Fashion (My Style)

A New Chapter in…Haircare?

We’ve never had a good relationship, my hair and I.  At best, we’ve mostly tolerated one another.  At worst, I’ve been tempted to completely cut it out of my life (but rationality has limited me to VERY short haircuts as opposed to completely shaving it off).  There have been moments where I wished my hair and I had a better relationship with one another – moments where I wondered whether I should care about my hair more.

BEFORE: a moment when we were on fairly good terms

So it doesn’t come as a surprise when I say that I never had any desire to spend exorbitant amounts of money on haircare products.  If anything, I would rather get by with shampoos and conditioners (and styling products…though, I rarely use them) that will cost me next to nothing.  In fact, during my short stint as an “extreme couponer,” I stocked up on shampoos/conditioners for next to nothing, a supply that has lasted me from August 2011 until February 2013 (with each bottle costing me anywhere from $0.25 to $1.00) – generic, grocery store brands…ones that would make all those celebrity hair-stylists groan in contempt of the sulfate levels that would ultimately ruin the quality of my hair.

Oh well…I didn’t care.

As I came down to my very last bottle of shampoo and conditioner, I began to realize that I would need to begin buying them again.  Problem – my new-found love of apparel and fashion had spilled over into other aspects of my appearance, actually making me want to take better care of my hair.  But I STILL wasn’t willing to spend the insane amounts needed to purchase the products that allegedly is supposed to make my hair shinier, thicker, more manageable, etc.  Paying anywhere from $5 to $20 per month per bottle of product still was (and is) not something I was (am) able to afford.

It was at this point in time where I ran into a blog (which then led to many other Googled blogs) that promised all of those wonderful hair qualities WITHOUT THE USE OF SHAMPOO AND CONDITIONER!!

What?  No way!  Really?

I had pinned the original blog onto my Pinterest board a while ago, but had been skeptical to actually try it out.  After a lifetime of shampooing and conditioning, it was difficult to believe that it was even possible (not to mention I couldn’t let all of the shampoo/conditioner I got for next to nothing go to waste).  But (now that my cheap shampoo/conditioner supply had dried up) the prospect of not needing to spend excess amounts of money while getting the benefits of the higher quality products was too intriguing to pass up.

So (after a quick notice of separation with the shampoo/conditioner duo on Facebook), I delved in.  

Just so you get gist of what I use now, instead of using shampoo and conditioner, I use a baking soda solution (approximately 1 Tbsp baking soda per 1 cup of water) as shampoo (work directly into the scalp) and an apple cider vinegar solution (1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar per 1 cup of water) as a sort of conditioner (put solution in spray bottle, spray onto hair but NOT onto scalp, and let sit in hair while I am doing the rest of my bathing/showering).

There are a lot of articles and blogs regarding this “No Poo” (as in “no shampoo”) system already, so I won’t try to give you all the details.  The one blog I found most helpful (because of the details and the “how-to cater to your own hair type” instructions) was from “Code Red Hat: Survival Skills for the Modern Mom”.  If you are interested, I HIGHLY recommend you check it out! 

Here’s how it worked for me…

Week One
I used the solutions each morning for the first 3 days.  Let me tell you that when you first start out, your hair will rebel…it will either be really dry and crunchy or really oily (depending on your hair type).  My hair was quite schizophrenic – dry the first day, oily the second day, dry the third day…you get the picture.  If I had not been forewarned about this (that my hair would need some time to adjust…apparently two weeks), I would have called it quits and gone back to my shampoo/conditioner regimen.

But I stuck with it.  I had to put my hair up in freezing Michigan temperatures (brrrrrr!), but I stuck with it.  

Week Two
At the beginning of week two, I learned about “deep conditioning” with organic coconut oil (apparently, the one oil that absorbs most quickly into hair and skin).  So I worked a dime-sized amount of oil into my hair (not scalp) Saturday night and used the baking soda/vinegar solutions on Sunday morning.  The washing took a bit longer, trying to get the oil out of my hair…but all the blogs said that was to be expected.

I also learned that the best way to get my hair to adjust to the new haircare system was to NOT use the solutions everyday.  Instead, I should either not wash my hair at all or simply rinse with water at least two-three days in between every washing.  So, I didn’t use the solutions again until Wednesday.  Hmmm…seemed to be ok…felt a little oily, but not so much I had to put up my hair everyday (until Wednesday, anyway).

I washed with the solutions Wednesday (oooo…a bit oily after blow-drying/styling…increase baking soda levels next wash)…and rinsed with only water Thursday.  By this point, my hair was getting used to the idea…and began behaving.  My hair looked/felt just like it used to right after shampooing/conditioning.  No need to put up my hair.  NICE!

I washed with the solutions again Friday before heading to Atlanta.  I decided I would try only rinsing my hair with water while in Atlanta.  My hair looked and felt fantastic (as if freshly shampooed) throughout my trip.  YAY!

Week Three
My week started in Atlanta (Monday and Tuesday – water rinse only, and feeling great)…but I washed my hair again once I returned to Michigan (Wednesday morning).  My hair felt a bit crunchy after washing it (and blow drying/styling), so I knew I would have to reduce the baking soda levels in the shampoo solution at my next use.  Thursday – water rinse (and blow drying/styling).  Friday – water rinse (and blow drying/styling).  Saturday – DID NOT EVEN RINSE WITH WATER!! (and my hair was still looking/feeling GREAT!!)

Week Four
So today is the start of week four of my “No Poo” journey.  I did wash with the solutions this morning (and blow dried/styled) and my hair ended up feeling great (finally got the baking soda/water levels balanced for me).  My goal is to not use the solutions again until Thursday.

Here’s what my hair looks like after three full weeks of the “No Poo” system.

AFTER: Even wore the same sweatshirt!  😀

Doesn’t look too different…feels amazing…and I’m even starting to feel that my hair is thicker and fuller…and seems to have grown longer faster (maybe it’s just my imagination).  Even if my hair isn’t any BETTER after these past three weeks, it’s definitely no worse.  And those who have used this system for a LOT longer have said the hair quality will only get better (there’s HOPE!).  So if I can get away with not spending money on shampoo/conditioner and still get the same (if not better) results, I’m sold.  As of this moment, I really can’t see myself buying another bottle of shampoo/conditioner ever again. 

Take THAT haircare corporations!  HAHA!

So…what do you think?  Worth giving a try yourself?

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