Friday, February 24, 2012

The No Shampoo Thing

And now for something completely different....Back in early November I decided to take the plunge into the world of no shampoo. Don't get all grossed out, I still clean my hair. I just do it with a baking soda and water combo followed by diluted raw apple cider vinegar. I'd first heard of this method over the summer, but I wanted to talk to the knowledgable lady who cuts my hair before I started myself. She told me it sounded like it would work and told me I should give it a shot. I'm almost 4 months in, and honestly can't see going back to shampoo and conditioner. Today I got my first haircut since the switch. The lovely lady I go to has been cutting my hair since we moved here and she said my hair has never felt so good. She said it was fuller looking (and I've just experienced extreme post partum hair shedding), shiny, and soft. She owns the salon I go to, and she sells shampoo and conditioner. But she said she was going to suggest the method to some of her clients. There is absolutely no reason for her to blow smoke up my ass about this, it seriously has made a change in my hair. I've thought so, but it made me feel great to get a professional's feedback. I've chronicled a bit of the experiment on facebook and a couple of friends asked for details. So here goes:

I bought plastic measuring spoons, and a plastic 1 C measuring cup. Yes plastic isn't environmentally friendly, but seriously, it is bathroom safe. At the hospital they gave me a 1 C capacity squeeze bottle to wash my lady bits with warm water postpartum. Yes, I'm going to gross you out and admit I use it for my hair now. What? It was free. And I totally ran it through the dishwater. A lot of people mix quantities in advance, but I find it easy enough to mix what I need the day I wash my hair. I put just less than 1 tablespoon of baking soda in the measuring cup and fill it to 1C with hot water. I swirl it around and pour it into the squeeze bottle and then set it on the rim of the tub. Then I wash out the measuring cup, shake the bottle of vinegar to incorporate the sediment, pour in 2 tablespoons of vinegar, and fill it to 1C with hot water and then set the measuring cup on the side of the tub. Before I get in I comb my hair. Then I wet it down, shake the squeeze bottle, and really saturate my hair with it, getting all parts of my scalp. For a minute or two I massage my scalp and then I rinse really well. I grab the measuring cup of vinegar and drop the ends of my hair (which tend to be dry) in for a minute or two. Then I pour it on my scalp. Let it hang out for a bit, then rinse it really really well. The last thing I do is comb my hair with the water running on it. I do this about every 4th day. On the other days I just wet my hair, massage my scalp for a bit, and comb it with water running on it. Days I'm washing doesn't take much longer than conventional shampoo and conditioner.

This is what works for my hair. The bummer is it might not be exactly what you need, so you need to experiment until you get it right. But once you do it will be worth it.
Stuff to know:

  • A friend who also does this mentioned she used shampoo out of convenience and two days later her hair was greasy. This is because shampooing completely strips your hair and scalp of oil. That's why it feels "clean". But it sends your scalp into crazy oil over production. So if you give this a shot, well, for the first several days or weeks your hair might be greasy until it stops over producing. Which sucks. But stick with it and you'll be rewarded. 
  • While visiting family over the holidays I needed to wash every 3 days, rather than every 4 because of the soft water at my family's home. Evidently, how often you need to wash can change with the seasons as well. Just pay attention to what your hair wants.
  • My hair cut lady told me all hair product is water soluble. My hair is dreadfully flat and fine, so I use gel at the roots every day. Because my ends are dry I also rub a bit of oil into the bottoms every day. On the days I don't clean, the water rinse removes those items and I reapply. 
  • No, you don't smell like vinegar. I promise. Sometimes I can still faintly smell it at the end of my shower, but never when it is dry. You just smell like...nothing. Which is super disconcerting after a lifetime of shampoo fragrance. The body oil on the ends helps with that. The kind I like is extremely expensive, though. So I've gotten some jojoba oil and the essential oils in the pricy one I like and I'm mixing my own. Be careful to just use a tiny bit if you are going this route. The ends can look really greasy really fast if you use too much.
  • If your hair seems dry, cut back on the amount of baking soda. If you hair seems greasy, cut back on the amount of vinegar. 
  • We traveled for three weeks to two different locations over the holidays and I had no problem doing this. I brought my cup and spoon and bought apple cider vinegar (regular stuff, not the braggs and it was fine) and baking soda at the locations. 
  • Before I did this I washed and conditioned my hair every single day. I've learned that was too much no matter if one does this method or sticks to the shampoo. It's not good to strip your hair every single day. So if you're doing that, cut it out. Even if you don't do the hippy dippy no shampoo deal.
  • The meaning of "clean" changes for you. When I used shampoo my hair would literally squeak when I ran my hands over it after rinsing. And I loved that feeling. But that feeling was actually terrible for my hair. So I've just gotten used to life without it. But I honestly don't feel unclean. And I'm one of those hyper vigilant people about cleanliness. But now my hair is clean and healthy.
If there are any questions I'd be happy to answer them to the best of my ability. But this is all just my experience and I'm not expert. This post really does have great info. If any of you decide to do it, please do let me know how it goes! 

My supplies. Yes, I should put the vinegar in something non-breakable. I am courting disaster. Don't be as dumb as me. I do store the vinegar and soda in a childproofed cabinet, though. 

So this is my hair back in mid November after a few shampoo-free weeks. I don't have one from before I started for comparison. Sorry.

And this is today. It's grossly flat because I didn't ask for any gel when I got it cut. And there's a hell of a lot less of it than there was in November. Do you know about postpartum hair shedding? It is horrifying. The hair comes out in clumps, and it is all over everything in you home. Add it to the list of super awesome stuff that happens to your body during breeding.

Guess who asked to use the potty twice today? 

 He peed in the potty three times yesterday. During lunch he looked at me and said, "I don't want to pee in my diaper." I do not have the words to express my excitement. Those of you who have changed diaper after diaper of full on grown up human type poop know what I mean. I'm not trying to jinx it, but we are headed in a very good direction. 

1 comment:

  1. Forgot something: Do you have dandruff? My hair cutting lady said this process should totally work. Yup, there will probably be a couple of super gross weeks as the oil production regulates, but ultimately it'd be really worth it to get flake free.