the no 'poo method

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Shampoo bars and itchiness
thusbands wrote in no_poo
In June I started washing my hair every other day with shampoo. In the beginning of September I decided to try out shampoo bars with an ACV rinse because I have extremely hard water. It gets my hair clean but it can't seem to decide when to become oily. Sometimes it looks great the day I wash it and then by day 2 it is oily. Other times it doesn't even look oily but it feels oily on day 3 but I wash it anyways because I work and can't have nasty looking hair. I haven't really changed anything to make the oiliness different. If anyone has any thoughts on that they would be greatly appreciated. The real reason I'm here though is that I am becoming super itchy. My shoulders and the top of my back are super itchy almost all the time. My head is also becoming itchy. I'm not sure which is the problem. I would guess that it would be the ACV that my body just doesn't like but I'm not sure what I could use in its place. My routine is to get my hair wet, rub the shampoo bar on my head and then work in the soap. Then I rinse it and I either use a spray bottle with 1 tbs of ACV to about 8 ounces of water or a big cup with 1-2 tbs ACV and 8-12 ounces of water. Since I have hard water I don't just spray it on the ends of my hair but I also don't try to separate my hair to get it on my scalp. After a couple minutes I rinse it out. Any ideas of which one might be making me so itchy and what I could try? I know I've heard people use lemon juice but does it work with hard water? I've also heard of chamomile tea or other kinds of tea. Will they help to get the minerals out? I'm tempted to just try water only because my body has never really seemed to like soap anyways but is that a good idea with extremely hard water? The shampoo bar is chamomile and citrus or coconut milk and honey from chagrin valley. I switched at the end of September. Any advice would be awesome. I really don't want to go back to regular shampoo but I can't handle this itchiness either. I did have some scalp itchiness when I used regular shampoo but not the shoulder itchiness. Oh I've also noticed that if I try to use the shampoo bar on the ends of my hair they get really dried out. Could it be the soap that's drying my skin out?

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I used to do a warm tea and lemon juice rinse--either Stash earl grey, or a homemade tea made from lavender and rosemary from my garden, with only a small amount of lemon. I found it just the right level of acidity, and of course the herbs offer their own benefits. (I am annoyed that I didn't remember this when I recently came on hard times that necessitated a brief return to baking soda and ACV. Tea would have been much less damaging.)

Didn't see much in the shampoo bars you mentioned that I think would cause you problems, but that is more my limited experience. Could be anything, so your best approach is a process of elimination. Your skin might not like one of the essential oils in the soap. I'd try a very gentle and simple formula.

Depending on the brand of vinegar you're using, though, it could indeed be the cause. Apples are one of the crops most heavily doused with pesticides and herbicides, so if the apples used to make your vinegar were treated thus, you could be reacting to residual chemicals. I've found that many people who use ACV for hair treatment get the least expensive vinegar available, which usually means the crappiest quality. If it is not an issue of your product's quality, though, perhaps it is throwing off your skin's pH balance. Your condition might improve with the use of a less-acidic rinse, like one of the teas I described. I can offer you a list of other herbs that might be good, too.

Not sure if it was an issue of water content, but I have had trouble with lemon juice in water alone (it left my hair almost sticky).

edit: Oh! The alternating levels of oiliness you experience could be dependent on which shampoo bar you use for that wash. You mentioned two different bars. One could be more conditioning or even more stripping than the other, either leaving residue or causing your scalp to overcompensate by producing more sebum. Depends on precisely what's wrong.

Edited at 2013-10-09 11:17 pm (UTC)

Well, first I would try to determine whether the itchiness was caused by one or the other of the shampoo bars or the vinegar by eliminating one at a time for a few days and see if it goes away. And ditto on the possibility of it being one ingredient in a soap. Other shampoo bar makers have unscented or sensitive skin bars, I don't know about chagrin valley, so that's an option, too.

I have pretty hard water too, and tea NEVER works on my hair unless it has lemon juice or other acid in it, too. It makes it weird and tacky and brittle.

It normally isn't necessary to use a shampoo bar on the ends of your hair, just on your scalp, normally.

It isn't necessary to apply anything to "clean" the ends of your hair (no matter if it's regular shampoo or baking soda), unless you got something on it that won't come off with whatever drips down from your roots.

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