I have an addiction to beauty products. And beauty regimes that I never quite stick to, but so enjoy looking into, especially when it comes to buying things in pretty packages. There’s just something so decadent about a product that promises instant beauty. I know we’re all just supposed to embrace our inner light, but sometimes it’s fun to pamper the outer shell, you know?
So lately I’ve been heading in a new direction when it comes to my beauty kicks: the natural way. I’ve been doing a lot of reading (on the internets, naturally) about how chemical-ridden the shit we put on our hair and body really is and the only reason we actually need all of these products is because we started using them in the first place and it’s a whole big vicious cycle. I already gave up perfume a few years ago after reading how what goes in them is completely unregulated and lots of perfumes have hormones in them that can eff up your ability to conceive. So no more perfume. My next attempt to get off the bad-beauty-product-merry-go-round is giving up shampoo, or going “no-poo” as the movement is charmingly called.
The concept: Shampoo is detergent that strips your hair of both good and bad things, leaving it in need of expensive conditioners that add more shit that acts like healthy hair but in fact isn’t. For people who stop shampooing their hair, there is an initial “transition” period where your hair looks just horrible, as it adjusts to life without shampoo. But if you can get through that period, on the other end lies healthier, thicker, more manageable hair that always looks good and there’s never any need to use products or styling aids.
The things that appeal to me: not having to do my hair. This takes up WAY too much time of my day and usually never happens, so lately my hair just kind of lays around looking lazy. I’ve been growing my hair out, something I haven’t done since high school, and it has been super dry and tangled lately. Something was just going to have to happen, or I was going to chop it all off again, and I can’t do that since I promised my sister I’d grow it out until at least her wedding.
Now it’s not like you never wash your hair again, you just wash it less frequently and you don’t use shampoo. Instead, you use things you can easily find in your pantry. I felt a bit like a mad scientist whipping up hair cleanser in my kitchen. Although this is hardly difficult. For the cleanser (the shampoo part of the equation), the recipe is a baking soda solution. I started with one tsp of baking soda for one cup of water. Mix together, and there’s your magical hair cleaner.
Easy enough, right? The conditioner is just as easy, only it’s best if you find a good squirt bottle to properly apply to hair. The potion is vinegar mixed in water – in this case half vinegar, half water. You can use either white vinegar or apple cider vinegar for this. I read conflicting things: white vinegar for blondes, but apple cider vinegar for dry hair as it is more moisturizing. I decided my dry hair needs overtook my blonde hair needs, and went with apple cider vinegar.
I had my mixes ready, but then came the fun part: waiting to use them. They say the longer you can go without washing your hair initially, the quicker the transition period. “No problem,” I thought, as a busy mother I’m more than happy to have one less thing to do in my day. And to be honest, how many people are going to judge my hair? I washed it last on June 13, the day before I had to go to a party, and since then my social calendar has consisted of me hanging out at the park with a toddler, or sitting in front of the TV watching the World Cup at home. I can outwait my greasy hair with the best of them. I figured if anyone saw me anyway, they’d just think: that poor mom really needs to have a shower. I could deal with that.
It did get pretty gross. I waited one week before I washed with the baking soda solution. Here it is before the wash:
I’ll admit my ability to take back-of-head selfies is limited, probably a good thing, but I hope you can see that the roots are pretty greasy, while the rest of my hair is still kind of dry and fly-a-way. Not a pretty sight – hats are your friend during this period. And buns. And staying inside.
Now here I am after the wash. I let it air-dry outside in the sun:
It certainly looks cleaner and less greasy. Still dry though, something I’m going to have to work on. Maybe more vinegar? We’ll see. I’m going to keep up my no-poo experimentation over the summer and see if I come to a place where I love it, or decide it’s just not worth the trouble and go back to my chemical beauty product ways!