoothing a little coconut oil over the ends of your hair instead. The beauty of this natural method is that it is fully customizable. Whatever your hair needs, mother nature has it. It's out with the old and in with the simplified, people.

Can I get an amen?


For more tips on simplifying your life at home, check out