Remember two weeks ago, when I wrote this post about “no-poo?”
Those were the days, huh? The salad days, if you will. The apple cider vinaigrette hair wash salad days, if you will.
A lot can change in 2 weeks, let me tell you. Back when I wrote that post, I was really just dabbling in no poo. I was co-washing then — essentially using the ever so gentle cleansing power of conditioner to “wash” my hair each day.
The day before that post hit the interwebs, I had a little hiccup in my co-washing adventure. I went to Spa Castle here in Queens, New York, a multilevel spa experience that sucks you into a vortex of hot tubs and body scrubs and turns you into a pile of jelly just before spitting you out onto the mean streets of College Point. I got one of the aforesaid body scrubs, and after you’ve seen rivulets of dead gray play-do-like skin fly off your body as the steam rises off hot pools to melt your brain, you’re not really in a position to explain to the nice lady scrubbing you that you don’t want the hair washing that signifies the end of your personal sandpapering.
And thus, my no-poo, co-washing experimented ended quite abruptly that day, and I was faced with the question — do I go full on “yes-poo” again, do I go back to co-washing, or do I do the thing that is calling out to me on wispy strands of baby-fine intuition?
In other words, I asked myself, “Should I try water-only washing?” And the answer was a resounding, “Yes!”
So here’s what I did:
Day 1 (day after body scrubbing/ hair washing): Shampoo & Condition with “Cone Free” Conditioner
For any sort of no-poo to work, you need to wash out any conditioner that may have silicone in it. And because I wasn’t sure what the scrubber lady had used on my hair, I had to wash my hair so that I could start over.
Day 2 & 12: Did Not Wash Hair At All
As I mentioned in my last post, my scalp is super oily, so my hair looked gross on day 2. I weathered the storm by using my favorite dry shampoo (a/k/a Vagisil powder, which 2 out of 3 weirdos like me prefer to Bumble & Bumble). I also brushed my hair with a boar bristle brush in an effort to extend the greasies through the length of my hair to give myself a sexy Sheriff of Nottingham look.
Nearly Every Day In The Last 2 Weeks: Water Only Washing
On these days, I washed my hair only with water. I wish I could say that this process was actually easy, but it’s really a pain in the ass. Through some serious trial and error, I found that it works the best if I do the following:
Using luke warm water, flip your head over under the water. Now you do something known as “scritching” where you use your nails or a natural comb to “scritch” your scalp. (Note: Scritching is the word used by most to do this. Somehow scratching sounds awful while scritching just feels right.) Essentially, you want to break up any sebum and oils that have accumulated on your scalp by scritching. I also try, as best I can, to move any oils from my scalp through the length of my hair with my fingers. Do this for as long as you can without getting lightheaded, and then flip your head over and do a bit more scritching. At some point, I turn the temperature up on the water and rinse my head again. Then I take a wide tooth comb and comb and detangle my hair (I find that it’s easier to do with hotter water, and I feel like the hot water helps the oils move through the hair). Then I do other shower stuff, and finish up with a cool rinse on my hair.
It’s slightly complicated. Oh, and you may get a waxy build up which feels kind of different than an oily one. There is some biological reason for that, apparently sheep do it. I read a blog about it at some point and can’t find it now, but trust me, it was interesting.
Days 9 and 11 (I think): Egg & ACV Wash and Baking Soda & ACV Wash
Seriously, I don’t know why I did these washes. It was my birthday weekend, and The Man that lives inside my head made me feel like I should be sparkly and cleaner. But all the things I loved about these washes somehow fell away now that I’m doing water only washing. The egg & ACV wash, which I used to love, left me with hair that felt a little dry, and the baking soda & ACV wash was way too drying. But both left my scalp feeling much cleaner, for good or for ill. I’m thinking that from now on, I’ll only use the egg and ACV, and if I use baking soda, I’ll use a much smaller amount, like 1 teaspoon per cup of water rather than 1 tablespoon per cup of water.
Every Day: Plopping
If it weren’t for my foray into “no-poo,” I never would have learned the awesome curly/wavy hair technique of plopping or plunking explained here. Basically, it’s a way of wrapping your hair in a towel that allows your curls to form and adds a bit of volume. Without it, I probably would have looked a bit more like Ned Stark from Game Of Thrones.
Nearly Every Day: Brushing With Boar Bristle Brush
I’ve determined that boar bristle brushes are kind of magical. Some people actually say that brushing with a boar bristle brush is a form of dry shampooing. And this is one instance where I agree with these people. Here’s the trick I learned — after you brush your hair with a boar bristle brush, your hair is kind of flat against your head (like Ned Stark’s, above). But then, if you touch your head and sort of push up, your hair suddenly doesn’t look oily. You go from Ned Stark to Veronica Lake in like 3 seconds.
Results — The Good
Where a results-oriented society right? So I can’t hide the ball from you guys.
- Most days, my hair actually looked really good. It felt thicker (which is nice if you have fine hair), and I got a lot of compliments on it.
- As most people who do this will tell you, you sort of stop needing any hair products. I straightened my hair one day, and it stayed the same all day. When it’s curly it’s curly and when it’s wavy and it’s wavy and when it’s straight it’s straight and I don’t have to do much of anything with it. Every once in a while I put a little jojoba oil in the ends if they’re looking dry, but that’s it.
- Once you get your boar bristle brush, some sort of dry shampoo, some jojoba oil, and some apple cider vinegar, you really don’t need anything else, so you’ll save money on shampoo, conditioner, and hair products.
- Truthfully, I probably spend about the same amount of time in the shower, but I feel a little better not pouring detergents down the drain.
Results — The Bad
- My hair never smells bad, but it doesn’t smell great either. I’ve been playing around with different essential oils just to give myself a bit of that good smelling vibe that I like from shampoo.
- I’m not really sure how my hair’s going to look on any given day. I believe that once I’m fully out of the transition period, my hair is going to look more like my hair, but there are days that are unexpectedly oily and some that are unexpected not oily, and I’m not always sure how to anticipate it.
- I have nearly full bottles of shampoo and hair products that I can’t use, which kind of bums me out.
- I’m still in a transition period, so my hair has not reached full awesomeness potential yet.
- I still don’t know what to do about coloring my hair, although you may be seeing a “We Try It! Henna!” edition soon.
Anyone out there doing water-only washing? Questions? Let’s chat!