View Full Version : Shampoo dilemma

April 2nd, 2008, 07:11 AM
Sometime last fall, I started having problems with sulphate shampoo, and I'm still trying to find a shampoo that will work for me. The problem is that if I use something strong enough to get the gunk off my scalp, I end up with dry, flaky scalp and sometimes a little itchiness. If I use the gentler options that I know of, the gunk doesn't come off, and I end up really itchy from the residue. I'm hoping someone can suggest something that I haven't tried. ;)

CO washing was one of the first things I tried when I joined LHC a year-ish ago. It was a disaster.

Shampoo bars were even more of a disaster.

I've tried various different types of sulphates. I can't quite tell if I'm actually sensitive to the sulphates or if they just dry my scalp out too much, but either way, they make my scalp flaky.

I've tried diluting the sulphate shampoos. I can't seem to find a magic ratio that cleans my hair sufficiently without drying out the scalp. Perhaps I just need to play around with this more?

I've tried a few different sulphate free shampoos. Queen Helene Mint Julep seemed to be working at first, but the last couple of months, it hasn't been getting my hair clean enough at all. I've also tried a Kiss My Face shampoo, which left my scalp so gunky I actually got back in the shower and washed it again with some sulphate shampoo. I've tried the Giovanni tea tree shampoo, which had about the same effect as the KMF stuff.

At this point, I'm just fed up. I'm seriously thinking about going to herbal washing, even though that seems like more fuss than I'm generally willing to devote to my hair.

So, has anyone had a similar problem? Do you have any suggestions? :pray: I know this is a broad problem and everyone's hair is a little different, but I'm out of ideas at this point. (Aside from the herbal washing, which I'm hoping to avoid.) And just FYI, I have pretty hard water.

April 2nd, 2008, 07:26 AM
Try a sulfate shampoo that work in your hair and dilute it that might help.

April 2nd, 2008, 07:38 AM
What about mixing in some tea tree oil? maybe it's not the shampoo but a scalp imbalance. Also have you tried vinegar rinses? they help balance out PH in the scalp. You could try a shower filter (aka hard water is prob why the poo bar didn't work unless you use a strong vinegar rinse) or you could try WO with tea tree and other EO like rosemary.

April 2nd, 2008, 08:18 AM
Oh, thank you. Those are some excellent suggestions. I can't believe I didn't think about a shower filter, considering how often that comes up on the boards and considering that I even thought to mention my hard water!

April 2nd, 2008, 02:32 PM
I know baby shampoos are frowned upon around these parts (even by me, mind), but I'd consider a bit of diluted baby shampoo for your scalp. They're about the only thing I can think of off the top of my head that is largely sulfate free while still being gunk-killing.

April 2nd, 2008, 05:49 PM
or you could try diluting your shampoo, i find this less damaging I hardly massage it in my head either just pour on, leave for a minute and rinse off, my hair still gets clean but my hair looks better and no itchies!

April 2nd, 2008, 06:14 PM
Well, I figured the hard water might be the issue before you even got there--I think that's likely the cause of the gunk/not clean hair...found out when I finally had to switch to sulphate poos, too. I remember the frustration of finding a working shampoo. :lol:

I've had pretty good luck with Burts Bees Grapefruit/Super Shiney shampoo, which I started using in late 2006. No sulfates or sulfonates, and doesn't seem to build up (ie, no dirty hair the instant it dries--I tried some others that just did not at all rinse clean in our hard water). The BBs Raspberry/More Moisture shampoo wasn't too bad, but I/my hair/scalp/water liked the Grapefruit one (which might be more drying) just a tad better. I haven't tried the other BBs shampoos to know how they do in hard water.

And, random, but I find citric acid is the best thing I've found for combating the hard water we've got. I'll often use it in a rinse (much like vinegar/ACV).

And, FWIW, I'm also thinking of trying herbal washing (if only to test it in our horrid water to know for the future)...whenever I can find some soapwort!

Oh, and whatever you do, don't try Avalon Organics, and don't try castile soap. They don't mix with hard water at all well. :rolleyes:

April 2nd, 2008, 07:51 PM
I'm begining to think we have hard water here because of the way different products react!

Anyway, I had your same problem for a while, but the one shampoo I've been very happy with is MillCreek Botanicals. I usually let it sit on my scalp for a minute or to, and I never have buildup with that method. I do rinse the life out of my hair afterwards though!

April 2nd, 2008, 10:13 PM
I can understand the reluctance to herb washing as it can seem a bit fiddley....but really it's not as bad as it sounds and can be simplified.

Have you tried BS.....i've not used it but some people like it. Or a brown sugar scrub? I found poo-bars gave me scalp gunkyness even with ACV rinses.....though my hair did like them.

I would suggest rosemary rinses but that's boiling up herbs again.....but very effective for scalp problems.....what about oiling? That often helps scalp issues.

April 3rd, 2008, 07:39 AM
Well, you've already had good advises... The only thing I could think of which isn't mentioned is trying rhassoul. It is all natural, gentle, but it cleanses well IMO. Here's a link with some info: http://www.treasuredlocks.com/hurhcl.html#itemTabs.
You can add an oil (if you have dry scalp/hair) to the mix, as well as EO's of your choice. The way I use it: adding water till a liquid paste, add EVOO and massage into the scalp for a few minutes. Put on the length, massages some more and rinse. Works also great as a mild facial cleanser, btw.

But I have shoulder length hair, I think shampooing with it would be more difficult with long hair. So I thought you could try rhassoul on your scalp, and a mild shampoo on the length.

Hope you'll find something that works out for you!

April 3rd, 2008, 08:15 AM
I have switched to Jasons, TeaTree Oil shampoo and I am having great results with that. No scalp gunk, and it feels so refreshing and clean afterwards. (My scalp.)

April 3rd, 2008, 08:15 AM
Have you tried mechanically removing the scalp gunk (e.g. by scritching with a horn comb) before washing with a mild shampoo? And when you tried shampoo bars, did you do a vinegar rinse? I find my vinegar rinses to be very beneficial to my scalp.

April 3rd, 2008, 08:37 AM
Yay, ideas! Thank you all so much.

Akurah, your baby shampoo idea is intriguing. That stuff would definitely not be the best thing to put on my length, but since I only shampoo my scalp, it might not be a problem in terms of being too drying.

ChloeDharma, I love the smell of rosemary. Doing a rinse with it sounds so nice that I don't think I'll mind having to boil the herbs. And since I have a massive rosemary plant on my porch, I won't have to buy anything new, so perhaps this will be one of the first things I try.

Calista, yup, I scritch pretty regularly. It feels so good. :D And thanks to your excellent shampoo bar article on the old boards, I knew to do a vinegar rinse with my shampoo bars. It helped, but not enough, plus I really, really hate the smell of vinegar. I have some citric acid, though, and a rinse with that should accomplish pretty much the same thing, right?

April 3rd, 2008, 09:05 AM
I really, really hate the smell of vinegar. I have some citric acid, though, and a rinse with that should accomplish pretty much the same thing, right?
Weeeell... I certainly does the same thing when it comes to using it after shampoo bars. Iīm not sure if a citric acid rinse would contribute anything to the health of your scalp. Iīm not sure the vinegar does, either ;). It does have antibacterial properties, but would that simply be because of its level of acidity? I realy have no idea. All I can say is it feels very very good for my scalp.

But donīt use it if you canīt stand the smell. Haircare should be fun!

April 3rd, 2008, 10:32 AM
I've definately had the same problem for the longest time. Non sulphate poo's just dont clean my hair. Shampoo bars left my hair tacky, waxy and horrible (acv, citcric acid rinses, bs, none of it cut out the wax). I definately got fed up with my shower starting to look like a homeopathic natural chem lab.

I just wanted to wash my hair!

Sulphate poo though was way harsh and my scalp would become overdry. I finally found something that worked.

I take my sulphate poo in a mixer bottle (at sally's with a cap), put a few ounces in (about six) then an ounce of water, and about 5 drops of carrot oil (i've used coconut oil and olive oil too both work really well) and three drops of vegetable glycerine. Shake, voila. Creamy, smooth, cleansing and my scalp doesnt dry out.

April 3rd, 2008, 10:37 AM
I think citric acid or diluted lemon juice should give you vinegar-like results. (Incidentally, is it the acetic acid smell you don't like, or is it ACV specifically? White vinegar smells less strongly and works equally well.)

Have you tried a "no-poo" method like Babyslime's, which uses baking soda? If anything, I'd be afraid of it being too cleansing, but it lacks the sulfates. You almost certainly would need an acidic rinse of some variety, though.

Another "have you tried": What about a mixture of conditioner and sulfate shampoo applied to the scalp? It should be less drying, at least, than straight shampoo, but I don't know about the gunk inducing/reducing properties it would have.

April 3rd, 2008, 10:54 AM
Kirin, I'm sorry you had the same problem, but it's also kind of comforting to know I'm not the only one. ;) I will certainly try your method at some point.

Anje, I hate the smell of any form of vinegar.

I haven't tried using BS. I think I dismissed the idea a long time ago as sounding way too harsh. I suppose it wouldn't hurt too much to try it once. Worst that could happen is that I'd need to do a deep treatment afterwards.

I'm also leery of mixing the shampoo and conditioner together, since conditioner on my scalp tends to make me shed frightening amounts. But again, couldn't hurt too much to try once. Maybe with the shampoo in there, the conditioner wouldn't affect my scalp quite the same way.

Thanks! :flowers:

April 3rd, 2008, 01:34 PM
Oh, thank you. Those are some excellent suggestions. I can't believe I didn't think about a shower filter, considering how often that comes up on the boards and considering that I even thought to mention my hard water!

Your welcome! I plan to get one for my shower to once we get more money :flower: keep us updated on how the suggestions work.

April 3rd, 2008, 03:20 PM
Oh cool, well do let me know how you get on with the rosemary! I tell you.....when i was about 16 i had some horrible scalp ickyness (well, really it wasn't so bad but i'm paranoid about that kind of thing) and i used a rosemary infusion as a final rinse......you know, the flakes just completely went. I expected it to work, but was still shocked at just how well it worked!

Good luck :)

April 3rd, 2008, 05:14 PM
Since the Queen Helene seems to work most of the time, perhaps use that as your normal shampoo, and then pull out a sulfate shampoo for one use, to clarify, when it stops working, and then go back to the Queen Helene?

Perhaps even wash with the QH right after the sulfate wash, to ensure that all the sufate stuff is risned away, and then do a good deep conditioning to make up for the double shampooing?

"Works for a long time, then stops working" I often see as being a way of saying that it works but needs occasional clarification to keep it working. Clairfy your hair back to naked hair, and you should have it working again.