Confessions (Obsessions) of Curly Hair

{CAVEAT: This post is all about hair. That’s it. I’ve never spent this many key strokes on this topic before, just lots and lots of time and money, unwritten.}

 

A week ago today, I asked the sweet lady cutting my hair what she thought about this whole “no-shampoo” (or its less than attractive affectionate name “no-poo”) thing. She stopped cutting and gave me a very serious “are you crazy?!” look. I’m honestly shocked she hadn’t heard of it before.

Years ago, back when I religiously blogged on LJ, I joined a community called Curly Gurls. Women, like myself, fed up with their curly tresses of non-conformability, took to this no shampoo approach and updated more than a political twitter feed during election time about it. From an outside perspective, it seemed like a cult following/support group all about HAIR. A wee bit vain, perhaps. Aren’t we all, though? I’d read their updates as a fascinated observer, never fully subscribing to their testimonials enough to take the plunge myself. 

I am a self admitted product junkie. No really, 

Image

 

This is current, not cumulative. If it’s out there, has a fun label and promising hair spun gold, I’d try it. It’s a ridiculous and expensive habit to OK for yourself. If left to its own devices, my hair is unruly and wild in a rabid sort of way. And so I have always seen this product overkill as a necessary evil.

When I was a little girl, I had beautiful, silky straight hair. Clearly, I romanticize it, not really recalling what it truly felt like. I’ve seen faded pictures, and that’s enough for me. Thirty three years later, generally speaking, I have tried everything to get back there on any given day. It’s fighting reality of what it has grown into ever since probably age eight or nine. Not to over-sensationalize it, but that’s a stupid long exhausting time to battle with something as silly as your own hair. In matters of vanity, as women (maybe men, also?) we are conditioned to thinking that it’s pretty standard to want what we don’t have rather than embrace what we do have. 

Anyway, I have been flat-ironing the crap out of my hair ever since high school. Winter, when everything is dry, is the worst for my over-processed hair. I’ve gotten into the habit, within the last handful and a half years, of not washing it every day. At max, I’ll wait three days before I can’t stand it. It’s helped but not entirely, as I’m still chained to that iron every day regardless. Every now and then, when I’m tired of it, I’ll let it do it’s natural thing with the help of at least three products to tame the beast. Did I mention, though necessity and smart marketing has me attracted to it, I loathe the feel of product in my hair? It’s a BIG reason why I steer clear from the curly route.

About two weeks ago, I read a post from a friendquaintance who put her no shampoo testimonial out there. I couldn’t help but pay attention. After reading it and seeing photo documentation of a woman so close to home, it lit a small fire under me. I’m not gonna lie; it helped that her hair truly did/does look amazing. It’s no longer some sort of far away, infomercial-like cult following. It’s from someone who I trust to be sincere about it all. 

I’m brand new at it (less than a week, really) but I’m literally jaw dropping shocked by it. Everything that I’ve read on it, talks about this awkward transitional period that sucks and to invest in large sunglasses and powers of invisibility because there’s no way you’ll want to brave the public off of traditional shampoo and conditioner. Everyone will know you are going through withdrawal and it won’t be pretty. I was nervous and geared up for this to take place. I even warned my coworker. Maybe it’s too early in the process, but I haven’t had too many issues (oil slick or straw like hair) yet. There was a tiny frizz on the day I washed with baking soda/water mixture, but I didn’t look like Don King, so that was a plus. 

I’m writing this because as I am prone to do, I researched this topic pretty extensively before jumping in. There are not a ton of no shampoo girls out there with my hair type, writing about it. Not every question I had was answered. It’s impossible. Nevertheless, those that I did find were super interesting, especially if they had photo documentation from the very beginning of their hair journey. There were a few that had posts documenting a year out. Also, they all used acronyms like it was their own no-poo secret language. ACV, BS, WO ??? In short, I’d be thrilled if someone googling it, found this post amidst the others and found themselves inspired to be freed from a time consuming, expensive product junkie habit, like myself. Seriously, my husband and I are looking forward to the money and time saved on this venture. It’s a worthwhile topic.

This probably isn’t the best photo to document my hair looking its best this week, but it’s pretty good considering it was washed Wednesday morning and has been slept on twice since then. Taken this morning:

Image

 

It’s curliest the first day after washing and progressively gets less and less in the days following. Makes sense. 

My chronological journey thus far:

  1. First things first. Hair Cut. No need to go into this thing with dry split ends.
  2. {Day ONE} Purchased a cheap Silicone Free shampoo to use one time only in order to rid my hair of everything unnaturally there. I was convinced my hair would be over dry, so on top of the Apple Cider Vinegar concoction (2 TBSP ACV + 1 1/2 C water) I also mixed up this: (2 egg yolks + 2 TBSP olive oil + 1 C water) and put it on my hair after washing with shampoo. My hair went from tangled to too oily within seconds, so I washed just my roots again with the shampoo. Rinsed everything out and then sprayed the length of my hair, avoiding the roots, with the ACV mix. Left on for a minute or so and then rinsed again. Parted and combed my hair with a wide tooth comb while it was still soaking wet. Squeezed most of the water out of it and used a pair of cotton shorts (Everyone says use a long sleeve cotton shirt, but the shorts were the first thing I grabbed. They were cotton, so whatever. They worked.) to lightly squeeze my hair with and dry a bit more. Let it air dry with no product. Definitely freaked a little when I thought I saw frizz as some pieces dried before others, but once all was mostly dry, it was easy enough to just twirl individual pieces into curls. Overall, hair felt lighter and cleaner than it had in a long time.
  3. {Day TWO} Used a curling iron on the front pieces. It literally took all of maybe five minutes and held all day long. My hair had definition and felt great with no product. Zero frizz.
  4. {Day THREE} Probably could have held out longer, but I was itching (though, not literally) to use the Baking Soda concoction (2 TBSP BS + 1 C water). I used all the hot water this morning (I’m glad my husband loves me) trying to figure out if I had used not enough or too much of this stuff. It’s pre-mixed in a condiment squirt bottle and applied at just the roots. You’re supposed to massage it in until it feels “slippery”. Do I use half of it? All of it? A quarter of it? I don’t know. I probably ended up using a little less than half. Spent a bit of time obsessing over whether or not I had rinsed it all out sufficiently enough. Sprayed on my ACV mix. It’s kind of amazing how this stuff detangles and conditions your hair. Of all the products I felt most leech-like-dependent on, conditioner was my BFF. Did the whole cotton shorts drying thing again. Apologized to husband for his upcoming cold shower. Throughout the day, my hair definitely felt drier than it did the last time. I put it up in a loose bun for about an hour or so just to help it relax a bit. For future reference, a little under a half of that BS mix was too much. 
  5.  {Day FOUR} Curling iron on a few little pieces. Once again, it held some beautiful definition all day long sans any product. It should be mentioned that this is some feat given that I work with 2-3 year olds all day long currently. My hair no longer feels too dry. Also, it looks very shiny. Not greasy at all. No frizz. I have vainly mentioned to my husband how awesome my hair looks at least ten times so far this week. Thankfully, he’s agreed. I don’t think he’s lying…
  6.  {Day FIVE} (pictured above) There are a few spots around my hairline that feel a bit greasy but nothing major. The main thing I miss is the curl that fizzles out by now. From what I’ve read, this seems to be common for curly haired ladies going through the early on transition to no shampoo. It’s nothing that can’t be fixed with a little bit of curling iron, but I’d like to also be free of that most days. I guess we’ll see.

This is my journey thus far. All the products pictured above with hopefully be shelved for the below pictured ones:

Image

 

Oh yes, Coconut Oil. I forgot to mention that above. Each time I washed my hair, I made sure to brush my hair with a dense bristled brush (Most people say to use a boar bristled brush. I don’t know if that’s what I have, but like the shorts mentioned above, it works.) and then used a tiny bit of coconut oil on my ends before showering. The brushing of the hair beforehand is meant to help distribute your hair’s natural oils from root to tip.

Almost all the tutorials/testimonials I read had a spiel about the harsh chemicals in all hair products and the beauty of being all natural and free of them. I’ll be upfront and honest to say, I mostly skimmed all that stuff. I wish I cared more about all of that, because I really do think it’s good to be knowledgeable about it and to steer clear whenever possible. I’m doing this mainly to officially detox my hair from its current dry, static-y, over processed, product junkie state of helplessness; to save money and time in the long run, and to embrace/love my hair for once.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s