Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Giving up on 'no poo'

During my reflections on 2012, I admitted that I have given up on not using shampoo.  I went shampoo free for around 6 months and unfortunately for me, my hair just got greasier and greasier and became full of dandruff.  I have long straight brown hair and my experiences might be useful for someone with similar hair, from what I have read, different hair types react very differently to going 'no poo'.

I started out the experiment fairly enthusiastically.  Perhaps a little too enthusiastically, as although lots of people use shampoo and conditioner substitutes such as  bicarbonate of soda and vinegar, after dabbling with them for a bit, I decided to wash my hair in just water for a while.  I did splash out on a boar bristle brush which got clogged up with grease fairly quickly and seemed quite tricky to clean afterwards, so I didn't use it much after that.

Water only washing was not hugely successful!  So I started experimenting with other things.  Things like aloe vera, which also makes a good shower/ shaving gel!  I tried washing my hair with aloe vera for around 3 weeks.  It smelled nice and felt quite soft afterwards, but didn't have any effect on the grease and dandruff.

A friend recommended rosemary water (I put some rosemary in some water in a glass jar and left it to stand for a day or so) and towel rubbing dry to get rid of the grease and dandruff.  I gave this a go, but the rosemary infused water was fairly cold and I never got round to trying it again, so although it didn't get rid of the grease or dandruff, I might not have given it long enough...  Towel rubbing might work with short hair, but I don't think it is very good for long hair as it can damage the hair causing split ends.

I also spent 3 weeks trying a dry shampoo substitute - cornflour!  I poured it over my hair in the garden where the mess didn't matter too much.  It seemed to work the first time I did it, but the success never repeated itself and I still had oily dandruff ridden hair.

Finally in desperation I decided to give bicarbonate of soda and vinegar another go.  My husband had recently bought nit combs as my sons school kept circulating letters about nits going round, but we haven't had any nit problems.  I got the nit comb sprayed a vinegar/ lemon juice/ salt mix on it and combed my hair.  Along with big chunks of hair, a lot of grease came out.  I then sprinkled some bicarbonate of soda on it and combed my hair through with that.  I did this because I read that dandruff is a little bit like nits.  It feeds off sebum and causes the sebum production to speed up.  I decided that getting rid of the dandruff was a key part of the battle and wondered if the nit combing method would work.  I tried combing it before I got in the shower and during the shower.  My hair felt cleaner, but didn't really seem to look any less greasy - argghhh!  Bicarbonate of soda is well worth buying in bulk by the way as even if you don't use it to wash your hair as it is useful for so many things - cooking, deodorising, cleaning and much more! 

The other problem with combing very long hair is that it is not very good for it at all!  My hair is now full of split ends and looks absolutely terrible.  I had so carefully made sure that I didn't brush my hair wet for years as I know that it causes split ends and now I need to grow out a whole load of them!

To celebrate my wedding anniversary recently my husband and I had a night away from the kids in a lovely hotel (this could not have happened without my wonderful family who looked after my children and paid for the hotel trip - thank you family)!  Looking around at all the other nicely dressed guests with seemingly perfect hair, it was the first time in six months that I felt really fed up with having greasy manky hair and tempted by the free shampoo and conditioner in the bathroom I finally succumbed!  The grease and dandruff was gone with one wash, which seemed pretty amazing after enduring six months of it, but my hair is still full of split ends unfortunately.

I am currently using up small bottles of shampoo and conditioner which I had leftover from my previous shampoo and conditioner cull. I have wondered though about making my own shampoo for my next experiment.  I still don't like the whole idea of buying shampoo full of ingredients I don't understand in one time use plastic bottles.  I found this recipe for shampoo soap bars and am seriously considering giving it a go. There has to be a better way!  

What experiences have you had going 'poo' free?  Do you think I gave up too soon? I would love to hear your tips, advice and experiences!

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