Sunday, September 19, 2010

How I Stopped 'Pooing Myself: A Haircare Story

I suppose if I really try to find a starting point, my weaning from shampoo started when I was on bedrest for two months while pregnant with my son.  I was on strict, side-lying bedrest so there was really no point in doing anything to my hair besides putting it in a ponytail.  And I rarely saw anyone anyway, so I think I was showering and washing my hair maybe twice a week.  Sorry if that's gross, but it was a low point in my life (and simultaneously a high point, with the whole Miracle of Life thing!), and I wasn't exactly working up a sweat as I lay there being useful only in my capacity as an incubator...

After my son was born, I figured out that I could shower (almost) every day if I didn't wash my hair.  I would let the ends get wet, maybe scrunch a little water into my curls, but showers were mainly to soap up, rinse off, and get out before the baby went ballistic (my son's high-needs, high-touch, mommy-and-booby-centered infant personality was quite a wake-up call for me!).  So, I showered more often, but I still only washed my hair twice a week.  My husband was amazed that, most days, I could get in and out of the shower in two minutes!

Fast forward to after my son's first birthday when I decided to chop off all my long curly hair.  I went from this:
 (Notice his hand - told you his infancy was boob-centered!)

Another view of my long hair, just after Bean shoved snow in my teeth...

To this:
(This actually has a nursing toddler Bean cropped out.  Sometime I'll have to post the whole picture, in which he's wearing sunglasses and holding a tiny red car.  HILARIOUS!)

A lot of folks cutting out shampoo say that they have a greaseball phase - because their scalp is still over-producing oil after so many years of being conditioned to do so by oh-so-effective shampoo.  But when I finally decided to try not to 'poo myself (*giggle*), I was already in the midst of growing my hair back out - which translated to my often wearing a bandanna to cover my ridiculous-looking hair.  It was an optimal time to go through a potential greasy phase that any irregularity in the 'poo department might cause.  (That was my last poop joke, I promise.)

When I ran out of shampoo, it happened to be right as I was about to get a haircut and have photos taken.  So, the morning after I got a haircut that actually promised not to look so ridiculous, I (bravely?  stupidly? necessarily, because I didn't even have a back-up shampoo in the house?) washed my hair with baking soda and rinsed with white vinegar (I'll tell you my exact method in my next post, but I no longer use white vinegar).  When I got out of the shower and prepared to style my hair I could not believe how soft my hair was.  Though, with curly hair like mine, soft can mean cotton-ball-caliber I was a little nervous!  I styled with my remaining Aveda product, and here was the result for my pictures that evening:

Not bad, eh?

A week or so later I was out of my Aveda styling product, and I moved on to coconut oil instead.  Here's a photo of my hair a few weeks later -- ALL I'd been using was baking soda, vinegar, and coconut oil. 
I'm still waiting for my hair to grow out, so I'm not necessarily 100% sold on the length/cut, but my edible hair products are certainly doing the trick - my hair isn't frizzy, my curls are well-defined, my hair is soft, and there's NO crunchiness/stiffness from gels or mousses.

Plus, rather than washing the icky, sticky hair gels and curl enhancers off my hands I actually rub the coconut oil on my face, lips, and elbows (and, right now, sometimes my belly).  It makes an excellent moisturizer!

If you were hoping for a more practical how-to guide, check out my next post!  It will be all about why I went 'poo-free and what exactly I'm doing in my haircare regimen.  I'll also include some trouble-shooting tips and some links to further information and ideas!

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