Shampoo & Conditioner
In order of easiness: Recycle; Make your own; Reuse your container.
How to recycle
Easiest tip first, buy products that come in recyclable containers. Mostly that means hard plastic not the soft tube 'squeezy' kind. (Check with your council). But don’t stop here, this is one of our best posts, read on to discover the magic.
How to use baking soda as shampoo
If you need some convincing to give it a go read our blog first, I was pretty amped when I first discovered this.
Buy baking soda in bulk from a bulk food store like Bin Inn. Mix a tablespoon (for starters) of baking soda into a paste with some water. Wet your hair. Massage in like mousse. There are so many different “recipes” online, but really it doesn’t matter. Just get the baking soda somehow on to your hair. Its not really very soluble so if you try and douse yourself with a watery liquid rather than a paste just make sure you give the mix a good swirl beforehand – and good luck keeping it from out of your ears. It wont sud up (which is a good thing). Thoroughly rinse out - you just put little granules of baking soda all through your hair. Be prepared for an actual squeaky-clean feel.
After years of using, here’s what I can now add:
What I tend to do now is use baking soda along with my refillable eco store shampoo (see below). When I use I usually notice a warm ‘healing’ sensation on my scalp. It makes my hair particularly silky soft and is a 100% effective dandruff treatment (for me). However, when it was all I used I think it also ended up causing dandruff and eventually (after three months or so) started making my long hair dryer on the ends. I know people with shorter hair that seem to perpetually experience that silky soft result, so try it out for yourself. For me using it from time to time brings out the silky softness.
How to use cider vinegar as conditioner
Douse your hair with a mixture of mostly water with a bit of cider vinegar added (less milk than you’d put in tea). Like the baking soda, it works, no matter how you do it. You don’t need to rinse out, but you can and its fine. The result is silky, shiny hair, better than any conditioner I’ve ever tried. If you have thick long hair or low water pressure you’ll notice that this is significantly faster than the regular conditioning routine. 30 seconds max.
Fill a basin with water (any temperature OK) and add a slosh of vinegar before dunking head in. This works great but is inconvenient to do in the middle of a shower.
Conditioner bottle method
Use an empty conditioner bottle with a screw top lid (can be any type of bottle of course but I like the ‘conditioner’ label). Before your shower put about a capful of vinegar into the bottle and fill with water. I like to wait until I’m in the shower and fill up with water from the shower head because its always a good temperature. Squeeze the contents over hair while still in the shower. I thought long hair would need to be dunked but it doesn’t at all.
After years of using here’s what I can now add:
It is still amazing. The condition of my hair is getting better and better, I’ve never come across a commercial product that conditions so well. I’ve met another blogger using white vinegar just as effectively. https://realingi.wordpress.com/2014/09/14/real-cleaning/ (she sums it up well: “amazing results - where have you been all my life!”)
When I was using regular conditioner a grey furry gunk slowly built up in my hair brush and comb, with cider vinegar my brush and comb stay squeaky clean all the time.
If hair is damp there will be a slight vinegar smell, especially in a confined space…To avoid candid children saying “Something smells like salt and vinegar chips!” Either: make sure your hair is properly dry before venturing out; Or: Rinse out thoroughly after conditioning; Or infuse your vinegar with rosemary or lavender or something similar. Infusing doesn’t mask the smell, it actually changes it and makes it smell awesome. I love the rosemary, (but don’t usually bother). Infusing involves stuffing lots of the item, e.g. rosemary fronds, into a bottle, pouring in cider vinegar to the top, putting a lid on, turning occasionally, and leaving for at least a couple of weeks.
How to reuse bottles
By a shampoo brand that has a screw cap lid so it’s easy to refill. Once its empty save it for reuse. Find bulk shampoo and conditioner at your local bulk food store. We refill shampoo at the Ecostore shop in Freeman’s Bay. I’ve had my Ecostore shampoo and conditioner bottles since 2013 and they still look brand new.
Refilling is less hassle than you might expect. I keep three shampoo bottles and refill two at a time. Because Ecostore’s shampoo is concentrate (even though I have thick long hair) I only need to refill once or twice a year. (I have also perfected the art of not using too much which helps to achieve this).