Saturday, October 20, 2012

The No-Wash Challenge: Day 1

My hair is naturally curly, and for years I've lamented how difficult it is. My hair is moody at best. Some days it's simply awesome, while others leave me screaming in frustration: "Why can't my hair be normal?!!!" One of my friends has the most lovely, fast-growing, thick, glossy, wavy hair. I try not to be too jealous, but it is pretty hard when I'm spending tons of extra time trying to trick, cajole, and pray my hair into a state of anti-frizziness. Last fall I discovered the flatiron, which my hair actually does (with a little help from Suave smoothing creme) respond to well... If I have 30 minutes to straighten it after every wash, which I don't.

So, after a sudden epiphany the other day, I googled "curly hair tips". I was running out of ideas beyond a quick top knot and straightened bangs. I truly do love my curly hair, but I hate feeling like a frizzy ugly duckling. Thankfully I stumbled upon a wealth of information concerning curls and hair in general.

Greasy roots, dry, wispy, afro-ey ends. What is this, 1975?

I mean, I look like Cousin It!

I've done my research, and I've found that one of the best methods for beautiful, soft, natural curly hair is absolutely free. What is it, you ask? 

                                                 ~Not Washing Your Hair~

Immediately all the anti-bacterial loving Americans become nauseous. What? How could you not wash your hair? If you don't wash your hair it gets greasy and smelly and gross! Right?
Wrong. I know it sounds crazy, but I've done my research. And if you think about it, it makes sense.

Bubbly shampoos contain sulfates, which are detergents that can also be found in dish-washing liquid. (Why waste money on Pantene when you could use Palmolive?) These detergents strip the hair of its natural oils and can especially damage fragile, porous curly hair. This causes the scalp to make more oil to compensate, which is why hair gets so greasy after it hasn't been washed. Sure enough, my Aussie "Moist" shampoo that I thought was so good for my parched locks has sulfates:

Aussie you've betrayed me!

Curly-haired people can safely not wash their hair for over a week and it's still fine. In fact, there's a whole movement devoted to people who have sworn off of hair washing. And don't get me wrong; these people aren't a bunch of greasy-headed hippies. Just because you don't wash your hair doesn't mean it isn't clean. Common methods of "No-Poo" (as the movement is interestingly called) are using conditioner only (and that about once a week or so), using baking soda and a vinegar rinse, using dry shampoos, and only rinsing with water. Not washing hair so often allows the hair's natural oils to have their God-given right to condition the hair. Those who've jumped the bandwagon describe softer, more manageable, more natural, beautiful locks, and this seems to be the case especially with the curly heads among us.

So I've decided to try it. I'm going to try a week without a proper wash, and when I do wash it'll be with conditioner, thank you very much. Day 1 of the 7 was Yesterday. I went to Dollar General and invested in these items:
Suave dry shampoo. My biggest problem is greasy roots. Hopefully this'll take care of it.
Aussie Moist Conditioner. The shampoo is a traitor.

Garnier Fructis spray gel. It's pretty nifty stuff. The only downside is that it makes my hair dry. Hopefully once the natural oils get a-workin it won't be so much of an issue.
A reinforced boar-bristle brush. Boar bristles naturally distribute the oils and contribute to the health of the hair.

A wide toothed comb to use in the shower, to detangle as you "wash" (it works really well!)
An old t-shirt to use instead of a towel, which is harder on hair. This shirt was nice but made me look fat, so I demoted it to hair-dryer.

I washed the living daylights out of my hair for a last hurrah and then wrapped it up in the shirt to dry, then spritzed the spray gel over it. The curls that resulted were pretty sweet! Still a little frizzy, but I'll give it some time. :)

And let it be made clear (in case you were worried): No hair washing doesn't mean no shower taking. Trust me, that's a promise! But I will be implementing the "No-Poo" (can they come up with a better name for that??) methods in place of traditional shampoo. I threw away the Aussie stuff. :P 
And while I will, granted, have greasy hair for a few days until the oil-producing glands get back in the rhythm, in the long run this experiment will hopefully be successful! Here's to better hair, and to freedom from the tyranny of buying shampoo!


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