How true is that! Just like Barbie gave me unrealistic expectations about my hips and thighs… but that is another story. Today, we talk about hair.
So another cat is coming out of the bag. I do not wash my hair. Yes, you heard (*read) that right, no shampoo or conditioners go on my hair. Just good ol’ water. If you have been following along, you know that earlier this year in attempt to get away from the dangerous chemicals in shampoo and conditioner, I switched to a natural alternative. I could not bear the idea that those chemicals were seeping into my skin! Read more about that here, it is a great option in my opinion – I just wanted to take it to another level.
So in March I decided to go ‘unwashed’. I read a series of articles (here, here and here) and as is typical with me, I decided to jump in and give it a go. Autumn, at the Beheld, was kind enough to give me some advice. And answer my many questions along the way. The first few weeks I kept my hair up, as I had been warned it was going to be an oily ‘break in’ period. Many people always say that their hair gets oily the next day, so they cannot imagine a week.. or even 2 days without shampoo. I thought the same thing too, growing up I was notorious for having greasy hair – My Dad can attest to it, it was always ‘Fonda wash your hair’ or ‘ Fonda, when was the last time you washed your hair’ or my favorite, ‘If you cannot remember when you last washed your hair it has been too long, go shower now’. Poor Dad, but maybe I was on to something as a teen : P.
You see, when you strip the natural oils off your hair everyday .. or every other day.. your scalp thinks that it needs to produce x amount of new oil every day to keep it healthy. So, you have to break your scalps habits. Which takes around 5-8 weeks – mine took 5 ish, while I have heard people say that theirs took more. There are a few tricks that I have picked up along the way.
- For your ‘break in’ period, ponytails are great (and now that it is summer, you have a great excuse). If you wear your hair down it is going to be chunky – sorry I am not sure of another way to explain it, chunky seems to work best in this case. But that does go away with time..
- Brush your hair as much as possible, every day if you can. Use a boar bristle brush, and work from the roots down to the ends. This helps distribute your oils and also massages your scalp. I have had two different boar bristle brushes. Make sure to test some out if you are not impressed. The first one I got was highly reviewed online, but I found it was not stiff enough to get through my hair, it just flattened on my head. But then my friend traveled to the UK and surprised me with a Diane brush, and it works so much better.
- When you are having oily days, take some baby powder in your hands and run in into your scalp. Some days that are extra oily, I have sprinkled it right on my head and rubbed it (like a shampoo). I suggest to check this at night, then any ‘white residue’ while wear off in the night. If not, and you apply in the morning – just make sure you rub well or else you will appear to have greys. Oily days will continue even after the ‘break in’ they will just not be nearly as bad. Now I find most days are not oily.
- Try to go as long as possible between rinses/washes. When you do ‘wash’ just do like normal but without the shampoo or conditioner. Scrub your scalp well, you do want to clean it and take care of the dead skin (sorry). I now try to ‘wash’ every 10 days. The reason I wait so long, is the day after a wash your hair … ok my hair.. freaks out. I think that my hair has gotten so used to the oils sticking around that when it gets ‘washed’ that it loses its bounce and looks icky – it is like it needs to dry out even after it is dry. I chatted with Autumn about this too, she agreed that it needs some breathing time after a wash. I find that it takes around 8 hours to do so. Also, I have found that it is much less ick if I ‘wash’ with warm and not hot water.
There are some great benefits to letting your hair go natural and take care of itself.
- No more buying products that make tons of claims and drain the bank account. Water is free.
- When your hair is naturally oiled up, you have this natural mouse like texture in it. It is rather hard to explain, but if you have long hair then think of the best mouse you have ever had in your hair. It is like that. If I want my hair to by curly, then it holds a curly. If I want straight hair, then it is straight. Without any products. Thats another thing Autumn over at The Beheld agrees with me about, she had the same realization too! I generally wear my hair down, wavy with abit of curl. I never need to do anything to it, it just stays and is light and airy. I think it is best described now as beach hair. But of course everyones will be different.
- My hair is so healthy now, it feels healthy and it looks healthy! I would imagine yours would be too!
- There is so much time saved. Not shampooing, no conditioning and waiting for the conditioner to soak in. No oil treatments. And, No getting up early to style – this obviously would not work if my hair did not have the tiny bit of curl I like and needed to curl my hair. But then again, that would be another world for me.
- You use less water in the shower. Better on the hot water bill!
- If you dont brush your hair for a few days (I tend to go like 5 sometimes, especially if I am really loving how it looks) you will be so surprised at how easily it brushes through. It is amazing. I always have had tangely hair, but now the natural oils keep it all apart. It is really great to just easily brush through it.
Then there are the cons, which I feel to be fair I need to point out. These don’t really bother me, but might bother you.
- Your hair will smell like hair. Gasp! If you want a sweet or flowery smell, you can make a spray with some essential oils, but I have no desire too. For the first few weeks I had Ole regularly smell my hair (thanks for putting up with me!) and he said it is fine. He has been informed to say if it ever smells. So far 3 months in, no stink.
- Yes, it can be greasy. Some days are more than others. But really just a bit of baby powder goes a long way. Apply it, brush it through if need be and the shiny oil is gone! Poof!
- It is not exactly an easy or open topic to chat about. Kinda like with my ‘I don’t use toothpaste’ choice, you will get some odd looks if you talk about it. But really, who needs to know (unless like this post and you think it will help or inspire people).
This is definite something to consider. I am thrilled that I am not using chemicals and that I am saving loads of money. But if it is not for you, consider a more natural hair cleaning approach to avid the harsh chemicals – read this idea about ACV and Baking Soda. I will post an update in the future, in the meantime however- feel free to ask any questions you might have!
UPDATE Winter 2012:
I have now started to use (as I have talked about in the comments below) pure olive oil soap on my roots about once per week. I found that after some time, I just needed to get some of the ‘buildup’ of my scalp. I just was the roots/scalp and rinse it off, the rinsing part takes care of the rest of the hair – the soapish water runs over all my hair but does not dry it out. If I want to prolong the time between washes I just put a very small amount of baby powder on my roots and rub it in, not only does it take away any oily shine – it also is great for styling! It is still very easy to brush my hair, even if I have not brushed it for many days.
I have used the soap as a bar, just rubbing it on the scalp. While this worked for me, I wanted to have an option that was more ‘normal’ for Ole so I now liquidize it. I take around 700 ml of hot water and 1 block of soap (generally chopped up into smaller pieces, like 8). I leave this on the counter for a few days and shake it when I go past. This makes a nice thick creamy soap that we now use for ‘shampoo’, dish soap, and hand soap.
I have gotten many questions about dandurf. I do not seem to ever have dandurf anymore either. I see this as a bonus of this lifestyle of no/limited checmicals and eating how I do.
I have been using African Black Bar Soap from my local organic store and/or J.R. Liggetts shampoo bars for the last few years now. I bounce between them depending on what is in stock. We normally use 1 1/2 bars per year.
I wash my hair around once per week, with just above cold water. I rise it with very cold water and most of the time let it air dry.