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  1. #1
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    Default Washing long hair on the trail

    Please forgive the intrusion by a guy, but I can't seem to find a solid answer.

    My hair is fairly thick and well past my shoulders. I've been long-distance hiking for years, but due to the side effects of some medication I must take, I get an itchy skin if I don't keep relatively clean and that includes my scalp. Not really concerned with looks. I wear a hat most of the time and have my hair in a ponytail most of the time I'm hiking. It is also my goal to be on trial for 17/18 days with no or at the very least very quick in and back trips to town. I will use mail drops and trailside deliveries. I was going to do this even before the "Rona".

    I would like to hear from people that have actually washed their long hair on the trail. I would like to get as natural/organic cleaner, but unscented as possible. Recommendations? Is there anything I can use at a stream, that is not harmful to the stream? If not how much water is generally needed? Just trying to figure out what I need to bring to haul water away from the source.

    My new normal will not keep me off the trail, I just need to adjust to it.
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  2. #2

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    This probably shouldn't be in the woman's forum - it applies to everyone.

    Basically it's simple if you use a water bladder. It can be hung from a tree branch to make a shower. Wash as normal. Wet your hair, lather it up and rinse. Ivy liquid dishwashing soap is pretty effective and is reasonably benign. Never wash with soap in a stream. Always carry water some distance away. In a pinch I've used disposable grocery store bags as a shower. I usually carry a few.
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  3. #3
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    I posted in this forum to reach a more targeted audience. Thanks for your input.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    This probably shouldn't be in the woman's forum - it applies to everyone.

    Basically it's simple if you use a water bladder. It can be hung from a tree branch to make a shower. Wash as normal. Wet your hair, lather it up and rinse. Ivy liquid dishwashing soap is pretty effective and is reasonably benign. Never wash with soap in a stream. Always carry water some distance away. In a pinch I've used disposable grocery store bags as a shower. I usually carry a few.
    Ivory dish soap isn't very benign:
    "Proctor & Gamble puts the following ingredients in its Ivory dish liquid: water, sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, alkyl dimethyl amine oxide, sodium choloride, PPG-26, cyclohexanediamine, phenoxyethanol, methylisothiazolinone and fragrance"

    Not good stuff for the woods or watershed.

    https://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/...orydishliquid/

    Better choices would be some of the Sea to Summit products, Dr Bronner's, Ethique, etc.

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  5. #5

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    I've had a pony tail and long hair for 95% of my backpacking career and yes it's nice to have clean hair on the trail---any trail.

    The best solution is to go underwater in a creek and wash and rinse. Works great if you're young and strong and can take the cold.

    Fall back is to use a cook pot as a "shower head" and wet hair thoroughly and then suds up with bronners and rinse repeatedly. I get to a creek and brush my hair out over my face and pour the water to saturate hair and then suds up etc. This is possible in the dead of winter too as nothing gets cold and wet except hands and scalp. Once thoroughly rinsed of soap I wring out hair and brush it back and wring it again several times and it'll dry. Best done not right before bed.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    I've had a pony tail and long hair for 95% of my backpacking career and yes it's nice to have clean hair on the trail---any trail.

    The best solution is to go underwater in a creek and wash and rinse. Works great if you're young and strong and can take the cold.
    I sure hope you are not encouraging washing of hair (or other bits) directly in a stream as opposed to using stream water well away from the stream to wash hair (or other bits).

  7. #7
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    I put water in a black Plastic leaf bag . Placed in the sun it heats up in good weather .

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    I was pulling out some gnarly, knotted chunks of hair after getting back from my thru... even when I washed at hostels ect. I never combed it except with my fingers... next time I will try to comb/wash more often. It was pretty bad.
    NoDoz
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  9. #9
    Is it raining yet?
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    I've been using Pssssst by Clairol for decades. It now comes in different "flavors" but for wilderness travel I think unscented is best. It is basically aerosolized baby powder and requires no water. For several years Clairol discontinued the product & I was forced to just sprinkle baby powder in my hair. Oil and dirt clings to it immediately and then you just brush it or shake it out.

    https://www.amazon.com/Psssst-Shampo...s%2C132&sr=8-4
    Be Prepared

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    Wrong forum but a buzz cut is very freeing

  11. #11
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    If you did decide to go short for thru hiking, you could donate your hair to Locks for Love or something similar.

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    I have long hair with which I've hiked with and deployed with under conditions in which I couldn't wash it for as long as a few weeks. I had pretty good luck with dry shampoos. They don't weigh much and since you don't have to rinse them out, you don't risk contaminating any water. However, I don't know if any come in a scentless version or if they are all girly...

    Shimmy

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tuxhiker View Post
    If you did decide to go short for thru hiking, you could donate your hair to Locks for Love or something similar.


    i agree------as that's what i have been doing with my hair...

    although---i would pick a different organization than locks of love...

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tuxhiker View Post
    If you did decide to go short for thru hiking, you could donate your hair to Locks for Love or something similar.
    When the time is right, that's what will happen. No current plans for cutting it anytime soon......... I hope.
    ______
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    l---L -OlllllllO-
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  15. #15
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    Default Thanks for the ideas

    I will have to try the dry shampoo idea out before I go. I had not thought of that.

    To Tipi's comment, I do plan on trying to do the head dunk (sans cleaners) daily, if the opportunity presents its self. That may be all I have to do. I have been reading about No Cleaners, just rinsing methods.
    ______
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  16. #16

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    I don’t understand how getting rid of oil via liquid or dry shampoo will control the type of itching being experienced by the OP? It may not help at all and might make the itching and scalp dryness worse. Older folks don’t produce as much sebum as when they were younger and sebum helps to prevent the effects that the OP is trying to avoid.

    I have very long hair and also suffer from a skin condition that causes an itchy scalp, face, chest, ears, and back. My symptoms are always at their mildest or nonexistent when I’m backpacking. At home, shampooing only controls the symptoms for a day at the most. What works the best during flare-ups is a prescription foam that can be used on a wet or dry scalp, and Benadryl cream or coconut oil on my skin.

    In the backcountry, I would recommend keeping the sweat rinsed off and avoiding shampoo, wet or dry.

    Good luck and let us know how it goes!

  17. #17
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    Hey op,

    I agree with the folks who are recommending a minimal shampoo situation. Rinse, by all means, but soap may be more of a hinderance than a help. I don't really know how it would work with your condition, but perhaps think about getting a thick tooth comb and medium stiffness bristle brush, a boar hair brush is best to distribute oils but synthetic should suffice if you prefer to avoid animal products. Whether your hair is oily or dry, a bristle brush, if used regularly, can be quite effective at distributing any oils and removing any dust/dead skin. It might not be up your alley, but if you're open I would look into it... it could be a solution for you.

    Best of luck bruv!

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    I haven't used "shampoo" in years. You may have noticed I say Cleaners. At home, I use a Homeopathic all-natural, organic cleaner. One of my best friends partner sent me some to try a couple of years ago. I have not used anything else since. I don't even know what's in it, (don't care) I just know it works. I would love to use it on the trail, except it just takes to much water to rinse out. I happen to be living on a couple of acres with a decent creek. I'm going to do some experimenting with the rinse only method. I still have around a month (?) before I get to the trail.

    Worst case, I will use what I use at home and just figure out how much water to haul to an environmentally safe place to clean my head. Thanks
    ______
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    l---L -OlllllllO-
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  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by V Eight View Post
    I haven't used "shampoo" in years. You may have noticed I say Cleaners. At home, I use a Homeopathic all-natural, organic cleaner. One of my best friends partner sent me some to try a couple of years ago. I have not used anything else since. I don't even know what's in it, (don't care) I just know it works. I would love to use it on the trail, except it just takes to much water to rinse out. I happen to be living on a couple of acres with a decent creek. I'm going to do some experimenting with the rinse only method. I still have around a month (?) before I get to the trail.

    Worst case, I will use what I use at home and just figure out how much water to haul to an environmentally safe place to clean my head. Thanks
    Pardon me, it was simply semantics. In my mind, anything that cleans the hair is “shampoo”, just as all sports shoes are “tennis shoes”.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Traffic Jam View Post
    Pardon me, it was simply semantics. In my mind, anything that cleans the hair is “shampoo”, just as all sports shoes are “tennis shoes”.
    No worries, sometimes I type more bluntly than I mean to.
    ______
    /l ,[____],
    l---L -OlllllllO-
    ()_) ()_)--o-)_)


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