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Shampoo Bars, Vinegar Rinses, and Funky Hair

We are often asked what our most popular product is, and usually we are sort of stumped as to what to say. It depends on the time of year, certain products are more seasonal than others, like powders for the summer or oils for the winter. But one product that is not seasonal is the shampoo bars, we sell more of those than we do the body soaps. Occasionally we get emails or customers in the shop saying, "I would like to use the shampoo bars but it makes my hair feel funny." "Aaaaah," we respond and nod wisely, "you have funky hair."

If they stay around long enough to listen to the rest of the story, we can offer them a solution. First, relax, it is not fatal. Actually, it usually is a function of switching from one type of shampoo to another, takes one week and vinegar, and no more funky hair! Funky hair happens when the soap residue, also known as soap scum, does not completely rinse out of your hair. This can happen if you have extremely hard water (the minerals interfere with the ability of the soap to be rinsed off your hair) or the residue can be chemicals left behind from previous shampoo.

Hair is a modified form of skin, and works best when it is slightly acidic. Hair also has a cuticle which opens when we shampoo our hair, and this makes the hair feel rough, or more coarse. Vinegar closes the cuticles, helps to restore the acidity, and removes any residue left behind. What you then have is hair with more shine (any residue coats the hair causing it to look dull), less tangles (the cuticles are closed, the hair slides more easily) and healthier scalp. What kind of vinegar will work? Any kind, just use 2 tablespoons to a cup of water. Leave the rinse in, yes, you will smell vinegar for a while, but once your hair dries, no smell, I promise, I never rinse it out and have done the "smell test" on many people and have passed every time. You can rinse it out if you want, leaving it on helps even more with tangles and helps if you have an itchy scalp. Maggie rinses, I leave it in, take your pick, you will make one of us happy!

Vinegar rinses
Now that we know why we want a vinegar rinse, next question is, which one? Plain vinegar works, infused vinegar works better, again, you are getting all the properties of the vinegar plus all the additional properties of the herbs used for the infusion. Let's look at them and see what they will do.

Chamomile Citrus - Chamomile is healing, soothing, and mildly antiseptic, but gentle enough for small children or babies. Citrus will lighten hair, combat oiliness, promotes microcirculation of the skin, (hair is an extension of the skin, healthy scalp = healthy hair) and is great for blondes or light colored hair.

Red Rose and Lemon Balm - Rose is cooling and astringent, but very gentle and soothing. It has been used for centuries to treat skin wounds and inflammation. Lemon Balm is useful for all hair types.

Rosemary and Lavender - Rosemary is stimulating and invigorating to the hair and scalp, promoting healthy hair growth and shine. It is antiseptic, antibacterial, and antiviral. It is excellent for all hair types but especially good for brunettes. Lavender is a cleansing, balancing herb, meaning it will balance oily or dry hair and skin. It has antibacterial properties but gentle enough to use on children and babies. This is my personal favorite, I have long hair that is oily at my scalp and dry on the ends and this works very well on all of it.

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