Still No Poo?

December of last year, I stopped using shampoo. Am I still “no poo”? Yes.

No-Poo-Land isn’t all rainbows and unicorns, especially if you color your hair… which I do… well, my stylist does. Unfortunately, this ritual strips my hair, and I get to start over every 10 weeks. I generally LOVE my hair texture again about two to four weeks before I go in for a color appointment. What I don’t love are the grey roots that are quite evident by then.

So, I had to make a decision. I had to ask myself which I wanted more, great texture all the time, or no grey most of the time. So far, I’ve answered “no grey”. I’m slightly afraid that I’ll look so much older if I let the grey loose. I’m still a thirty-something gal, and I’m not ready to look “wise” just yet. I believe if I wasn’t coloring, I would be able to get away with just water rinsing most (if not all) of the time. Since the color strips my hair, I smother it in coconut oil for the first few days after, and I have to “wash” it more often with vinegar/baking soda due to reliving the “oily stage” (although not as bad)… or, I’ve also started to rub my natural soap bar (from the health food store) all over my head sometimes. The bar soap thing happened because one day I was out of vinegar, so I grabbed what I had. I do a lot more “up-do” styles during those first weeks after a coloring, but the cool thing is that my hair will actually stay up since going “no poo”. Before, my hair would begin to fall almost immediately, and wouldn’t hold it’s shape very well. To even come close I had to slather it in product with death grip hold.

Over the summer I picked up a natural (made from fruit) “shampoo” from the health food store. I only used it a few times because I broke out in hives twice after use. I have no idea what would have caused the reaction, and I’m not even 100% sure it was the product that caused it. Still, I don’t touch it.

As for the benefits of “no poo”, I figure I’ve cut down on the amount of chemicals I come in contact with. Yes, I know hair color has chemicals too. I’m sure I’ll let go of that at some point too. Also, my hair is soooo much easier to style in general. I can flat iron it, curl it, up-do it… whatever I want to. My hair is thicker (oh how I always wanted thicker hair!). It’s not flighty (except right after a coloring). It doesn’t smell (but I think that’s because of the whole food vegan thing).

The husband is “no poo”, which makes me laugh since he fought me so much on this. I told him that he could buy shampoo, but I wasn’t going to. He never bought any. The kids are “no poo” most of the time. We still have some leftover shampoo in their bathrooms that they use occasionally.

Ok, so I haven’t taken one of my regular “no poo” pictures lately, so I’ll have to share one of the Husband and I on Thanksgiving. Does that look like “no poo” hair to you?

E&J Thanksgiving 2012

After over a year without shampoo, I don’t plan on buying it ever again. If you’re considering giving this a go, check out my other posts on the topic.

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Six Weeks of No Poo Hair Photographed

Six weeks ago I stopped using shampoo.  I was inspired by Amber at Fulfilled Homemaking to document the process.  When I began asking my family to snap these photos, I honestly thought I wouldn’t share them.  So, why am I posting it?  I want you to know what you will be getting yourself into if you choose to embark on a “no poo” journey and what happens when you don’t let those first few weeks deter you.  Personally, I wanted to throw in the towel… or should I say, throw on some shampoo.  Thanks to Amber’s photographs, I was encouraged to keep going.  I hope this post offers the same encouragement to others.

Let’s begin with the first week.  If you can survive week one, you will be doing great.  I felt so ugly and gross.  My hope was that things could only get better.  I wore a hat or ponytail (or both) everywhere I went.  These two photos were taken at the end of week one.  The only thing I did to my hair during the first week was rinse it when I took a shower.  Oily and flakey describes it perfectly:

 

Week two was not much better.  Christmas fell during week two, which meant photos with greasy hair.  I tried to mask it by hot rolling my hair but that didn’t help much.  Then, at the end of the second week, I realized that I had never washed out the product put on my hair at my last appointment (which was the day I started “no poo”).  So, I broke out the baking soda and apple cider vinegar (ACV).  I didn’t measure out the baking soda (or vinegar) but I’m guessing it was about a tablespoon that I added to a little bowl.  I mixed the baking soda with a bit of warm water and then massaged that into my scalp.  Rinse.  Then I mixed the ACV with some warm water and poured it over the ends.  Rinse.  I think I used about a quarter cup ACV.  I did this only once, all other “washings” were water only.  This is what my hair looked like by the end of the second week.  This is blown dry only with an attempt with the curling iron.  The crown is still oily.  The flash exaggerates the look a bit but you get the idea.

Week three seemed better.  My morning “bed head” is still pretty comical.  My hair sticks straight up and brings much laughter from the Husband.  I didn’t use anything but water on my hair during the third week.  Most “no poo” folks will do the baking soda thing about once a week but I am hoping to speed up the process toward using nothing by doing it every other week for now.  I’m loving not doing the shampoo/rinse thing in the shower.  My scalp is noticeably less dry and itchy.  Which is significant in this dry climate that I live in.  Here is what my hair looked like at the end of week three.  It’s still oily at the crown, although not as bad.  Clearly it is beginning to curl better.  My hair has always had difficulty holding a curl so this is a wonderful change for me.

Let’s see, week four seemed significantly improved.  I did end up repeating the baking soda/apple cider vinegar routine once.  The ends looked a little dry to me when I blew it out.  I scrunched it a lot during the fourth week and let it air dry.  I decided to just blow out my hair for this photo.  No curling iron, no flat iron.  This looks “normal”.  The flash shows a bit of separation at the crown still but the Husband tells me that it only shows up on the camera with the flash now and not in real life.

During the fifth week I went back to water only.  I’m still amazed at the amount of oil in my hair but I’m beginning to think that what I found “normal” before was not.  I think I kept my hair in a perpetual state of “dry”.  I really thought that my face would breakout more with all of the oil it comes into contact with now, but it is actually clearer than it’s been in years (this probably has a whole lot to do with eating raw).  It was during week five that I got my first hair compliment and it came from someone who had no idea I hadn’t washed it in almost five weeks.  I forgot to take this photo until the end of the day, whereas all of the others were taken right after showering.  The curl is looser than it was but clearly, it’s still there and it’s bedtime!  My hair was blown dry and curled with a curling iron.

At the end of week six I did the baking soda/apple cider vinegar routine once.  I think I’ll do that again at 8 weeks and then attempt to go three weeks in between.  I can’t really say that my hair is “normal” because I think it’s better than normal.  It’s thicker and shinier.  It holds curl better.  It’s easier to style.  It doesn’t have static (hated when it would cling to my face).  I’ve gone six weeks without spending a dime on shampoo or styling products.  Yes, that’s right, there are no styling products in my hair.  Once again, I dried and curled my hair for this photo… taken yesterday.  I was trying to curl it a little differently than I usually do.  I don’t really like how it turned out.  Still, would you ever guess that this is hair that hasn’t seen shampoo in six weeks?

Most people, like I did, would think that your hair would stay in a perpetual state of week one if not shampooed.  Clearly that isn’t the case.  This morning, as I run my fingers through my hair, I do feel a little oil on my fingers.  But oily doesn’t mean greasy.  Our natural oils are there for a reason.  They are supposed to moisturize our hair and protect it.  Even the Husband (who by the way, is the only person in this house still on shampoo), admits that my hair looks good.  He has even complimented me on it without prompting (you know, “so honey, does my hair look alright?”).  And he isn’t the only one, I received two more lovely comments during week six.  One gal didn’t know about the “no poo” and the other did.

So, what made me embark on this journey?  It wasn’t so much the chemicals in the shampoo, although that was one reason.  Mainly, I just wasn’t happy with the condition of my hair on shampoo/conditioner/styling product.  I felt like I had to add more and more stuff to get anything remotely close to what I wanted… and I still wasn’t happy with it.  I wanted to see if my natural oils could do a better job, and I believe they have.

Update 12/29/2012 – Still No-Poo?

no poo, 28 days and counting

Four weeks without shampoo.  There are things I do like about my hair, and things I don’t.  My scalp doesn’t get dry and itchy now.  My hair is softer, isn’t full of static, and holds curl better.  It is still very oily though.  It hasn’t figured out how much oil to produce yet.  I’m hoping it figures it out soon.

I am planning to do the baking soda / apple cider vinegar thing either today or tomorrow.  This will only be the second time in four weeks that I’ve done it.  If things haven’t evened out by six weeks, I’m not sure the path I’ll take next.  I don’t plan on using shampoo but I don’t want my hair to be this oily either.

I’m normally a flat iron or hot roller gal, but lately I’ve been doing a lot of “scrunching”.  So far, I’ve had two people ask if I got a perm 🙂  The kids’ hair looks good though.  I guess thirty-something years of shampoo takes a bit longer to recover from.  I did cancel my t-part color appointment to give my hair more time.  I had a dream the other night that I stopped coloring my hair altogether and discovered that my natural color is completely gray.  Of course, this isn’t true but I do wonder how much of it is gray now (I started getting gray hair in my early 20’s).  I read about people who have reversed their gray by eating raw, with my genes, it would take a miracle for that to happen.

30 Days on the Raw Side: Day 18

This was the eighteenth day of my raw food challenge.  I got about 8 hours of sleep last night but that’s only because the darling Husband took the Girl to the rink.  Otherwise it would have been five hours of sleep.  Must go to bed earlier tonight.

          

The Food

  • Breakfast – 3.25 cups Green Smoothie (8.5 oz Bananas, 6 oz Strawberries, 1 C Apple Juice, 3 oz Kale)
  • Morning Snack – Um, yeah, I slept in.
  • Lunch – 4 oz Kiwi, 8.5 oz Bananas, 4 Clementines, 1 Mejool Date
  • Afternoon Snack – 1 Banana
  • Dinner –  Big Salad (2 oz Red Leaf Lettuce, 1 oz Spinach, 0.5 oz Kale, 3 oz Carrots, 1.5 oz Celery, 6 oz Tomato, 2.5 oz Cucumber) with a Dressing made by pureeing 2.5 oz Mango, 1 Clementine & a bit of fresh Cilantro… and then I added 8oz of Apple Juice which I will explain in a bit.  My nine-year-old wanted to help chop up my veggies.  Yes, her hair is “no poo” too.
  • Evening Snack – 8 oz Apple Juice, 1.5 servings of dried Pineapple.
  • Water – 50 ounces
  • Calories – 1,580.4 (Carbs 92.5% / Protein 4.8% / Fat 2.7%)
  • Fiber – 39.1 grams!

The Exercise:

  • 60 minute walk on the trail with the Husband (we ran 25 minutes of it).  I’ve got 11 weeks before I officially begin half-marathon training.  That’s plenty of time to build a solid base of 3-5 miles… provided I take it slow and don’t injure myself.

The Results:

  • As of Friday I’ve lost 7.4 lbs and 6.6 inches.  For more information, check out my Week 2 Summary.

The Effects:

  • There was a problem with dinner.  Yes, it tasted terrific.  The problem was, I was already way behind in my calorie count before I started eating this meal… and we ate later than usual.  I made it about two thirds of the way through that 8 cup salad and realized that it was going to take me an hour to finish it.  I knew it was only about 250 calories so I threw it into the blender with some apple juice.  The texture was a bit weird but I was able to drink it (which went so much faster than chewing it).
  • My calorie count was way too low today.  This explains the headache I’ve got right now… it’s a “hunger” headache.  I know them quite well from my dieting days.  Usually I get really cranky and would even have symptoms of low blood sugar (shaking being one of them) but that wasn’t the case today.  Just the headache.  I’m guessing my blood sugar is staying relatively stable, which is a nice change.
  • So, what is this pizza-looking-thing in the photo?  It’s the Husband’s lunch today.  He was making his vegan pizza and jokingly asked if I was going to photograph his lunch too.  “What a great idea!” I said.  So, here is his delicious meal… well, I can’t vouch for the deliciousness of the vegan cheese (I’ve never tasted it), but his special pizza sauce is freakishly amazing!  Included toppings are banana peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, red bell pepper, and onion.  It smelled marvelous and I was quite happy to take it’s picture.

Go to Day 19>>

30 Days on the Raw Side: Day 17

This was the seventeenth day of my raw food challenge.  I got about 9 hours of sleep last night and ended up missing church this morning.  I was exhausted.

The Food

  • Breakfast – 3.25 cups Green Smoothie (8.25 oz Bananas, 6.5 oz Strawberries, 1 C Apple Juice, 2.75 oz Spinach) – I’m out of spinach and coconut water 😦
  • Morning Snack – 1 Banana, 1 medium Apple
  • Lunch – 1.44 lbs Grapes, 1 Mejool Date (lunch on the go)
  • Afternoon Snack – 1 Banana
  • Dinner –  9.25 oz Bananas, 4 Clementines, 1 Mejool Date
  • Evening Snack – 1 Snakaroon, 1 oz raw Cashews
  • Water – 45 ounces
  • Calories – 2,155.7 (Carbs 82.4% / Protein 4.5% / Fat 13.1%)
  • Fiber – 42.8 grams!

The Exercise:

  • No Formal Exercise today.

The Results:

  • As of Friday I’ve lost 7.4 lbs and 6.6 inches.  For more information, check out my Week 2 Summary.

The Effects:

  • We took the family to the movies this evening and I was going to add a bag of freeze-dried fruit to my purse but the health food store was closed.  So we went by the regular grocery store.  They had dried fruit but every single package had other stuff in it besides the fruit.  I would like to know why on earth you have to add sugar to dried fruit?  It’s sweet enough all by itself.  So either they are using tasteless fruit (possible) or our taste-buds are so warped from processed foods that we think sugar is needed for it to be sweet enough (probable).  Needless to say, I left the store frustrated with the whole thing.  I was wishing I had eaten something before leaving the house and came home famished (I had family members eating popcorn on either side of me).  I swear that they must pump the smell of popcorn, hotdogs and candy into the seats.  No matter what my resolve, if I’m hungry enough, even a movie theater hotdog begins to sound good to this raw vegan girl.
  • My “no poo” hair is looking better, although it is still oily.  I did style it today (curling iron) and it actually held the girl.  Normally I would have to slather my hair in product to get it to hold anything for even an hour.  This is an encouraging sign that better hair is already developing on my noggin.
  • I’m almost back into another pair of my jeans.
  • I think I’m going through another stage of detox this week.  I went through some detox back in October and then a bit during the first week of the challenge.  This stage seems to be targeting old injuries.  Even really, really old ones.  They are aching.  And since we don’t have any storms on the horizon, I’m guessing it’s a detox phase.  I’ve read that better nutrition can prompt your body to begin healing old injuries by first breaking them down (which is the part that aches) and then rebuilding the area.  I sure hope this is the case.
  • I’m not excited about our schedule resuming tomorrow… but that’s mainly because I don’t want to get up before dawn 🙂

Go to Day 18>>

change of plans

Initially I planned to do nothing with my hair other than rinse it with water.  Today, however, I had a revelation that changed that plan slightly.  I observed that my hair was still feeling quite sticky and when I brushed it, the ends had white flakes on them that reminded me of brushing through dried hairspray.  It was at this moment when I realized that the styling products added to my hair during my last hair appointment almost two weeks ago were not coming out with just water rinsing.  I wish I had considered this possibility before now.  I could have used something to clean it off before going “no shampoo”.

Tonight I rectified the issue by doing a simple scalp massage with about 1 teaspoon of baking soda and warm water (to remove any product still on my scalp).  I rinsed that out with warm water and followed it with an apple cider vinegar rinse of the ends (to remove product from the ends).  I really didn’t want to strip the hair of the oil, just the styling product.  Fortunately, It doesn’t appear to have changed the oiliness but the stickiness seems to be gone.

I’m not planning to do anything more to it for at least another two weeks.  I’ll assess the situation at that point and decide where to go from there.  I’m hopeful that what I did today has taken care of the problem and I can be on my merry little “no poo” way.

mirror, mirror

I definitely don’t have a problem leaving the house without make-up or a shower. Because of this, I wouldn’t classify myself as vain.  However, going without shampoo has made me realize that I have at least some degree of vanity going on.  I am very aware of my hair these days and catch myself wondering if people are staring at it.  Yeah, that’s kind of vain.

Yesterday afternoon we attended a Christmas Eve service.  While I could wear a beanie to this church, I really didn’t want to.  After rinsing and drying my hair, I put hot rollers in it.  I was surprised by how well it turned out.  Despite this, I felt very self-conscious of it.  Some of the curl was still there when I woke up this morning but I won’t be showing any of our Christmas morning photos around town.  The back of my head seems very oily still, more so than the front now.

I’m sticking this out.  If I use shampoo now, I’ll have to start again.  In the meantime, I’ll turn my vanity over to the Lord.  His opinion of me is the only one that matters anyway.