(EnviroNews World News) — The No Shampoo (or ‘No ‘Poo’ for short) Movement is on the rise in America and beyond for several reasons — the primary being people want to get themselves, and their precious children away from the toxic chemicals in conventional shampoo that harm health and the environment.
Shampoo in the Environment AND Our Bodies
Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) are the primary lathering agents in most shampoos and are also present in toothpastes, laundry detergents on down to cleaning agents. The chemicals are derived from petroleum and mimic estrogen. In addition to being a potential skin and eye irritant, it is suspected that over time these two chemicals can accumulate in the body and lead to potential hormone disruption.
In addition to SLS and SLES most mainstream shampoos contain parabens — a nasty little chemical, that is a well known hormone disruptor. The paraben has of course been deemed “safe” by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In regards to this estrogen-mimicker, Health.com writes, “avoiding formulas that contain methyl-, propyl-, butyl-, ethyl-, or isobutylparaben, and opting for natural or organic products, instead,” can reduce your exposure to parabens.
Onesta, the alternative hair care product company lists these chemicals as the most commonly found substances in salon and haircare products: Synthetic fragrances, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate/Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Tetrasodium EDTA, Propylene Glycol (PG) or Butylene Glycol (BG), Diazolidinyl Urea, Synthetic Colors and Dyes, and Diethanolamine (DEA) and Triethanolamine (TEA). The website includes a paragraph for each substances that details reported environmental and health impacts associated with each individual chemical.
With the ever-growing awareness of the great Pacific Garbage Patch, a massive gyre of plastic in the Pacific Ocean twice the size of Texas, as well as other worldwide plastic debacles, the plastic bottles that contain nearly all conventional shampoo products are also becoming more of a concern everyday.
Saving the World One Organic Cotton Shopping Bag at a Time
To ‘poo or not to ‘poo?
No ‘poo advocates seem to have a less-is-more attitude when it comes to lathering your locks, but what will your hair have to say about that? Will following the no ‘poo path turn you into a walking split-end, tangly frizz-head? Fans of the method say no way, but all haircare professionals aren’t convinced.
One thing to consider is that shampoo is still relatively new at roughly a century old, and Procter & Gamble reports Americans are practically shampoo-crazy compared to the rest of the world — using up to double the substance on a weekly per-capita basis as compared to several European countries.
Health.com reports, “In 2007, a radio host in Sydney got such a positive response to a story about a man who hadn’t used shampoo in more than a decade, he challenged listeners to go without shampoo for six weeks, according to the New York Times. More than 500 people tried it, and 86% reported that their hair was either better or the same afterward.”
Hair researchers say that everyone’s scalp is a little different. While some people produce more sebum and may need to wash their hair daily, others produce less and can easily get by with washing every two to three days. At the same time, many researchers also say it is a myth that hair and follicles will dry out due to daily washing.
Sarah Potempa, celebrity hair stylist has said that shampoo is not intended for your entire hair — only the roots. She recommends using far less shampoo — scrubbing just the roots of your hair with it, while using conditioner on the brunt of your tresses. This philosophy in and of itself can reduce the amount of shampoo a person uses in their routine — if they are intent on using a conventional product that is.
Let’s be clear about one thing: Most no ‘poo advocates are not saying to not wash your hair, they are just saying not to use conventional sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate shampoos for the task. Most no ‘poo practitioners still soak or scrub their hair in water, apple cider vinegar and/or other natural products to remove any unwanted dirt, grime or buildup.
Winona Dimeo, Editor of TheFrisky.com decided to put apple cider vinegar to a head-to-head test against Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo. After reporting on pros and cons of using both products, here was her synopsis:
So, which product wins?
I’m giving the gold star to apple cider vinegar! It did everything the Neutrogena shampoo claimed to do, but more effectively, and for half the price. With results like that, I can put up with plugging my nose in the shower for a few minutes. I’m going to start doing an ACV rinse once a week or whenever my scalp starts acting up.
Some hair naturalists have recommended baking soda and water to do the cleaning although this method has received scrutiny from hair researchers who claim the highly alkaline mix is too caustic and can leave treated hair extremely dry and brittle.
Is Your Conventional Shampoo Loaded With Plastic Microbeads?
Aside from the health and plastic bottle issues associated with most conventional products, there is mounting environmental concerns over the plastic abrasive microbeads contained in many shampoos. The tiny culprit plastic exfoliators are also contained in toothpaste, facial scrubs and other cosmetics and are now known to be accumulating at an alarming pace in American rivers and lakes.
It has been discovered that fish tested in many areas are loaded with the estrogen-mimicking micro-sized plastic balls — fish that many across America are cutting into on their dinner plates. The microbead issue, although relatively new, creates yet another reason for no ‘pooers to consider leaving many conventional haircare products behind. States like New York and California are considering banning microbead-containing products all together reported Vice News last month.
Make Your Own Shampoo At Home
A recent article in Mother Nature Network (MNN) gives you the how-tos and the recipes for eight different haircare products, while another MNN article lays out these two recipes for a great chemical-free shampoo:
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup mild liquid soap (Castile-style vegetable soap works well)
1/2 teaspoon light vegetable or canola oil
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup liquid soap (Castile-style vegetable soap works well)
There can be no question that choosing to avoid conventional shampoos is safer for your health, as well as your childrens’ — there is also no question that going ‘pooless is better for animals, fish, and wildlife.
There is also no doubt that reducing the use of conventional shampoos will lower waste and the subsequent disposal of countless mountains of plastic bottles, while decreasing the amount of microbeads entering the environment.
Researchers are finding microbeads are cumulative and wreaking more and more devastation on our precious fresh water sources as time goes by — a factor that becomes more of a deterrent for conventional shampoo users as awareness grows on the topic.
The questions is: Will the propagation of the aforementioned facts be enough to deter mainstream consumers from the lavish lap of lathery luxury when it comes to foaming up their beloved hair?
Perhaps dollar-voting will drive mainstream manufacturers to eliminate microbeads and toxic chemicals in time, while finding better solutions than conventional plastic containers to deliver their products? We at EnviroNews, will surely be watching to see how much the no ‘poo movement grows in the coming years.