So, as I mentioned in my previous post, I am experimenting with my hair and trying to go "no poo" (shampoo-free). This post is an attempt to catch you up on where I am currently in this saga, because there is a lot more to this than just not using shampoo.
Last year, I cut off my hair and donated it to Locks of Love, which makes wigs for children with cancer from the donated hair. My hair had been subjected to a lot of dye over the years, so to be honest, I really don't know if Locks of Love could have even done anything with it. Anyhow, since that time, I've decided that I am going to essentially "farm" or "cultivate" my hair for the purpose of donating it every couple of years. So I sort of look at my hair as though it is just renting space on my head and someday it will move out and be someone else's. So I've been trying to treat it well. I don't dye it, I stopped brushing it in January. I blow dry it so that it doesn't go through the wet stage where it is the most fragile and subject to breakage, but otherwise, I do nothing to it besides shampoo, condition, occasionally I give it a squirt of hair spray when I have a hair that wants to stand out.
As I came to the decision that I might really stop using shampoos, I did a lot of research and found that many people go through and awkward couple of weeks where their hair adjusts to the lack of shampoo. I am mentally prepared for that. A week ago I stopped using conditioner and started using vinegar in a rinse (I had used a 1:1 ratio, but have since discovered it is supposed to be more like 1:16 of vinegar to water), but had only done that once. The week without conditioner had me thinking that at the very least I didn't need to use conditioner. Further research and a few more recipes of "edible alternatives" to shampoo and I think I can make the transition.
So today was my very first day being completely hair product-free. I brought a solution of 1 tbsp baking soda and 1 cup of water into the shower with me in a squirt bottle. This is my "shampoo". I tried to get the solution in at my roots, but it just got everywhere. After it was in my hair, I massaged it in with my finger tips really well, then let it sit for a couple of minutes then rinsed it out really well. I'm not going to lie, my hair felt terrible, because of course, there was absolutely no residue. Then, I put the vinegar solution in the ends (vinegar, surprisingly, acts as a conditioner) for two more minutes and rinsed thoroughly. Again, my hair felt very clean, but not "nice" like after it has been conditioned. I finished off the shower with a shot of cold water to my head to seal the cuticle of the hair.
I then blowed my hair dry and again, sealed the cuticle with a "cool shot" at the end (a cold setting my blow dryer offers). My hair did not smell like vinegar and looked great. It does not feel or look at all greasy, and it usually would if I didn't wash it every day. I think that the baking soda essentially functions like shampoo, so now that I've tried it and know that it does work, I am going to not use it tomorrow and then use it the day after, then try to go for two days between washes, then three, and see how just using water goes. I have read that massaging the scalp under hot water dissolves some of the oils (the oil the scalp secretes is not like cooking oil that doesn't dissolve in water) and redistributes the rest, so I am hoping that will work. It may not, but I won't know until I try!
So far my plan is to use just water as much as possible, then the baking soda solution on days when it is necessary. I only plan to use the vinegar once a week on weekends. If my hair gets static-y (a very realistic possibility for my hair), I am going to use a miniscule amount of coconut oil (solid at room temperature but melts when you touch it) just on the ends. I'm very interested to see how all of this goes, but already reassured that the baking soda worked as well as it did. Even if nothing else works out, I doubt I will continue using conventional shampoo now that I know that I can use baking soda and that my hair turns out as normal as it does. The fewer chemicals the better.