Gave up shampoo

Even after converting to soap-nuts for laundry fully, there was always the problem of washing hair with soap-nut powder. It didn’t give the familiar lather/suds I had with regular shampoo. I tried the combination of soap-nut powder with Albizia Amara powder and there was lather. But despite rinsing/wetting my hair adequately, my hair is often too dry to lather up instantly and the water from our taps are hard and this takes a lot of soap-nut powder to get to the lathering.

I’ve been half heartedly using over the counter “herbal” shampoos but I knew for sure that none of them are biodegradable in anyway. I needed a one-time cheap and repeatable solution. Something had to be done.

Lately I’ve been having lint-free and fragrance-free laundry thanks to soap-nuts and a capful of apple cider vinegar. So I would order Soap-nuts 1KG (costs 140 INR) and Apple Cider Vinegar (costs 150 INR) on amazon.in once every three months. That’s 100 INR for a month’s laundry and it was eco-friendly!! Except of course the packaging of soap-nuts (which was minimal) and the vinegar bottle. Next time I am around those old Bangalore areas, I will be buying a sack of soap-nuts. Besides apple cider vinegar has multiple uses apart from just laundry.

In parallel, I’ve been suffering from dandruff and trichodynia. So it’s time I did something to fix all these woes in one go. I decided to give the “No-Poo” method a try yet again. Previously, I tried washing my hair with just baking soda way but since it doesn’t lather readily and made my hair super dry. Also while washing hair this way, there is just no feedback if I am doing it right because there were no suds. It was frustrating.

This time, I decided to optimise the workflow a little. I had to get these things:

  1. A camping basin

2. Baking soda 1KG pack

and, American Garden Apple Cider vinegar.

So after I got these things, this is how I have been washing my hair:

  1. Put warm water into the collapsible basin and keep it over a surface where you’d be comfortable standing and dipping your head in for about 2–3 mins.
  2. Add 2 caps of apple cider vinegar to the water
  3. Add a tbsp of baking soda to the water
  4. Take a plastic comb (the round one with wide teeth) and rinse your hair in this water.
  5. Take out your hair, squeeze excess water out. Put a towel over your neck so it absorbs the dripping water.
  6. You can empty out the used water into your toilet tank or washing machine
  7. Fill basin with fresh water and rinse off hair again.

This work flow works everywhere so long as you have access to a place/ platform where you can bend over to dip your head in the camping sink comfortably.

Alternative that works for me: I have a kitchen sink where an extra outlet for water purifier is available. But since I don’t use a electricity based water purifier, I decided to use the outlet for a hand shower faucet.

Once I soak my head in the no-poo liquid, I rinse off in the sink using this faucet that I installed. The apple cider and baking soda water leaves my steel sink shining — win, win! I also added a bit of tea-tree essential oil and oh my hair smells so good!

Washing hair separately over a basin has given me a slight degree of freedom. Before this whenever I had to wash my hair and that also meant taking a bath. Despite taking bucket baths, I feel that it still wastes a lot of water to wash hair and it isn’t as effective to be standing vertically to wash your hair.

To sum it up:

For 1 person with medium hair and small size clothing and single laundry needs:

  • Albizia Amara powder 1KG pack lasts up to 6 months
  • Apple cider vinegar 1 bottle lasts about 45–50 days (for both laundry and hair washing)
  • Baking Soda 1KG pack lasts 3 months (for both laundry and hair washing)

Benefits:

  • Eco-friendly, nothing toxic being sent to grey water
  • Multi-purpose ingredients
  • Fixes dandruff, hair roughness
  • Super easy to do if you have the right setup (both for travel and at home)

Reality notes

  • Nothing is 100% packaging free so there is always the overhead of apple cider bottles and soap-nut/baking soda packaging (when bought online)