Monday, June 4, 2012

What have I done to my hair?

I've been thinking a lot about hair this week. Not only did the kids get new haircuts, but I decided to change a few things about my hair by jumping on the no shampoo bandwagon. 
Take a gander at my cute kids first, then let's talk about hair shall we?
Jellybean got trimmed and styled.
Buddy got a new, short, Summer cut.
Pretty cute, right? 

Now let's let the discussion get a little hairy.  A year or so ago, I started researching the concept of ditching my $20 shampoo and going without shampoo altogether (i.e. going "no-poo"). There were a lot of reasons why going sans shampoo seemed appealing. Here are the most compelling of the reasons:
1. Clear skin. My skin is a nightmare.  Call me crazy, but I always assumed that when I hit my thirties I wouldn't need to worry about acne. In fact, I find it utterly ridiculous to have to deal with acne at my age.  My skin has always been sensitive to different shampoos and I've noticed that it is just worse lately.  Daily (or in my case every other day) shampooing strips your hair of natural oils. This in turn can lead to an over production of oil. It may be my own theory, but it occurs to me that stopping the over production of oil may aid in my quest for clear skin.
2. Curl.  I discovered in my research that those with naturally curly hair (like myself) can benefit by eliminating sodium lauryl sulfate and other sulfate based chemicals from their routine.  SLS is used as a foaming agent in shampoos and can be pretty harsh, drying and damaging to curly hair.  Not only that, but SLS can also irritate the skin your hair touches (another push for reason #2). My hair has gone through a lot of changes since having two children. My natural curl can use all the help it can get.
3. Cost.  I've always spent a lot on what I assumed were high quality hair products.  The cost of baking soda and apple cider vinegar compared to my salon shampoos is pretty convincing.

I understood from my research that going without shampoo could turn into a two month oily science experiment and I just couldn't figure out a good time when I could stay shut up in my home for two months and not be seen by any living soul until my hair got straightened out.  Then I realized that there would never be a good time for that and that there had to be some middle ground between becoming an oily mess and continuing my less than satisfactory hair routine.

I did quite a bit of research on different methods for eliminating shampoo. Here's what I've come up with for a middle of the road approach to weaning my hair off of the "poo." I'm going to put weekly updates on the side of the page so that you can see how my experiment is going:

First, I purchased/gathered together a few items. I'll note that I rarely purchase something unless it has good reviews on Amazon. Here's what I needed:
-A natural, no sulfate, clarifying shampoo and conditioner
-A good boar bristle brush
-Squeeze bottles
-Dry shampoo
-I already had baking soda and apple cider vinegar in my cupboard
My new shampoo and conditioner.
Next, I readied my new "shampoo and conditioner."  In one squeeze bottle, I mixed 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 1 cup of water.  In the other, I mixed 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with 1 cup of water. The idea is that you use the baking soda mix on your scalp and the vinegar solution on the ends of your hair for conditioning. Make sure you use apple cider vinegar and NOT white vinegar.

My method:
-Once every week to twice a month, I wash my hair with a good clarifying shampoo. This will become less frequent as I wean myself off of shampoo completely.
-Every other day after that, I wash my hair using the baking soda and vinegar solutions.
-Each morning and night, I brush my hair well with my fabulous new brush. This helps distribute the oil from root to tip.
-If the oil seems out of control or annoying, I use a tiny bit of dry shampoo to refresh my hair.

I'm looking forward to seeing how this experiment goes. If it works well for me, I'm going to move towards no shampoo for my kids and *gasp* my husband, too. 

Here are a few helpful links on the subject:
How to wash your hair without shampoo
Using the No Shampoo Method
How to quit shampoo without becoming disgusting

Look for my updates in the side bar as the weeks progress.  Let's see how it goes.

Have a Happy Day!

~MJ

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