I didn’t use shampoo for 4 months.

Well this post is two months late but hey, it’s here.

For those of you with whom I became Facebook friends since the end of June and the only reason you’re here is because you saw a weird bloggy thing pop up on your newsfeed, welcome. I have a blog. I am not a cool person.

For those of you who are long-time readers, welcome back. You’re probably also not a cool person or you wouldn’t be here.

For those of you who accidentally stumbled across this page in the course of searching for Showbread’s 2003 album, sorry to disappoint. Here’s a song to ease the pain.

On to the hair thing.

To catch you up: I decided not to use shampoo in my hair for four months — May-August — just to see if I could, and also because I’d heard the whole no-shampoo thing was a pretty worthwhile endeavour. And guess what? It totally was.

The last time I gave you the hair update was at the end of June so I have to catch you up on July and August. If you want to read about everything up till June, go here, here, and here. My routine didn’t vary much [read: at all] for the last two months. I did my standard baking soda wash twice a week and rinsed with colloidal oatmeal every second wash. It worked SO WELL. My hair was soft and manageable and did a super neat sort of curly thing all on its own. Overall I was super pleased with how low maintenance my hair was and it definitely freed up time in the morning.

At the end of August I used shampoo for the first time in four months. It wasn’t really real shampoo, it was that Neutrogena anti-residue stuff. It was so nice to use shampoo again. Baking soda doesn’t lather and it was kind of difficult to get used washing my hair with it. I mean it still cleans the hair but I sort of had to massage it in and just guess at whether or not my hair was covered. Shampoo is a lot easier to deal with in that respect because you can just feel where the soap is. So it was nice to have a taste of that again. And by taste I do not mean I was eating it. Just for clarification.

So I used the shampoo once, just to get my scalp really clean, and then I went back to baking soda for the rest of my time at home. I was home for about two weeks and then I headed back to college, where I am now. I had every intention of continuing my hippie hair routine here but I was thwarted by an enemy known as Millar water.

The water here is not good. It’s full of chlorine and other chemicals and overall it is not very pleasant. It’s possible to get used to it but you can sort of always tell that something’s off. But I never really made the connection that I was showering in that same chemically water. It didn’t make a difference to me last year. But this year I noticed a big difference.

Baking soda did not clean my hair. It usually looked clean but it felt waxy or greasy. I put my hair in ponytails for a lot of September because if I left it down it looked really limp. And I obviously didn’t clue in to the fact that it was the water that was making the difference. I put three tablespoons of baking soda in half a cup of water once to see if that would work. Afterwards my hair was dry and gross but still not clean. September was such a gross month.

Finally, finally I realized that it was the water. There’s probably some sciencey explanation for why baking soda reacts differently with different kinds of water but I do not know it. I retired the baking soda for good and switched to only shampoo.

So yeah. After four months of proving that I’m tough and that I can wash my hair without chemicals, I resorted back to shampoo. I’m a bit disappointed.I’m still managing to justify myself in that I’m using that Neutrogena stuff, which is sort of weird shampoo. One good thing that came of the summer is that I still only need to wash my hair once or twice a week. Switching back to shampoo hasn’t changed that. I’m still planning to do the baking soda thing but it’ll have to wait until I’m done at Millar.

So ok. I’m done. The moral of the story is:

Baking soda WORKED. It was really good. I recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a way to change up their hair routine. But if your water is crappy, maybe don’t bother.

[currently listening: stars//progress]


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.

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

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]