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Ten Alternatives to Shampoo

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At the start of this year I began an experiment with my hair.  The purist in me was tired of putting toxins into my body, the spendthrift in me was weary of pouring so much money away on these toxins and the optimist in me was persuaded by our bodies ability to cope without reliance on products! I was in a wash-every-other-day-routine and was a slave to dry-shampoo. I knew there had to be a better way.

In a typically extreme move  I totally gave up shampoo and have in the last 10 months put everything from a homemade nettle brew to mustard powder on my hair! It has gone quite wrong at times but ultimately my hair is a million times more healthy, voluminous, and grows much faster. Plus I can go away for weeks at a time and need nothing for my hair but a good bristle brush. This really appeals to my hopes of living more simply and with less impact on this beautiful earth (even though I am rubbish at this in lots of ways.)

Here are TEN options I have played with- and sometimes made a lot of mess with! Most are the BEE’S KNEE’s for me and the rest are the dog’s whatchya’s for others…

One- Water! Oh groan, I know, I’m sorry.  What kind of an alternative is this?! I hear you cry. The best, truly. It took me 9 months to realise it was all my hair needed – and now it has been one month since anything has been on my hair at all. The key is in the massage- as you soak your hair, get your fingers stuck in, pushing away at your scalp and any particularly grease-o bits. I do a five minute massage every five days. My hair is thick and voluminous and does whatever I want it to do. Whooppiiee for H20!!

Two- Bicarbonate of Soda/ Baking Soda. This gets your hair SQUEAKY clean. I make a little paste with a spoonful and a few drops of water and rub it into my scalp.  I leave it for a few minutes before rinsing.The only reason it isn’t number one is because it isn’t free and I’m a cheapskate – and also my hair gets a bit bicarb weary after too many times in a row, brittle and waxy and needs a bit of Number Three Action:

Three- Egg. I use the whole egg, whisked in a cup. I pour over my head and massage in. I leave for a few minutes and rinse well.  It leaves my hair SO clean and SO soft and shiny. However, the water must be cool! I have had a couple of scrambled disasters venturing into too warm territory….

Four- Soapnuts. These are a natural cleaner and work incredibly well. My hair is like silk after- certainly the closest to shampoo I have found. I heat them in water on the stove for 10 minutes, whiz them with my hand blender and use the liquid. I am too lazy to make this my Go To alternative, but use it if my hair has become filthy. Buy them here and use them for cleaning a million and one things!

FiveRhassoul Clay. This is LOVELY stuff. For skin and hair.  It not only cleans but also conditions. I make a paste with two spoonfuls and boiling water. Once cool I smooth it into hair, after a few minutes I brush it through hair and rinse off. It is truly divine but a little on the expensive side for my thrifty self. (But doesn’t come close to the expense of good shampoo.) Buy it here!

Six- Henna. This is my once-every-six-weeks deep treatment! I mix up about ten spoons of it with hot water to make a paste. Once cool I apply it all over and leave it for two hours. (Epic I know, I use a plastic bag and grips to keep it all in place.) It needs a SERIOUS rinse, and a good brush, but my hair after is brighter, cleaner, softer.

Seven- Tea. This relies very much on the massage bit too, and the result is the same as water except you get a nice smell! Some people swear that the different aspects of the tea change your hair – chamomile adding a special softness, for example.

Eight- Lemon. Lemon has some seriously potent anti-bacterial properties and can work as a lightener for people wanting to be blonder.  Squeeze the lemon straight on to your greasy roots, massage well and leave for a few moments. I found it to be slightly drying.

Nine- Tea Tree Oil. Full of incredible properties! You would probably need a little bit too much of this to work solely as an effective shampoo. However added to the bicarb paste, the lemon or the water only wash, this makes a lovely difference. Tea tree oil is perfect for people with scalp issues, dandruff etc. In fact, one person I am VERY close to but who shalt remain nameless has had a life-long scalp issue fixed with this method!

Ten- Mustard Powder. Nettles. Mayonaise. Ketchup! These were all possible contenders that simply didn’t cut it for me! In theory they should work- they have the right mix of either anti-bacterialness or emulsifier/ acid shizzle and the internet is jampacked with people on whom these work. It just ALL depends on your hair.

A note on conditioner- Nearly all of these, bar the clay and the egg need a rinse with Apple Cider Vinegar. I use a splash in half a cup of water and throw it over the ends of my hair, leave for a few minutes then rinse out. It’s a WINNER.

The biggest lesson in all of this is to not give up  and be a brave old soul – trawl through this community until you find your hair type and give things a crack! Often different hair just needs different proportions of things. Would love to hear what your routine is and if there is some magical thing I haven’t tried!

PS ‘Scuse the well posey picture! It is seriously the only shot without a beehive from the last six months! It was when I was 5 months No Poo and taken by Jenny Harding when Pretty Nostalgic mag popped over.

Squeezing the last drops out of summer….

As summer comes to a close I am finding myself clinging to it’s remnants like the slugs that belligerently cling to my bean plants. Every evening we go for a walk before the sun sets and every spare weekend moment we swan off to a park for a picnic. I had a party yesterday and despite the distinct chill in the air we set up the garden fete-style and I served up some of my best summer refreshments in my most retro glasswear.

I just love jugs. *Beavis and Butthead snigger*

I love the patterns and the shapes so distinctive of their era. I have picked up these jugs over the summer, for between £1 and £3 each. They all came with a full set of glasses but my clumsiness coupled with our tough ceramic sink sorted that cup-overload pretty pronto.

So guests mostly drank their fine juice out of Nutella glasses…

Lemon, Lime and Bitters

This is a classic Kiwi drink. It has a tiny dash of alcohol in the Aromatic Bitters but not nearly enough to count, only enough to add a depth of flavour.

A dash of Aromatic Bitters (available from Of Licences)


Lime Cordial

The juice of half a lemon

Slices of Lemon/limes and ice to serve

Mix it all in your jug and serve super chilled

Mint Tea

A sprig of mint per person

A teaspoon of sugar per person (or to taste)


Let the mint sit in boiing water, in a tea pot, until cool.

Pour into jug (leave wilted mint) and add fresh mint, sliced apple and ice to serve!

Lemon Tea (Caffeine Free)

I brewed two cups of Rooibos/ Redbush Tea

The Juice of a Lemon

A teaspoon of sugar per person (or to taste)

Ice and sliced lemon to serve

This is just a plain old jug of water but fancied up with extra lemon, lime and apple. In New Zealand you can tell the coolness of a cafe by how much crazy shizzle they have in their free jugs of water. The fairly cool ones will have cucumber and celery along with their lemons – adding a nice hint to the taste- but the hyper hipster cafes have moved right on and have forgone the lemons for jugs of potatoes and parsnips. (Jokes.) Just to firm up my status as a hyper hipster I went Next Level and served up jugs of stubborn slugs. Mwhaha.

Linking up with that master of craft, and bargains, Missie Lizzie B and the luscious Lakota’s Ta-Dah Tuesday!