One thing I am quite passionate about is natural health, that is, strengthening the body via means outside of chemical methods and drugs. The same thought applies to what I put on my skin, whether it is lotions, makeup, cleansers and shampoo. Generally speaking, I want the assurance that for the most part (“generally speaking…for the most part”…wow, am I wishy-washy today) what I am using is nutritious and won’t upset my body’s self-healing and self-regulating ways that God in His wisdom formed to me in the womb.
My hair has taken up wayyyyy too much of my attention lately (see the last post!) and as a good friend once told me while I was struggling with hair *issues*, “it’s just hair. Whatever.” My trouble was that I knew what I wanted: soft, healthy, strong and shiny hair. What I had was coarse, dry-ended hair that came out too much in my hairbrush, and it felt that way even before I let the gray grow out. I knew that what I ate and drank made a difference and honestly could not come up with a change I thought was needful. I actually stopped to talk with people in grocery stores about their beautiful hair (one day I’m gonna have to write about the “stopping to talk with strangers” thing).
And then I read about “no poo.” I learned that shampoo hasn’t even been around more than half a century or so (how did people keep their hair clean before that?!), that it (along with other hair products) can put your hair on a cycle of drying it out (followed by conditioning) all of which upsets the natural balance and causes hair to be *yuk* sometimes within the very same day. And I had a friend that began her own journal to natural hair. And between Twitter messages we conspired to do the culturally-unacceptable with regards to our hair. Because when it comes to bucking the norm, we are peas in that friendly pod! (xo!)
I had already given up on conventional shampoo; I didn’t know what all of those 18-long words were and what they would do to my hair and scalp so I began making and using my own shampoo bars. Well, I will tell you that they worked just as well if not better than store-boughten shampoo and each bar was cheap to make, not to mention now I had no more plastic to deal with (look at me! I’m going green! Now that is “culturally acceptable”!)
But my hair still wasn’t soft, even though I was using an apple cider rinse, which did help.
So April 4th I used my shampoo bar for the very last time. And I let my hair go truly “au natural”. I kept my hair up most of the time and I remember that yes, it did go through a *yuk* stage of feeling greasy. I just kept reading experiences via blogs and trusted that my scalp would figure it out and stop producing so much oil. And, it DID.
After a couple of weeks, I did decide to try cleansing my hair of the extra oil with a small bowl of baking soda and water (to make a paste), and it felt pretty gritty as I tried to rub it into my scalp and hair. But wow when I washed it out and then rinsed with apple cider vinegar, everything was soft. I was incredulous. I also felt ripped off by the whole hair product industry.
After about 5 days or so, of “no poo” I went out in public for the first time. I was so self-conscious! I thought people would notice, but nothing was unusual. I actually had a friend once just lovingly (and unknowingly) comb her fingers through my hair like it was no big deal. The real test came at my hair cutting appointment several weeks later because this lady of decades of experience was going to rake her fingers through my hair. She said nothing amiss and when I shyly asked how my hair was feeling she said (and I kid you not), “Oh, it feels SO much better, less dry.” She said to just keep using what I was using; I was floored! And no, I did not tell her!
Other than my bloggy friend, I told no one, not even my husband (who wants to gross out their husband?!). Finally, well into 6 weeks later, I told him. He stared at me (like, *EW!*). I laughed because he admitted he had no clue all this time. Then he grabbed a fistful of my hair and buried his nose into it. I asked how it smelled. He said, “I dunno. Like hair.”
“Not dirty?” I asked.
“No. That’s so weird!” he said.
Since my little experiment, I’ve discovered that my wavy hair doesn’t really need more than a gentle cleanse more than once a week and I try to time it with a good sunny day to dry it naturally. I decided to buy a shampoo that smells delicious (and yes, it still has 18-letter long words in it but sometimes I am a sucker for a good natural scent) and it has lots of good oils in it. There are actually quite a lot of “no poo” hair products on the market that won’t strip your hair and scalp of needed oil balance. Right now I’m alternating this cleanser with my baking soda cleanse. At the rate I use it, it should last me at least a year!
So, I’m coming out of the hair closet. What I continue to learn is that what is “normal” for the time and society we are living isn’t necessarily necessary or prudent, and that truly, it is all right to pick and choose the parts of which you are going to participate in for reasons of your own. If that’s not intentional living, I don’t know what is.
Life is short. Live it to the glory of God!