Embracing the Grey & Eschewing Chemicals

For many years I’ve camouflaged the increasing amounts of grey (“Arctic blonde”) in my hair with highlights or the Box O’ Brunette drugstore trick. But late last year I thought, Why bother? It doesn’t look so bad, and I really don’t care about it anymore. The chemicals are nasty, it’s expensive and it grows out in a couple of weeks – big waste of energy, time & money.

So I’m letting it go, and deciding to forget about it was liberating. One more silly thing I don’t have to think about. I’ve earned the grey, really. When I stop and think about all I’ve lived through in my short life, I should probably have a lot more. I’m happy to still have any hair at all at this point.

On top of eschewing dye and bleach, I’ve started weaning my hair and scalp off of shampoo. Shampoo is a detergent that can strip the beneficial oils from your scalp and hair, resulting in extra oil production to compensate.  I’d heard about doing this years ago but never made much of an effort until now. I couldn’t quit cold turkey (hair was too limp and lifeless) and I didn’t know about baking soda & lemon juice…

Just a tablespoon of baking soda dissolved in a cup of water makes enough for a week or two, depending on how often you want to wash your hair – your mileage may vary. It’s watery, but using an old shampoo bottle, I squeeze it around my scalp until everything feels saturated, scrub a bit, then rinse.

For “conditioner,” I use a tablespoon of lemon juice in a cup of water and it’s the same drill – squeeze around to saturate, massage a bit, then rinse. It’s supposed to seal the cuticle and the vitamin C is great for the scalp.

You can also use apple cider vinegar – same idea as the lemon juice. I went with the lemon juice because I have a ton of it in the fridge and it smells better, though everything gets rinsed out anyway. For “insurance” against dryness, I have a very lightweight oil I can use on the ends, but so far I haven’t had any problems.

It’s only been about a week, but my hair looks and feels clean and seems to be more manageable – much easier to comb out after a shower – and it’s not dried out (and neither is my scalp).  It’s supposed to take a while for your scalp to adjust to the absence of shampoo, i.e. reduce oil production, so we’ll see how it goes. If I start to notice dryness, I can reduce the amount of baking soda, and/or add honey to the lemon juice rinse.

So far, I like the results and I love the idea of no longer spending money on products that probably do more harm than good, and having a healthier scalp and hair as a result. Now, if only there were a natural remedy for those spiky and wiry grey hairs that stick straight up off my head. Besides tweezers.