Please enjoy this guest post by Maria Rainier.
Although I once loved Trader Joe’s for supplying me with cruelty-free shampoo and conditioner for bottom dollar prices, I was pretty bummed when I saw, far down on the ingredients list, two types of parabens.
Although the jury is still out, many in the scientific and green community have nick-named this common preservative a “gender bender.” Propylparaben has shown in some studies to adversely affect male reproductive functions, and according to a 2002 study published by S. Oishi even decreased sperm production when taken at levels deemed acceptable under EC law. Meanwhile, parabens have been found in human breast tissue, although the link between it and breast cancer has yet to be solidly established.
My point is this: why take the risk when you can make your own vegan and paraben-free shampoo on the cheap?
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup liquid castile soap
- 2 tsp jojoba or grapeseed oil (optional, see below)
- 1/8 cup aloe vera gel (optional)
- 5 drops of essential oil of your choice (optional)
Combine all ingredients and put into an old shampoo bottle (you can see my old Trader Joe’s bottle in the picture). Shake before use and apply directly to your scalp, since it tends to be watery. Don’t let its consistency fool you, though—it lathers very well and doubles as shaving cream.
Admittedly, the initial price plunge is steep, but keep in mind that there’s enough in each bottle of each ingredient to make multiple batches of your shampoo. For the liquid castile soap, I love using Dr. Bronner’s because it’s fairly traded, vegan, and economical.
Bonus: it already comes with jojoba oil, so that’s one price tag you can scratch off the list!
If your hair is curly or otherwise drier than most types, you can add some aloe vera gel for added moisture. If your hair tends to be oily, try adding a few drops of lavender or tea tree oil as both are antiseptics and add a little jump to your morning shower.
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar isn’t just for facial toners; it’s great for your hair, too. It has mild exfoliating properties which removes product and shampoo buildup as well as dandruff. It’s also an effective detangler, which is great for someone with hair like mine (I’m positive there’s a monster that lives under my bed and spends his evenings tying knots into my curls and splitting the ends).
Combine in a bottle and shake before use, applying directly to scalp. Run your fingers through your hair a few times while the mixture does its cleaning and conditioning, and then rinse out. The smell won’t leave the shower, I promise.
Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education where she writes about education and online degrees. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.
Photo by SCA Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget