I know when to admit it.
I admit it.
I am defeated.
It’s the baking soda. And the vinegar. But mostly the baking soda.
The poo-free experiment is over. Thank you for playing. It was a long three weeks.
Some time last week the Man asked me if I was ready to throw in the proverbial towel. The dialogue went something like this:
Man: So are you ready to use shampoo again?
Man: It’s ok to say something didn’t work. It gives you credibility.
Me: I’m not giving up yet. I’m tweaking the recipe.
Man: Well I think it’s pretty clear why people use shampoo. It’s kind of easier…
Me: I’m tweaking the recipe. It’s going to work.
Yeah. No. It’s not.
I should say the poo-free experiment worked out ok for him. His hair is soft and really feels fantastic to me. My hair though? Not so much. The main issue is that because of the length of my hair (long-ish) and the fact that’s it’s already on the dry side (except the scalp which is oily) I can’t seem to get it to stabilize. Either I put something like coconut oil on it and it’s a greasy slick or I don’t and it’s dry as hay. Neither of which is very attractive.
This is not to say that I couldn’t continue to tweak and fiddle and make it work. This is just to say, I’m not going to.
It was yesterday that I committed myself to de-committing myself.
It was 10:30 am. I had just showered. My hair looked bad. My scalp itched. I couldn’t get a brush through my formerly lovely locks. We exchanged looks. It was understood. I mentioned to the Man that I had seen what I thought was a nice organic alternative (not containing sodium laureth sulfate, the key chemical offender in most shampoos/detergents) at Whole Foods. For $10 per 13 oz bottle (both shampoo and conditioner, which I clearly need). This is about three times what I was paying for Pantene and it’s in a plastic bottle. So fail on those counts. Baking soda and vinegar, $.50 per week probably. But again, cost was not my primary motivator and lo and behold Walmart carries the SAME brand. Avalon organics. The Walmart price is a smidge less at $6.47 per bottle.
And taking a shower.
My hair looked bad last night and I said to the Man, “How’s my hair look?” (It looked bad. I knew it.)
He said, “Not bad.” I said, “Really, it’s looks bad you can say so.” He said, “Yeah it looks a little like straw.” I said, “I can’t wait to wash my hair.”
I never wanted to wash my hair so badly in my life.
I had dreams about shampoo. (Not really. I only had a dream about having to be a clothing model and not fitting in the clothing and not remembering how to apply lipstick. It’s got nothing to do with this post but I think you can sense I have some issues with clothing at present.)
This morning I did yoga for a bit. I would have done it longer if I didn’t want to wash my hair so bad.
Then I washed my hair.
I wanted to luxuriate in the silky softness of conditioner and the sweet smell of lavender.
But the baby was screaming.
So I just hurried up and washed and conditioned and got out of the shower. Then I laid down with the baby to nurse her (and stop the screaming) and she fell right to sleep.
And I fell right to sleep. With wet hair. For like 20 minutes.
I woke up when I heard the Man coming up the stairs. “Crap I’m getting your pillow all wet. And now my hair is going to to look bad.”
Now it’s soft but looks awful anyway.
Better luck tomorrow I guess.
Well, in the spirit of honesty I’m going to honestly tell you what I think about being shampoo-free.
First let’s review:
*Two weeks ago, I went poo-free (the Man followed shortly after)
*We did this in the interest of being more eco-aware and chemical free (and it’s cheap, which is a nice feature)
*We also did this as an experiment because we like to use ourselves as subjects of research but you know, not the dangerous scientific kind where we might be scarred or permanently damaged
*We did this because shampoo is a detergent, much like tide, and washing your hair with tide sounds like a bad idea. Probably.
* I personally did this because I was intrigued by the idea that ceasing the use of the artificial things in shampoo would make my hair actually look better.
Yeah, so far, not so much.
Be ye not dismayed.
I will not go into the dark night (with shampoo).
My hair looks well… not HORRIBLE but not great, I’m not going to lie. The ends are dry, the scalp is… well let’s just say not dry and there is about a 2 inch section in between that is perfect. Well crap. You should know I’ve been growing my hair out for what seems like about 13 years. In reality it’s only been a couple but my hair grows that slow. For this reason I am abysmally bad at getting regular haircuts. I gave myself an ends trim last week in fact. But, despite the fact that I do very little to my hair, aside from washing and letting air dry (with the occasional use of a heated styling tool), it is bipolar. Which is to say the scalp is quite oily (ala my face) and the ends are quite dry. And the resulting attempt to balance these out often fails. Miserably. Even with the use of innumerable styling products. I refuse to cut my hair for this reason. Not happening.
However, I have hope. For I have been told there is an ‘adjustment’ period of a couple of weeks to a couple of months. I do not know what this means. I hope it doesn’t mean my hair is going to look like this for two months because I. Would. Cry. Since the Man is gone to the bay I’m experimenting this week. Today: Less baking soda. More vinegar. So far it’s looking pretty good. I think.
I’ll keep you posted.
The other thing I’m starting this week is the oil cleansing method (for faces).
I am doing this because it seems logical. Oil dissolves oil. Also oil is a moisturizer. And oil doesn’t cause acne, dirt causes acne. And acne is why most people obsess over their face. Also oil contains no chemicals. Which is what all this business was about in the first place.
But don’t trust me to tell you about it. Read about it here. I’m doing this on a week when the Man is gone because, despite what I have read in like 87 internet sources, I am terrified that my face is going to break out like a teenager. Which it has at least once a month since I became one so many many years ago. My face is that oily. Like really oily. Monumentally oily. Epically oily.
Anyway, oils vary in their comedogenic-ness (that is the pore clogging likeliness) so I chose one low on that scale. Sunflower, mixed with castor, in about a 70/30 ratio respectively (purchased at Whole Foods). I added a few drops of peppermint oil because I like it. I have heard of some using just plain oil without the castor but again this makes me fear a breakout as the castor acts as a cleansing agent. So that’s what I’m doing. You can use extra virgin olive oil if you can’t find sunflower (which is not always readily available). I also have some tea-tree oil which I may add because it is a great antiseptic. Not yet though. So I started with this yesterday. Rubbed it all over my face before bed (trying to enjoy the massage while the Man bounced the crying baby, not very effective). Got a washrag nice and steamy hot and washed it off (like 3 times) and… My face is absolutely not oily. At. All.
I’m freaking out.
Don’t worry I’ll be ok.
So what about skin in general…
Again in the spirit of complete honesty you can’t count on me to tell you what I really think. I have always had an oily face. The hormonal breakouts I suffered as a teen I typically tried to cover with various makeup (to no avail). My father, in his hippie-like spirit, begged me to cease the use of all products but I refused.
Turns out he might have on to something. Despite mineral makeup (and every other kind of makeup) saying that they won’t clog your pores, I think they probably do. In fact, I think all the cosmetic companies may actually be working together to take your money.
Wear makeup to look beautiful.
Uh oh. Now your pores are a clogged up mess and you have acne.
OK. Use this product to cure your acne.
Uh oh too dry? Use this product as a moisturizer.
Etc. etc. etc.
Makeup made my face look worse. It’s a cycle. It makes you feel like you look better but it is damaging your skin and thus making your skin look worse? That’s my theory. I’m no expert (except on pie).
As an adult my acne did not improve to my dismay. In fact in some ways it got worse. I began having some cystic type acne in the typical hormonal areas (cheeks and chin). I was seeking solutions. Around three or so years ago I began wearing less makeup, and then less makeup, and around two years ago makeup for special occasions (like date night kind of special) and then zero (except for our wedding). I pay attention to my skin, but in a different way. And here’s what I noticed, I apologize if you don’t like this answer.
My dad was right.
Well we are a week poo-free. OK it’s been 7 days. I started last Tuesday. That’s a week right? Thanks for joining us on this adventure in green living.