Don’t Do Your ‘Do’ So Dirty (Day 1)

It’s the dawning of a new era…on my scalp! That’s right, I’m goin’ for the glory! Our first New Thing here at Try A New Thing (or TANT, for all you acronym fiends) is: replacing my shampoo and conditioner with non-detergent products.

As I briefly went over in the “About” page, there are two contenders in my fight for awesome locks. I’ll get into the specifics shortly, but no victory can be had until the announcer’s voice booms over the loudspeaker , “LET THE GAMES BEGIN!” , or for all you futból fans, “GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!”

In the left corner, weighing in at 1 tablespoon per 1 cup of warm water, our best baking buddy….drumroll, please….BAAAAKKKIIIINNNNINGGG SODA!

In our right corner, also weighing in at 1 tablespoon per 1 cup of warm water, that delectable delight in all its sweet, sticky splendor….badabadabadadada……CLOOOOOOOOOOVVVVVEEEEER HONEY! That’s right, ladies and gentleman, we begin this possibly frustrating battle with two usually unremarkable cooking ingredients; both ready to duke it out with high-end salon shampoos and conditioners around the world! Let’s go to the game plan, folks!

Alright!  Today is Day Number 1 of my version of the No Shampoo Revolution! Some of you may be wondering why I chose to start cleansing my hair with such normally inane products. There are a few reasons in fact, which I’ll be happy to go over in a few lines, but first I’d like to say that not everyone has it in them to handle what other bloggers are referring to as “the transition period”. So before you jump on board, and before I get into my reasoning, I’d like to warn all the ladies and gents out there that your hair WILL get exceedingly greasy, and it DOES take extraordinary willpower to stay away from a good Bumble & Bumble wash and shine. I’m just saying it now to avoid confrontation later. With that out of the way, let’s get into why someone might choose to quit using conventional haircare products, as well as alternative cleansers one can use to make the switch.

First, as my favorite conscious caregiver, Simple Mom, went over in the post that inspired me to consider a change, there are these things dermatologists and doctors like to refer to as caustic chemicals. Simple Mom talks about these toxic chemicals that are in your shampoos, soaps, and conditioners and explains about the alkaline content of modern city water. Briefly, there are all these chemicals in your home water that cities use to “clean” and “purify” their main reserviors of H2O. Chlorine and floride are the most prominent of these in metropolitan water supplies. When it comes to determining which shampoos to buy, I tend to watch out for four specific chemicals to show up in the ingredient list. The first two of the offenders are sodium laureth (and lauryl) sulfate, which acts a detergent and a foaming/wetting agent, are used in most soapy bath products as well as cement cleaners and car washes. My chief concerns, however, are the addition of propylene and butylene glycol to ANY of my beauty products. Both are petroleum-based plastics that soak easily into the skin. What does that mean to us? Whatever is on our skin, and consequently soaking into our pores, is going straight to our bloodstream. In laymen’s terms: it proves healthier to avoid all the beauty products that we’re terribly addicted to! I scream out loud, “Aaaahhhh!!!!Nooooo!!! It’s tear-a-bowl!!!!” Nevertheless, I managed to swallow my pride, push my semi-obscure Judd Apatow reference to the back of my mind, and take in the facts as they were put to me.

After learning all I could cram into my head about the chemicals I was essentially poisoning myself with, the No ‘Poo phenomenon seemed like a No-Brainer to me. So I took a page out of Simple Mom’s book (or blog, as it were) and began the prep: begrudgingly not washing my hair for three days. I got my hair cut the first day, and just pinned it up the remaining two, to combat grease accumulation on my face. Blech.

DAY ONE, FIRST WASH

  1. 1 tblspn baking soda to 1 cup warm water for washing. A regular 8 oz. cup to hold the mixture. (Trust me on the temperature, here, by the way.)
  2. 1 tblspon clover honey to 1 cup warm water for conditioning. Similar regular 8 oz. cup to hold the dissolved  mixture. (I do plan on using a sports bottle in the future,which I recommend to make the application of these cleansers a lot faster. I was just too anxious to wait until I could get to the store for one!)

Okay! Let’s get into it!I started my bath (the shower in the apartment I rent is broken for the time being) as per usual. I soaped and lathered, and generally relaxed as I prepared myself for the sensation I wasn’t quite sure I was ready for. I grabbed my cup and took the plunge, pouring half the cup and massaging its contents into my scalp. I dumped the remainder over my head, spitting out the saltiness of the baking soda as fast as I could, and continued my scalp rub. I rinsed after about two minutes, because my phone rang. (My best friend had something she deemed life-altering to tell me.) Initially, I wasn’t sure how my hair was going to react because of the tingling that was happening on my big ol’ dome; but I rinsed and began to massage in the honey solution. Waited three minutes, and rinsed again.

It wasn’t until I had toweled off and blow-dried my hair that I could clearly see the first results. My hair? Definitely shinier, instantly more pliable.

It’s nearing the end of the day, and I have to say that my hair is no greasier than if I had been outside on a particularly warm afternoon. However, I’ve been advised to expect an exponential increase in the oil output over the next 2-8 weeks, until my body gets used to being chemical-free up there. All in all, having learned NOT to use cold water in your mixtures, I consider the first steps a success! Now I have to say that even though my roots are oily, my hair itself is pretty dry, so I did choose to use honey as my conditioner for that specific symptom. For normal hair, it is suggested that you use apple cider vinegar, in the same measurements as listed above; or, for more oily hair, you can try lemon juice. Most sources say to only use your “anti-shampoos” once a week, but I’m not ready to give up for surfactants and daily hair washing simultaneously, cold turkey. I’m starting with a mixture rinse every 4 days for the first 3 or 4 weeks. I intend to wean myself in this manner, and switch to the vinegar solution after 6-8 weeks, depending on the length and carnage of my “transition period”. Here’s hoping that my hair doesn’t get so greasy that I cease wanting to leave the house. Oy vey.

In all seriousness, I’m really excited for our first New Thing. If any of you find yourselves not so sure about it, or are scared off by the idea of not “washing” your hair, there are a lot of good articles you can find via a ‘No Shampoo Movement’ Google search to glean information from. It’s not necessarily for everyone, but for those of you who are frugal, looking for something different, or even just into that naturalist lifestyle, this is a pretty awesome concept. My ‘thanks’ go out to the Simple Mom, and my promise goes out to the readers that the rest of these daily chronicles won’t always be so damned long-winded. I supposed I just like to be thorough, and as they say, “Better safe than sorry.”

Here is to putting your best coiffure forward! 😉

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