Feb 8th. I didn’t plan on updating EVERY day, but here we are, I have updates. Today I felt totally gross. Though I STILL didn’t look gross. I credit the fact that I had already only been shampooing only once a week. So I used a normal amount of baking soda if not more, and when I could still feel the grease through the water, I dragged a bar of coconut oil soap once over my hair. I feel much better. Scarlet said my hair looked incredible. She’s going to try this too. And I’m thinking about how much fun it could be coming up with different food-based hair recipes. I’ve also noticed that my hair is not breaking in the shower. I used to have big nasty handfulls of broken hair in there, now I’m down to MAYBE one strand. This is a big deal. All of it is.
Feb 10th. No wash yesterday. My hair hasn’t gotten any greasier, but it hasn’t gotten any less greasy either. I added a vinegar rinse for the first time today but I didn’t notice any difference at all, and I think I was pretty generous with it. And it smelled awful, even though the smell was gone even before I got out of the shower. I’m just feeling a bit discouraged. I don’t feel like my hair is nice right now. Plus I need a hair cut, my roots suck, and my baking soda is not only years old, but I just figured out it’s baking powder, meaning it’s half cornstarch. This sucks.
(If you’re having trouble with the transition phase too, check out http://ecottached.blogspot.ca/2011/11/no-poo-day-two.html)
Fuck it. I got back in the shower for a second time and went nuts with the coconut oil soap, tons of vinegar, and a bit of conditioner. Tomorrow I’m going to go buy some REAL fresh baking soda, two spray bottles for my mixtures, essential oil, and a boar bristle brush. Persistence for the win. Montage!
Feb 11th. We went to walmart and I got everything I needed. The spray bottles could only be found in the gardening section, so they’re huge and fit at least 5 cups each. I put a few drops of clove essential oil in the “conditioner” to dilute the vinegar smell. It worked, it smells totally weird, but much better. Then I thought what the hell, I’ll put some in my “shampoo” too. I’m excited to try this out, but my hair doesn’t need it, so I’m going to leave it alone for now.
What I realized though is that having this stuff in spray bottles instead of squirt bottles is genius. I wanted spray bottles to make sure I was applying it evenly, and not using any more than I needed. Not wanting to wash my hair until it really needs it again, but still wanting to try it in some way, I just lightly sprayed them on my dry hair. It turns out my notion that this might be a great refresher in between washes was right. I thought it was far fetched, but my hair just perked right up. My ends are also noticeably softer from the vinegar for the first time. I have no idea why it suddenly worked. And now I smell like clove!
For more about the benefits of apple cider vinegar, see http://www.naturalnews.com/038131_apple_cider_vinegar_hair_treatment.html
Feb 12th. I don’t know if it’s because I slept with baking soda in my hair, but I woke up feeling NO GREASE for the first time in two weeks. All I felt was a lot of baking soda, but my hair looked fabulous right out of bed. Consequently I didn’t feel the need to wash it, but I did anyway to get the baking soda out. When I felt a bit of grease through the water, I used a dab of coconut oil soap. I sprayed the bottom half liberally with the vinegar mix as a leave-in conditioner. Oh. My. God. I can’t believe this, my hair feels normal. But it feels better than normal, it feels amazing. No grease, no grime, no baking soda residue, just thick, super soft hair. I can’t believe it. The transition phase didn’t last very long, but it felt like forever, and I think I’m actually out of the woods. My hair looks and feels awesome. Between the baking soda, vinegar, and red dye, it’s worthy of me saying that I care for it with a volcano of epic-ness.
Epilogue of sorts: I dyed my hair on the 13th and 15th with no wash, just water and vinegar after to seal in the color. I didn’t wash my hair again until the 18th, because I had a hair cut. But I totally could have gone longer. Everything is going great.
So let me break down my trial and error for you into what really worked for me. What you’ll need:
-2 spray bottles
-Non-expired baking soda
-Apple cider vinegar
-Essential oil of your choice
-A boar bristle brush to move the oil from the roots to the tips and make it shine
-Natural sulfate-and-detergent-free soap or shampoo bar to get you through those really tough moments.
Total cost to me: About 35$ for absolutely everything, that will last me a year or more. But it’s quite possible you already have these things in your house, making it virtually free.
Mix one tablespoon of baking soda for each cup of water (you can choose to use distilled water, or boiled and cooled if your water is hard) in one bottle, and between 1 tablespoon per cup and half and half of vinegar and water, depending on your hair needs, into the second bottle. I didn’t even pay attention to the ratio I used, I think it was about 1/5. Add about one drop of essential oil for each cup or two to each bottle. Keep in mind the benefits and/or aromatherapy qualities of each. In the shower, scrub the roots well to lift any dirt and grease, and use a bit of natural soap if you’re feeling desperate during the transition phase.
There is definitely a learning curve to this. Aside from the transition phase, it takes some time to learn what works best for you, as far as the ratios of your ingredients etc. Contrary to what seems to work for most people, I’ve been finding that this works best for me when I spray baking soda on my hair a day before washing, using a bit of a higher ratio than recommended, and apply more and scrub and rinse the next day. The vinegar is also by far the most effective for me when used as a leave-in. So even when the transition is over you might need to experiment before you get the best results. When I did things the “normal” way, I found my hair returned to being stringy, greasy-ish, and a bit crunchy. Using my sprays on dry hair mostly fixed how bad it looked and felt when it was getting pretty bad, and when I washed a day later things were fine again. I had to do a month of trial and error before things worked themselves out.
The transition phase varies widely, I’ve heard everything from none to a few months. The most common seems to be approaching 2 weeks. Just hang in there, use ponytails, bandannas, hats, or snoods when you need to. And remember it totally does get better. You can do it!
On the 25th, I’ll answer the million dollar question – Does no ‘poo work on dyed hair? Find out soon!