Thursday, March 31, 2011

Day 5

So today I was sort of at loss for what to do... I obviously didn't want to shampoo and I really don't feel like baking soda and vinegar is something I should use every day.  In fact, I wondered if doing it twice in a week was even a good idea.  But unless I straighten it I don't feel like it looks very good after I sleep on it, and I really didn't want to just pull it up in a ponytail.  So I just did a water wash.  I worked my fingers through it like I was shampooing it but didn't use anything.  Actually my 18 month-old son insisted on showering with me which makes me nervous so I really couldn't focus too much at all on my hair.  When I got out I dried it and pulled it half-back without giving it too much thought.  It felt just fine and looked all right, though I ended up worrying that it looked greasy and pulled it up into the inevitable ponytail anyway before the day was done.  

My manager actually asked me today what my goal is with this, so I feel like I should detail that a little more personally.  While I'm not super-duper wasteful I have to admit I'm not as organic and conscious of my eco-footprint as I should be, nor do I pay much attention to what I put onto or into my body except to think about how good its going to taste if its something I'm eating.  The Conscious Parenting Without Fear post really did get me interested and my husband can vouch for the fact that I get caught on ideas and get really ambitious about something.  Honestly, I usually forget about whatever it is or else I just give up not far into something.  I'm known to rarely finish something, unfortunately.  But I really want to say I at least tried this.  So anyway, I have been really tired of the brittle feeling my hair has had lately and I just wish it would be a little less dry.  The shampoo I've used for about a year now doesn't seem to be doing it any good anymore and I just really feel like the only I have to lose is the excitement of this potentially doing good for my hair and realizing it's not that great really.  Let's hope that doesn't happen.  I also know it will be a lot more financially friendly, at least for awhile, and I like the fact that I won't be putting anything in my hair that has a list of ingredients and chemicals I'm not sure of that's longer than the papers I'm writing for my master's degree.  

I just think it'll be fun and don't see anything I have to lose.  I'm willing to experiment.

Anyway, sorry, still no pictures.  I have my husband do it and just didn't think to stop him for it today.  Tomorrow, though, for real!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Day 4: Surprisingly OK!

So when I woke up today I figured I'd do the baking soda wash and apple cider vinegar rinse again.  I didn't have my husband around to hand me the goods while I was in the shower so I had to set everything up right outside it and open the door and reach for them when I was ready which was a complete pain in the ass.  It took forever to feel like my hair was completely saturated... normally when I shampoo my hair I let it get wet for awhile because my hair is so thick and wiry that it just doesn't wet as quickly as you'd think.  Normally I shampoo it once and it doesn't lather or feel satisfying so I shampoo again and its like it just works better the second time.  I didn't really know how to work the water in without the shampoo but I guess it went okay.

I shook about 1 tablespoon of baking soda into my son's bathtub rinse cup and mixed some water in.  I'd read that it should make a paste and that I should work it into my roots... it didn't really make a paste... it seemed really watery so I added some more baking soda and it still didn't seem pasty.  I didn't want to go overboard, though, so I just went with it... I worked the watery gritty mixture into my roots... or tried, anyway.  It seemed really hard to get into the roots.  It felt like I was washing my hair with chalk mixed with paste.  I had woken up late and got kind of freaked out and worried what I'd do if my hair was a total mess, but figured I'd just break down and shampoo if it was awful.  After rinsing the BS out my hair still felt gritty and gross, but I went with it.  I mixed about 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar with about 1 1/2 cup water and dipped the ends of my hair in it and worked it around, then dumped the stuff slowly over my scalp and tried to kind of work it in as best as I could.  My hair immediately felt softer and I could pull my fingers through it much more easily... I felt much better, but since I have to worry about something I started wondering just how often I really should be doing the baking soda wash and vinegar rinse.  Whatever.

I wish I'd taken a picture.  I tried the plopping again and pulled it half-backwhile it was still somewhat wet and headed to work.  I wondered if it would feel oily at the roots and couldn't wait for it to completely dry... it did dry and it didn't feel oily!  Still felt light and soft and silkier than normal, but because I didn't use any product in it to keep the curls postured they kind of took off on their own and not in a great way.  It didn't look bad but I kept taking it down to feel it and thought it'd look better down (which it did) and then I'd end up pulling it back into a half-back or a ponytail.  My hair is at that awful length where it gets in my face and under my shirt collar because it's still too short to stay behind my shoulders on it's own, so while I know I should've left it down I just couldn't handle it.

Overall I'm pretty happy especially considering I didn't have to rewash it.  The BS wash/ACV rinse worked just fine!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Day 3: Pretty Boring

Left my hair straight again today... just pulled it up when I showered and brushed it out when I got done.  It surprisingly doesn't look or feel oily, but it doesn't feel super dry either.  Weird.  I didn't take a pic today, though.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Day 2

When I got home last night I foolishly decided to straighten my hair.  I know it's not good to expose hair to so much heat with no protection and I did it anyway.  Oh well.  This whole thing is an experiment and to be honest I don't always use heat protectant products on my hair when I straighten anyway.  The result was pretty nice!  It looked great, I think.

So obviously today I didn't wash my hair, I just left it straight and got plenty of compliments, which isn't unusual when I straighten it.  The people who are aware of my experiment said it looked good but they probably don't realize that when it's straightened I usually don't wash it for a day or so anyway.  That's about it.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Day 1: Getting a Head Start

Before I jumped in hair-first (I think that's really funny, can you tell?) I consulted a blog that a friend pointed me toward to get some ideas.  This was when I really decided I was going to do it... because if you check out the most recent photos of this chick's hair it looks really magnificent.  I actually didn't read her whole blog, just flipped through a couple dates on it and looked at a few things she linked to.  But I do want to give her credit since I also am obviously creating a blog as well... gotta give credit where it's due.

So after my decision to go shampoo-less today was my last shampoo, so to speak.  Friday is the last time I truly washed my hair.  Today I washed it with very little shampoo mixed with about a teaspoon of baking soda.  My reasoning for mixing instead of cutting out the shampoo cold-turkey was that on Friday I had used a little bit of product to tame and boost my curls and I wanted to make sure to get that all out... I'm sure it was mostly just me being a little wary of the cleaning power of the baking soda (see below).  I rinsed with a cup of apple cider vinegar mixed with about 1 1/2 cups of water.  The baking soda/shampoo mixture  sudsed up okay so it still felt like I was really washing my hair, and the vinegar stunk (of course) and burned my eyes but my hair felt so soft and tangle-free I was pretty happy.

After my shower I combed it and did a towel-wrap thing that 'plopping,' which I (once again) read about in the blog above.  The method for plopping is described here along with some other really cool resources for curly haired people.   It looked all right, but my curls didn't really stick together.  As my hair dried it looks shiny (not greasy shiny, just light-reflective shiny) and it felt lighter and cleaner.  When I got to work my co-worker said my hair looked great today...

I looked a little more into baking soda and it's uses and found several things that both uplifted and slightly scared me.  It can be used to clean things... for example baking soda can be used in conjunction with apple cider vinegar to... clean your sink drain.  It can also be used on your toothbrush (have you noticed how many toothpastes have the Arm & Hammer symbol??), in the tub for rashes and itching (and on that note I did notice my skin felt silkier, which could be coincidental), and in many other ways.

So far I'm happy.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Going Shampoo-less... Why?

While looking at the Conscious Parenting Without Fear page on facebook the other day and stumbled across this post about natural tips.  One gal simply said, "Anyone else 'no poo' their hair?  Google it."

So I did.

I updated my status asking my facebook friends to tell me what they knew about no poo and I checked out a few sites and suggested blogs (such as this one, which has been fairly inspiring and helpful), too.  What I found was too intriguing to not keep looking into.  The more I researched and the more I thought the more intrigued I became.

I decided to jump in hair first.

Like many people I have a love/hate relationship with my hair.  It's thick and wavy and dirty blond.  I've worn it as short as about 1-2" to as long as midway down my back.  About a year ago I cut about 12 inches off my hair (see below).  I really enjoyed it at first and loved how it looked.  Maybe it's the winter weather but lately I feel like my hair, which I'm trying to grow back out, is just plain awful.  I know I need a trim but don't want to take the time or spend the money to get one, and it just feels dry and fried.  My hair is naturally very wiry and doesn't get super oily.  In general I wash it about 4-7 times a week: when I wash I shampoo it twice (the first time never seems to suds very well...) then condition it by leaving the conditioner in for a few minutes then rinsing with cool water.  Because I've been so blah about my hair lately I normally pull it half-back and put a little curling and de-frizzing balm into the ends and that's that.  Every once in awhile I straighten it, which takes about 30-45 minutes so I try to avoid it.

Before my major 2010 cut

After my 2010 cut

I'm ready for something new.

I do know a bit about shampooing and it's effects.  The purpose of shampooing is to remove dirt, oil, product, smell, and other stuff that gets into our hair.  Modern commercial shampoo first really came about in the 1930s; before that most people just used soap.  The push for daily shampooing really came about in the 1970s with campaigns by Farah Fawcett and Christie Brinkley who said it was unclean not to wash your hair every day.  Shampooing removes the natural oils (sebum) that is produced by your pores and after a shampoo your scalp tries to replace the sebum... its similar to how washing and moisturizing your face can affect the oiliness.  When your face first dries after washing it feels really tight if you don't moisturize and if you wait a few hours and leave off the moisturizer your skin will over-produce oil.  Shampoo also contains sulfates which are drying to the hair, so the ingredients combined with the frequency with which most people shampoo is really pretty damaging in terms of moisture.

When I've told people before that I don't always wash daily they almost always respond one of two ways: either they say they're the same way (which doesn't really happen that often) or they act a little grossed out and say they could never do that because their hair gets oily or greasy when they don't wash it every day.  And ya know what?  I believe them.  In fact I know they're right because when I've found myself in the habit of washing every day the moment I skip a day the grease creeps in.  But you have to break the cycle and teach your hair to do what you need it to do.  When I have moved to an every-other-day shampooing cycle it sometimes takes a few days to get my hair back to a normal state, and it usually ends up being cleaner and less greasy or overdry.

So now I'm breaking the cycle in a major way... I'm going no 'poo.  Shampooless.  What have I got to lose?  My hair's in a pretty bad state lately anyway.  So here's my documentation of my progress.  I'll try to post pretty frequently and keep track of how my hair reacts to my experiment.  Here goes nothing!