July 29, 2011

Day Eleven: 50/50

After yesterday's horrid result, I attempted to fix the greasy mess of hair that resulted from the food mask. I did a bit more reading yesterday and found out that some people prefer lemon juice to ACV. Since I've had good results from the lemon water rinse on Day 1 (and tried it successfully years ago), I decided that lemon juice was going to be the remedy for last night's wash.

I started with a bottle of diluted lemon juice and completely rinsed my hair, hoping it would wash out the leftover gunk. I then did a baking soda paste scrub to my scalp and thoroughly rinsed it out. Instead of ACV, I did a tea tree oil rinse as well to combat itchy scalp (which is a side effect as your hair adjusts) and then a lemon water rinse. I'm lucky enough to have a lemon tree close by so I just chopped the leaves up and left them to sit in boiling water for a while, before using that water to rinse my hair.
I slightly caved on the conditioner front, just using a very small amount of Herbal Essences on the ends of my hair to keep them soft. After all, I'm essentially trying to get the new hair and my scalp used to this alternative method. The ends really aren't going to be affected as much, and the conditioner gave it a nice scent as I was going out.

After blow-drying, there was definitely an improvement compared to last night. My hair is still adjusting, so there's a layer of oil but as a friend commented, it's really not noticeable and still looks fine.

The most positive thing to report is that even after blowdrying, I've noticed a dramatic reduction in frizz and flyaways. This was always a problem for me, and was something I would generally fix by straightening my hair all the time (too much!). Despite the slight amount of oil, my hair had a nice bounce, wave and frizz-free look to it. Quite natural and a little bit more interesting than previously dead straight hair!

So it was really a case of half bad, half good when it came to the results. I'm willing to overlook the oily texture as, like I said yesterday, that was something I'd read about and expected. I was quite pleasantly surprised with how nice and natural my hair started to look, so I'll be interested to see what happens when the oilyness subsides. I'm hoping to be left with naturally wavy hair minus the annoying frizz, and with no need to blowdry or straighten! Fingers crossed...

July 28, 2011

Day Ten: Discomfort

Well. Last night was pretty much a disaster. Everything seemed to be going fairly well despite a little oilyness as expected. But after reading several online articles yesterday about treating hair to a moisturising food mask, I decided to give it a go, and mashed up some ingredients to work through my hair in hopes of beneficial results.

- 1 mashed avocado
- 1 beaten egg
- Tbsp lemon juice
- Tbsp mayonnaise

This did give my hair a really nice clean and took care of frizz, flyaways and definitely did moisturise. I'm not quite sure what went wrong though. Whether it was the combination of then rinsing with diluted baking soda and ACV that caused this meltdown, I'm not sure. I did rinse very thoroughly after the mask, and was certain that at least the ACV would clear out any residue. But I was basically left with horribly greasy hair even after blow drying. Not even a second cold water rinse of the problem areas helped, which resulted in me having to comb through some dry baking soda and a bit of talcum powder through it all.

Feeling a bit like Danny Zuko this morning, although he put grease in his hair on purpose... crazy!

This morning was probably the first that I've woken up and been extremely uncomfortable with the condition of my hair. I've put it up in a ponytail for work which has hidden a lot of the trouble areas, but it's itchy and just feels pretty gross overall. I really can't wait to get home and fix it up. Tonight I'm thinking I will need to work the baking soda into my hair dry at first, rinse it out. I'm not sure whether ACV is going to work this time, I may try the lemon water from Day 1 which seems to get rid of residue more effectively.

But I guess the moral of this story is that experimenting with all natural foods for hair and face masks sounds great on paper, but it's a completely different situation when you actually try it!

As I said before, I don't know whether it was the mask that created this result, it could just be the fact that I'm 10 days into the experiment and the adjustment period has really set in, as I was warned about. I'm really craving a good wash at the moment, with shampoo and conditioner that is. But I'm going to push through and still try to achieve the end result. All I can say is, it better be worth this discomfort!

July 27, 2011

Day Nine: Crunching Numbers

I don't have a lot to report on today, I'm still adjusting and haven't switched to water-only yet. But I decided to look into the aspect of how much money people save through this lifestyle. Shampoos and Conditioners now are extremely tempting, with their clever marketing, alluring packaging and promises of Hollywood-worthy hair.

But here's the raw fact: Shampoos are a rip-off. We don't need them, we never have. Unfortunately, once you start using them you basically can't stop, unless you do exactly what I'm doing now.

Aside from the damage to your hair they can do, which I might blog about in a completely separate post, the other factor involved here is the fact that you're paying way too much for something you just don't need.

So I've done some number-crunching today, and looked at the difference in savings, based on my own usage in the past:

Going by my previously favourite brand, Herbal Essences (seriously, how good does it smell!?), I'd say I would almost buy a bottle per month, but I tend to use more conditioner than shampoo. So in an estimated guess, buying 9 bottles of shampoo and 12 bottles of conditioner a year, I'm paying about $157 a year!
Now, compare this to my current regime. Since I haven't been using the products for very long, it's hard to make an accurate guess but I've done some rough calculations and come up with the following result.
I've bought 500g of Coles Smart Buy baking soda ($1.50), and a litre of Cornwells Apple Cider Vinegar ($2.60). Based on my current tablespoon method (see previous posts), I get about 65 washes from these products.
If I want to wash my hair every 3 days (every day at first, gradually reducing washes by the end of the year), that's about 120 washes.


So basically I'm only having to spend about $8 for enough bicarb soda and ACV to last me for a year's worth of washing my hair.
As I said before, this is a VERY rough calculation, and it's really a hypothetical forecast. I'm only in week two of this routine, but even if my numbers are slightly off, there's still no comparison. I'm still going to save a lot of money by switching to this haircare regime.

And of course, by eventually switching to a water-only approach, the calculations are simple: no more money spent on washing your hair.

July 26, 2011

Day Eight: Ickiness

Today is the first that I'm almost starting to regret doing this! I washed last night with only Baking Soda & ACV, with a quick rinse of lavender water too, as I just can't stay away from adding at least some kind of scent to my hair...

But I've well and truly hit the adjustment period for this experiment. It doesn't quite feel clean after a wash and I've been tempted to use conditioner at least once just to feel slightly more normal, but I'm determined to persevere and do this properly, not waste the past week's efforts.

It doesn't exactly look bad, but when you've been used to washing and conditioning basically every day, this definitely IS an adjustment. I'm finding that tying it up in a pony tail or half up/down is helping, but I'm hoping that eventually it will be naturally clean enough to wash and wear out.

July 25, 2011

Day Seven: Weekend off

I've missed Days 5&6 as I decided that I won't blog on weekends, and especially since this past one involved a Saturday where I left my hair completely unwashed. I found myself running my fingers through it constantly, thinking I was really speeding up the process by spreading the natural oils all through my hair. By Sunday morning it was in desperate need for a wash, so I did the usualy Baking Soda & ACV rinse with a bit of Tea Tree as well.

I'm pretty sure the adjustment period I was warned about has started, it's not feeling particularly nice, but at the same time it still smells nice, looks ok. It definitely looks less greasy that when I used to leave it a day without washing. I'm not sure when I'll try to go from Baking Soda & ACV to just water, maybe alternating would work best for a week or so. But only on a week when I don't have anywhere to go except work! :)

July 22, 2011

Day Four: Feedback

I got to work this morning and the first thing my friend asked was "Oh, did you wash your hair? With shampoo?" Me: "No, still on the experiment!" Her: "Really? Wow!"

Maybe I don't even need to post anything else, considering that was a pretty good indication that using kitchen products for four days straight now has actually made my hair look better than before. I should also mention that someone told me last that it looks the best in a while, with a nice clean matte to it instead of shine. I personally prefer shine, but maybe sometimes it looks more like oil when it's like that.

I simplified my routine last night to just the basics plus one:

- Baking soda rinse onto dry hair and a scrub, rinse
- Vinegar rinse
- Lavender oil rinse, avoiding the scalp

Even though today is another rainy one, I managed to avoid getting my hair wet on the way to work, and it's looking extremely good! The itch has improved but not completely gone yet. Now that it's Friday I'm going to leave my hair unwashed until Sunday afternoon, as I'm slightly worried about putting vinegar in it four days in a row. I've heard it's good to give it a break anyway, to let all the natural oils work through.

July 21, 2011

Day Three: Overkill

Well, last night I learnt the error of trying too hard. I tend to do this whenever I start some kind of health kick/diet fad etc... I guess sometimes I feel like the more intensity I start the program with, the faster the results will show. I'm almost always completely wrong about this!

Last night was the third wash, and I got the order mixed up whilst deep in thought. So what should have been a similar routine to the previous night, I ended up doing something along these lines:

- Baking soda scrub and rinse
- Vinegar rinse
- Realising I'd forgotten the tea tree oil I then added it here
- A few drops of lavender oil in a bottle of water and rinsed
- Thinking my hair would be too oily after these two previous steps, I think I overkilled by doing a second vinegar rinse, which I thought would clear out any oily residue and give me that detangled effect too

My hair didn't feel so good after drying... a little knotty, not so soft as the first night and the crown area seemed less clean. I'm also now at work this morning with a slight itching sensation and I've had to wear it in a ponytail to hide the slightly oily top area. It's also an extremely rainy day here so I wasn't going to wear it out anyway, but it would nice to know that some days after this new routine I'll be able to still wear it down for work. Ponytails get a bit old after a while!

July 20, 2011

Day Two: The Morning After

So, my first full day after starting the Soda&Vinegar routine (with some added lemon water) and I went to work with clean and soft hair! I assumed that I'd wake up and be able to smell the vinegar but still nothing. It was manageable, and by the end of the day hadn't greased up. I even asked a colleague if it looked dirty, different or anything but she couldn't notice anything bad!

The itch hadn't completely gone away, I've had an irritated scalp for a while now. I decided to take the advice of some dedicated non-shampoo'ers, and went shopping for some tea tree oil to add into the mix. I also bought the suggested type of vinegar (I'd used white from my kitchen cupboard on Day 1), and bought some Cornwells Apple Cider Vinegar, some Coles SmartBuy Baking Soda and some Eureka 20% Tea Tree Oil at the supermarket.

I'm not sure whether I was supposed to only wash every second day during the experiment, but to solve the itchy scalp issue sooner rather than later, I decided to wash again on Day 2.

- 1 tsbp baking soda and 250ml warm water, shaken. Rinse.
- Dash of tea tree oil in 250ml warm water, shaken. Rinse.
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar in 500ml water, shaken. Rinse.
- Cold water rinse.

The vinegar definitely helps my tangly hair. It doesn't completely get rid of knots, but it's a lot better than when I've used conditioners, even though I assume they'll leave my hair easier to de-tangle.
The smell is again nice and neutral (I should say natural!) and I don't feel like it's dirty without using my previously chosen brands of shampoo and conditioner.

It's still early days, I've been told that I'll possibly start to notice some oilyness after a week or so, which could last for a little while until my hair gets used to this routine. But basically, so far so good.

July 19, 2011

Day One: The Substitutes

Ok, first things first: I removed all the bottles of shampoo and conditioner from my shower. I've used everything from Herbal Essences, Schwarzkopf, L'Oreal, Head & Shoulders... if it's promised to give me beautifully shiny, healthy and in my case, itch-free hair, I've tried it.

The bottles are gone, and instead I'm starting Day One with the only ingredients I have in the house (based on recommendation from my research this week): baking soda and white vinegar. I've also soaked some chopped up lemon leaves in boiling water, which is a trick my grandfather taught me. It's great for softening your hair and it also helps to wash away any residual shampoo and conditioner.

So, first wash of my almost-all-natural hair care regime consisted of the following:

1. 1 tablespoon of bicarb/baking soda in 250mL warm water. Poured over my entire head, concentrating on the scalp and around the hairline near my face and ears. I also rubbed a small amount of dry soda but found I couldn't really manage to get much done this way. I'll stick to the water based mixture. Rinsed thoroughly.

2. 1 tablespoon of white vinegar in 500mL warm water. Poured over my whole head, again focusing on the scalp and hair line. Rinsed thoroughly.

3. A bunch of lemon leaves, chopped and soaked in water, strained through a sieve to remove anything from the tree and leaving only a lemon scented liquid. I prepared all this about half an hour before my shower. I poured the entire bottle (about 600mL) over my head.

4. Final rinse in the hot shower (it's winter at the moment!), then I gradually reduced the temperature and tried to bear a few seconds of cold water over my head. This apparently seals your hair and helps give it shine.

Tonight I couldn't stray from my usual blow dry and straighten, as I'm used to having sleek and straight hair all the time. Tomorrow night I'll try not to dry it out this way and let it air dry.

So that's wash #1 finished, it feels pretty soft and smells quite normal. I was expecting it to smell like vinegar or something bad, but it just smells... natural, I guess. Not bad and not like conditioner, just neutral! Morning after verdict to follow...

Introduction: Desperate Times

This year I realised I had what could easily be termed a "shampoo addiction". I regularly looked forward to and felt almost obliged to wash my hair every single day. I woke up one morning after washing my hair less than 10 hours before, only to find a greasy build up already appearing on the crown of my head, creating a less than desirable kink.

Realising that shampooing every day was causing more harm than good, and that changing brands every so often was in fact not working as people had suggested, I decided that it was time to really get this hair thing sorted out.
So from one extreme to the other, I've switched from daily washing and conditioning (every other day on the odd occasion) to what is widely referred to these days as the "No-Poo" method. I'm not the first to jump on this bandwagon, and I'm also not the first to absolute despise the method's commonly used name! So instead of "No-Poo", I'm basically just blogging about my experience in going all natural with my haircare routine. No special name for it.

My 'quest' is basically to achieve the following result: being able to rinse my hair in water only as a regular cleaning routine. 

A year ago I would have thought this was just dirty, and that water couldn't possibly get the dirt and oil out like beautifully smelling shampoos and conditioners could. I read a lot about it, asked a family member who's successfully reached "water only" stage and decided that I'd try it out. 

So here's my (almost) daily account of making the tradition from modern-day oversaturation of my hair with chemicals that are masked by a heavenly scent, to the most simple form of hair-washing the way nature intended it: good old-fashioned H2O.