Monday, November 23, 2009

Yummy shampoo bars!

This is what I've been cleaning my hair with.  I may play around with French Green Clay or Rhassoul clay in the future, but for now, I've got a bunch of little samples and I've been enjoying playing with them.  I still have some leftover Aveda conditioner I'm using up (it was $$$!) but when that is gone I'll switch back to jojoba and apple cider vinegar.  My man likes the soap bars too!

The descriptions on this website are great, and the way they help you figure out which soap would work best.  My hair is very soft and shiny, and never feels stripped or heavy.  I still only wash it every 4 days or so (5 when it's dry out) and I've been very pleased.

I make home made shaving cream for my guy, and when I order cocoa butter next I'll order some French Green and some Rhassoul and see if I like that as well.  A friend from Boston has been using the French Green to great success!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

9 months out!

Wow! Well it's been 9 months since I stopped using commercial shampoos. I have to admit I've changed things a little bit, because I hated how baking soda was making my hair feel. I've been unable to get any French Green clay, but I did find some "shampoo" bars made locally that work amazing!
The website,, explains what they have better than I could. Basically they use old, old recipes for stuff to clean hair that in no way uses anything like silicones, parabens, and other yucky things. My hair feels amazing, very soft and I only wash once or twice a week, usually. I can feel the difference in the hair that's grown in over the last few months since I've been using it. They are made with all kinds of stuff that these folks grow (with a few things they ship in) and smell delicious! I bought a bunch of samples so I can figure out which one is my favorite. I have a tiny bit of Aveda conditioner left from my original purchase way back last summer, and I'm using it up a tiny bit at a time- it was expensive so I don't dare throw it out.

The other change is that I also hennaed my hair. I used a mix of cassia and henna since I didn't want to go too red, and some amla to tone it down. 200 g cassia with 25 g henna and 14 g amla in all. It was goopy, messy and so worth it- my hair is super glossy, very silky and it has helped the damage on the super blonde part at the bottom (which I think the baking soda did some damage to!) I like the way it looks, a lot. My natural color that grows in (before the sun bleaches it) is very dark blonde, dishwater/ mouse really, and this helped to even it out and darken everything. I don't particularly like to be bleach blonde!

It's grown, too. Despite some trims, it's definitely getting there.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Day 83

Well! I feel like the experiment is going well, though it has certainly taken a turn. I felt like the BS was really drying out my hair. I loved the body, but it seemed to me that there was some damage going on. I know that hairdressers use BS to strip color out of the hair, and it's used as a cleaning solvent... it's harsh! But I didn't want to go back to washing my hair every other day with harsh commercial chemicals. I was at an impasse.

I had a little sample bottle of Burt's Bees Herbal Remedy shampoo. It's basically oils and fats, with essential oils and teas in it. That's it. No SLS, no parabens, no silicones, nothing. Since I was getting really wary of BS, I decided to try it, last week. After all, it's in my house already, may as well use it. It worked well. It did not strip my hair completely of oils, and felt shiny and soft. I used my old Aveda conditioner as well, it seemed the most benign of the stuff I have left in the house. I was pleased, and had an unexpected bonus: I can go a full week now without needing to wash it. I still did a water only rinse every day or every other day, and resorted to a ponytail by day 4 or so... but still! My whole endeavor is based around not washing my hair as often, and consuming less.

But it left me in a quandry. What to do? I didn't want to go back to BS. I know some other folks have had trouble with BS as well, being too drying. I don't have enough knowledge on what really makes a shampoo to make one myself- I know that oil can remove oil, to a degree (that's the basis of castile soap), which is great if you don't want to strip your hair. So I went shopping, for something I can use until I come up with an alternative myself. (Maybe I'll give castile soap another try. Hmmm.) I scoured Whole Food's beauty aisles, and shockingly only found a few that really did not have SLS, parabens and silicone. I wanted the least ingredients. Burt's Bees is a good contender, as well as Kiss My Face. I went for Kiss My Face, it had nothing fishy in it, mostly essential oils and so forth.

I like the results so far. I can tell the oils are not stripped from my hair. Today (the photo above) is day 2 from a wash with it. So, yes, I am using shampoo, but I'm tired of ruining my hair. This will be what I use until I figure out what I can use that isn't damaging. Meanwhile I am working towards using the product less and less, I need to be brave and go beyond 7 days now. Inch by inch! If I do that, then this bottle will last me a long time anyway. I feel bad that I chickened out on the BS, and thus the experiment, but my hairdresser commented during my last haircut that I had to lay off the hair dye... and I haven't dyed my hair in months!!! I had to get a lot cut off just to get it back into health, and I'm trying to grow it out! Not worth it...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Day 58

Oooh! Two months this weekend! I feel much better today, back to what works. I did a BS wash, followed by an ACV rinse (1 tbsp in some water) and then the chamomile/ rose/ honey tea, followed by cool water. Ahhhh! It's just right today, not dry or greasy, but nice and swingy and pretty. Plus the super awesome bonus that I always have body with no product in it!

I'm going away for the weekend, so at least I know it will be pretty.

I don't know about clay... I read about Moroccan clay (Rhassoul) and French Green, but neither of those things are available here so I'll probably stick with what I've got. After all one of my reasons is sustainability and a lighter footprint on the environment, so I guess shipping stuff from overseas wouldn't qualify. I'm intrigued though! Especially if it's less drying!

I don't feel dry today, and I think it's because I did ACV after, a small amount so I'm not greasy but enough to balance things out. This may be the formula that works for me.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Day 54

Ok, today I used bentonite clay (from Death Valley... the only clay they had at Whole Paycheck). I put 1 tbsp in 1/2 cup water, mixed well- a watery paste. Put that in my hair, massaged well, and left it in for a bit while I did other shower stuff. I rinsed and rinsed... being worried that it wouldn't rinse well... then did a chamomile/ honey rinse.


OK? Just, gross.

My hair feels dry and greasy all at the same time. I bet it just isn't rinsed out enough, because it has a sort of powdery feel to it. It also is evident that the oils were not stripped out, which makes me happy, but I feel like it's going to be yucky sooner before my next wash. I feel that when I rinse tomorrow with water (chamomile) that it will feel better, when I will likely get the rest of the clay out. It was not fun blowdrying it this morning though, it felt dry and was difficult to brush. This would have been a great day for vinegar, I think. Perhaps that would have even helped rinse it out! Ah, well, it's all a grand experiment. I'll try clay again, with vinegar, and see what happens. It will be interesting to see how the week plays out, starting with a less than stellar wash. Hmmm.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Day 53

This photo was taken last night, after brushing and then a water wash (it was pretty much dry by then). As of today, I still have not "washed" it since my BS wash on Monday the 6th. I wanted to show that it really isn't gross. It looks alright, even! Well, to tell the truth, if you comb it straight back, it stays slicked. It looks ok if I fluff it and leave it alone, as shown here. But you can pretty much position it where you want to and it would stay. I think this once again illustrates that the experiment would go differently if I had longer hair.

I would like to space washing my hair out even further, but it means I only have it in a ponytail. How boring! Anyway, I am not washing it until tomorrow morning. I bought some green clay (bentonite) and I'll see how that goes. I don't like how drying BS is so I'm hopeful it will be a little different, though clay has drying properties as well.

I don't feel icky, for going 6 to 7 days without a "wash". It helps that I brush every day and have done a water wash nearly every day as well. I'll admit I've been waiting for that magical period to pass where I suddenly can go forever without washing it, but that hasn't happened yet. True, I've been in a routine of washing Monday and Friday so who knows???

Friday, April 10, 2009

Day 51

I last used BS on Monday, with a chamomile, vinegar and honey rinse. Since then I've done a water rinse everyday, but nothing else... I haven't had time to brew chamomile everyday, but that doesn't do much but color and soften anyway. I usually do a BS on Friday also, but I was late today running my boyfriend to the airport, so there! Actually it doesn't look too bad, you can see it's a bit oily at the hairline but honestly it looks normal. I may just see how it looks tomorrow. I take it down and brush it every evening, and though it looks funky down, it's not horrible or nasty. On me, it looks now at day 5 how it would have looked on day 2 before.

So I haven't been blogging much since I haven't many changes to report; I was settling into a routine with BS washes on Monday and Friday, and rinses on the other days. I believe my hair is adjusting. I'm starting to see the gray sebum funk on my comb, as I have read in other people's blogs. It doesn't stink or bother me at all. My hair has tons of body and behaves differently. On day 42, a comment was left by my friend Ursula about French green clay, and I may try that, since I am distressed about how drying BS is. A new experimental piece!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Day 42

I ran today, so I did a water wash and chamomile rinse. I took this photo while it's still a bit damp (no blowdrying, I'm doing a ponytail today) but honestly, it's drying nicely and not at all greasy or stringy. It feels soft, normal, not oily or icky. I washed two days ago. I think it's getting better between washes. Once again I think, if it were longer I'd leave it down and see what it looks like through the day... but this in between length and ugly haircut offends my vanity. So ponytail it is.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Day 40

Today was a BS wash day. I followed that with a chamomile/ ACV/ honey rinse. I left that in while I did other shower stuff... mostly to see if it softens things a bit. I've been disliking how dry I feel with a BS wash and how heavy after a Dr.B's wash. Time for a little tweaking to figure out what works for me!

As you can see though, lots of body after blowdrying. I've given up on on the idea of going completely natural until I've grown my hair completely out. This awkward stage is too difficult to manage without some styling.

This morning before I went running, I felt like my hair was heavy but not horribly greasy. I think Dr.B's not only doesn't strip your own oils but likely adds its own. It creates a texture I don't feel I can really handle unless I'm intentionally camping and want feral hair. I didn't feel like anyone could run their fingers through my hair and have a pleasant experience.

Today it's dry, but soft, and has a bit more of the silkiness I'm used to from before. When I do a BS wash it's usually really nice by day 2 or 3.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Day 38

Yesterday I washed with Dr.Bronner's (photo on the right). I was feeling like the BS is stripping my hair... and I'm sure it is. Well, Dr.B's is all oils which are saponified (soapified) but not detergents. This means it doesn't strip oils out of anything, but does definitely distribute them differently and remove excess. In other words... my hair is clean, yes, but not the way it is with shampoo or BS. I use Dr.B's when I camp, and enjoy the way it feels sort of thick and soft... but alas, it does retain the natural oiliness. Is that what our hair is supposed to look like? I don't really know. I know that it's darker in color, shinier, and not exactly stringy or gross; but not fine and "fresh washed" like all the other Miss Clairol-heads either. Dilemma. I don't want to look yucky, but I don't want to strip it.

Anyway I rinsed with just chamomile. I felt after that maybe I had stripped it (I put a little bit of Dr.B's in warm water to make my "shampoo", and it made plenty of lather, may have used too much) because it was difficult to get my fingers through. So I used the tiniest amount of coconut oil, in the ends only. I did this with my head upside down so I wouldn't touch anywhere near my scalp. It dried really thick, lots of body, but the roots looked suspicious because of course they aren't stripped. Headband it was, then.

This morning I have fabulous bedhead of course, and it actually doesn't look too bad but the roots are suspicious. It doesn't look quite as dry or crunchy as yesterday, and it's shiny. I could get away with a head band again or my usual ponytail.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Day 36

Well, it's been two days since my last BS wash and of course things are getting a little stringy. Yesterday I did not rinse, just put it in a headband- it looked fine, normal. Today I just rinsed it with water, and I still think it would look fine if it were long... I let it air dry today to be nice to my hair, and it's ugly because it's growing out, but not bad. I'm going to put it up in a ponytail as usual...

So even though it's a bit stringy it's not gross, no weird hippie smells or anything like that. I'm doing two BS washes per week, though I would like to space that out. Perhaps I will make one of my washes Dr.B's soap, since I'm suspicious that the BS is stripping my hair everytime and that means my scalp will never adjust!

I have to admit something though, even when it's somewhat oily (when I'm getting close to the time for another BS wash), when I brush it I like how deeply golden and reflective my hair is. It's just never that shiny in life, I think! I can see how if I have it long, brush religiously and rinse well, it would just be gorgeous- way more reflective, and that honey color I've always wanted it to be, instead of just sun bleached as it likes to do. I'm eager for this adjustment everyone keeps talking about. I guess I need to push it longer between washes and maybe find a less harsh solution.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Day 34

I spent the weekend with a friend, and she was not aware at all about the fact that I stopped using shampoo. It looked fabulous on Friday (BS wash day); still looked great on Saturday in a headband; and Sunday in a couple of pigtails. I woke this morning with fabulous bedhead as usual, a fact I'm just getting used to. I want to start going longer between washes to train my hair, and I think it is getting better, but I feel I've already settled into a routine of twice weekly BS washes. I'd like to wean off the BS a bit, I think it's pretty harsh and drying. I don't want to skimp on the mixture- it was a disaster last time when I didn't use enough- but perhaps get to once per week, and then eventually longer. I produce a lot of oil though! Always have! I just don't like how dry I feel after I use BS.

Today I tried vinegar again, since I made sure I used the entire BS mixture. I wanted to see if it's truly a problem or not. So far, my hair feels normal. Well, a little better than usual, not quite as dry as it can be after BS washes. I only used a tablespoon, in my chamomile tea. That's it. Perhaps the telling moments will be in the next few days, but for today, looking good!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Day 30!!!

Yay, one month! Today my hair is settled from Tuesday's washing, getting a bit greasy at the roots but not bad. I put it into a ponytail after I did a chamomile rinse this morning, so it's got that fun funky pony-head. I brushed it before I took the photo, and shook it out. Maybe you can see that although the roots look a bit oily, it's not too bad; it does not smell bad (or have any smell, actually) and feels thick and soft.

I am not stopping. I'm curious as to how I'll adjust. I think I may need to start stretching the time between BS washes, in order to actually get my scalp to adjust. I doubt that I will be able to stop BS washes altogether, since I am a good producer of oil... I used to have very oily skin as a kid, one reason I'm aging well now (no complaints here!) I do find BS very drying, and makes my hair feel a bit chalky. Maybe I will try coconut oil again but very very carefully.

I'm traveling away for the weekend tomorrow, so I am going to do a wash and then wing it for the weekend!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Day 28

Top 'o the mornin! It's St.Patty's day and I plan on going out tonight... so today was a BS wash day. I used my new and improved chamomile/ lemon/ honey formula- my hair feels clean and soft.

It wasn't too bad even this morning... here's the bedhead, in case you were wondering. I get the most fabulous bedhead now, I never looked that crazy in the morning.

And this picture is from yesterday, it was a ponytail day... I find that I can definitely go 4 days between BS washes, and perhaps more, but only with my hair up. Maybe that will change with time, or when I have longer hair... it hasn't quite been a month, so I can't complain if I've managed to stretch out to "washing" only twice per week! (With rinses in between, naturally, I do shower).

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Day 25

Oh, yesterday was so frustrating!!! I washed my hair and ended up just as greasy after as when I started! Grrr!

It was entirely my fault though, because I made some mistakes. I am learning... it's a process, indeed. Well, I did a BS wash with the second half of the bottle I made at the beginning of the week. It seemed there was plenty, so no problems there. Then I followed with a chamomile/ honey/ lemon rinse, but I think I was a little heavy handed with the lemon and maybe even the honey. I didn't measure, just dolloped. My hair felt thick and a bit slick at the end, and I wondered if it was going to be gross, but since I've had good luck so far I figured I was fine.

I was running late. This is part of the problem, I'm sure. My face felt dry and I wanted to put coconut oil on it. The last two times I did a BS wash my hair felt dry and chalky so I figured some coconut in the hair would be good too. Well usually it is but I went a little crazy, I think! I don't believe I got it on my scalp but I did have quite a bit on my hands when I passed my hands into my hair. When I went to blowdry and style it, ugh! I could see before I was even two minutes into it that things were gross. Greasy. Especially behind my ears. Stiff, heavy, and oily. Boy did that make me so mad, I wanted to get my haircut too! I didn't bother to finish drying it, just combed it into a ponytail and left.

Later, at work, in front of the bathroom mirror I took it out of the ponytail and shook it out. It didn't actually look too bad, but it definitely did not look like I just washed it. It looked like it used to when I was two or three days out from a shampoo. The ends were horribly ugly (goddamn razor) and flyaway, so I decided to risk getting a haircut after all.

I went and I must confess... I was ready to lie if she wanted to know what I used in my hair. I am not ready to tell the world at large, especially yesterday since it looked a bit heavy and oily. I lied, I'm not proud, and said "sorry it's gross, I need to wash my hair" but she only laughed and said it was not a big deal. At least it never smells bad! It probably wasn't as oily as I thought too. It definitely looked worse damp.

She tried to clean up the damage from the razor, but she tells me it will be another haircut or two before it's totally sharp again. Meh. I hate that- I lost some length yesterday but it looks better, the shape is way better.

I broke down and washed again today. That was a rule I didn't want to break, because I want to space out the time between washes, but I couldn't take it. I felt like wash day was reward for making it so long and I was so disappointed! Plus I'm dating someone and I can't feel this gross. I was careful today- I made a warm BS solution and dumped the WHOLE THING on my head. I made up tea too- chamomile with roses, 1 tbsp lemon juice, and 1 tsp honey. I wanted to see if it made things come out ok. No coconut, nothing...

And this is the result. Much better! New haircut, wash day, things are swingy and soft and pretty. It feels nice, clean and gorgeous. Whew!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Day 23

Missed a day... yesterday was a busy day! Well, all I did yesterday was a rinse with chamomile/honey/lemon. It looked fine, not really greasy, but I put it in a ponytail because I was suspicious it would look lank by the end of the day. This is an awkward hair length- only looks good at a certain length, and when styled. When it's longer it won't matter.

Today I did a water only rinse, and it looks fine. Not really very oily, even. I seem to be able to go a little longer between BS washes without looking hideous. That's the goal! I'm still in the adjustment period, I'm not kidding myself about that one, but in all I'd say my hair's been taking to the experiment fairly well. I'm clean, I don't smell bad or even look bad. I work with some pretty opinionated and straightforward people- if I looked gross BELIEVE ME they'd tell me.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Day 21

Yowza!!! I mean- look at the BODY!!! Whooooeeee! I love my hair today. Just love it. No styling products, people, nothing. Just me, all me.

Today I did a chamomile and honey rinse, massaged really well, and blowdried it (I have a date tonight!). It's soft, thick, and all ROCK STAR. Yeah! I know that if I keep touching it, it could look yucky by tonight... but right now it's amazing! Amazing, and three weeks since I've touched it with shampoo. I've "washed" twice per week with either baking soda or Dr.Bronners, rinsed quite a bit with chamomile, and attempted to balance out my vinegar needs... and I'm so happy with the results right now! I never have this much body!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Day 20

Ahhh. Today was a BS wash day. Actually I have to report that despite the nasties after the last BS wash, I rinsed yesterday and in the evening when I took it out of the ponytails, it wasn't gross. I thought that was pretty odd. I had been thorough in my rinse, but wow!

I ran today, and was pretty sweaty when I got home, but I brushed anyway (gently). I think that's the trick for no flakes, at least for me. (I also don't shed as much, hmm.) I made up a batch of BS solution and used as much as I felt I needed- about half of the 1 cup. Massaged well, rinsed well. Then I did use the last of the dilute ACV, but I took care not to get any on my scalp. Just the ends. After that I rinsed with chamomile.

I did style it, because I wanted to dry it and see what happened. It looks great today. Lots of body, maybe a little dry- I probably should have used a little coconut oil on the ends. Although I always feel it's a bit dry on BS days (it is a drying thing) and it usually feels better the next day. Today I think I will go get a haircut, if time allows; I hate that I have to blowdry to feel good about it and not look like a scarecrow. I'm putting the fear of the goddess into the stylist to never ever use that damn razor comb on me ever again. I hate that I have to lose a lot of my ends to make it right! Grrr. As long as I can still get it into piggies I'll be ok.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Day 19

Well, as it's the weekend I am just not going to do a BS wash. I'm only hanging out with the cats anyway. So today after I ran (outside!!! It's finally warm!) I did a chamomile/lemon/honey rinse, and it feels cleaner. Not taking any chances though so I put my hair in little piggies! I did have to go out and take care of one horse this afternoon, didn't want to freak out my client. Otherwise, I'm going to the gym tomorrow morning and then THANKFULLY it's time for another BS wash. I am going to use more of the solution and try the vinegar again, so I can make a decision on whether or not I just never need to use it again.

It's all a grand experiment! I am definitely still psyched about it. Today I'm making my own shaving cream too... going greener by the minute.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Day 18

Gross. Just, gross. Oh. My. Goddess.

So yesterday was a BS wash day. I didn't have much left in the bottle, but I felt it was enough to do a thorough job so I massaged it in, left it in for a while, and rinsed well. I did a very dilute ACV rinse- 1 tbsp to 1 cup water, with very very scant EO- and rinsed that well, following with chamomile/rose tea. I even did a cool rinse after, like usual.

Well, I felt that my hair was a bit thick, and not all that clean after. I blowdried it because I had a date last night, and wanted to look good. BUT! By 4 or 5 pm my hair was absolutely horrid. On other BS days it's been great, and great for days after. It was thick, somewhat stringy and looked unclean, like I'd used styling products on it a day or two ago and didn't wash. I threw it into a headband, curled the ends and went on my date.

This morning it was perfectly terrible. Just nasty. The most amazing 80's pop star bedhead I've ever seen. Thick, greasy roots, nasty. I combed it out for the photo. I am going to have to rewash it!

What went wrong? Well, it was either that I needed more BS solution (I had 1/4 of a bottle, maybe needed more?) OR it's just that I can't use vinegar at all. I didn't want my hair to be as dry as it was the last time I did a BS wash so I figured dilute vinegar would be ok. And that was pretty dilute! I think what I will do is wash with plenty of BS- enough to really saturate my hair- and follow with the same vinegar rinse and see what the difference is. Process of elimination. If it truly is the vinegar, I am not going to use it ever again. I was horrified by the end of the night and worried my date was going to be grossed out! Lucky for me he's a greaser and has a pompador, with ten tons of pomade in his own hair, so less likely to even notice... but seriously!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Day 16

Holding out for tomorrow for the next BS wash! I'm gonna make it!

I did a chamomile only rinse today, brushing well before the shower and massaging well under the water. I wanted to see if I can actually wear it down or not (how bad is it, does a ponytail make it worse?) so I blowdried it to get some style in the ends, and put it in a headband. It definitely has a lot of body! It feels a little like I went out last night with gel in my hair, sort of next day after night out hair (without the ciggy smell from the old days when people still smoked in bars- ugh!) Not gross, not oily, just thick. I'm not used to having thick hair at all, my hair is superfine.

Anyway it looks great but there's a ponytail holder on my wrist just in case.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Day 15

Well, definitely another transition/ponytail day. I only did a chamomile rinse today (nothing fancy) after sweating my butt off at the gym. I was late and so couldn't dry it; I was suspicious that it would not be a good "hair down" day anyway. Into a pony it went! I took it out tonight, and of course it is a frenzied mess since I put it up wet. It's slightly oily, no more than it used to be two days after I hadn't washed it (and it was never really bad since I only washed it every other day anyway.) I want to hold out for Friday though, so tomorrow will be another ponytail day- with or without a water only rinse.

I decided not to humiliate myself with a picture of the hair down, since it looks like I got electrocuted and then run over by a truck... so all you get is the neat little ponytail. Looks fine, eh?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Day 14!!!

I made two weeks! Yay! Two weeks and no signs of stopping, because I'm happy so far with how things are going. Actually, technically it's 15 days since my last shampoo!

Today I did a little twist on my cute little tea rinse. I put about a tsp of honey and a tbsp lemon into my chamomile tea. I made sure the tea was hot when the honey went in, to dissolve it well. (I got this little combination from a book that was talking about natural brighteners for blondes.) It smelled fabulous, and made my hair feel nice and smooth in the shower. It rinsed out just fine, with lots of warm water (no stickies, please!) and a cool rinse after.

My hair felt a little chalky and dry yesterday/this morning, and I wonder if I didn't rinse the BS out well enough (plus no vinegar after, maybe you need that...) It feels better today, thick but soft and not greasy or dry. Kind of perfect, actually. I did blowdry again today because it's COLD!!! It made sassy little curled ends though, and I love the way it looks today- with all the body of yesterday's picture, but shinier. The photo is from this afternoon, after being out in the wind all day, working. You can see that it looks a bit thicker, that although it isn't brushed it's not greasy or yucky. Just windblown. Neat!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Day 13

Look, Ma... lots of body!

So, this morning was Exxon Valdez to the max. Now, I didn't technically do any kind of a "wash" since Thursday (Dr.B) so really, that's 4 mornings without. I shouldn't be surprised to be so greasy. That's longer than normal for me. I wanted to hold out for today though, since I wasn't really socializing with anyone.

After the gym, I brushed my hair (more like slicked it repeatedly) and hopped in. On a side note- I have had NO trouble with flakes or itchies, mostly because I groom fastidiously. I brush every morning and night and sometimes in between if I'm fixing my ponytail. Anyway, today was a BS day. I massaged with it as usual, and felt the risidual oils. That always makes me nervous! I did my very dilute vinegar (ACV: 1 tbsp/ 1 c H2O) to which I had added waaaaaay too much Rosemary EO. Oh... I put that on my head and was overpowered, not only by the scent but by the oiliness of the EO! So I panicked, rinsed it out quickly and did another BS wash. All I rinsed with after was the chamomile/rose tea.

Soooo... my hair is a bit dry today, and not as shiny. I decided to blowdry because it's -10 outside, and I'm sick of looking like a scarecrow and resorting to ponytails. I think I need to get a haircut on a wash day. I hate the razor scissors, I think they've given me a setback. Grrrr! However, it still feels thicker than it used to, so I imagine there are still oils on the hair. I didn't do coconut oil, so I'm sure that makes a difference. I'm curious to see if I'll overproduce sebum now that I did so much BS. I hope not!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Experiment bonus...

I've been trying to find ways to become more efficient at the whole showering thing and preparing for the shower. I find myself measuring and brewing and taking several cups of concoctions into shower with me- and I abhor inefficiency. I like a shower to be quick (unless I'm cold) because my mornings are tightly timed.

I am also a sucker for beauty in day to day life (I think it's a Libra thing) so if I can make it functional AND beautiful, I've won. If only life could be steam-punk...

Anyway I recycle like mad, and save some of the prettier bottles from products I've used. I chose a couple of the nicer ones in which to put my BS solution, and a very dilute vinegar solution (I'm trying to see if the very dilute solution will work best for me). While it's not necessarily a good idea to take glass into the shower, I can be more than careful when handling it. It's up in the shower rack, too, away from the kitties, who are all about destruction for the fun of it.

So the bonus is that my shower now looks like a proper witchy place- complete with potion bottles! It fills my little aesthetic heart with joy.

Day 12

Oh, today is a greeeeeeasy day. I woke up with the most amazing bed head yet... and did a water only rinse, since I want to wait until tomorrow for a BS wash. Today, it doesn't matter; it's Sunday and I'm just hanging out. Well, water only did reduce the oil a bit- maybe because of the toweling later- but not enough. I threw it into little piggies, which I love, and it looks super shiny. You can still appreciate the oiliness by my ears though, but I comb it pretty well so it just looks like normal. Kind of amazing, actually. The neat thing is that the ends are behaving, they have a nice curl to them today.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Day 11

Well, I spoke too soon about yesterday's greasiness. When I'd freed it from the ponytail it looked ok initially but then I saw just how crazy and greasy it was. I note that I did lemon juice after the Dr.B's, and I know that it works much like vinegar (to a lesser degree.) I wonder if I just don't need the "conditioning rinse"? Some people get really greasy on vinegar and I haven't used it in a little while, and have been happier with the results. Hmmm. Normally (when I was shampooing) I could go more than the next day without being greasy; I'd be slightly greasy on day 3, then shampoo that day (or stuff it into a ponytail.) So I feel it's unusual to be that greasy. Yes, I'm transitioning. Yes.

Anyway I wore it in little piglets today to dance practice, and it was super cute- the ends were all wild and fun, like I had gel in it. I liked that. Then I took them out and whoa! Crazy, greasy. When I brushed it for the shower it would lie flat on my scalp. The intersting thing to note is that it doesn't feel gross. Or stink. It looks better if I fluff it out with my fingers; but right after brushing, on any given day, it's slick. It's been very shiny though! Today after dance I rinsed with chamomile only, massaged and rinsed really really well. I dry with a towel using several strokes, sort of like the "Mexican Method".
So these photos show the cute piggies with the wild body, and what it looked like when I took them out (oooh! shiney!); then after the rinse only. The greasiness is greatly reduced with just that.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Day 10

Even though I got sweaty at the gym this morning, I only did a rinse in my hair when I showered. It brushed out nicely (my habit now is lots of brushing before the shower/ in the morning, and at night- probably 100 strokes, but who's counting?) and looked fine, actually.

I massaged a mix of 1 tbsp lemon in a cup of water into my hair, and left that in while I did other shower stuff. When I rinsed that out, my hair felt sort of slick- the oils were still there, but it felt good, actually. After that I put the chamomile/ rose tea in my hair and left that in while I finished up; I rinsed with cool water and was done.

My hair was drying normally, looked and felt normal. I did not blowdry, though, but put it into a ponytail before it was dry. The picture shows the ponytail, not nearly as "slicked down" as last week. It just looks normal. When I took it down tonight, the ends were crazy as usual, and somewhat stringy on the crown but only when I brush or comb it; if I fluff it with my fingers it looks fine.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Day 9

Soooo... I was nervous, having a date tonight (went great!) so I wanted my hair to look good. I know, it's so vain but it is my vanity... worse when it's long!

I washed my hair with Dr.Bronners, which I'd diluted; I found I had to pour it on my head directly to be sure it got where it needed to be. When I'd just put it on my hands, lather it and try to apply it, I didn't feel I was getting anywhere. Dr.Bronners leaves the oils in the hair, so I wasn't sure it was going to be less greasy or not. Then I just rinsed with chamomile/rose tea, and skipped the vinegar. I meant to use lemon but forgot to take it in with me, so after a cold rinse, that was that.

Since I had this date, I decided to blow dry my hair. The photo is from right after that. Wow! Such body! It looked fabulous, and I didn't mind having it down all day. I tried my best not to play with it too much, as that would make it stringy and greasy, and I did a good job for the most part. When I got home I curled the ends- and the style holds great, like I have product in it. I threw it in a headband and it looks great. In all I'd say I've got the greasies a lot less than before.

On an interesting note... once or twice throughout the day, I noted a 'dreaddy hippie' smell, sort of like what you smell on a person with dreds; not a funk, per se, but a distinct smell. Then it dawned on me... it smelled like Dr.Bronners + natural human hair. Oh! Hmmm.... before my date I put more lavender EO on my hair to help that out. The jury's still out on whether or not I feel that Dr.B makes a good hair cleaner for me.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Day 8

Today would be the third day not "washing" since I did BS on Monday. Normally I would shampoo every other day. However... I want to stretch out the time between washings, so I decided to tough out today and see how it goes.

This morning I ran at the gym, so I was sweaty. Things were looking reeeeaaaalll greasy too. Or maybe it was sweat... nah, it was greasy. Anyway I only rinsed with chamomile (and I threw in a few dried rose petals too, for fun). I massaged my scalp well in the warm water, and followed with a cool rinse. It felt greasy in the shower, and I thought for sure that I was going to be a grease bucket all day. I decided against vinegar because I've heard it makes some people feel greasy and heavy after...

Well! Surprise! My hair did not feel greasy once it dried. I was suspicious, and put it in a ponytail for the day. The first photo shows my (ridiculous) ponytail. Doesn't look too bad actually. When I got home I took it out totally expecting to be a stiff greasy mess... and WOW! It's fine! Just- fine! Not really stringy, not really greasy, just kindof normal. It may have been different if it was down and I was playing with it all day (I run my hands through my hair a lot when it's down.)

So, I've been a bit nervous because I have a date on Thursday (eeek! a first date, too!) and I don't want to be a salad head, a greasy mess or otherwise!! I was in despair thinking of it last night since I was so icky. Today has really turned me around and made me feel hopeful that it will work for me. My plan is to "wash" it tomorrow- maybe with Dr.Bronners, and only rinse with tea and EO, no vinegar. I have no wish to explain why I smell like a warm salad to someone I like. Mmmm... no. I am also going to use a blowdryer and maybe curl it... special occasion, right?

So this photo is with the ponytail just out, I tried to brush it but it's crazy. The ends are ruined. Grrr! It's just to show, though, that it's not stringy or greasy at all.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Day 7

Well! I've made it through the first week. Yay! It's been interesting so far, though, because I have also stopped using heat to style my hair... and I hate it. Hate my hair right now- the style, anyway.

Although I went to the gym this morning, I didn't get super sweaty... and because I'm used to washing my hair only every other day, I didn't wet my hair. Yesterday, by evening, my hair had gone from the freshly washed look to somewhat stringy, so I ended up putting it up. It had some body though, and that was nice. Today it looks stringy but doesn't feel greasy. I wonder if that's just the sebum working its way through, and what's supposed to happen? I hope that it won't stay stringy forever, that it will even out. I like it to be smooth and bouncy and right now it's flat and looks oily, though it isn't (or at least, doesn't feel that way.) I think if my hair was longer it would look better because the top looks ok, the bottom where it was razored looks like crap.

Today's pic shows my style is all wonky, because of the flyaway ends due to the cut and because I had it in a little nubbie ponytail this morning to work out. If I could do a close up I would, to demonstrate that it looks stringy but isn't truly gross. I'm self conscious about it though so I'll be putting it into a little ponytail today.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Day 6

Actually, it was a week ago today that I last washed with shampoo and conditioner. I was using Aveda, and only washing every 2 to 3 days, so I feel I'm a bit ahead of the game anyway. This morning I was greasy greasy greasy! Yuck. I usually wear little pigtails to the gym (and it's not a fashion show anyway, who cares). Man, I have to say, it slicks back into a ponytail reeeeaaaal easy these days.

So today after I ran at the gym and got all sweaty, I thought it was time for a BS wash. Last one was Wednesday last week. I think that's pretty good! So as usual I brushed my hair well (never a tangle, these days, not that I have that problem). I get everything all ready to go, like baking soda in a cup, vinegar in a cup and chamomile tea in a cup, that I dilute with water while in the shower so it's not frigid. Today I tried a white vinegar/water rinse, I wanted to see if there's a difference from ACV. This time it was not 50/50 but 25/75. I don't like smelling like vinegar when I run. Anyway I did a vinegar rinse, then chamomile tea rinse and followed up with cool water. Invigorating! The photo here is this morning, after the wash, while my hair wasn't fully dry. It feels good though, not stringy or oily. Yay for BS!

Now my hair feels a bit stripped- sort of like when you shampoo and don't follow with conditioner. Of course, today was a BS day so that makes a difference. I was reading other people's blogs that ACV can make their hair feel a bit greasy and heavy sometimes. I wonder if white vinegar is really that different? The smell certainly is. The more dilute rinse seems better I think, less odor. I also got some lovely French Lavender essential oil (EO) and patted that lightly into the ends after the shower, along with some coconut oil on my face and ends. I only used the coconut oil because I felt like my hair was really stripped somehow, and I couldn't get my fingers through it- the coconut fixed it right up.

This photo is from the evening... it shows that it dried nice, but it got a little stringy during the day. Not really oily, I guess; maybe we (I) just don't know what hair would feel like if it were natural? Certainly if every hair were coated with sebum, the hair texture would change, be thicker, behave differently. Either way by mid-day, it was a little stringy and looked somewhat oily behind my ears. I had the top back in barrettes all day and that looked alright, and was glad I didn't have it down.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Day 5

Yesterday, I thought my hair looked pretty greasy in the morning. I've been brushing/ massaging well in the morning and at night. I went to the gym yesterday morning, and had my hair up in little pigtails; if I comb it really well it doesn't look yucky at all. When I took it down it was flat and gross, but didn't smell bad or feel overly greasy- it just felt like the oils were really working their way down. I thought it took more time but in my case, it's going quickly. I just hope my poor scalp realizes the change soon!

Anyway I felt pretty greasy and had plans to go out on the town during the day and at night, so I wanted to do something about it. I want to wait to do a BS wash- so that I'm only doing that once per week, or wean off it entirely. So what I did was a 50/50 ACV/H2O wash, with lots of good massaging. My hair felt really slick, sort of cleaner but I could really feel the oils. You know that feeling when you shampoo, where it squeaks? Yeah, not anymore. I don't mind leaving the oils in but I didn't want excess. I ended up using a little bit of VERY dilute Dr.Bronner's Lavender (which I've read is a good alternative in this experiment, doesn't strip the hair). That made it feel pretty much similar. Then I rinsed with chamomile, and figured- well! I guess I'll see what happens.

I let my hair air dry. Again, I feel I've got the uglies if I don't blowdry with a style brush- it sticks out like a scarecrow (my stylist keeps razoring the ends, which I hate, it makes everything look frayed). I was self-conscious through the day with my crazy, straight flyaway hair- but it was clean, and looked clean. Not stringy, not greasy, just a little bit flat and no style at all. It felt soft though! The bonus is it is starting to look shinier! I always thought blonde hair just wasn't shiny, like brunettes. It seems that is not true.

In the evening I was going out to a club, so I broke down and used a curling iron in my hair. Normally I have to use product (mousse or something) to get style to take, but I didn't use anything and it held really well- even though it was raining out. Wow! It looked great. I wore a headband, had the ends curled, and felt fabulous... and it's been 7 days since shampoo, 5 days since BS wash.

I woke up with the ends still curled (my ends may be damaged, from all the abuse, so this may be why), but not very greasy. It's behaving as it does when I've swum in the ocean and not washed my hair a couple of days. I kind of like it a little wild, so that's fine! Better than flat and stringy. In this photo I still have a dent in the front from where the headband is, (along with bed head) but you can see the curls, and I think it looks much better this way.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Day 3

Well, today was a little more challenging. I ran at the gym today, so I couldn't just do nothing as I came home all sweaty. So I brushed and massaged my scalp, and hopped in the shower. I rinsed with lemon juice (1 tbsp in 1 cup water) and followed that with a chamomile rinse- I made tea with 1/2 cup boiling water and added cooler water once it had steeped to make it more tepid. That was nice! It smelled good. At the end of the shower I could feel that the texture of my hair was different- a little more slick. Likely the natural oils coming through. When I got out I put some rosemary essential oil on my hand- a tiny drop- and ran it through my hair. After I moisturized my face with coconut oil I put a little of that in my ends, since they looked dry.

Once again I'm grateful my hair is still short, because that will make the process of coating the hair with natural oils much quicker. However... I'm truly hitting the ugly stage of growing out, and man! It was ugly today. I think my hair looks terrible unless I style it with a hairdryer and brush, which is something I've wanted to stop doing (hence growing it out). I didn't put it in a pony tail and quickly regretted that by mid morning, because I kept playing with my hair (tuck it back, let it down, tuck it back...) until I made it a little greasy. Then I got self conscious, which is never fun.

The photo was taken this evening, after I surrendered to using a carefully placed rubber band to put my hair back... so I have a pony-tail bump at the ends. The ends look a little dry and damaged, no surprise since I've been brutalizing it with a hairdryer all this time!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Day 2

Since I normally don't shower or wash my hair except every other day, I did nothing with it today (as usual) except brush it, for a moderate session. I wore it in a little weensie ponytail yesterday and it looked good, felt silky and shiny. I'm lucky I have nice hair anyway.

This morning at the gym, though, I could smell a vinegar smell- like those damned Cape Cod Sea Salt chips I'm addicted to. Hmm. I don't know if anyone else could smell it though, it was subtle. My plan is to get some chamomile flowers and some essential oils to make the whole thing more pleasant, scent-wise. I'm also going to be slowly and gently extending times between cleaning my hair (but not showering in general!).

Since I'm growing my hair out, I'm about to go through the ugly-no-style phase anyway so it's good I'm going to get all the uglies out of the way at once. While I can still wear a winter hat...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Day 1

This morning I went to the gym and ran, so I was pretty sweaty. I massaged and gently scratched my scalp, then combed my hair for a bit before jumping in the shower.

I "washed" with baking soda (BS) (one tablespoon in one cup water), massaged it in and left it on for a bit. Then I rinsed well, and followed with a "rinse" of 50/50 apple cider vinegar (ACV). This I also rinsed well- with water that was getting tepid due to my tiny water heater. That's fine, though! Cool water is better for the hair. After that, I did a finishing rinse of one tablespoon ACV in cool water.

In this photo, my hair is still a little wet- I'm not using the blowdryer anymore either, as much as I hate the way my short hair looks unstyled. I'll wear it in a ponytail until it's longer.

Why I'm going shampoo-free

A couple of years ago, I saw an article on line about a woman who hasn't shampooed her hair for 10 years. Her name was Penny. I searched, then, for information or articles on how to go without washing your hair... I mean, her hair was not greasy or gross, and the article stated she didn't stink or look funky. How did she do it? At that time, there seemed to be no information on the Web about it. I didn't just want to stop washing... but I had no idea how to get my hair back to a natural state.

Not long after reading that article, I went surfing on Cape Cod with a boyfriend. We camped for a week and I made the decision beforehand not to shower, at all. After all... I would be in the ocean every day, and salt water always makes my hair feel amazing. I did it, and felt fabulous! My hair was funky and wild, gently bleached by the sun, and was fun to play with. I have read so many things online about what it will look and feel like to be more natural and I'm psyched!

Recently I came across a thread on Tribe about the "no-poo" movement and started reading. There were tons of links about transitioning hair back to a natural state, and why... stuff about the chemicals in shampoo (a solvent, after all) and the health benefits of not damaging your hair. Not to mention the beauty!

Shampoo wasn't introduced until the early 1900's. Until then people didn't touch their hair with anything but soap, and only once per month or so. Plenty of poems and stories were written about the beauty of women's hair and so on... how is that so? What did they do before Miss Clairol?

Think about it... dogs don't wash their hair everyday. Unless they have food allergies or mange, they are not unpleasant. Or cats. Or horses. Or anything else that just lives naturally and is covered in fur/ hair.

So here in this blog I am going to track my own progress, what I'm using and how it's going. I have short hair that I've been growing out for the past few months, so this is the perfect time... my hair's still short enough to get the natural oils (sebum) down to the ends in a quick amount of time without too much torture.

I'm excited about this! I've been trying to get back to living a more pure and natural life anyway, and this seems to be the way to go. I'll save lots of money on avoiding hair products, and save the environment by not dumping tons of solvents down the drain.

I am going to blog daily about this, and include pictures and a log of what I use. This is purely selfish, so that I can keep track of what does and doesn't work.

Here are some links to what I've been reading: