Tuesday, February 24, 2015

No Poo Shampoo

Guys, you may judge me for this post. You may also think I'm gross...but I don't care. I have to tell you about this journey.

When I entered into the fantastic teenage years (oh wow) 15 years ago, I realized immediately that I was a greasy-haired girl. On top of that, my hair reacts in extreme ways to conditioner, different pH water, and just about any product you can put on it. I have struggled for years. My skin is intolerant of anything citrus, breaking me out like nobody else. So, that kills about half of the hair products in the world right there. Adding to these other issues, my scalp has been super dry for the past five years. (I learned in college that it is actually normal to have oily hair and dry scalp---something about excess sebum production due to the dryness on your scalp....google it, it is a thing).

All that to say--hair care products are hard to find! I began the journey to find the perfect dry scalp, oily hair, adaptable shampoo/conditioner about 10 years ago. I never found it. Several things worked well for about a year and then my head would get used to the product and it would no longer be effective. It's a struggle.

About 6 months ago, I started researching the no-poo methods. I read tons and tons of articles and pretty much became an expert! The article that most resonated with me was this one (go read it for more details). The precious blogger had me at hello....or actually, had me at this quote:

For me, hair care is incidental to good scalp care, so I need a shampoo to serve two basic functions: talking my scalp down from the dry, itchy ledge it lives on, and cleaning up after its overzealous oil production. 

Ahh! Other people think like me! I mean, THIS may be the answer I am searching for. I did some research and learned about french green cosmetic clay (what?!) and that you can buy it on Amazon. Basically, it is a powder form of a beauty clay and is important to this recipe. It also includes green tea, which I keep in my pantry (I totally used K-cups that I got at a discount store so that I didn't have to wait on the green tea to brew), tea tree oil (which I keep on hand, but I'm not sure it is absolutely essential to the mixture unless you have SUPER dry scalp), and Dr. Bronner's Castile soap. Now, because I wasn't on the hippie train before this experiment, I had no idea what Dr. Bronner's Castile soap was. This stuff is crazy! It can be used to do anything from wash your body to mop the floors (and I'm not exaggerating). Research it. It's crazy. I bought a bottle of Peppermint Castile Soap because I already knew that I love peppermint essential oils and I figure a little aromatherapy in the shower can't hurt!

Ok, so to recap without all of the extra words:

1 tbsp French Green Cosmetic Clay (you can use a milder clay if preferred)
1 tsp Green Tea
10 drops Tea Tree Oil (I'm deeming this optional)
1 tbsp Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap

I sat around with these ingredients in my house for months. I couldn't make the plunge. Then, came Christmas Eve. My sweet Sister-in-law made the offhand comment "I just use what's called the curly girl method on my hair now, not shampoo." That, my friend, was the push I needed. If I didn't know Whitney wasn't using shampoo, I could do this! I also had the week off from any sort of work and knew from reading lots of blogs that week one could be sort of a grease pit. My ego was concerned that I would look like I just got out of a swimming pool for weeks while my hair oil balance got right!

I jumped in and tried it. Yall, the stuff looks yucky. (Apparently when dealing with clays, you shouldn't use plastic containers. I used a glass mixing bowl and then stored in a mason jar for one week. I had to dilute halfway during the week)

I got out mid shower to show you that it lathers like a real shampoo:

After first wash and dry, it looked a little oily, but not too bad.

From the front, you couldn't really tell any difference.

Now. I stuck with this stuff for two weeks before making any adjustments to the original recipe. I went from washing my hair every day to taking a shower every-other day. I typically wore my hair down on the first day and up on the second. For two weeks, my hair was weird to say the least. Everything I read, though, said, "Give it a month. It gets better in a month. It takes a month to get your oil content figured out." So, I waited. Here are some shots between December 26 and now:

I wore my hair up....a lot. And for the most part, it felt really weird (texturally, not emotionally!) In the past two weeks, I have made some adjustments and my hair is looking much better:

(so surprised)

So-here's my new, adapted method:

1 tsp green clay
2 tbsps green tea
2 tbsps Dr. Bronner's Peppermint soap
a few drops of tea tree oil (I got lazy)

It's quite a bit more liquidy and less gritty and clay-like, but the texture of my hair is 1000 times better. I have noticed, however, that it leaves my hair sort of feeling like a broom (in other words dried out a bit too much!) SOOOO I did more research. 

I found this article about why this blogger no longer does the no-poo method with Dr. Bronners. However great her points were, they weren't strong enough to stop me. I did take away that a vinegar rinse removes any residue left behind and can balance out the pH of your hair, also making it silky smooth. THIS seemed like the answer to my texture issues, since the look was right, but the texture was a little off. I bought some apple cider vinegar and put 1-2 tablespoons in a solo cup (to the line indention at the bottom of the cup...it really is rocket science). Then, I filled the cup to the top with cold water (this is apparently better for your pores and hair follicles). After washing my hair with the soap/clay mixture and rinsing it in the shower, I made a bun and poured the vinegar rinse over my scalp and hair. I left it while I shaved my legs (told you, rocket science), then rinsed it out. Finally---perfection! 

I did this on Saturday, wore it up on Sunday, did this again on Monday and was able to wear it down again today. It is 5:40 p.m. and my hair is beginning to look a little shiny, but definitely not visibly oily:
(can we note that I'm looking over my glasses at the camera? can we also note that I do my best writing on my bed...and that I just stopped to take a weird selfie of my head?)

I think I'll just keep the cup in the shower to add vinegar to. I'm a fan. Now that I've given you wayyyy too many details for how to wash your hair my way, I'm sure it's clear as mud (literally!). 

I've found that I can keep about a week's worth in the shower at a time and not have to make it daily. 
I've also used just the Dr. Bronner's, but that DEFINITELY requires a vinegar rinse, as it strips allllll the oil from your hair. 

What about you? Anybody out there doing a different no-poo method???? Let me know!!! 

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