Is your bathroom cabinet littered with all of those ‘free’ bottles of shampoo and conditioner liberated from hotel rooms? If so, I have some ideas about how to put them to use.
I had so much fun talking shampoo and conditioner during the Facebook Live that I did earlier this week on the Frugal Dare to Millionaire Facebook Group. Here are some of the ideas that I discussed. I would love to hear more from you about how you use shampoo and conditioner!
How much do you spend on your luscious locks?
A friend told me recently that there is no way she could ever spend only $50/week on groceries as she spends around $40 just on shampoo and conditioner alone. When I queried her on this I found out she wasn’t shopping at Costco or ALDI. You can find great discounts on shampoo and conditioner by looking at cheaper supermarkets, buying on special if you prefer a particular brand (most supermarkets will have specials on a semi-regular basis – buy up big when it is cheap), or even discount pharmacies. Or you could save money by not buying shampoo or conditioner at all (more on that below).
On the good karma
We’ve all done it: stayed in a hotel or motel and come home with mini bottles of shampoo and conditioner. I personally hate waste so am always keen to come back with stuff. There is, however, a fine line between what is frugal and what is stealing. If you use what is provided in the room, you are expected to take it. It is included in your room tariff and it is basically yours. If, however, you find the holy grail of the supply cupboard and – while the cleaning staff are not looking – help yourself to a few armloads then that is stealing. You might earn a few dollars this way, but what you are saying to the universe is that you are not worthy to afford real shampoo or conditioner.
Of course, if you ask the hotel staff like one of my blogging friends did, and if they offer you some bottles then that is a different story.
Washing your hair
I use shampoo and conditioner on my hair at the moment, but for about four years I didn’t use any. Yep, no shampoo. Or conditioner. Let me explain.
After I gave birth to Little A, I did the month-long confinement that is popular in Chinese cultures. As part of this, I didn’t wash my hair for a month. I did use dry shampoo, and I was kind of really busy with a new baby. My hair wasn’t at its best but I survived surprisingly well. I then decided to go shampoo free for a while, relying instead on bicarbonate of soda and vinegar. Later I decided to upgrade to homemade soap made to use up my excess breastmilk. This soap was especially gentle and good for my skin and hair.
Before you dismiss this as some kind of weird, feral thing and that I am part of the great unwashed, consider this. How well do you know what chemicals are actually in your shampoo and conditioner? Did you know that until 2014, Johnson & Johnson’s No More Tears Formula had Formaldehyde in it? That can lead to cancer in case you were wondering. Shampoo is quite a recent product, and I believe it strips out a lot of the natural oils in your hair.
I started using shampoo and conditioner again when I went out on the dating scene earlier this year. To be honest my hair was fine with the soap or bicarb method, but it was really about how I felt. And at first, I didn’t feel too good because I worried guys would notice I didn’t have commercially shampooed hair. It takes a while for my hair to adjust back to being without a harsher shampoo. I might convert back at some point, but am kind of enjoying this interlude.
Glamping it up
A good way to use up all those little bottles lurking around is to take it with you on a camping holiday. A good friend always takes samples and bits and pieces she collects from overseas trips (e.g. toiletry bags on international flights) and packs them into a bag that she takes on camping trips. It is her ways of making her camping experience that little bit special. Facial by the beach anyone?
Uses for shampoo and conditioner in the home
Other than washing your hair, you can use shampoo and conditioner for a lot of different things. I regularly do many of these things, which helps me achieve my goal of a grocery spend of only $50/week.
- Cleaning the bathtub or shower. Shampoo is great for cleaning the bathtub or shower, especially build up of oil from the body such as grey rings on your bathtub. That is after all what shampoo is designed to do!
- Pre-wash stain removal. Shampoo is a great for getting rid of pre-wash stains, especially behind the collar grime on business shirts. Simply squirt on a small amount and rub it in.
- Washing towels. You can use shampoo in your washing machine, especially a top loader. It is great for thick cotton towels and will leave them feeling soft and smelling beautiful.
- Washing silk. Conditioner is very effective for hand washing silk garments. Years ago when I lived in China, the home of silk, I had a lot of silk clothing. I used to buy a lovely detergent that was perfect for washing silk – but now I have discovered that watered down conditioner works the same way.
- Bubble time. Shampoo works well as an effective, and cheaper, substitute for bubble bath. Actually, you can use it for body wash or liquid soap as well – it all pretty much functions the same.
- Cleaning stainless steel appliances. Do you have some stainless steel appliances in your kitchen? If so, take a bit of conditioner on a soft cloth and gently wipe them down. Hey presto – they will gleam like new.
- Shaving. Conditioner is great for shaving your legs. Just like shaving cream, only cheaper – and convenient as it is probably in your shower anyway. (Note: I haven’t obviously use conditioner for shaving my face. Any male readers out there ever tried this?)
- Taming static. Don’t you hate it when your pantyhose sticks to your skirt? In dry Canberra winters, this is especially a problem. Rub a little bit of conditioner between your hands, and then gently smooth it onto your pantyhose – goodbye static!
Your challenge is to find at least one way to use shampoo or conditioner in the home. And I would love to hear about it on the Frugal Dare to Millionaire Facebook group!