Ok, first things first: I removed all the bottles of shampoo and conditioner from my shower. I've used everything from Herbal Essences, Schwarzkopf, L'Oreal, Head & Shoulders... if it's promised to give me beautifully shiny, healthy and in my case, itch-free hair, I've tried it.
The bottles are gone, and instead I'm starting Day One with the only ingredients I have in the house (based on recommendation from my research this week): baking soda and white vinegar. I've also soaked some chopped up lemon leaves in boiling water, which is a trick my grandfather taught me. It's great for softening your hair and it also helps to wash away any residual shampoo and conditioner.
So, first wash of my almost-all-natural hair care regime consisted of the following:
1. 1 tablespoon of bicarb/baking soda in 250mL warm water. Poured over my entire head, concentrating on the scalp and around the hairline near my face and ears. I also rubbed a small amount of dry soda but found I couldn't really manage to get much done this way. I'll stick to the water based mixture. Rinsed thoroughly.
2. 1 tablespoon of white vinegar in 500mL warm water. Poured over my whole head, again focusing on the scalp and hair line. Rinsed thoroughly.
3. A bunch of lemon leaves, chopped and soaked in water, strained through a sieve to remove anything from the tree and leaving only a lemon scented liquid. I prepared all this about half an hour before my shower. I poured the entire bottle (about 600mL) over my head.
4. Final rinse in the hot shower (it's winter at the moment!), then I gradually reduced the temperature and tried to bear a few seconds of cold water over my head. This apparently seals your hair and helps give it shine.
Tonight I couldn't stray from my usual blow dry and straighten, as I'm used to having sleek and straight hair all the time. Tomorrow night I'll try not to dry it out this way and let it air dry.
So that's wash #1 finished, it feels pretty soft and smells quite normal. I was expecting it to smell like vinegar or something bad, but it just smells... natural, I guess. Not bad and not like conditioner, just neutral! Morning after verdict to follow...