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Shunning the 'poo: there's a new movement afoot that might make your hair stand on end. It's the 'no-poo' movement: shampoo, that is. Dedicated folk are shunning sweet scented commercial shampoos, and instead are washing their hair with materials you'd find in most kitchen pantries.


People shun ready-made shampoo for different reasons. Some think it's better for the environment. A few do it to save money. Others believe it's better for their health.

If you read the back of most shampoo bottles, you'll find a list of chemicals such as polyquaternium-10, phthalates, propylene glycol and sodium lauryl sulfate (or SLS). These ingredients are used as thickeners, wetting agents, perfumes, foaming agents and preservatives to give your hair body and bounce, making it shine squeaky clean. They also make the shampoo feel more like shampoo-thick, foamy and scented.

While these chemicals are non-toxic when used during your regular beauty shampoo, particular chemicals can cause mild skin irritation in some people. There are also concerns about what happens to some of these chemicals when they break down in the environment: not to mention the wasted plastic bottle.

So, what's the alternative?


It's a fact of life - hair gets dirty. Your scalp secretes oil called sebum from its sebaceous glands. This protects the protein structure of the hair, so it doesn't splinter. Unfortunately, sebum collects dust and flakes of dead skin, giving you that greasy-pirate look.

During puberty, your skin and hair may get even greasier, as changing levels of hormones pulsing around your body affect sebum production.

So, maybe you think no-poo is not for you?


No-poo doesn't mean dirty hair. You still wash it, but with chemicals that are often cheaper, less irritating and less of a concern when they disappear down the plughole.

Enter the classic cleaning combo of bi-carb soda and vinegar - is there nothing this duo can't do?


Fill a container with water. For every cup of water, add one tablespoon of bi-carb soda. Mix it well and put it into an old shampoo bottle. Squirt some of the solution onto your hair, massage it in and leave for a minute before rinsing.

Fill a second container with water. For every cup of water, add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Massage this mixture into your hair before rinsing well (unless you want to smell like a gherkin).

If you are used to washing your hair with shampoo, it might take a few weeks for your hair to adjust. Once it's back in balance, no-pooers claim that your hair will be bounder than Beyonce.


'Shampoo, rinse and repeat' are instructions found on the back of many shampoo bottles. Yet, unless you've been rolling in mud and hundreds and thousands, this isn't really necessary. It is a very clever way of encouraging you to buy more shampoo though, which means more energy used in recycling, or more empty plastic bottles in landfill.

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Title Annotation:ECO-ETIQUETTE
Author:Fejer, Lish
Publication:Teaching Science
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2012
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