HAIR AND STUFF: part III

I’ve found myself being asked, somewhat frequently, about hair care. I am in no way an expert, but I have done a little bit of research and I’m assuming these previous posts (part I/part II) have had something to do with giving people the impression that I actually know what I am talking about ; )

So, I’ve decided to continue this little series to let you all know about a new method I’ve been trying out for the past 7 months or so…the “no poo” method.ย It took me a while, but I’ve figured out a way to make it work for me and I love it. I’m not saying that what I do will work for everyone, because that’s just ridiculous. But hopefully by sharing my adventure into no-shampoo-land with you, you will be able to find a formula that works for you too!

And for anyone looking for tips on growing longer, healthier hair – as always I recommend checking out the Long Hair Community forums! There are a lot of wonderful, intelligent individuals who have heaps of advice and useful information. I’ve linked to some of my favorite/most helpful LHC articles in previous posts ๐Ÿ™‚

Now, let’s get down to the nitty gritty…

THE NO-POO METHOD.

Essentially, this method of hair care entails not using ‘regular’ shampoo and conditioner at all. Instead, you cleanse your hair with a mixture of baking soda and water, and use an apple cider vinegar rinse to condition. It does work, but it may take a bit of adjusting to get it right for you.

A word of caution: your hair WILL be greasier than normal when you first stop using shampoo. Your scalp is used to you stripping the oils away, and producing more in order to make up for it. It will take a little bit for it to adjust and regulate oil production! Be prepared for that.

Also, some people will use the no-poo method to work their way all the way up to what they call the “water only” method. You guessed it…they wash their hair with nothing but water. I’m not brave enough to try that one.

The first problem I encountered was using too much baking soda. I would scoop a handful out of the box, mix it with some water, and scrub it into my scalp (like a body scrub). This didn’t work very well, and I was always left with a TON of flaky baking soda bits on my scalp afterward (which looks like dandruff, btw. not cool). I’ve tried a few different variations, and this is what works best for me!

Rachel’s No-Poo Shampoo :
Ingredients
1/2 – 3/4C Baking Soda
1-2T Honey (any kind works…I like raw honey though)
Splash of Warm Water
3-5 drops Tea Tree Oil
To be honest, I don’t measure any of this, and each batch is slightly different. This doesn’t bother me and it works just fine, but I’ve approximated some measurements for reference.
Here’s my method:
ย Fill a container of your choice with dry baking soda. Add the honey on top, and just a splash of warm water, and stir. The warm water will help dissolve and combine the baking soda and honey, and give you your desired consistency. Mine is usually a medium-thick paste – similar to regular shampoo/conditioner – this makes it easier to wash with in my opinion. You can always add more water, but if you add too much it takes a LOT of baking soda to re-absorb it. So it’s best to add water a small amount at a time. After it’s completely mixed, I stir in a few drops of tea tree oil, et voila! Shampoo! (fun fact: I also used this as face wash for quite a while, and body wash! It’s pretty good stuff!)
To Use: Simply wet your hair, and squeeze a fair amount into the palm of your hand or on top of your head. Scrub into your scalp (this feels awesome), and comb down toward the ends of your hair with your fingers (or an actual comb if you want). No need to pile your hair on top of your head and try to scrub the shampoo throughout all of it!! I’m still a firm believer in the what the Condition-Wash-Condition method teaches about only shampooing the scalp and top portion of the hair, and combing it through with your fingers rather than scrubbing your hair in a pile atop your head. This shampoo does not lather, so the pile-and-scrub method would be especially damaging and difficult. Read a little bit more about all of this mumbo-jumbo here, or do a quick google search on the Condition-Wash-Condition method ๐Ÿ™‚

I have a plain plastic squeeze bottle that I use to mix and store my shampoo. Just a condiment bottle…you can find them at almost any grocery store, or kitchen supply store. I’ve cut the squeeze tip on mine to have a bigger opening. A travel-sized toiletry bottle would also work well, or an old shampoo bottle, or anything you can find! I actually used a small plastic food storage container for the longest time (this method is messy since you have to scoop the goop out with your hands and snap a lid back on…but it works! hahaha).

This shampoo will separate as it sits in your shower, but if you turn it upside-down a couple times you are good to go. I add the honey because I felt like using baking soda alone was super harsh on my hair, and honey attracts/adds a bit of moisture to the mixture (it’s a natural humectant!). It also has awesome antibacterial and healing properties, and it smells good. I added the tea tree oil because I was having dry scalp issues, and tea tree is a superb antibacterial and antifungal agent.

Oh yes, the dry scalp…let’s talk about that for a second, shall we??

The other major issue I’ve had with this method is dandruff, and occasionally an itchy scalp. Adding the honey and tea tree oil has definitely helped! I’ve also added lemon juice and aloe vera (the kind you squeeze straight from the leaf) before, as they both aid in scalp moisturization too. It’s worked wonders. The main culprit in my case is waiting too long to wash my hair. If I go too many days without giving my scalp a scrub, it will develop dandruff, and that is that. It’s best if I wash my hair 2-3 times a week.

I do love me someย oil treatments, too! It’s like a mega dose of moisturization for your head and hair. You simply rub a bunch of oil into your scalp at night, slather the rest of your hair with it, put a towel over your pillow and sleep on it. You could also just leave it for 30 minutes or so if you’re not feeling the whole overnight thing. Your scalp and hair will feel AMAZING. I love using plain old olive oil for this, or a coconut oil. I have a blend that I’ve made with coconut, jojoba, and tea tree oil that I love. I’ll do this no more than once a week, and usually only 2-3 times a month, depending on how badly my hair needs it. The only downside: I cannot, for the life of me, get all of the oil out simply by using my baking soda shampoo. I dig in to a bit of my regular shampoo the morning after I’ve oil-treated my hair, just to keep my hair from being a greasy mess. If anyone knows of a better way to do this…let me know!

MOVING ON….

The final step in this whole thing, which I’ve never had a problem with, is an Apple Cider Vinegar rinse! ACV rinses balance the pH level of your hair – thus making it more shiny, subtly removing buildup or hair care products, etc. I LOVE THEM.

Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse
Ingredients
1T Apple Cider Vinegar
1C Water
Mix together in a cup or container, and douse your entire head of hair with this liquid awesomeness. Be sure to rinse the scalp thoroughly with the vinegar mixture, to remove all remaining baking soda. Let sit for a minute or two, then rinse out with water. Tip: You can make this in larger quantities, the 1T:1C ratio is just so you have an idea of what the mixture should look like! I use a big water bottle with a squeeze-top to store mine. And I definitely use more than one cup each time.

You can adjust the amounts of vinegar in the rinse to your liking. If your hair feels too brittle and dried out, try less vinegar. If you hair feels no different afterwards, like the rinse was kind of worthless and there is no difference at all, bump up the vinegar. As long as you stay beneath a 1:1 ratio of water to vinegar, you’re safe.

Some people have issues with their hair feeling too brittle or dry if all they use is an ACV rinse, no conditioner. I’d say mess with your water to vinegar ratio a little bit, and try applying oil to your hair after you wash it. I will take a small amount of my coconut/jojoba/tea tree blend in my palms (a little goes a long way) and run them through my hair – concentrating on the ends. You can also do this with olive oil, or any other hair oil!

________________________________________________________________

WHEW. That was a lot of information. If you made it all the way through, you are a champion!

I do have to say that I LOVE the way my hair feels now that I’ve stopped using chemicals on it. I’ve actually started using primarily natural/home made body care products, and I adore them. Especially the face washes I’ve tried! I used to use all of these crazy benzoyl peroxide products to try and control my breakouts, but since I’ve stopped my face feels SO nice. Much less painful overall, less severe breakouts, and even when there is a pretty bad one it looks less…gross. If that makes sense.

Don’t even get me started on how much I love my homemade deodorant ๐Ÿ˜‰

ANYWAY, thanks for reading! I hope some of that information has been helpful! And as always, if you have any questions or if I’ve left anything out, let me know!

love – Rach

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14 thoughts on “HAIR AND STUFF: part III

  1. I like the “no poo” regimen too!! Been doing it since the end of August, and I think it works pretty well. But do tell…homemade deodorant?! What!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hooray no shampoo! ๐Ÿ™‚ And YEAH deodorant! It’s super easy! Just a 1:1 ratio of coconut oil, baking soda, and cornstarch (or arrowroot powder), plus 5 drops of essential oil per cup of total mixture! You pretty much just melt it all together…I’ll send you a link with more info ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. How long was “the adjustment period” for you? I would love to try this but it makes me incredibly nervous. My hairline gets incredibly greasy after just one day. Wish I had read this when you first posted then I could have tried it over the break, I worry a week may not be enough time.

    • Keli – I’ll send you an email with more info!
      I think it took my hair over a week to adjust (trying hard to remember, argh pregnant brain!) – but I also think it would have helped more if I had started washing it this way everyday and then went to every other day, etc. I also had the luxury of long hair/no bangs, so if it was greasy I could put it in a bun and nobody could tell…if there’s a way for you to keep it out of the way like that while it’s adjusting, I’d say go for it! But if not, definitely wait until later when you’re more comfortable with it/not going to be in public as much ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Oooh I think you make your shampoo a lot thicker than I do! Haha. I’ll have to try it with more baking soda. Yeah the honey and tea tree made a HUGE difference for me! And I’ll admit, I usually still use regular conditioner afterwards ๐Ÿ˜›

    Do you add anything to your deodorant? I tried some essential oils the first time but hated the smell so I’ve just been doing plain batches since.

    • Yeah, I feel like when it’s actually more like…watery toothpaste (?) consistency I feel like it cleans more, but I usually end up watering it down a little once it’s on my head? I think?? I really don’t know ๐Ÿ˜› and I used to use regular conditioner after too, but I haven’t been ever since that ‘beauty product fast’ that we did and my hair is surprisingly soft! The ends can get brittle, so I use some coconut oil on them. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I still haven’t made it through my irate batch of deodorant – all I added was tea tree oil though and it’s not super strong so I don’t mind it! But I think plain would be awesome too. I added tea tree because of the anti fungal etc (and also because it’s the only oil I have right now haha), but I don’t think they really do much other than smell good…

      • Yeah the first time I added lemon and lime oils because people were saying how they would JUST use lemon juice as deodorant. Plus it is super clean-y. It did NOT mix with my personal smell well. Haha. I wonder if vanilla extract would work…. lol

      • oooooh vanilla! I’m so tempted to try that next time ๐Ÿ˜›
        but yeah I would probably feel like a Lysol wipe if there was lemony-lime-ness going on up in there. good to know to avoid it!
        I’ve been surprised at how well tea tree mixes with how I smell! I hated it at first…but it’s pretty good now!

  4. This is how I wash my dreadie locks!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ When I stop my hippie phase and cut them, I don’t think I’ll ever go back to regular shampoo. It just doesn’t feel clean anymore. Love that you use this, and that you’re spreading the word!!!

    • Oh awesome!! I always wondered how you would wash dreads…and this makes perfect sense! ๐Ÿ™‚
      And it’s true, regular shampoo gives your hair such a weird texture once you’re used to not using it! I was too lazy to pack my hippie stuff over Christmas, so I just used whatever was in the shower at the time. So strange to go back!

  5. I tried it today! Since it’s not uncommon for me to not even wash my hair on a Saturday I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try, plus I was dying to.
    How do you deal with the static?

    • Oh fun!! How did you like it??

      I don’t really have issues with static any more, and I’m not 100% sure what causes it…but if I would put just a little bit of oil in my hair, it usually cleared it right up! Careful not to use too much though…then it looks greasy all over again. Haha! I’d put 1-2 drops of oil in my palms, rub them together, and run my hands through the ends of my hair and a little just over the top where the static flyaways like to stick straight up. Hope that helps!

      • I loved it the first week. My hair was actually less greasy at the end of each day. This second week I put some of the tee tree oil in the mix. It’s strange, my hair looks sort of greasy but different than before. I added another mixture of the baking soda and honey to what I had so that it would thin out the oil a little. Seems to be a little better. I was hoping the oil would help with the static but it’s not. I need to research and just keep playing with it. Despite the sort-of greasiness I am really liking it. I told my husband I was giving it a month but honestly I don’t really have any inclination to go back to shampoo.
        I read one place that you could infuse the vinegar with different herbs, I’d really like to try that. One site said sage was good for brown hair and another said it was good for covering grays a little. I’m really undecided about my grays still. I kind of like them but when I pull my hair back in a high pony tail they are really prominent on the right hand side.

comments are the beeeest. aka you're the best. thanks :)

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