General ramblings

A step too far…

I have experimented twice now with giving up shampoo.
Mainly from packaging perspective. But also from a curiosity point of view to see if it can be done.

I read this great post from Lulastic a while back about how she went ‘poo free, and it piqued my interest.
She said your hair might be a bit greasy for a couple of weeks while your hair ‘transitions’ but then it will be wonderfully wonderful, and soft and clean and lovely.
I tried it for 2 weeks, and that was as much as I could stick. My hair was greasy, heavy, REVOLTING.

Then I I read in No Impact Man and also in the introduction of Bea Johnson’s Zero Waste Home, that they both used bicarbonate of soda in place of shampoo, and not being one to give up easily, I thought I would give it another go, but this time use bicarb every day in place of shampoo, rather than the whole cold turkey no ‘poo thing.
For the first two days I used a solution of bicarb and water that I had made up in an old shower gel bottle.
It started to get greasy so I added the juice of half a lemon to see if that would cut through some of the grease-it didn’t.
I hit the tinterweb and found various homemade remedies-one of which suggested blitzing a whole peeled lemon and a peeled cucumber and using that. I didn’t have any cucumber, and only had half a lemon, so I peeled and blitzed this and then added a generous teaspoon of trusty bicarb, and applied the paste like lemony solution to my hair and left it on for several minutes. Then I rinsed. Then I had greasy hair with bits of lemon in it.
So for the next two days I tried neat lemon juice. And still had greasy hair. Every time I washed it it seemed to be ok after I had towel dried it but then when I woke up in the morning and brushed it, it was heavy and lank and GREASY. Euurrrggghhh.
As a last resort I tried  a whole egg (NB use lukewarm water if you try this at home to avoid any kind of scrambled egg in hair incident) as I had read several people saying how great this was. It wasn’t.
At this point, I gave up.
I know you are supposed to give it 2wks + to get used to less harsh alternatives to shampoo, but as the whole point of me doing it is not to be ‘poo free but to cut down on plastic packaging, I decided life was too short for icky revolting hair that may never ‘transition’ and seems to out-grease even the most supposedly guaranteed of grease-busting remedies.

So I decided to re-group and approach the problem from a packaging perspective and look for packaging free shampoo.
And I didn’t really have to look too hard.
I found some great packaging, and water free shampoo from Lush online.
I have always avoided Lush before when on the High Street, thinking that anything that smelled that strong, could not really be that ‘natural’ but it turns out it can! They seem to be a pretty ‘ethical’ company and it seems to go further than just ‘green-wash’ so I am happy to give their products a go. And many of their products are plastic packaging free 🙂

I have ordered some Jumping Juniper Shampoo Bar

as well as some solid soap to try and replace the liquid handwash bottles in the bathrooms

and I thought I would try out these ‘Fun’ bars for the kids in the bath-they act as bubble bath, soap, shampoo and you can mess around with them and model them into shapes and things. And the packaging is compostable.

I am awaiting my package with some excitment (I am very easily pleased/lacking in too much genuinely exciting…) and will report back.

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  • Reply Lulastic (@lulasticblog) August 11, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    Actually, it took me six weeks! It was awful, a real challenge. But 18 months later and I don’t use anything now, literally just water. It is hard to get there but to not have to use shampoo for the rest of my life makes it worth it!
    (Evangelical, me?!)
    Hope you enjoy Lush, I think the smell is yummmmy. Thanks for the shout out! xx

    • Reply Jen August 11, 2013 at 9:43 pm

      Sorry! Must have mis-read.
      Not sure I could stick it for 6 weeks-although having said that, the second time I tried, and I could tie my hair back, it wasn’t so bad, as I wasn’t so self-conscious that everyone was looking at my manky hair!

  • Reply My plastic free shower… | My Make Do and Mend Year August 7, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    […] blogged last week about my issues with trying to find an alternative to plastic bottles of shampoo. I failed miserably on my two attempts at shampoo free hair, despite numerous attempts at different […]

  • Reply Glenys August 7, 2013 at 11:15 am

    It might also be worth trying “Bimble” products – all natural, environmentally friendly – – recycled packaging wherever possible

    • Reply Jen August 7, 2013 at 1:58 pm

      Great, thanks Glenys. Will check them out 🙂

  • Reply sarahn August 7, 2013 at 10:44 am

    I love love love Lush! I use some blue coloured one – smells delightful. Didn’t have as much success with their conditioner, but then I cut my hair short and it didn’t matter.

    No way I could go no poo – totally agree with your experiences, just an oily mess

    • Reply Jen August 7, 2013 at 1:57 pm

      Glad it’s not just me who has hair that refuses to play!
      I have read similar comments about the conditioner in the reviews on the website. Will do some more investigation!

  • Reply Zoe @ecothrifty August 5, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    I went ‘poo’ free for 6 months! My hair was ok ish for a while, but then it got greasier and greasier and filled with dandruff! I tried using olive oil soap in my hair at one point, but it wasn’t very successful. The lush shampoo soap looks interesting though.. I am currently using normal shampoo, but want to give the whole ‘poo’ free thing another try. My kids are mostly poo free though. I only use shampoo on them very occasionally.

    • Reply Jen August 5, 2013 at 8:38 pm

      I would recommend the Lush bar. Totally packaging free and lathers up really well!

  • Reply beautytherapystudent August 3, 2013 at 11:03 pm

    The Lush shampoo bars are amazing! I use them now I work for them… but I also used them before I worked for them 😀 You can also get a solid conditioner and hey… did you know the kids can even use fun to wash their hair!? Looking forward to seeing how you get on with the products 😀 I actually reviewed our solid deodorant tonight too t’eo, might be something that interests you 🙂

    • Reply Jen August 4, 2013 at 8:32 am

      Thanks Leah. Used the shampoo bar for the 1st time last night and was pleasantly surprised!
      The solid conditioner has not had that great reviews on the website-have you used it?
      Will unleash the kids on the fun bar tonight..!
      I experimented with making my own solid deodorant several months back, and it works really really well!Link to the post is here

  • Reply Jacqueline Bates August 2, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    We use our own hand made soap (Clovelly Soap Company) and to avoid the dullness caused by bar soap, we rinse with Cider vinegar, 1/4 inch in the bottom of a jug, diluted with warm water and essential oils of your choice added for a nice smell. The Cider vinegar acts as a conditioner. No greasy hair, no SLS. Our soap contains only Palm Oil, olive Oil, Coconut oil, Lye and water. Essential oils only added for perfume and other ingredients for oil absorption, exfoliating, etc.

    • Reply Jen August 3, 2013 at 8:08 am

      Hi Jacqueline
      So you use normal bar soap on your hair?
      Is it special shampoo soap or just regular soap?
      Do you know if your palm oil is from a sustainable source?
      Thanks for the link and leaving a comment 🙂

  • Reply Kirsty August 2, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    I’ve been thinking about shower gel and hand wash too since reading the intro of Zero Waste Home on your recommendation. I’m planning to try 5 litre bottles of Ecover, washing out and reusing our current packaging. I’ll watch how you get in with interest as I’m not sure what to do about shampoo.

    • Reply Jen August 2, 2013 at 8:20 pm

      Sounds like a good plan. Keep us updated!
      Hubby is very anti the whole soap thing-will see how it goes 🙂

  • Reply daisymarmalade August 2, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    Do see what Amy Karol has to say about not washing her hair, dry shampoo recipes, etc. at 🙂

    • Reply Jen August 2, 2013 at 8:15 pm

      Will check it out-thankyou 🙂

  • Reply Vivienne Downes (@VivienneDownes) August 2, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    Having recently suffered an outer ear infection I had to do without washing my hair for a few weeks just as the hot weather hit ! It was just long enough to put up with a nifty pair of combs with a stretchy lattice of beads. Brushing my hair twice a day for up to 100 strokes with clean brushes kept it in good condition & it didn’t get greasy! Had to wash it for a special occasion & overnight stay but its improved my itchy scalp problem by not washing it anywhere near as often :o)

    • Reply Jen August 2, 2013 at 8:15 pm

      I have read that you should use a natural bristle brush when attempting to go ‘poo free, but I didn’t have one!
      Glad you scalp is feeing better-silver linings and all that 😉

  • Reply sarah August 2, 2013 at 8:04 am

    I love lush stuff, the shampoo and soap bar am sure you will find amazing, the fun bar however I found weird and VERY messy! Make sure you keep it wrapped up and away from water when not in use otherwise it will just melt! and well done for trying no washing for two weeks! not sure I would have coped with that

    • Reply Jen August 2, 2013 at 8:14 pm

      This fun bar is VERY blue-will see how we get on!

  • Reply KnitNell August 2, 2013 at 7:21 am

    Hi – thank you for your interesting account of a fascinating experiment – it did make me laugh! I have been using Lush for years and although I initially find it expensive it does last a long time and I do believe that the products are excellent and made with care. I am very wary of other brands that dub themselves ‘natural’ etc. I believe that sometimes it is necessary to pay a bit more in order to buy something worthwhile – especially when it is going on the skin. A number of Lush’s products are suitable for Vegans and although I am not a Vegan myself I support any company who strives to produce something without animal derivatives. Packaging as well is great – just a paper bag for most of my bath purchases – so a little care is needed for storage but that is all. Welcome to a Lush-us world!

    • Reply Jen August 2, 2013 at 8:14 pm

      Thankyou!Parcel arrived today and impressed by the packaging and smell at the mo. Proof of the pudding is in the eating (using) though.. Will let you know!

  • Reply Truly Myrtle August 2, 2013 at 7:18 am

    I’m waiting with interested to hear how you get on. I’ve recently discovered a face cleanser and a body creme from Lush that I love and we’ve used their soaps for years 🙂

    • Reply Jen August 2, 2013 at 8:13 pm

      Parcel arrived today-will keep you posted..!

  • Reply craftymadre August 2, 2013 at 2:42 am

    What a great sounding bunch of products. I’ll have to check them out. It would be nice if they were sold somewhere locally to cut down on shipping, too.

    • Reply craftymadre August 2, 2013 at 2:54 am

      I just found out there’s a whole Lush store in a mall that we sometimes go to. I can’t wait to pick some of their stuff up (especially the non-plastic packaged stuff). I saw a mint shampoo bar that sounds just like one of my favorite shampoos.

      • Reply Jen August 2, 2013 at 8:12 pm


  • Reply Jo aka Kiwijo August 1, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    I used to love lush stuff (including the shampoo bars) but have avoided them since finding out the contain SLS (which I am trying to avoid). Im hoping to ‘brew’ some soapnut shampoo this weekend and shall let you know how I get on. :o)

    • Reply Jen August 2, 2013 at 8:12 pm

      Oooh, yes please Jo. Can’t wait to see how you get on 🙂

  • Reply Su August 1, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    My hair was fine, for about 6 months doing the ‘poo’ free thing. I tried it both with and without bicarb, no difference. But, after that length of time, I ended up with a manky scalp, really horrible. So, I went back to shampoo, but being of the curly haired persuasion, I don’t wash it that often and a bottle of shampoo lasts months! I can’t use conditioner either, it gives me a really itchy scalp. I have tried making shampoo,but I haven’t found a recipe that really suits, but no doubt I will one day!

    • Reply Jen August 2, 2013 at 8:12 pm

      I am trying to extend the interval between shampooing, from every 24hrs to every 36-48hrs. Doesn’t sound much but could reduce my shampoo consumption by half!

  • Reply Kate Harwood August 1, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    we love lush in our house. I can recommend the karma bubble bars for lots of bubbles. my boys love it and u only need to use a small amount so they last for ages. x

    • Reply Jen August 1, 2013 at 7:58 pm

      That’s great to know, thank you!

  • Reply Hilary August 1, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    Have to say I tried the two weeks no hair washing, it is a greasy horror time, I picked a time when I didn’t have to go out too much to do it. But I did it to try to reduce grease and after the two weeks went back to washing again and it didn’t get so greasy so quickly again.My hubby though hasn’t used any shampoo on his hair for years now, he just “washes” it with water direct from the shower head. His hair is soft and in good condition. I think it boils down to what hair type you have in the beginning! Glad you’ve found something you feel you can use, though I’m afraid I have to walk quickly past any Lush shop because my breathing just can’t cope with the strong scents.(not just Lush, any perfume dept. is avoided) hence this house uses things that are scent free and as pure as possible.

    • Reply Jen August 1, 2013 at 7:44 pm

      Glad it’s not just me whose hair hasn’t read the Good Hair GuideBook!

  • Reply Miss Elle August 1, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    I love Lush!

    The shop I work in does refills of Faith In Nature aloe vera shampoo/conditioner/shower gel/handwash and the same in lavender. Its good stuff and you save on packaging! (We refill ecover and ecoleaf stuff too!)

    • Reply Jen August 1, 2013 at 7:43 pm

      Re-fills are a good next best to packaging free-may consider if the bar is no good-thankyou!

  • Reply Ellie August 1, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    We use lots of lush products and always order a ‘hamper’of good stuff around Christmas time. It’s always been fab stuff and fills the whole house with gorgeous scents when someone has a bath. Bonus is they have been extra kind to the sensitive eczema sufferers too. Good choice Jen – I’m sure you’ll be grease free and sweet smelling very soon 😉

    • Reply Jen August 1, 2013 at 7:42 pm

      I hope so..! Thankyou 🙂

  • Reply Hayley August 1, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    My 4 children are currently all squashed in the bath with a lush bubble bath cake cleaning each other after an afternoon in the paddling pool. Lush products are always on my birthday and christmas list 🙂

    • Reply Jen August 1, 2013 at 6:59 pm

      Fab! I was just looking at the bubble bath cake things-do they work well? Want an alternative to bottles of bubble bath/baby bath etc

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