Monday, December 15, 2008

Clean dirty hippie.

Some months ago I became intrigued enough by a friend's talk about washing her hair with "no-poo" that I gave it a shot. Weeks and several experiments later, I got fed up with it and went back to shampoo. Weeks after that I got over my defeat and tried again, with more success. Weeks after that I got lazy and went back to shampoo just because it was there. And weeks after that, I realized that I really didn't like the feel of my hair with shampoo, after I got used to the feel of it with no-poo, and went back to no-poo again - or, at least, a combination of methods I'd read about during the earlier trial phases. 

For the actual no-poo mixture, I simplified it back down to plain old baking soda and water. If I'm feeling saucy I'll put some essential oils in it, but that's about all. For a conditioner, I realized that it was the apple cider vinegar that was keeping my hair too oily before, and decided to just stick with plain old cheap conditioner. So I guess I'm not totally "no-poo" as their definition states that "with no 'poo, you don't use conditioner," but I'm still not using shampoo

Why? My hair seems to get greasy faster with shampoo, and it's a different kind of greasy than with the baking soda and water. I'm not even sure quite how to explain the difference, but I'll try anyway. With shampoo, my hair actually feels greasy and gross; with no-poo, my hair has a simple oil build up that is oily, but not gross feeling. I can also go longer without feeling like I need to wash my hair - 3-4 days, rather than 2 at best.

The "no-poo" description also says, "some of us transition away from using baking soda as a wash once the scalp's oil production has subsided," and I think I've almost reached that point. The past shower or two my hair didn't feel too bad after simply wetting it down, but I chickened out on not doing anything and still used the baking soda, anyway. I didn't feel like I needed to condition, though. And again that's a feel that I'm not sure how to explain... it didn't "still feel oily" after washing it, it "already felt conditioned," and after it dried, it was a little staticky but that was it. I was actually kind of impressed.

Over the weekend I thought I'd try what I guess is referred to as the "curlygirl" method (though I don't have curls), and what I had also seen referred to elsewhere as "conditioner only" - the idea that your hair could be "washed" with conditioner. 

Yeah, fail.

I'm not sure if my hair just wasn't ready for it, or if I used too much conditioner, or if I didn't wash the conditioner out good enough, but it just didn't work out. It wasn't bad, just not great, and again my hair didn't "still feel dirty," it just felt over-conditioned. I haven't rewashed it yet, though, and it doesn't look bad, so it's not an epic fail, just a fail. Think I'll go back to baking soda and water with a little static-killing conditioner next round, and go from there.

On a side note, however, through the process of testing out hair cleansing methods, I figured I'd try the baking soda and water mixture as a full-body cleanser and see what happened. And I. Freaking. Love it. I don't come out of the shower needing to lotion myself all up - which I never followed through with before, so I'd just be terribly dry after a shower until my oils built back up - and, and, I need less deodorant than I ever have. I used to be really, really smelly if I'd have the slightest bit of underarm perspiration and now? I've tested going for days without deodorant and 90% of the time, you can't tell a difference. And believe me, I check - I have always been paranoid about body odor, and I will not allow myself to smell. I've known people who had some serious BO and either weren't aware of it or didn't care, and I promise you I am not one of those. I just don't get as smelly as often, and that's pretty dang nice. 

I use it as a facial cleanser, too, with similar results. My skin seems better, I'm not overly dry or overly oily, and on the days I do feel dry after I wash my face I use rose oil for a moisturizer, and I love that better than any other moisturizer I've ever tried, as well.

It's funny, one of my friends once told me that he doesn't like hippies because they don't use soap and they smell. I must be the cleanest dirty hippie he's ever not hated :).


Hippie Housewife said...

Haha, love the last sentence.

What an interesting journey. I've been tempted to try no-poo several times but always chicken out.

What I'm most curious about - how exactly do you go about washing your hair with baking soda? I can't picture how it works. Do you mix it up with water first? How much? In what? When? KWIM? Sadly, I think that's what ultimately holds me back - I know what to use, I know why to use it, but I don't how to actually do it.

I'm really glad it's working out for you this time around!

Karyn said...

It took a lot of experimenting for me to figure this out, and from what I gather, the specifics will be different for each person's head and water quality.

The basic starter mixture is 3tsp of baking soda for 1c of water. I mix mine in (don't laugh) the peri bottle I got at the hospital after I had Raiden. Do NOT use the entire 1c all at once, though! That's one of the places I screwed up at first. I use about 1/4 to 1/3 of the (1c/8oz) bottle. Put it on your roots/scalp, don't pour it over your whole head. I put on a little at a time and rub it in as I go. When you have "enough" rubbed in, your hair will feel slick, but not soapy, and it won't lather or suds up.

A lot of help can be found here and in the LJ no-poo community. I read a lot of questions and answers there to help figure out what I was doing wrong at first. I still want to find something to use other than conditioner, too.