Monday, February 17, 2014

My No-(Sham)poo Experience

So a few weeks ago I saw a blog post link on Facebook. I'd heard about the "no-poo" method. But this post made it seem healthy, inexpensive and convenient.

I'd already tried to start shampooing my hair less, as another blog I read mentioned how over-shampooing can actually cause increased oil production due to stripping off all your natural oil with shampoo and your scalp over-producing oil to compensate.

I have always struggled with oily hair and facial skin. It IS getting better as I age, but my hair still looks its best when shampooed daily. But maybe I was helping to perpetuate this vicious cycle?

So I started shampooing every other day and using dry shampoo or baby powder on the off days. I was warned there would be an adjustment period. But overall it went pretty well. The off days were'nt "great" hair days but they were far more tolerable than I thought.

So I decided "what the heck?". Baking soda is cheap. The blog said to use straight baking soda and rub it into your scalp. They also used apple cider vinegar mixed with water as conditioner. I didn't try their conditioner as my hair wasn't dry enough to need conditioning during my trial.

It was a bit weird not having a nice lather whiles scrubbing. I also had to be extra careful to rinse my hair really really well. I would say that at first my hair really did seem to have more body. But as the 5th day approached it started to have more "buildup" than body. Upon further research I was probably approaching the "oily" phase a lot of people experience until their hair adjusts.

I probably would have kept on with it except one problem. It caused me to break out!

Yes, apparently my skin does not like pure baking soda washed over it. I would never classify myself as having sensitive skin. I've only had itchy rashes a total of three times now, and once was an allergic reaction to medication (SO not fun!). The second time was over Christmas when I washed/dryed my clothes in something my skin did NOT appreciate (perhaps that was baking soda related too?).
And the third was trying out the no-poo method.

At first I didn't realize that was the culprit. I thought I'd worn something I washed over Christmas but had failed to re-wash in my own detergent. But on about the 4th day I realized my chest was extra itchy right after washing my hair. And it hit me- the rash came just about the same time I started the baking soda routine.

I was a little disappointed. I wanted to be able to go a couple days without "washing" my hair and it not look like an oil slick. But alas, not at the expense of an itchy rash (which I still have more than a week later).

I did some research and while it's not possible to be "allergic" to topical baking soda, baking soda (especially in large quantities) can be a skin irritant to some. The only alternatives I saw mentioned was some other clay mud but you have to get it online or at a health food store. That defeats the inexpensive and convenient part to me.

I also saw a few posts warning that baking soda can very much irritate or burn the skin and is a simple household chemical, not a natural beauty wonder product.

I told my hair stylist about all of this, and she gave me a suggestion for my next experiment. She told me to get a 1 liter bottle of scented shampoo and cut up a small red onion into then let it marinate for 2 weeks. After that I can use it daily or even just weekly if I like. It will help repair damage and replenish oils. She says her mom has been using it for a year now and won't go back.
She learned the trick from a friend's grandma who stated they would use a red onion poultice on their hair 75-100 years ago to keep it looking healthy.And your hair won't smell like onions.

As soon as I have more data on that experiment I'll let you know!

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