This story starts in the past, so please dear readers, conjure a flashback harp song in your head and set your mind back to six weeks ago….
When Gavin arrived home one Sunday afternoon, he made the mistake of telling me my hair looked nice.
I leapt up from the sofa with barely contained excitement.
“DID YOU JUST SAY MY HAIR LOOKS NICE?”
He looked slightly alarmed. “Erm…yes?”
“Do you think it looks better than normal?”
He continued to look bemused. “Yes, that’s why I…”
“Why do you think it looks better?”
“Does it look shinier?”
“Yes, it looks…”
“Does it look healthier?”
I didn’t let him finish because I had reached the twist to the tale. It was time to do the big reveal. DRUM ROLL:
“I WASHED IT WITH BAKING SODA AND VINEGAR!” I shouted with a triumphant flourish.
He pulled a face, then took a handful of hair and did a big sniff. With surprise, he conceded that it didn’t smell like vinegar.
Although I may have used some leading questions during the interrogation, I can confirm that my experiment with homemade shampoo definitely paid off. My hair does, genuinely look and feel a lot nicer, shinier and healthier than when I used my old regular shampoo. Six weeks on, I’m still using the concoction.
Why did I do this?
Originally, I decided to make my own shampoo as part of a personal mission to be an eco-friendly Earth Mother, as recommended by blogger and journalist, Madeleine Somerville.
However, since trying it, I’ve realised there are MANY, MANY more reasons to make your own shampoo, not least the feeling of INCREDIBLE SMUGNESS it gives me. I sashay around, swishing my shiny hair like a cross between Kate Middleton and a dressage pony, with the knowledge that I am hacking the shit out of life!
I’m saving money, zero plastic bottles are being used and disposed of and my hair looks better than it ever has! Plus, I’m not covering myself with a load of dubious, unpronounceable and potentially toxic chemicals like “Phthalates” that are often found in shampoo. (Seriously PHTHALATES. It sounds like a type of dinosaur, not something I should be putting anywhere near my head.)
Life = well and truly hacked.
All you need is less
The idea came from a funny and informative little book I read earlier in the year called All You Need is Less by Madeleine Somerville. Madeleine also writes columns for The Guardian and blogs for her website. All three sources are filled with non-preachy advice, simple recipes and easy ways to make your life less wasteful and more eco-friendly.
The recipe involves mixing a tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda with water. Then once it’s fizzed, pouring it on your head and giving the whole lot a good ol’ rub, Ainsley Harriott style.
After a rinse, mix a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar with water and pour over your hair and then rinse it off.
A drop in the ocean
I know that making my own shampoo is a tiny contribution. I’m just one tiny, miniscule human bean, on a vast planet with billions of other beans going about their business. But just because I can’t do everything, doesn’t mean I should do nothing.
Over my lifetime, I’ve roughly calculated that not using shampoo, conditioner and plastic bottles of shower gel will save around 4,000 bottles. That’s loads. Everything I buy and throw away has to go somewhere, therefore the less I consume the better.
I can’t prevent animal cruelty. It doesn’t give me free rein to wander round kicking puppies. I can’t clear up all the litter in London, but again, it doesn’t mean I’m walking around chucking cans everywhere. And just because I can’t single-handedly reverse climate change and the massive impact the human race is having on our Earth, doesn’t mean I can’t try to reduce my own consumption.
Visit Madeleine’s blog here to find out how to make the shampoo and conditioner and for a link to her great book. I give this recipe a big thumbs up. Thanks Madeleine!