Several months ago, I shared how I found myself having to come to terms with my life-long straight hair being declared curly and that in order to manage the dryness that comes with curly hair I threw out the shampoo and conditioner bottles and embraced the more natural method of hair cleansing… otherwise known as “no-poo.” (Looks like I finally embraced the term as well.)
Surprisingly, that has become one of my most popular posts. (Figures since it was pretty embarrassing to admit.) I have tried to answer everyone’s questions as best as possible in the comments, but if you are just stumbling across the post, filtering through them all to see if your question was already addressed can be daunting. Today I’m sharing an update as well as compiling all of the questions here for ease of access.
It’s been over eight months since I began experimenting on my head with all-natural hair care and I’m happy to report that I have NOT been following my own method this entire time.
An odd statement to make, but I’m glad that during the first trimester of my current pregnancy, I seemed to lack the mental clarity to remember to refill my bottles before I got in the shower. Thankfully, there was an old bottle of my shampoo up on the ledge for situations just such as this and I resorted to using it most days my hair needed washed for many weeks.
During that time, my hair became increasingly difficult to untangle and surprisingly greasier and greasier. Oddly enough, it also began falling out, which anyone who has ever been pregnant knows that during that time, you’re hair is supposed to be at it’s most luxurious only to begin losing it all during your postpartum period.
Once I realized that I had to stop shampooing again, my hair was instantly manageable again! Sadly, I’m still losing hair so in all fairness, I won’t attribute it to the shampoo (unless it was the catalyst.)
I’ve come to appreciate the flexibility from routine this method of hair care affords. With the busy harvesting and canning season followed by my bi-annual sewing marathon having just come to a close, I do realize I’ve been neglecting caring for my curls as much as I should and more often than not I am adding a day or two between washes and resort to wrapping it up in a bun and noticing no adverse effects. I’m sure that any mother can appreciate not having to be a slave to her hair!
Another observation I’ve made is that I’ve really come to associate the scent of the apple cider vinegar rinse with cleanliness. I know that losing the perfumed scent of our shampoo and conditioner is a major consideration for those contemplating making the switch to a natural hair care routine and I found this to be encouraging!
Finally, I did run into one issue that I just have to mention…. it turns out that I’m not the only one who enjoys the scent of the apple cider vinegar rinse for in the peak of fruit fly season I found that I once neglected to secure the plug on the bottle and which admitted access to dozens of the little insects who were floating dead inside. I wish I was more observant and had noticed before I had squirted half of it on my head. Wasn’t feeling too clean that day I’ve got to say.
Now onto your questions….
Is the baking soda rinse is in place of shampoo and the apple cider vinegar rinse in in place of conditioner?
My dry itchy scalp issues were localized and I believe that I was just using my fingers to massage a bit of the gel into the scalp. Despite the name, this aloe vera gel really isn’t like a gel at all and is quite watery, massages in nicely, and dries quickly. So I was simply applying it to the dry hair (or wet after a “shampooing”) and it was drying with no problems (like residual greasiness etc.). My hair is pretty thick too and using my fingertips to get under the hair and in to the scalp worked nicely. If you were going to blow dry your hair I don’t know that I wouldn’t apply it after the drying to make sure that you’re not wasting your time and money on the aloe vera in case using the blow dryer reduced it’s efficacy.
Is the tea tree oil just for scent or to help kill the itches?
Tea Tree Oil is amazing! If you don’t like the scent, you really should cut it with mint and get used to it. It functions as an antiviral, antifungal, antiseptic, and antibacterial. It can be used against scabies, mites, and lice. For your hair, it will work to combat dandruff and cradle cap. A 2% solution (defunct link) (that would be about 40 drops for my quart sized ACV rinse) will unclog glands, clear dead cells, and allow your natural oils to flow.
How much does the citrus hairspray lighten your hair in the summer?
I imagine that since the citrus is cut with water instead of being 100%, it wouldn’t be as much as you might expect. That said, I have discontinued using the citrus hairspray for a time because I suspected that it was having a drying effect on my hair. Once I get some more time on my hands, I intend to try it again, because it is much more frugal than purchasing commercial hair spray and I thought it worked just as well.
Do you cut your own hair?
I used to and was just as pleased with the results as I was with any salon cut I ever paid too much money for. For those interested in learning to cut your own hair following the method that I used, here is a description or a wonderful video demonstration. It’s been years since I cut my hair more than once or twice a year and since I don’t do a great deal of damaging styling or coloring and my hair is generally long, any more frequently hasn’t been necessary… even if it was in my budget. I’m admittedly nervous about cutting curly hair and have been seriously contemplating investing in a Deva Curl haircut despite it’s rumored cost.
You mentioned a scripture passage and that you had learned from it, 1 Cor. 11? This is a journey that I have walked, so I was wondering what you think?
I don’t think there are any hard and fast rules (length standards or styles etc.) I just believe that, like with the skirt issue, we ladies are to accept the way we were created and look like ladies. That our style and hair should be distinctively feminine. My children look at photos of me from my pixie cut days and think that I was a boy because my hair was so short. And I don’t want to be walking in public and someone has to look at my chest for gender identification.
I also think we should take into account our husbands preferences, and mine likes my hair really long. I need to find balance though because I have a lot of hair and it can get really heavy in a bun and I’ll get headaches.
A final thought- I have no desire whatsoever to have a trendy hairstyle. I try to find what I’m comfortable with and what works for me and stick with it until it doesn’t any more. (I’m in this searching stage right now. ) I don’t want to intentionally conform to this world even in appearance and I’d like our Christian identity to be reflected in our appearance even to those who we don’t ever meet or get to know like at a store.
When I first heard of the “no-poo” method of hair care, it was from a fellow blogger who was combatting oily hair. And her hair is lovely and straight. You can read about her experience here. If you have oily/greasy hair, I would leave the honey out of the apple cider vinegar rinse… it’s a humectant and will function to preserve moisture in the hair.
Another thing that I’ve noticed over the past year that ladies with oilier hair will have to be on the look out for is to resist the temptation to add too much baking soda to the wash. I know it’s easy to think that if a little bit works so well, I’ll double it and get results more quickly 🙂 But what I’ve noticed on those days where I’ve mixed it up without really measuring the baking soda and I added in a little extra just in case I was off was that the water will become over-saturated with baking soda. Those weeks even my dry hair suddenly becomes unmanageably oily. At that point, I skip the baking soda wash the following week and just use ACV on the wash days and my hair will return to normal.
How often do you wash your hair?
I wash my hair twice a week, on Tuesdays and Saturdays. On Tuesday, I will use both the Baking Soda Cleanser and the Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse and only the Rinse on Saturdays. If I’m feeling particularly grimy from a busy day in the barnyard or garden, I won’t hesitate to use the cleanser more often.
How do you dry it? & I was wondering what “plopping” is?
I have tried blow drying my curly hair (with NO success), air-drying my hair (with mixed results), and by the most favorable, comfortable, and least time consuming (since you sleep anyway) is plopping. Plopping is simply a specific method of wrapping your hair up in a long sleeved t-shirt and leaving it up to dry. (See the link for a video tutorial.)
If your hair is curly and you’re trying to avoid frizz (which you are of course), it’s never a good idea to use a regular terrycloth towel for drying. The material just encourages frizz. Try a microfiber one instead.
On the days that you DO NOT “wash” what do you do with your hair? Do you brush? Comb? Wet it? HELP!
As I mentioned earlier, I have had several weeks where I wasn’t always able to get my hair washed on both days. I chronicled what I did with my hair for nearly a week while only washing on Day One.
Day One: Freshly washed and plopped… I used gel prior to plopping and a bit of hairspray to arrange it once dry.
Day Two: I ran my fingers through to comb it, wet some of the ends and used some hairspray to arrange it.
Day Three: I put my hair up to try and get some “headband curls.” I originally saw this technique on a youtube video, but she is charging $30!! for it now and so I can’t share it with you. In a nutshell, you put a headband over the top of your hair (and under your bangs if you have them), scrunching up your waves or curls around the crown. Begin by taking sections of your hair, small or large, around your face and wrapping them up, over, and under the headband so that it ends up back down with the rest of your hair. Continue in the same fashion around towards the center back and then begin over on the other side by your face. You can do this for overnight and take it out in the morning, but I used a thin headband that matched my hair and I thought it made a lovely updo for the day. You can do this with wet or dry hair, but if your hair is dry like mine was, it works best if you spritz it with a bit of water and hairspray or gel first.
Day Four:Remove the headband in the morning and style your curls. They hold really well so there is not need to be timid with them.
Day Five:A bun
Day Six: The bun on day five makes for a wavy ponytail on day six.
Thanks to everyone who commented with your experiences with all-natural hair care as well as tips, tricks, and suggestions. They have been so interesting and helpful! I was greatly encouraged to learn that I’m not the only one who doesn’t shampoo her hair anymore!