I decided in July of this year that it was time to make a change. I’ve been watching my dad deal with cancer for a while and I guess that one day, I just saw one too many ingredient labels with unpronounceable items listed on them and snapped. I decided I was going to learn what all these things were and educate myself. What I found out was that prior to the second World War, shampoo and conditioner weren’t around. During the war, soaps were made with detergents because it was cheaper and more plentiful.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate/Sodium Laureth Sulfate
Sulfates are one of the ingredients that makes all the wonderful bubbles that we equate with clean hair. Why? Because the commercials tell us that, of course. What they don’t tell you is that sulfates cause cancer.
There are secondary conerns as well, stemming from ingredients that just aren’t good for you, like the silicone agents that don’t allow hair to breathe, and polysorbates that aren’t good for the skin.
So, I decided that I was going to try to lower my exposure to cancer causing ingredients wherever possible. I started googling and discovered an entire movement of people who have beaten me to it, so I started reading. I learned about things like the ph of hair, all different recipes for natural soaps and shampoos, the horrible detox period 😛 and about different hair types.
So, first things first: I gathered up all of my ‘beauty products’ for my hair. This is when I realized just how incredibly wasteful I had been. I have spent say $10 on a hair product, only to ‘not really care for it’ and never use it again. Over and over..product junkie. A big useless attempt to find something that would give me nice, thick, shiny hair like the other girls. Um, no. A word about my hair: yuck. I’ve always had crunchy dry, thin, easily breakable hair that would often turn into an afro on my head. And none of the products that I spent so much money on ever did a damn thing to change that. I had a very large box that I filled with stuff I had used and set aside.
The next step: The most horrible process ever. Detox.
This is where you don’t wash your hair with shampoo obviously because you are trying to get away from that. Usually, most ‘no poo-ers’ start with baking soda and apple cider vinegar. One thing you will find, apple cider vinegar features predominantly in the natural living world. It involves a tablespoon of baking soda (BS) to 16 oz of water. Hard water can be problematic, so use distilled if you need to. You work it through your hair..no bubbles!! *cries* Just pretend you have shampoo in your hand and do the exact same thing but with the BS. After working it through, rinse thoroughly<–VERY and then do the apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinse. Use 2 or 3 Tablespoons of ACV to 16 oz water and pour it on your head, working it in and letting it sit for a few. Yes, it smells like vinegar. After several minutes, rinse thoroughly<–VERY Once your hair is dry, it won’t smell like vinegar anymore.
Now for the most unpleasant part of the process..the detox period. This is a time period of anywhere from 1 week to 6 weeks where your hair is going to look like a giant greaseball. This is because all the detergents you used to use on your hair was overdrying it, so your scalp would produce more and more oil to compensate for what you were doing to it. Now you get to pay the price for a little bit. During the detox period your hair is shocked and it has to get used to producing less oil now that you aren’t overdrying it. Mine fortunately only lasted about 10 days, and beanies are a wonderful thing. You know, that was the first time in my entire life I had oily hair. After the detox period…well, I don’t have dry hair anymore *yay!* It still feels weird to not have tons of bubbles in my hair but I try to remember that it’s a ‘indoctrination’ residue: being told your whole life that something is a certain way so even at a subconscious level you believe it. This will pass. Eventually 🙂
In my next post, I will discuss other things relating to my no poo journey. Hopefully this has been educational for someone.