Baby Steps post about 'no shampoo?' I have decided to give it a go! Today was the first day! I have already discovered that I was not entirely correct when I applied my baking soda. For those of you who are just now catching up with us, you can read more about using natural cleansing agents for your hair in this lovely post from my Blessed Country Mom friend! I recommend you read her links as well! In her posts she comments about the fact that not much advice on 'no poo' exists for those with curly hair.......well!
Enter: yours truly! I am the curly-q'd cleanse your hair with baking soda and apple cider vinegar guinea pig. I am sure other curlies have done the same but I can't seem to find info on the subject. Soooo in addition to attaching photos I will also be giving detailed instructions and post my findings. ie: what worked for me, what didn't...that kind of thing! I am treating this like a recipe. I figure everyone has different hair so what works for me may not work for you, but if I can provide details and advice through trial and error then you can tweak things to suit your taste! The basic idea is to use baking soda on your scalp for clarifying and deodorizing which is especially important at first because we have years of build-up and chemicals on our hair from regular shampoo, conditioner and styling products. Then you pour vinegar on your hair and rinse. Most info says to pour a diluted amount on just the ends. * I am thus far annoyed because I can't seem to find specifics. I am sooooo type A (as if you couldn't already tell) and I NEED details. I am also very visual so if at all possible I will attempt to upload a video of the process once I have finalized the 'recipe' and it has achieved greatness!!
The first time I used the soda/vinegar on my hair was yesterday. I couldn't seem to find whether or not you wet your hair prior to massaging the scalp with the baking soda paste so my executive decision was to do it dry. I was wrong. Definitely wet your hair first! The only 'amount' information I could find said about a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with enough water for a paste so that's what I did. It was not enough. I was only able to really massage around the edges and I didn't have time to get more because I was working on nap time, which is currently quite limited!! So I just jumped in the shower and rinsed. I then poured undiluted apple cider vinegar on my ends. I decided not to dilute because my hair is very dry and the only reason for diluting is to avoid getting too oily. I don't have this problem, my hair needs lots of moisture as I think most curls do. Don't expect the process to be anything like your showers were before. Your hair feels gritty and weird until you rinse everything out! No suds! ~ This is really important: when I was explaining this process to Kyle, he said "So you put the baking soda on, then you do the vinegar and let everything fizz and do it's thing then you rinse?" NO NO NO (though I was laughing hysterically) Please do NOT make a science project of your hair and apply the soda and vinegar at the same time. You don't need a volcanic eruption in your shower! Soda-Rinse-Vinegar-Rinse!
Ok, back to the hair. After the shower my hair was really dry feeling and my scalp was very itchy. Now my hair is not incredibly healthy anyway. Post-partum fallout and hormone shifts have made it a bit brittle and dry. Regular shampoo and conditioner mask this but they don't fix the problem. I am trying to FIX the problem now so there will be a grace period. The itchiness is not unusual regardless of what I use to cleanse my hair. It wasn't frizzy which is good but it was not maneageable. I didn't last very long before I threw it up in a pony! It also still smelled of my other shampoo/conditioner so I knew I didn't cleanse very well.
Take two! I decided to try again this morning. I ended up using about 2 Tbs of baking soda with enough water to make a paste. I put it in a measuring cup and then got in the shower. I wet my hair and applied the paste with my fingers. This time I had enough for my entire scalp and it was much easier to apply on a wet head. I did have some problems trying to move some of my hair in order to get underneath to the scalp but I also have this problem with shampoo. Curls don't always cooperate! :-) It was still very gritty and I ended up getting more on my hair than I probably should have so it felt dry. After rinsing, I poured undiluted apple cider vinegar on my entire head instead of just the ends. I know my hair and applying to just the ends is not going to work. This may change once my natural oil balance is restored but at the present moment, my entire head of hair was doused with vinegar! (I do know that some people just absolutely cannot stand the smell of vinegar so I have other options at the end of this post!) This time my hair felt softer after rinsing out the vinegar. I also noticed that it dried faster. Now, my hair is a very fine texture as opposed to the coarse texture that a lot of people with curls have so I don't know if this will make a difference with the final result. I combed it and let it air dry. I did not shape my curls at all or apply any kind of styling substance.
Please ignore my EX to the HAUSTED face k!?! :-) My hair actually had more volume and body than it usually does if I let it dry the same way with shampoo/conditioner. Again, air dried with no shaping or styling products. I asked the husband to do a smell test and he said it didn't smell like anything, just clean. The vinegar smell will linger a bit until it dries completely but then it is gone. My scalp stopped itching once my hair dried also. This is new! My scalp pretty much always itches even if I use a clarifying shampoo so I am excited about that! Ok, so there you have the trial run! Obviously not 'date hair' but I wanted to see what the result of all naturale compared to before. I will keep you updated and include all my findings! I am excited to see how long the grace period will be for me. I expect it to be longer than usual because of the curls. We shall find out!
Some other things you could use to cleanse your hair naturally can be found here. There is an option with liquid castille soap that looks easy. The only thing about castille soap is that, it is soap. There might be build up with that as well. So I am going to try and stick to the baking soda and vinegar thing because your hair will start to self regulate and your skin will adjust the oils accordingly. There are also lots of homemade and natural concoctions for styling your hair. I will experiment with those once I feel my hair and scalp have regulated. Coconut milk and avocado make good conditioners! This could be fun!!
In order to evenly distribute the natural oils of your head, most people brush with a natural bristle brush. This is not a vegan option as most are made from boar. I am unaware of whether there is a vegan brush that will do the same thing but I did come across an article about using a washcloth in a similar way. You rub the washcloth on your wet hair (or wet the cloth and use on your dry hair) 100 times on both sides, scalp to ends. I got to 60 before I became annoyed! lol I will continue and see if it makes a difference though!
In other fun natural body care news; I used coconut oil to moisturize my entire body....including my face!!! This is day two of the coconut oil and my skin feels fantastic! My midwife first mentioned coconut oil as a moisturizer when I had my son. I was looking for something natural that would be strong enough to combat eczema, which both of my kids have. My son's skin was still dry so I gave up and used some other lotions. However, I figured out the problem! I need to use virgin coconut oil!
Can I just tell you how much brighter my mood has been just from using this stuff! My skin is always dry and itchy which thoroughly annoying and this fixed that little problem immediately! It also smells like the beach when you are applying.....and well, I need something that reminds me of the beach in this dreadful midwest weather! Though once the oil is absorbed, the smell goes away! Actually, I read the back of the jar and there were 'bodycare' instructions! :-D They also said you could apply the melted oil to your hair, let sit and then rinse! Let me know if you give it a try!!! You are probably thinking I am crazy for using this on my face, but it works so well!!! If you have excess oil on your face, you have dry skin. It sounds like an oxymoron but it's true. Your skin will overproduce oil to compensate for the lack of moisture it is given. Instead of quenching it's thirst, most people scrub more and apply less moisture to their face and then the cycle continues. Moisturizing is the best thing you can do for the skin on your face ~ even those with acne! My face is no exception, I get shiny an oily just like everyone else but I used the coconut oil yesterday and my face was smooth, soft and not at all greasy even hours later! I did the same this morning and the clarity has improved as well! A little goes a loooooong way so this is a cost effective option also. Though, I am not sure you should get it too close to your eyes! It is also very important to exfoliate. You can read a bit about dry brushing if you like. However, I don't have a body brush and I have limited time. So after I applied the vinegar to my hair in the shower, I let it sit while I exfoliated with a washcloth. I started with my face. The washcloth was only wet, not soap. Then I washed with castille soap (yes, even on my face!) I currently have lavender scented liquid castille soap but I think the bar might actually be easier. Rinse everything and dry. You're ready for coconut oil!!!
So, let me know if you give this a try or find other natural products you like! Also, this recent adventure made me sacrifice the time I would normally spend cleaning. My house is a mess so I feel like my posts are going to be more sporadic than they used to be but hopefully things will settle down soon! (ie: the kids start sleeping!!!!) Have a fabulous day!