Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Sunday, July 21, 2013

"No-poo" A Curly Girl's Journey to Going Without Shampoo or Conditioner

Recently I've come across way too many Curlie Girls that are talking about going without shampoo and our beloved conditioners!!  Gasp!  But I started paying attention to this "no-poo" craze which literally means going without shampoo because each winter, I do my own version of what they are calling "no-poo" when I get my hair blow dried and keep it for two weeks!  I brush and brush and brush encouraging the natural oils to distribute through my dry winter hair and use a high quality Moroccan oil to help it along and a dry shampoo at the scalp (packed with chemicals) to tame the "dirty feeling" when I can't take it anymore, but my hair looks awesome so I stick it out... so this no-poo all year round was something that really caught my attention!!

Here's me straight out of bed, the morning I cut 14 beloved inches off of my curly hair.  So ya, let's say I've done my share of crazy things, but it was a decision that took four years, and a donation of my locks to making a wig for a child with cancer.

I loved the freedom that wearing my curly hair shorter afforded me but WOW was there ever a lot of maintenance to keep it looking good!!  No ponytails meant I had to keep washing and syyling my hair with products, and getting it trimmed and shaped every 6-8 weeks and it was getting expensive!  That was in 2010.  I've since grown it all back and enjoyed the styles in the growing out process, but I also enjoy having my ponytail again.

Have you seen the TV commercial for Wen haircare?  Looks fabulous right, well here's a DIY version of the same principle using ONLY baking soda and vinegar, yes, I'm serious!!  Same concept but with things you have in your kitchen!

Shampoo replacement:  Baking Soda
  • The baking soda acts as a clarifier. This is the part of the recipe that needs to be customized to work best with your hair, you need to experiment, that's why I'm keeping this as my online journal.  My thoughts to start are that I'd dilute it more with water since I tend to be dry already.
  • Sodium bicarbonate/baking soda is a base (it has a pH of about 9 when dissolve in water) and lifts the hair follicle. The powder that doesn’t completely go in to solution seems to absorb oil. It’s also a very mild abrasive, so you can physically scrub your hair with it.
Conditioning rinse replacement: Vinegar
  • The vinegar rinse seals the cuticle after the baking soda cleanse, and the lime essential oil I chose to add will make me feel better about the smell.
  • The acetic acid found in vinegar, in addition to neutralizing any left behind baking soda, is also a chelating agent, meaning it can grab hold of minerals and prevent them from building up in your hair, making it look dull. Another plus point is that these are super cheap products. 
Oh, and just for good measure - to really illustrate the risk of going poo-less - this is me after swimming in the ocean on vacation and the hot sun dried my salt water drenched hair in all it's frizzy glory!!

It's gotta work!!

Why am I doing this?

I decided to stop using shampoo because for some, commercially made hair washes/shampoos strip your hair and scalp of their natural oils which makes your produce more and more which makes you rely more heavily on soaps to clean it. Mine not so much.  My scalp is dry and itchy when I over wash my hair, and curly hair by nature tends to be dry dry dry so I am hoping my natural oils wll make my naturally curly hair fuller, healthier, happier and prettier.  When using commercial shampoos, your hair's natural oils never get a chance to make it to the ends of your hair, you have to rely on conditioners to soften it and protect it. And I'd use 3 times more conditioner to the amound of shampoo I was using to compensate.  Shampoo manufacturers sure know what they're doing!!  It's a dependance they're creating, and a multi-billion dollar industry.  Is my hair addicted to the stripping shampoos and conditioners used to apply moisture plus the styling products that do their fair share of depositing unnatural chemicals in my hair??  I wonder.  

Week 1

I spent some time at the natural foods store to choose a scent that would help mask the god awful smell of vinegar, I chose a good quality lime essential oil, and since it's July, I thought if I ended up smelling like limes, that would be simply wonderful, so I was armed with baking soda and vinegar and my lime essential oil, and two squeezie containers (plastic ones that would be used for ketchup type thing). 

Here's me one week into going "poo-less" - July 21st.

1 part baking soda : 3 parts water, shake very well
1 part vinegar : 8 parts water + 5 drops of lime essential oil
Week one: I've washed with no-poo twice on the first day, and once on the 4th day.

After my first no-poo wash I treated my hair to warm coconut oil and slathered it all over my hair (not the scalp) and brushed and brushed and brushed it throughout my entire head of hair.  I'm a dry curly girl, remember.  Then I braided it and let it dry.  That night I washed it again using the no-poo method and rinsed it very very well.   It's no fun brushing out those tangles with no-poo though, lemme tell you - that's nat'u'ralllll hair, no slippery help from the conditioner!  I'm so glad I started with the coconut oil infusion.

Note: The tangly/dry feeling your hair gets after you drop store bought shampoos and conditioners is just your real hair, minus the chemical and wax coating, due to heat, dyes, and other store products you’ve subjected it to.  Soo... for now, I'm going to use coconut oil to help add moisture to the ends and in the thickest part as needed since I have some layers.  If there are any dry scalp issues, I've read that a drop of tea tree oil in the baking soda will take care of that.

My routine is that I brush my dry hair 50 strokes before each shower to get that natural oil moving down the length of my hair every day.  I'm wearing my hair in a braid straight out of the shower all day every day to keep the frizzies and tangles at bay, but truly, my hair is very very soft and feels light and fluffy when dry after one week of going "poo-less" and  I rinse with water every day just because the braid looks better when I braid it wet.

Does my hair smell like vinegar?  No.  Surprisingly the lime does a good job of masking the smell during the wash and once my hair is dry, both Hubby and my Mom say they don't smell the vinegar and don't really even smell the lime.  Interesting.  My brush smells of lime :)

Now I've just found this great post from Leah who's been doing this for a very long time, and has some great tips, for example:
"... baking soda solution feeling slippery in your hair when you apply it. Slippery? My baking soda solution had always felt dry and cottony on my hair. So I researched some more and found that baking soda acts as a natural water softener. I increased the amount of baking soda in my solution until I achieved the slippery feeling mentioned – VOILA – success! NOTE: If you are blessed with soft water your No Poo hair success will come faster than those of us with hard water. If you have hard water plan on having to increase your baking soda till you achieve “slippery”.

Stay tuned for my no-poo hair journal 
weekly (sometimes daily) updates.

Day 8: 

Recipe: 2 parts baking soda : 3 parts water, a drop of tea tree oil, shake very well
1 part vinegar : 8 parts water + 5 drops of lime essential oil

The top of my scalp feels a little tender, not itchy and dry, and not truly sore,  I think my tender scalp may be from so much brushing.  It makes me keep touching and rubbing it so I added one drop of tea tree oil (I really hate the smell) to water.  As for the slippery baking soda and hard versus soft water, I added more BS and more water, so I mixed the BS with water in a little container and put the lid and shook it really well immediately before my shower and then added water until I had a full squeezie bottle of it and it really did feel less grainy and I got more on my scalp and it washed out really easily.  I'm onto something there...

There's also a lot less frizzies straight out of the shower, so something is working and my hair feels light even though it's wet and normally with product it's heavy.  It's also drying super fast!!

Here's a look at my wet hair on the left, and then dry on the right.  Note, it only took an hour to dry - unheard of!!! I still have frizzies, so I'm going to work in a bit of coconut oil and put it up in a bun.

Hair products:
I am going to a party tonight and feel like my boring old braid isn't quite enough.  So it's going up in a sleek bun and I'm using a touch of gel today.  It's one that claims to be mostly aloe vera for around my hairline / face because I've always had some fly away frizzies. (My sunshine lol) I've used this gel many times on my 5 year old and I hope since it claims to be water soluble that it's going to rinse out tomorrow morning.  It has to, right!

Lime essential oil:
I'm loving the lime essential oil I'm adding to my vinegar rinse, especially since lime essential oil is both antibacterial and antiseptic and a bonus is it's got an uplifting quality to it.  Here's a great website, but pay particular attention to the suggested lime oil uses mid-way down the page (I am not recommending this brand, I just thought the webpage was very informative)

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