Monday, June 14, 2010

Day 3 of No-Poo

I started the no-poo method of hair cleaning this past Saturday. No-poo is basically using baking soda to "wash" your hair (really to scrub your scalp) and vinegar to condition your hair. (Why, you might ask? Because shampoos and conditioners contain all kinds of yucky stuff that gets absorbed into your body and are known carcinogens and also because the claim floating around the internets is the no-poo makes your hair healthier, less oily, more easily manageable, prettier...) I was skeptical that I would enjoy this "getting acquainted" period, but it really hasn't been that bad so far and I'm learning ways to make "No-poo" pain-free.

The hardest part for me is that I'm a creature of habit. One of my habits for the past 20-something years of bathing myself is to scrub with shampoo, get lots of bubbles (maybe make a bubble beard or swimsuit -ahem- when I was younger, of course), rinse, lather up a thick paste of conditioner, leave it on for a good 10 minutes, and rinse clean to nice smelling, smooth, silky, thick, slimy hair. So that's been my "clean". It's hard to change from that to scrubbing my head with baking soda/water paste, rinsing to get gnarled rat's nest of tangled non-oily hair and then rinse with vinegar water to end up with slightly gnarly, faintly pickle-smelling, quickly drying (re: not slimy) hair. That's the hardest part for me, getting out of the shower and not being sure I feel "clean", because "clean" has always been something entirely different.

The great part, though, is that my hair has never been more manageable. It doesn't get tangled once I brush it, even after Gray yanking on it and messing it up all day long. It is relatively nice-looking without me doing anything - no hair product, no blow-dry, nothing. Slightly wavy with a nice sheen and not oily at all. And I don't stink either - you know, how hair smells after it hasn't been washed for 2 days? How it gets that "camping" oder to it? I don't have that at all. Once the pickle smell dissipates (after I'm dry), I don't smell like anything, except me. So that is good. The interim pickle smell pretty much sucks, but I've had good luck with mixing 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar with about 2 cups water, adding some teatree oil and grapefruit seed oil and using that as my rinse. I smell a little fruity which is nice. I'm still getting used to scrubbing my hair with baking soda. The first day I tried just dry scrubbing followed by a rinse and I think I ended up having to use about 1/2 cup of baking soda because my hair is so thick, I couldn't get it to move around the way I needed to in order to scrub my whole scalp. (I'd read some people say that making a paste was harder for them to do, so I thought I'd try the dry method first). Today I used the paste, and it worked much better for me. I ended up using probably 1/8 cup of baking soda, mixed with enough water to get pasty and then dumping it on the crown of my head. Massaged that in and slowly massaged outwards to my temples and my neck, scrubbing/massaging my entire scalp. (This method of scalp massage is also supposed to encourage hair growth).

That's it for today. We'll see how this goes in the coming weeks. Once your scalp gets accustomed to not using shampoo (which daily strips your head of all it's oil, essentially telling your head to MAKE MORE OIL), you are supposed to be able to only do the scrub once per week, and do the wash daily.

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