"I don't think that being a strong person is about ignoring your emotions and fighting your feelings. Putting on a brave face doesn't mean you're a brave person. That's why everybody in my life knows everything that I'm going through. I can't hide anything from them. People need to realise that being open isn't the same as being weak."

- Taylor Swift

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Natural Hair Update: The No-Poo Method

Have you ever read the ingredient label of your shampoo bottle?

Probably not, because you're probably not a psycho like me ;)

But...if you do read it, it's pretty disturbing. sulphates, parabens, ammonium, colour, fragrance and preservatives. That's basically it. That's what you rub onto your hair - think about how close that is to your brain - every day.

Shampoos without sulphates and parabens don't work, and are ridiculously expensive. Simply put, shampoo is a baaaad idea.

People in the modern world has a bizarre ritual - we strip away all our natural oils with harsh chemicals, and then replace these oils with even more chemicals, aka conditioner. It really doesn't make any sense. 

But there are alternatives.

Natural soap, like castile soap, is a good alternative. But I don't really have access to that, and I don't particularly feel like washing my hair with Coles brand Antibacterial Handwash. Not using shampoo at all is also another option, but if you're a hormonal teenage greaseball like I am, that's probably not a good idea, either. As for conditioner, there are heaps of alternatives - any natural vegetable oil, like coconut oil, olive oil or argan oil. Or you can be strange like me and pour vinegar on your head.

Here is what I do.

Before I get in the shower, I wash my scalp and roots with a mixture of 1/4 cup bicarb soda and 1 cup water - this lasts for at least two or three washes. Then, I comb through a mixture of 400ml water and 4 tbsp vinegar (although I might use less vinegar next time because my hair smells kinda strange) - again, this lasts for more than one wash - and then when I finally get in the shower I rinse it all out with just plain water. Bicarb soda and vinegar are, obviously, harmless and completely edible, but neither taste good and both hurt like HELL if you get them in your eye. Also, if you use too much vinegar (like, ahem, full strength) you will end up with temporary, but very scary red streaks all over your face, and your hair will stink. Then, I rub a little bit of witch hazel into the roots and argan oil into the lengths and ends after I've towel dried. 

What's the theory behind this rather bizarre ritual? Well, bicarb soda is really good for cleaning, stripping away products and absorbing oil - which is why it's an awesome dry shampoo in between washes. But it is slightly alkaline, and your hair really should have a neutral ph. The vinegar solution balances the alkaline bicarb, and the fizzing reaction between the bicarb and vinegar also helps to clean. Vinegar also makes your hair softer and shinier. Witch hazel is a good skin toner so is also good for oily scalps or dandruff, and adds volume. Argan oil is a natural moisturizer that helps to prevent (but not heal) split ends, frizz and dryness.

No artificial crap at all. The No-Poo method.

The result? My hair isn't oily (it has been for a little while now, because I ran out of bicarb soda. I honestly can't live without bicarb soda now), and feels really clean and soft. It looks silky. It doesn't smell AMAZING like freshly shampooed hair does - it smells very faintly of argan oil, which is a bit nutty, which only just covers a little trace of vinegar because I think I didn't quite get the ratio right (I think it should be 500ml to 4tbsp of water). I got a bit of the bicarb and vinegar in my eyes and CRAP THAT STINGS (searching for the tap with your eyes squeezed shut...not fun) but I didn't get lovely red streaks down my face from full strength vinegar. It is a bit fiddly, mixing all the different potions and applying them, but it's not so bad. I definitely think my hair has more volume, though, and no dandruff.

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