Monday, September 12, 2011

On No Poo

So although I didn't mention it at all before, a couple of weeks ago I made a rather random and drastic change in my life: I stopped using shampoo. I do mean entirely; I had been only using it sporadically as it was because using it less often made showering easier and faster, and once we moved here, it became more normal for me because a lack of water pressure means that rinsing shampoo from my hair can take a good five or six minutes all on its own - precious time a mom of two rambunctious boys often doesn't have. So I already wasn't using it daily, as was my previous routine, but it has been about two weeks since I completely cut shampoo out of my lifestyle.

I had some idea of what it was to go "no poo" before this; I've heard the term slung around in various granola groups I'm a part of online, but the whole concept always seemed so disgusting and difficult. People washed their hair with baking soda combinations one day and vinegar the next and complained of going through weeks of adjustment where their hair was so greasy they left stains on their pillowcases. It seemed like the rule for "no poo" was "anything goes," and it reflected in the variety of homebrew products used to keep hair smelling fresh and scrubbed of dirt while maintaining its natural level of healthy oils. But let's face it: I'm not a "let's make a bunch of complicated things and try to store them in someone else's house" kind of person, and I'm probably not about to change that. I wasn't going to follow the No Poo movement if doing so meant still routinely using random products on my hair, especially when it seemed like there was no clear, concise agreement on what of those random products were best, and what actually worked without causing further damage to hair.

Then, about two weeks ago (maybe more like two and a half now), it just sort of struck me, and I stopped using shampoo. It wasn't entirely purposeful, as at first I just went my typical two or three days without - but the next day I didn't have time. And the day after that I didn't feel like it. The excuses to not shampoo my hair snowballed until I was so thrilled that my showers were short that I opted to avoid it completely. I made the mistake, one day, of putting in store-bought name brand conditioner but will not do that again - it upped the grease level tenfold and didn't really help my hair feel any better or softer afterwards.

I will be painfully honest: My hair is INCREDIBLY greasy. I've seen it said that sometimes the greasiness remains for between two and five weeks, and since I'm past two and naturally have slightly greasy skin and difficult to manage hair, I'm going to guess that my "grease period" is going to last closer to five weeks than two. After I've hit a point where my hair is beginning to regulate itself, I'm going to try a baking soda scrub (I may do this sooner, to help release some of the excess sebum naturally and to get rid of any excess dirt). I do rinse my hair fully every day, including parting and sectioning it, and massaging my scalp with my fingers every shower. Afterwards, I give my head a good scratch (not because it itches, but man, doesn't it feel good sometimes to just have your head scratched all over?) and then comb out all of my hair with a relatively fine-toothed comb. I can't use a traditional fine-tooth comb because my hair is simply too thick and too unruly still, and it tends to knot up. If I touch my hair, my hands do become noticeably more greasy, but it isn't a disgusting "stick with you for the rest of eternity" grease; it's natural and my body reacts accordingly and reabsorbs whatever gets on my hands without any irritation or lingering icky feeling. I am already seeing fewer flyaways and it is slowly beginning to behave better. It doesn't smell and doesn't look gross in the least, nor does it really "look" greasy.

All in all, I'm actually pretty happy with my experience so far. I'm not bothered by the effects of going without shampoo, and I'm looking forward to the benefits and positive sides of not using traditional shampoos anymore. We'll see how this keeps up - for now, though, I think I might be a convert.

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