Monday, January 09, 2012

One Bite at a Time: Bite #29, Switch to gentle, eco-friendly haircare

Sorry for the delay in getting this post up. We had a city-wide power outage this morning that slowed everything down. And this is a small town so things already run a little slow.

I mentioned last week that I'd be doing a weekly post on the One Bite at a Time project. You can still get the e-book by going here. It's only $5 and you can print it out or keep it on your computer's desktop, however you roll. I've got mine in a trusty binder because I have a love affair with binders.

The bite I'm starting with is #29, Switch to gentle, eco-friendly hair care. This was the perfect place to start for me because I haven't been happy with my current hair care regime for some time now. When I was single, I had a roommate who was a hair dresser and I got Aveda products at cost so I was a little spoiled. Now that I live with 5 other people, we're on more of a Pert Plus budget. The problem with most shampoos, from cheap to expensive, is that they are full of chemicals. And with skin being our largest organ, and extremely porous, all those chemicals can enter the bloodstream and stay there for quite a while.

There's a lot more you can read on the subject here. It's the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep site and it has loads of information on all the products we use on our skin from day to day. You can even look up the products you're currently using and see how they rate.

So, at the beginning of December, I stopped using shampoo. Yep, I quit cold turkey. I figured with the holidays being just around the corner, I wouldn't be going out as much so I could try it out and see what kind of results I got. I don't get out much anyway. I started by using baking soda and water mixed in a squirt bottle. I can't remember the amounts I used, I just poured a couple of spoonfuls of baking soda, added water to the top and started squirting it on my head. Be warned, there are no suds. That was hard for me to get used to because I've been programmed to think suds=clean. I couldn't really tell if it was doing anything so I rinsed with a mixture of vinegar and water that I had poured into another bottle. That was it. I had read on some sites that your hair can easily become dry while you find the perfect amounts for your hair type. Well, mine stayed a little oily for a while. No matter, I kept going. I didn't leave the house for a few days unless my hair was up in a pony tail and I washed it again about 4 days later. I gotta tell ya, even after those 4 days, it wasn't much oilier than the day I washed it. Not near as bad as when I let my hair go an extra day on regular shampoo and conditioner.

This was my hair before I washed it.

This is after I dried and straightened it. I'm obviously not all that impressed yet.

Over the next few weeks, I kept at it, tweaking my recipe each time until I found the perfect combo for me. I researched a lot of sites and YouTube videos to see what others had done. There's a lot of advice out there. Eventually, I settled on what this girl does.

It's been over a month and I have to say, I feel like my hair has adjusted and I've settled into a routine. In case you didn't watch the video linked above, I'll share what I'm currently doing.

I have a bottle with a small squirt spout that I use for the baking soda mixture. I add 2 tablespoons of baking soda and fill the rest with warm water. Then, for the vinegar rinse, I fill it about a third with apple cider vinegar and the rest with water. I marked my bottle so I wouldn't have to measure every time.

When I first started, I was washing my hair in the sink. This got to be pretty messy because the baking soda mixture splatters everywhere. And you can't tell where it's splashed until it dries.

Little white water spots on everything around the kitchen sink.

Plus, I knew I wanted to eventually do this while I was already taking a shower. So this is how I do it. I get in the shower and instead of wetting my hair down, I use the baking soda mixture to wet my hair completely. That way, I know that when it's wet all over, I've got the baking soda everywhere. Then I start scrubbing. I do this for a few minutes and then squirt the vinegar mixture all over my scalp. That part is actually kind of nice. The vinegar acts with the baking soda and creates a fizzy sensation all over the scalp. Once that's all worked in, I just rinse with water and continue with my shower.

Here's Mr. Park feeling my hair to see if it's too oily. He's a pretty health conscious  guy, but he doesn't get the shampoo thing. And he's a little afraid if you start telling people you don't use shampoo anymore, they'll think you're one of those people. Too late. When I told my sister what I was doing, she rolled her eyes at me as if to say, "You're always doing something weird." She's right about that.

Yesterday morning was the first day I was really satisfied with the way my hair felt. They say that it takes several weeks for your hair to adjust to this new method. You won't be stripping away every bit of oil on your hair every time you wash it so your body won't need to produce extra oil to compensate. I curled my hair before church, got a few compliments and it felt great. I will say that the squeaky clean feeling you get after you wash your hair in shampoo is long gone. That took a little getting used to. I would say that washing your hair this way takes it to a 2nd day feel. You know, the first day your hair is squeaky clean and then the next day it has a little oil in it. I could never get my hair to cooperate with me until the 2nd day anyway, so this works perfect for me.


My hair really is soft and manageable and all the things you want it to be while being healthy for my skin. I'm sold. One bite down, 51 more to go!


Sharon Hermens said...

You are so funny!! I love the expressions on your face. I'm glad you found something you are satisfied with. It takes courage to step out of our (your) comfort zones and try something 'different' that satisfies our needs in life. You know I'm a follower not a leader. So, I'm not so sure I want to try this but I enjoy seeing and hearing about your quests in life and the results of your endevors. Ya never know till you try!

Anonymous said...

You were right, this idea sounds scary since I have so much thick hair! Especially since I have found magical powers in good ol' cheap Suave Professionals. Would Dawn work, too? When Momma was really poor she used to wash her hair with Dawn. Less chemicals in my bloodstream sounds good...but that would be my only reason to try this. ;)