Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Step 4: Hair Care

It's been a few weeks, but I finally feel confident enough to write this sentence: I have found my new hair care routine. (Yay!)

I used to use shampoo and conditioner each and every day. My hair is long (a few inches past my shoulders) and had a 24-hour life cycle: if it wasn't washed routinely, it got greasy like that (snap).

It took a lot of trial and error, and more than a few days of gross hair, but I finally figured it out. I began by going all-out No 'Poo (such a stupid name for a movement, but I guess it's catchy) and using only baking soda mixed with a little water to clean my hair. I was worried about it being too dried out and tangly so I added some olive oil. Bad idea. I couldn't get it out of my hair for days. Plus, the baking soda burned my scalp (not terribly but in a "hey my head feels really hot" kind of way).

It didn't seem to matter how I used the baking soda - dry, pasty, or completely watery - nothing worked and my hair was disgusting. Plus, I missed the suds of regular shampoo. It's something you don't even think about until it's gone, but how else are you supposed to know you got all of your hair clean if you can't feel the suds everywhere?

I wanted to give up just so I could feel clean, but I was dedicated to keeping toxins out of my hair and my drain. So I tried again.

This time I bought some liquid castile soap (Dr. Bronner's seems to be the only one in town) and mixed 1/4 cup with a 1/4 cup of water. Suds! Beautiful suds!

The shampoo is very thin, but not much is needed. It's actually light enough that I could spritz it on my head with a spray bottle. That half cup will last me at least two weeks, and I'm still shampooing every day (although I think I could probably get away with skipping a day every now and then, which is huge).

Now for the conditioner. The shampoo works well to clean, but it leaves my hair tangly. All I need to use is 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (ACV) with 1 cup of water. Shake, and pour over hair. That's it! At the beginning I did this rinse twice, but now (after about a week) I only need to do it once. The rinse leaves my hair smoother and de-tangled. I can easily run a comb through it after I get out of the shower, and to be completely honest that was not always possible with my regular conditioner.

ACV doesn't have quite the smell that white vinegar does, but it's still definitely there. However, the smell dissipates as the hair dries and is completely gone as soon as my hair is dry.

After starting the castile soap/ACV rinse regimen, my hair was back to normal in about 3, maybe 4 days. It's soft and shiny again (one of the main things I was worried about before I switched). And what's even better is that my hair does not get greasy as quickly. I can easily go 36 hours without washing my hair, sometimes longer. It would be nice to not have to wash it every day, but since I'm using products that are good for me and the earth, I don't really have a problem with it (not to mention it's cheaper; I got a quart of organic ACV for $2.50!).

Now, there are a lot of reasons and information out there about going No or Low 'Poo (I'm sorry, that's just what it's called), and I'm going to let you all do your own research since this post is so long already. But, from my own personal experience, what I'm doing is totally and completely worth it. It's cheaper, healthier, and safer. Triple win!

Wikipedia actually has some really good information.

Nature Moms has some tips about washing with baking soda, and also why you should discard your regular shampoo.

Here, if you scroll down, you'll find info on what's all in your shampoo.

What's so bad about shampoo anyway?

How ACV works.

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