on hair, weddings, and the combined challenge of the two

HELLO, I HAVE RISEN FROM THE DEAD.

Just kidding, it’s only been five months since my last post. This isn’t even my longest hiatus! I am so terrible at this. Blogging, I mean. Writing consistently in general. I bought a journal like a year and a half ago and I’ve filled 8 pages in it. Out of 250+ pages. But I digress. The real reason I’m showing my face here again is to talk about the literal bane of my existence: my hair.

First things first: I have great hair. I’m probably the vainest person I know because I’m actually in awe of how great my own hair is. It’s long and thick and I can literally do nothing with it and it’ll look awesome all day. This is wonderful for when I don’t want to get out of bed until five minutes before class starts, or for when all I have to do to get it looking presentable for church is put two (2) bobby pins in.

But I’m facing a unique challenge in this stage of my life called all-my-friends-are-getting-married. This in itself isn’t a challenge, since I love the concept of marriage and I fully endorse every couple I know who’s looking to tie the knot this summer. (By the way, that’s 43 couples. I’ve been keeping a list since January of all the couples I know who are engaged. 43.) I’ve been invited to 10 weddings already and I’m going to at least 8 of them. This, again, isn’t a challenge because anyone who knows me knows that I love weddings. Love them. Everything about weddings makes me happy and I will shed tears to illustrate just how happy I am about everything (and maybe a few tears for my perpetual singleness, but I’m learning to be ok with that, and anyway the vast majority are tears of joy at seeing so many beautiful things at once). Seriously, everything is beautiful at a wedding. The bride. The groom. The vows. The looks on their faces as they gaze awkwardly and lovingly into each other’s eyes. The people in the congregation who are there to celebrate the couple. The decorations. The food. The cake. The awkward MCs at the reception (I get to be one of those awkward MCs in just two weeks!). The cringeworthy open mics. The newlywed’s first dance. Literally everything is beautiful. I love&adore weddings.

While weddings themselves are not a challenging experience, however, my individual journey to get to that wedding is an ultra challenge. I don’t mean the physical trip, because all I have to do is hop in a car and drive. I mean the getting ready.

Choosing what to wear isn’t that big of a deal since I only own like three dresses, so I’ll just rotate them around. Also I feel literally no shame at people seeing me wearing the same thing twice, which is good because 7 of the weddings I’m going to this summer are Millar weddings, which means the guest lists will have huge overlap. So you’re going to see that bright yellow dress again, Millar folk. Mark my words.
Makeup is also not that big of a challenge since I’m pretty adept at doing my own and I’m also comfortable going without. Also summer is the best because half of what goes into my normal routine can literally metaphorically be tossed in the trash. Tinted moisturizer? Bronzer? I’m already bronze! Holla @ the sun for keeping my face glowing for at least four months out of the year.

Wardrobe, check. Makeup, check. The only thing left is…

hair. Mine is voluminous and wavy and totally inappropriate for any occasion more formal than a Sunday morning church service. Like I said, it’s great for the day-to-day, but not so great for everything else. It’s a blessing and a curse. A double-edged follicle. If I straighten my hair it looks better because at least it’s sleek, but it still doesn’t look formal. For the past two years, this girl from Millar named Carolyn has done my hair for grad and it always looks amazing. I look like a fairy princess. I feel like a fairy princess. This year for grad she did some sort of wizardry where she put my hair in a ponytail, curled small strands around her fingers, and then pinned those curls to my head. Then she put flowers in the whole thing! It looked amazing and while she was working her magic I was thinking, “This seems simple. I could probably do this myself.” How wrong I was.

Two days ago I realized that I need to figure out something to do with my hair so I stood in front of a mirror and tried for four hours to make my hair resemble anything other than a tumbleweed. It was a fruitless attempt. I tried to do Carolyn’s thing and it looked like a literal birds nest. Props to you, Carolyn. I have no idea how you do it. You are a grade-A wizard. I searched easy updos for incompetent people in google (those were my actual search terms), but even those hairstyles were too complex. So then I thought “Well I’ll just curl the ends then! That always looks formal,” but surprise! I can’t use a curling wand. After four hours of frustration, ruined bobby pins, broken hair elastics, and slightly singed fingers, I gave up. Only to try again yesterday. And again today. With the same results.

Don’t all girls know how to curl hair? I always thought that it was secret knowledge imparted to all girls when they reached the age of sixteen. But I was so wrong! Or at least I didn’t catch the secret. Maybe I just missed the knowledge-imparting, because it seems that every other girl I know has no problem curling her own hair, her friends’ hair, her dogs hair, her Barbie’s hair. But I have no idea. It’s a miracle that I can even straighten my hair.
These past three days of trying to do something nice with my hair have made me infinitely more grateful that God blessed me with easy towel-dry-and-go kind of hair, so that I can walk through my life without everyone realizing that I don’t know how to do hair. I have fooled everyone. They think I’m competent. How wrong they are.

So if you see Hagrid at your wedding this summer and you’re certain you didn’t invite him, don’t recheck the guest list. It’s not him. It’s me.

10628265_10204927992177026_1572530673239528312_n

“But wouldn’t your hair look sleek and shiny if you brushed it?” 

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what even are shampoo

It’s now been over two months since the last time I used shampoo and I totally don’t even miss it. I’ve already talked about it a bit [a lot, let’s be real] in my first post and my one month update so this shouldn’t be super long but it probably will be.

In my last post I mentioned that I had started using oatmeal as a cleanser and that it seemed to be working as a standalone product. After using it for another week, however, I realized that although my hair was ultra soft and voluminous, it was looking greasy. So oatmeal ≠ shampoo. So I considered using baking soda again. I used baking soda for the first few days of this experiment but discarded it because it dried out my hair with nothing to counteract it. But I figured that since I have the oats as a conditioner, the baking soda might be more effective than it was last time. I was right. The baking soda cleansed my scalp and left my hair looking and feeling great. I didn’t use the oatmeal on my scalp at all, instead focusing it on the ends of my hair [shoulders and down]. The results were perf!

So I used that combination twice in the first week of June, and then I didn’t use it again for exactly one week. I rinsed with hot water every day and scrubbed at my scalp with my fingertips, but that was it. No baking soda, no oatmeal, nothing except water and scrubbing. And it lasted me quite well for that week. It was only on that last day that my hair started to look greasy; for the previous six days it had been absolutely fine. So on that last day I used my BS&O combination and it was back to looking perf. And that was all very well and good.

I had knee surgery about two weeks ago now, on June 18th, and following the surgery there was a period of six days where I didn’t shower at all. Not even hot water rinses. I think that’s understandable given the circumstances I found myself in but my hair got super greasy and I was so excited when I could finally stand long enough to take a shower and wash my hair. So now I’ve had two week-long stints of not washing my hair, except that one of them ended up in my hair looking fine and the other ended in my pillow collecting grease at night. The difference was definitely in the water rinses. Now that I can stand with some surety of not falling over, I’m trying to water rinse every couple of days so I don’t look like a swamp thing. It’s working pretty well.

So yeah. For the last month I’ve been using baking soda and colloidal oatmeal and it looks like I’ll be sticking with it for the foreseeable future. I don’t have a picture for you this time [wat] but if you have a good imagination, look at the picture from the first post and add about an inch of hair. Yeah you heard me. An inch.

[currently listening: cold war kids//fashionable]

still not using shampoo

May 26 marked one month since the last time I used shampoo. Tomorrow will mark one month since the first time I put baking soda in my hair, and you can read all about that transformative first step here. And I know, I said I wouldn’t post another update until the end of June, but I’m updating now. Ha.

That first post ended with me complaining about how dry my hair was after those first two baking soda rinses so the next day I started looking for how to fix that dryness. I found a lot more blogger moms talking about adjusting your ratio of baking soda to water but that didn’t satisfy me. But then I found this post at the Road to 31 which basically highlights the dryness problem I’d been having and some different solutions for it. Contained within is a list of different household ingredients and their benefits for the hair and scalp. It’s so great! I’m geeking out about a mom blog! What even am I!

So anyway. Because of this post, I actually haven’t used baking soda since those initial two days [except for two separate weekends when I was away from home and decided that BS would be easier to pack up than the recipe I was using at the time]. For the month of May, ending yesterday, I used an egg mixture instead! My recipe was similar to the one listed at the end of the above link with the exclusion of some of the conditioning ingredients.

Shampoo:
2 egg whites
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp cocoa
dilute with cold water

Conditioner:
2 egg yolks
a few drops of vanilla extract
1 tbsp honey
dilute with milk or cold water

Or, when I was feeling lazy [which is usually]:
2 eggs
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp cocoa
a few drops of vanilla extract
dilute with milk or cold water

So I used this for a 26 day period. I didn’t wash my hair every day, probably more like every 3 days. My hair didn’t look greasy and it was super soft. My friends didn’t believe me when I told them I washed my hair with eggs. HOWEVER. There were issues. My hair didn’t look greasy, but it felt sort of waxy especially near the roots. I noticed that my roots at the back of my head started to look greasy after a couple of weeks, despite washing them consistently. Interestingly enough, the roots at the top of my head never looked greasy, which is especially exciting when you take into consideration that my idea of a hairstyle is pushing my hair straight back from my face. In retrospect, however, I attribute this to the bottom half of my scalp producing much finer hair than the top half, which means that they would look greasier faster. But even on wash days they never quite looked clean. I half attribute this to still being in that ‘transition period’, but it also makes me question the effectiveness of egg.

There was also the issue of time. It’s not a complicated recipe but it’s still time-consuming, especially as each mixture had to be made just before I stepped into the shower. I only washed my hair 2-3 times a week so it wasn’t like I was taking hours out of my life, but still. Time is time. If I wanted to shower at 7 am, I’d actually have to get up at 6:40 to go up to the kitchen and make my mixtures. 20 minutes is a big deal when you could be sleeping.

But the biggest issue was the temperature. If you bothered to read the linked post, you’ll have noticed that the author advises you wash in lukewarm water so as not to cook the egg in your hair. That information is a BIG STEAMING SACK OF CRAP. The only way to avoid getting egg cooked into your hair is by washing your hair with ICE COLD WATER, and even then – because the scalp is naturally much warmer than the rest of the body – the egg will still cook into your hair. I know that there are benefits to cold water rinses – they close pores, seal follicles, and reduce sweat produced by steam. However, cold water showers are NEVER EVER COMFORTABLE. THEY’RE AWFUL. And they didn’t work anyway! I didn’t have a single wash day where I didn’t have to spend at least ten minutes in front of a mirror picking little bits of egg out of hair. It was not fun. But I didn’t complain too much because it made my hair look okay.

I’m not saying that egg isn’t effective, all I’m saying is that I personally had more complaints than praise for it. I think it would be better in shorter and/or thinner hair.

Yesterday I needed a shower but I really didn’t want to go through the trouble with egg again, so once again I took to the internet with the hopes that I would find something useful. And I did! I learned all about oatmeal! Colloidal oatmeal is basically finely ground oats and while it’s usually used as a skin treatment, it’s also used as an ingredient in several different shampoos and conditioners. However, it was just that – an ingredient. So I searched for someone who had tried it on its own and found BrokeyMcPoverty, who did try it on its own -although just as a conditioner. The list of ingredients on The Road to 31 listed oatmeal as a great cleanser and so I tried it out as shampoo. I didn’t actually have colloidal oatmeal so I scooped some rolled oats into my Magic Bullet and ground them into a nice powdery consistency, then filled the cup the rest of the way with water and stirred it up. In retrospect, I used too much oatmeal. Although a lot of it mixed with the water, there were a few clumps that settled to the bottom and didn’t mix in no matter how much I stirred. Gross. Anyway, after I had mixed it the best I could, the water was tan in colour and felt silky. I always thought that people were lying when they talked about silky water but now I’ve experienced it for myself. There is such a thing. Go figure.

So I hopped into my [warm] shower and poured this stuff into my hair. It didn’t lather, obviously, but it massaged in really nicely. It was soothing. I rinsed it out with warm and then cold water but noticed there were still bits of oatmeal in my hair. So I rinsed for a really long time but they wouldn’t come out, so finally I got out of the shower, towel-dried my hair as normal, and combed my hair, first with a wide and then with a fine-toothed comb. It got a lot of the oatmeal bits out but by no means all of them. So I stepped back into the shower with my wide toothed comb and rinsed again, this time combing through as I went, and the oatmeal vanished. I don’t think I would have had this problem if I had used less oatmeal in the first place and I’ll probably keep a comb on hand for the next time I try it. Today my hair is soft and CLEAN – so clearly oatmeal is good for more than just conditioning. My scalp and roots don’t look or feel greasy. It’s kind of great. A lot of people report having really shiny hair when they use oatmeal but I don’t. My hair is just not shiny I guess. But overall I consider my oatmeal experiment a success and I’ll continue to use it for the time being! Next time I’m in a city I’ll look for actually colloidal oatmeal so I don’t need to make my own.

white face. soft hair.

white face. soft hair.

[currently listening: coldplay//now my feet won’t touch the ground]

something gross.

Belated New Year’s Resolution: I’m not going to shampoo my hair all summer.

How you probably read that: I’m not going to wash my hair all summer.

What I meant: I’m not going to shampoo my hair all summer.

Not because I’m turning into a crunchy hippie, but because I’m tired of spending a million dollars on shampoo every month. There’s a not-so-recent trend going around the internet called ‘no-poo’ and while I think that’s a ridiculous name, I think there’s merit in the argument against shampoo. I could regurgitate facts about how shampoo is harmful for hair and whatever but there are approximately 16 trillion blogs on the internet [mostly crunchy mom blogs, go figure] which can tell you these facts in a much more impassioned way than I could ever hope to so I’m going to leave that to them. Suffice it to say, I’m tired of having to wash my hair every day and I think this method will help alleviate that chore.

Instead of washing with shampoo then, starting yesterday I’m washing my hair with baking soda. Baking soda cleanses the scalp and hair without stripping either of their natural oils so somehow that makes your hair nicer. I don’t know. I’m not a scientist. Look it up somewhere else.

Just as baking soda takes the place of shampoo, apple cider vinegar takes the place of conditioner [something about bases and acids cancelling one another out. it works. i don’t know]. However, since I didn’t have ACV when I washed my hair yesterday, I just did the baking soda. Which is not supposed to happen. I am not supposed to do that. I broke the law of blogger moms everywhere, but it’s okay because I’m not technically in their ranks.

So results of yesterday’s foray into no shampoo:
I mixed 1 tbsp baking soda with a cup of water and stirred it until the baking soda was dissolved. I poured about half of that concoction into a clean travel-sized shampoo container I had on hand. In the shower, I poured it over my roots and massaged it in. It was a really dissatisfying experience because there was no lather involved and it pretty much felt like I was pouring more water onto my head. I think I expected that a tablespoon of baking soda would bring that cup of water to a more paste-like substance. Oh well. Anyway, I left it in my hair for like two minutes and then rinsed it out. I didn’t have ACV so I just did without conditioner altogether. I let my hair air dry and it after an hour or two, after it had dried, it wasn’t greasy at all – but it felt too dry. I’m pretty sure that’s because I didn’t use the vinegar rinse. Blogger moms would be ashamed.

This morning my hair was greasy again but apparently that’s to be expected in the two-four week ‘transition period’ when the scalp still secretes excess oil because it expects to be shampooed. So I just did the BS rinse again and didn’t do conditioner again. My hair feels a little bit like straw but at least it’s not greasy. I’m going to pick up the vinegar tomorrow evening so I’ll have to go one more day without it. Hopefully it will even things out a bit.

I’m going to plan to do this for the next four months as a trial run. If it works, great. I’ll do it forever. If not, I’ll just go back to shampoo. Apparently some people who use this method can get to a place where they can go five-six days between washes [still rinsing with warm water in between, however]. If I could get to that place that would be great. I have really thick hair and I wash my hair every day to keep it from looking greasy. I’d love to get that number up.

So yeah. That’s fun. I don’t want to turn into a blogger mom so I’ll probably do two more posts about this – one at the end of June [the halfway point] and the other at the end of August, after the four months is up. Soooo… I guess that’s it. Thanks for your time.

here’s a cutsie patootsie picture of my cutsie patootsie face my hair so you have an idea of how not-greasy it is. you may notice that it stands up in the front. that has nothing to do with grease and everything to do with cowlicks, i assure you.

cutsie patootsie

[currently listening: savoir adore//beating hearts]