No Shampoo for You?

Most shampoos are full of ingredients you shouldn’t be putting on your scalp, but there are alternatives

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Sabrina Baack of Central Point uses a vegan shampoo and is cautious about overstyling her long tresses. Photo by David Gibb Photography.

Have you read the ingredients list on your shampoo bottle lately? Traditional hair care products seem more like chemical cocktails than the luscious elixirs for healthy hair portrayed in their marketing, which is why health-conscious consumers are considering alternatives such as chemical-free products and even no shampoo at all.

In selecting a shampoo product, avoid sulfates, parabens and nondescript “fragrances,” which is usually code for a combination of chemicals mingling to make your shampoo smell like fruit or a mountain breeze.

In switching to more natural products, the main commitments are being willing to:

  • Experiment a bit to find the right solution for you.
  • Accept that natural products are going to look, feel, smell and act differently than what you’re used to using.

“The most common things I hear is that it doesn’t feel as silky smooth in customers’ hands and that it doesn’t lather as much,” says Tyler Giles, general manager at Healthway Nutrition Center in Medford. “Beyond that, people need to find the product that’s right for them. Once they do, I get nothing but positive comments.”

To make your own hair cleaning product, mix apple cider vinegar and water in a 1:1 ratio. Add essential oils if you like, but start with less until you see how it affects your hair. Work the mixture through your wet hair and leave it in while you shower, then rinse out as much as you can. Follow up with a natural or homemade conditioner if you need it. Some people encounter a transition period where hair can get oily or frizzy as it adjusts to life without chemicals (which produce that “squeaky clean” feeling that is actually your hair and scalp’s natural oils being stripped away).

“Most people would be shocked to learn how easily things can be absorbed through their skin,” says Giles. “The skin is surprisingly effective at absorption, especially in the shower, when the hot water is opening your pores.”

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“If you’re going to be careful about what you put into your body, you should absolutely be very concerned about what you put on it.”

— Tyler Giles, Healthway Nutrition Center, Medford



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