Friday, February 28, 2014

No More 'Poo!

How I quit shampoo and conditioner and how my hair is awesome now.

* 6 Month Update at the end! *

This is typically how my hair was using salon quality shampoo and conditioner. It's alright, not bad, but my hair is thin, so thin that you can see my scalp most of the time, my hair is super straight, won't hold a curl to save it's life and super greasy the day after washing it.
Hair just washed, left to air dry. (next to my gorgeous mom)

Hair blow dried and painstakingly curled with a curling iron and boatloads of hairspray.

So this process is totally personal and not as low maintenance as I was hoping for but well worth it to me. I did tons and tons of scouring the interwebs for information, techniques, recipes and, of course, before and after pictures. If you're going to try this, keep in mind that everyone's hair is totally different and unique to them. This process has worked for me but may not be right for you. You have to experiment, try different recipes, different wash times, etc. For awesome information, support and examples there's this rad facebook group you can join! (click here for group)

So in 5 weeks, here's what I've done so far:

First thing to note- You will be greasy. You will go through what they call a "transition" phase, meaning, your hair will be real greasy and annoying and you'll be real tempted to break down and use shampoo. DONT. Hold strong, the phase passes!

Get your supplies.  You will need a Boar Bristle Brush (BBB) Baking Soda (BS) Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) all natural apple sauce, some kind of all natural hair oil, I use Oi by Davines.

Week 1 and 2: 
  • Make a solution of BS and water (you also need to read up on water, my house has hard water but it seems to be okay for me, but some people's hair does not respond well to it)  The solution I use is about half and half, I don't really measure, I just put a tablespoon or so of BS into a little bottle then fill the rest with water. Same with the ACV, I found an empty travel size spray bottle, cleaned it out and did a 50/50 mixture of water and ACV.
  • Before showering, brush your hair really well with the BBB. I mean, really well. My hair is long so I go section by section, starting at the scalp and brush through to my ends, you do this to disperse the oil that sits at your scalp, you want the oil to get as far down your hair shaft as you can get it. This also helps loosen any flakes or debris in your hair.
  • In the shower, use the BS solution just as you would shampoo, focus at your roots, try not to get it on your ends (it can be very drying) scrub around, don't be afraid to use your nails a wee bit. Rinse it out. Use the ACV solution just as you would a conditioner, if you use a spray bottle like I do, then mist your ends really well, I let it sit for a couple minutes while I do other things like wash my face or whatever. Rinse it out, the smell will rinse out with it. I promise you won't smell like a salad.
  • After your shower, towel dry, apply your hair oil to your ends and comb your hair out with a wide tooth comb. You can then do whatever you would normally do with your hair after a shower, except, NO HAIR PRODUCTS. This means, no mousse, no gel, no styling creme, no hairspray. 
  • Do this the first 2 weeks as often as your hair needs it, I did this about every other day or every two days.

after 2 weeks of BS/ACV washes (also growing bangs out)

Week 3, 4 and 5: 

  • This is the "transition" phase. This one is tough.  Wash your hair with WATER ONLY (WO) Meaning, you don't use any solutions. Before bed and before your shower, brush really well with your BBB. Remember it's all about distributing the oils. 
  • Shower like normal and "wash" your hair like you're using a product but you're not, just use water. Just pretend there's something in there, scrub around, massage your scalp. Try to go as long as you can between washes, I went about every 3 to 4 days. 
  • Afterwards, towel dry, apply hair oil, comb it out, just like before.
  • Do this for 3 weeks! Don't cut the time down! You're hair will get really greasy, you'll need to find cute ways to wear it up, back, under a hat, whatever. Just get through it. I did a lot of twists, buns and bobby pinned styles. Your scalp has been trained since you were a baby to produce enough oil to compensate for what the chemicals in shampoo and conditioner strip out. When you stop using these products, your scalp is like "well she might wash her hair again soon so let's keep cranking this stuff out."  After a period of time (average is about 3 weeks) your scalp is like "oh, ok, I get it, we're working too hard, let's dial it back."  Your hair balances out the oil production and your hair goes back to looking awesome. 
After 3 weeks of WO, when my hair was damp I put it in a braid, took it out later and had these awesome waves!
Week 5 and on!
  • Go back to your BS/ACV routine, but this time lengthen your time between washes, I'm going for one week. In between I will wash with WO but only use the solutions once a week.
  • After my transition phase, my hair looked great and normal but felt really waxy, so I did some research and found that it is a common problem. The solution is an applesauce mask! It's super easy, before a WO wash, I brushed really well with my BBB, then sectioned my hair out and applied applesauce to my roots and about half way down the hair shaft, I used a brush that you would use to apply hair color but you can use whatever, just get it on all of your roots. Let it sit for 30 minutes then rinse with WO. My hair was soooooo much nicer after!
This is where I'm at now, 5 weeks in, washed with BS/ACV yesterday, left to air dry, combed last night and this morning. 
At this point, I'm in love with my hair. It's full, you can no longer see my scalp, the texture is so much nicer, it has waves of it's own now that I can easily accentuate with just letting it sit in a bun. It lays so much nicer, has movement and I've been getting compliments on it like crazy! 

6 Month Update!

So it's been 6 months since I started this journey! Woot! I've played around with various techniques and have come up with an awesome routine that works wonderfully for me. I had one minor relapse, I had my hair colored and my stylist needed to use shampoo but she used a low-poo variety and I recovered with ease.

I have a seven day wash cycle, I chose to begin my cycle on a Saturday because, let's face it, I'm vain and want my hair to look the best when there's things to do and people to see :) 

Here's what I do:

Day 1: Wash Day! 

  • First I brush super duper well. Same as before, still very important. 
  • Then, in a small travel size bottle, I use about a teaspoon of Baking Soda then fill up the rest of the bottle with regular ol tap water. In the shower I use about a third of the bottle on my hair as "shampoo", I scritch and rub and massage and really work it in there. Then rinse it out well.  
  • Then condition, and this is where I have experimented. My favorite, most conditioning, best smelling, makes my hair super soft and manageable and lovely recipe is as follows; steep one bag of Chamomile tea in hot water, let it cool so that's it's not scalding, pour into a small travel size bottle, filling about a third of the bottle. Add Rosemary extract and Lavender extract, exact amount doesn't matter but I add the extracts til the bottle is almost full, add the juice of a lemon until bottle is full. Shake it up.
  • Use this mixture as a "conditioner" focusing on your ends, use liberally and let it sit. I have some scalp issues (psoriasis) so I also use this mixture as a sort of scalp treatment, it's very soothing and relieves any itching almost immediately, so in addition to focusing on my ends, I also run it along wherever my problem areas are. Rinse well.
  • After showering, towel dry hair and apply a hair oil, lately I've been using Argon oil. Apply to ends and comb hair through with a wide tooth comb
  • Style as usual.
Day 2: Style as you please, no wash or rinse.

Day 3: Water only and Condition
  • See above for Water Only method, I still do this the same.
  • Condition with the same Rinse method as Day 1.
Day 4: Style as you please, no wash or rinse.

Day 5: Water Only and Condition
  • Same as Day 3.
Day 6: Style as you please, no wash or rinse.

Day 7: Start over with your wash day!

It's pretty easy to maintain and super cheap to keep up on the ingredients. I made my own Rosemary extract with a recipe found online (it's mega easy). My hair is usually best on days 1 and 2. Day 3-5/6 I am usually working and wear my hair back. I have a few go-to styles that I like to put my hair in for work then take out when I'm off and wear my hair down. Buns, braids and twists are great for giving texture and movement to hair that has been up all day. 

After 6 Months!  This is Day 5. Style is after taking it out of a twist, slept on it, then brushed it out in the morning.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014