I’ve been washing my hair with eggs. Last semester two friends and I tried to go zero waste. I say try because, to be honest, it didn’t really work. We put together an Independent Study, invested in mason jars and re-usable totes, got inspired by blogs and this German grocery store. Within weeks were in despair over our own failure. Zero waste is an oxymoron of sorts. To be alive, we will inevitably waste some (in transportation, in drinking water, in eating, in breathing). And lowering your footprint is both strangely expensive and intensively time-consuming. Experimental conclusion; zero waste is impossible. So we switched our framework. We started calling our project Low Impact Living. We stopped morally shaming ourselves for the occasional granola bar, the one orange peel that didn’t quite make it to the compost, our divisions over the use of the Diva Cup. And in relaxing our standards we tried simply to do our best. For example, trading in chemical-laden cleaning products for homemade concoctions…
(vinegar + lemon)
… driving our roommates nuts by draping wet plastic bags on every available surface…
…and becoming DIY toiletry masters.
(coconut oil + baking soda toothpaste: rough on your gums, gentle on the planet)
And amongst the weirder of these lifestyle changes was, yes, my transition from normal person shampoo + conditioner to washing my hair with eggs. When I tell people this reactions range from amazement and admiration to critique and defense (as if I had accused them of not washing their hair with eggs). I’ve been washing my hair with eggs (and I am going to tell you how), but before I go into the very simple hows – a little reflection, two months out from the project itself, on DIY.
One of my goals going into this project was to essentially “DIY” my life. As I’ve learned, that would take a lot of time and resources and an extremely balanced bodily composition, but there are a few things I’ve had notable success on:
- Coconut oil/baking soda toothpaste (clean teeth, slightly painful)
- Phasing out conditioner for pure Argan oil
- Lemons for deodorant
- Vinegar steeped with lemon and lavender oil for general housecleaning
- Shea butter/olive oil lotion
- Avocado/honey face masks
There have been experiments. You don’t settle on lemons for deodorant overnight. First you try Patchouli oil, which works, but is way too expensive. Then you use a coconut oil/baking soda mix until one day your armpits feel like they’re on fire and you have to immediately wash it off. There was the olive oil conditioner that took several days to rinse out and wasted ample amounts of water along the way. Lots of blogs swear up and down that one or another homemade face wash works, but I am accepting recyclable packaging on this one.
DIY-ing is not as easy as Pinterest would have us believe. Making your own beauty and cleaning products requires odd privilege in both the time and resources that experimentation take. I’m smearing eggs on my hair and $2.00 avocados on my face in a city where not everyone has enough to eat. And different things work for different people. Which means that inevitably you may have to dump the deodorant that makes your underarms feel like the pits of Hell.
Of course, there are pros. Initial investments pay off in the long-run and its an obvious way to reduce packaging consumption, not to mention that the whole process in and of itself is pretty fun. Nothing makes you feel more like a mad scientist than melting Shea butter in a makeshift Mason Jar double boiler in your kitchen at midnight. My hair has never felt healthier, my house doesn’t smell like a chemical dump, and I’m literally addicted to the detoxifying feel of my homemade toothpaste. I brush my teeth 3-4 times a day now. It’s absurd.
But despite the positives there are some nagging questions bubbling amidst my new, crafty hobby. Are these products I’m making as sustainable as I think they are? I’m going through coconut oil like crazy and scrubbing everything from my teeth to my stove with baking soda. What are the implications of my increased consumption of these products? Where does baking soda come from anyway? Apparently Wyoming. But I still am not sure exactly what it is or how it is… extracted? These are the kind of questions we set out to answer during our Low Impact semester– the complications of an eco-confused life. So try it out and check out the DIY resources I’ve listed below. Then consider it “food for thought,” wash your hair with eggs and complicate everything. Happy washing!
(shiny and clean)
Low Impact Resources:
Simple Egg Wash
Conditioning Agent (I use argan oil, but you could substitute with olive or coconut)
- Crack an egg into a small bowl and beat it with a fork until even consistency.
- Hop in the shower, smear that egg all over your hair. Pro-tip: Don’t just pour it on top of your head (you will probably miss), take several handfuls and make sure you’re covering your head.
- Let egg sit in your hair for 5-10 minutes while you do your other shower things.
- Rinse egg out using cold water. You don’t want scrambled eggs in your hair.
- Apply conditioning agent. Enjoy your luscious locks!