47 Responses to “Tuesdays Outside the Box: Borax? And Taming Wild Hair”


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  1. Danielle Weidemann

    I loved my GAK as a kid. I remember I messed it up so much so fast though, so we made our own like this. Thanks for bringing back fun memories!

  2. That Quinoa shampoo looks awesome!

  3. Holly/Green Penny Pincher

    I can’t wait to try the Quinoa shampoo!  Aaaaand I have a yummy recipe up my sleeve for the quinoa – I would post it here but you’ll have to wait and read it on my blog in the near future – and I’ll link back to here for the shampoo!

    I may have to try that Gak recipe out for my son, too.  Ah, memories.

    • Holly/Green Penny Pincher

      I also meant to say, my go-to’s these days for my hair are cornstarch – in recent years post-pregnancy, my hair has gotten very greasy – and, my new favorite, cocoa powder!  It works great on brown hair – no worries about looking grey like with the cornstarch.

      • Erica

        Can you tell me more about putting the cocoa powder in your hair? Just straight cocoa powder or anything else? How do you apply it? Thanks!!

        Can’t wait to try out the GAK!

        • TheGnome

          I dip my finger tips in it and then massage it in at the roots. I have curly hair so I don’t brush it through, and it seems to blend fairly well considering I have black hair and the powder is dark brown.

        • TheGnome

          I dip my finger tips in it and then massage it in at the roots. I have curly hair so I don’t brush it through, and it seems to blend fairly well considering I have black hair and the powder is dark brown.

        • Sorry – I just caught up with this thread!  I do like TheGnome and rub it between my fingertips, then massage it in to the roots.  I currently have short hair but even when it’s long, it’s the roots that need it, I find.  It also makes your head smell yummy!  Just be careful not to get it on light-colored shirts.

  4. Marissa Sobaskie

    Wow! That quinoa shampoo is so wild. Gotta say, I find it a little creepy that the rinse-water *sudses up* when you shake it, no additives required. Wonder what it does in your tummy if you neglect to rinse??

  5. Very timely! I was just contemplating what to do about strengthening my hair. Do you think I could use the quinoa water as part of my vinegar rinse?

  6. LolaZabeth

    Wow, I’ve tried quite a unconventional ideas on my hair. My fave is bentonite mixed with aloe vera juice to make a nice loose mud. I recently tried a wheat grass rinse (the powder mixed with water) and it did wonders for my itchy scalp. Rice rinses, because of its inositol is another good rinse for strengthening. Can’t wait to try quinoa!

  7. ali

    if, like me, you are still using store-bought shampoo and conditioner the best tip i have is to stop putting conditioner on your roots. (also, stop shampooing the ends, unless they are particularly gross.) i don’t remember where i first read this advice, but i saw a difference after the very next wash. instead of having greasy hair after one day i can go three days without washing it, and my ends look nice and soft instead of like a broom! win-win.

    if, like me, you are lazy / a grad student / broke / don’t want people to know that you haven’t washed your hair in three days… then my best tip is BRAIDED. BUN. snazz it up with some fishtails or french braids, and nobody will ever suspect that you are all of the above. (except maybe the people who see you braiding your hair on the way to class.) messy braids are totally in right now, so don’t be afraid to take advantage of that.

  8. LaurenCarnathan

    I love the quinoa shampoo idea!  I can’t wait to try it!  

    And as for the gak- you also SHOULD NOT try to put it down the drain.  My brother learned that the hard way 20 years ago…

  9. I’ll have to try the quinoa rinse! 

    My best tip for taming wild hair is hair masks.  I have wavy/curly hair that gets frizzy at the slightest rain or humidity, and they’ve really helped.  I try to done one every couple weeks, or at least monthly.  My favorite is one I make out of egg, yogurt, and olive oil – my hair never looks better than the next couple days after I do it!  

    If anyone is interested, my recipe is on my blog :)  http://naturallabeauty.blogspot.ca/2011/05/recipe-strengthening-hair-mask.html

  10. Ashley Meyer

    I’ve recently been drinking fenugreek seed tea, which is actually a decoction, and afterward I have all these slippery boiled seeds left over.  I read this post and thought, what if the slipperiness is due to saponins?  So I crushed the seeds and rubbed them in my hair.  Voila!  Shampoo from leftovers!  Also, in case you’re wondering, fenugreek seed tea is supposed to make you have bigger boobs.  I volunteered myself to this experiment.

    • Tara

      That’s crazy!  So…has it been working?  Hehe.  That sounds like it could be good, fenugreek has that wonderful maple-y smell…

      • Ashley Meyer

         It has, in a way.  I have since done a little reading on the chemical constituents of boiled fenugreek, and it turns out that the product I have is more like conditioner than shampoo.  However, since I usually wash my hair with goat’s milk soap, I think that combining the two is going to get me the results I’m wanting.
        Also, it is apparently wonderful in reducing skin irritation, so I think I’ll also use it as a moisturizer after I shave my legs. 

    • Lgiles9

      fenugreek helps you lactate 

  11. Ayla282

    I wash my hair with honey.  I keep it in a mason jar in the shower, and let it warm up.  after I shampoo, I use the honey as a mask and just let it hang out for a little while while I finish up the rest of my shower, then rinse it out.  it works magic.  my hair is soft, and tame and wonderful afterwards.  

  12. Joliluja

    I’ve been a no poo curly girl since last october! This is cool to find out of the “bottle” thinking. 


  13. Tiffany

    I use borax to get rid of ants. We have been getting ants in our dishwasher this spring and there is no way I want to spray any poison in there.

  14. Jeanette

    The Quinoa Patties sound & look wonderful! I am going to add them to Pinterest and then I’m going to go make some for us.
    I will also save the Quinoa rinse water for my hair!

  15. Melissa

    I recently bought Borax to make my own laundry soap and then read that it’s actually considered a poison in Europe!  I’ve googled about it and read several articles about using/not using Borax; any thoughts anyone?

  16. Sarah M.

    Oh, this is perfect! I love quinoa, and I was already planning a meal using quinoa for tomorrow. Now I can save the rinse water instead of dumping it on the lawn! 

    I’m definitely going to be investigating everyone’s hair posts and ideas in the comments. 

  17. Tara

    I remember as a kid in school we did that Gak project on science day, that was awesome.  The quinoa shampoo is a good idea. I want to try it now but be careful what quinoa you buy, I know some of it comes pre-rinsed.  I’m a professional cook and we never rinse the quinoa at work, although I’m not too sure about the stuff you buy at the store.  Guess that means I need to start cooking more quinoa, less meat…

  18. Rupuzlemom

    Ohhhhhhh!  I love Quinoa.  I am going to try this.  
    I get to do both of these things at once………I use borax water to shampoo my hair!  :)  I have been no ‘poo for 6 years!  I dissolve borax in water and let the excess borax settle.  Drain the water off and wash my hair with that water.  I use 1/4 tsp of citric acid as a rinse afterwards.  FYI……..I tried BS for my hair but it got way to dry.  This works much better for me.
    Love your blog.

    • Deborah Burt

      If you don’t mind, how much Borax to water do you use?

      • Rupuzlemom

         Sorry I didn’t catch this sooner……..I have a plastic bottle in my shower that hold about 1/2 gallon of water.  I put about an inch of borax in the bottom of that and shake it up, let it settle then pour off about a quart or so and use that to wash my hair.  Keep using the big bottle until the borax is mostly used up then add more.  Perpetual shampoo!  :)  Hope that helps.

  19. binxi

    I’ve used borax in the past to remedy a flea problem.  I filled an empty grated cheese container with the borax & sprinkled it on all the carpets &/or rugs in our home, let sit 4-6 hours (left it while I went to work) & then vacuum up!  If I understand it correctly, it de-hydrates the lil buggers!  The favorite best natural way is still Diatomaceous Earth but borax works!

    • susan

      I just used a mix of salt and baking soda for fleas, does the same thing, it dehydrates them and they die, eggs and all. worked great!

  20. Kmdixon

    I don’t know how uncommon or “out of the box” this idea is, but I have tamed a lot of frizziness in my hair by using a small amount of coconut oil.  I put it in when my hair is wet and when I blow dry it, it sort of melts throughout my hair.  At the beginning, it was really easy to put too much in and then my hair looks greasy so I had to be careful to only use a little, little bit of it.

  21. Definitely going to try the quinoa patties followed by a quinoa-water hair wash/rinse! Love both those ideas! 

  22. Amber

    Well I have a weird one that involves hair care and borax! When my Granny was in her early twenties, she got really sick with a really high fever. (Her doctor didn’t know what it was called, but called it a “tropical fever” that she’d probably picked up at work from one of the soldiers returning home from the war.) Anyway, during this mystery sickness, almost all of her hair fell out and when it wasn’t growing back her doctor told her to wash her hair with 20 mule team borax. She did, and it worked great! Weird, huh?!? I haven’t tried it myself but a few years ago, granny’s hair started getting really thin so she started using borax again and she her hair grew back again. It was funny though, because she’d had gray hair for decades but the hair that grew back was brown, just like when she was younger.

  23. Ana B.

    Borax will deter most critters that you don’t want around in your attic, laundry room or garden shed.  Just throw it around like a shaman.  If you want to control pests behind your stove or dishwasher it is the best.  It is safe to use around pets, inexpensive and very effective.  It will keep away bugs, mice, snakes, spiders and any other creepy critters.  

  24. Carole M

    Just a note, Borax is very toxic to cats, so use caution if spreading it around your carpets and whatnot.

  25. Oracle

    I used the Quinoa water and it worked great!  It left my hair feeling very similar to the egg wash.  I definately like this and will probably rotate it with my egg ‘poo.

  26. JennyM

    Does anybody have any helpful ideas on how to help my dry, unruly, hair become soft and managable??

  27. marcia

    I make Gak in my preschool classroom all the time. Vinegar gets it out of clothes and hair ( soak and scrape)! And avoid the carpet, but if some gets in it, let it dry completely and try to flick it out with a cheap plastic comb or rubber scraper.

  28. Sara S.

    The kids and I made the Gak today using *glitter glue* and they absolutely LOVE it! I remembered making this as a kid and it is STILL as fun today! Thanks for the fun post :)

  29. Kristen

    Ok so this was my first experience ever with quinoa, and I’m in love! I put the rinse water in a jar to use later and made the recipe you suggested and it’s great! My boys are VERY picky, my 5 yr old almost refuses to eat meat so this is a great substitute and he loved them. Win, win, win! Thank you!

  30. Michelle

    About to try the quinoa rinse. Yesterday I made a fenugreek mask which left the mids to tips of my hair all greasy feeling and looking :/ I like using oils or aloe gel to tame the frizzies, which I rarely have since I’m no poo. I have heard that fabric softener diluted in water and used in a spray bottle is a great detangler/softener for hair. Have no intention of using this on myself, but so many people swear by it.

  31. danin

    I am 2 years late on this blog, but have a horrible time with shampoos. I live in a hot climate country.
    My scalp which is exactly the same as my face and body, excretes oil on a 24 hour basis. It also sweats up a storm every day.
    I have to wash it to keep the bacteria down and the stench away.

    I am allergic to sulfates and have been slowly discovering which sulfate free shampoos really are completely sulfate free. In doing this I also learned that it is my eating that makes the difference to my hair.

    Your head is dead. Completely dead. Think of a baby pine cone, it comes out closed up and shiny. after the air and age gets to it, the pod slowly opens and that is the same as our hair strands. We forget that an autopsy after we die on our hair can tell if we had a child in that hair life. Medications we had taken, if we were ill, if we smoked or drank a lot. Hair is an amazing memory stick. It remembers what we have been doing internally.

    All we can do on the external is cover it to avoid too much damage. The skin on the other hand can get pimples, dry skin and flaking, and overproduction of sebum due to hormonal influences. I love to clean my scalp and feel the salty sweat and excess oils removed.

    I have irish fizz hair. I found a great solution before I go out in winter. I will wash my hair and then I will olive oil it and wrap it for 20 minutes. I will then just wash the scalp and allow the shampoo to naturally slide down the hair shaft removing just the amount of oil I want removed. The oil coats the strands and allows shine when dried.

  32. I used the Quinoa water and it worked great! It left my hair feeling very similar to the egg wash. I definately like this and will probably rotate it with my egg ‘poo.

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