Monday, January 25, 2010

The Great "No-poo" Experiment

No, I am not trying out new ways to either attain or resist constipation. I have a diet rich in fiber and vegetables, so . . . okay, we're just not even going to discuss that topic (sorry Aunt Diane, I know that opening got your hopes up).

Actually, "no-poo" refers to no shampoo. For the past year, I have wanted to try the experiment of making my own products for my hair. No, I do not have secret aspirations to be a smelly hippie. I actually have a couple of very good reasons for wanting to try this:

1. My hair is extremely thick and difficult to manage. Previously, I used spiral perms as the solution - having curls meant that I could just coat my hair in a few layers of mousse each day, and took away any need for heat styling, which can damage hair. My last spiral perm, however, was poorly done and damaged my hair, while also increasing its frizziness.
2. In addition to frizziness, my hair is also plagued by split ends. I can get them within less than a week of getting my hair trimmed! I kept hearing and reading about how damaging shampoo really is to hair, and the amount of split ends seemed to attest to that.
3. Hair products are so blasted expensive! I can't use any of the cheap shampoos and conditioners anymore, as ALL of them (and believe me, I've tried them all) make my hair dry and even more unmanageable. So, I keep having to buy the expensive salon brands. Something in me balks and shudders at the thought of paying twelve dollars for a bottle of shampoo.
4. I kept hearing about great results from friends who decided to stop buying shampoos and conditioners, and instead made their own from natural products. Not only have friends of mine been reporting vast improvement to their hair, they are also saving a lot of money each month.

So, I have decided to take the plunge at last. I looked over several different options, and the one that seems to get the most success (and is the simplest to do) is this one:

For washing hair - Mix one tablespoon of baking soda into half a cup of water, then massage this into your scalp and the roots of your hair. Baking soda, as we all know, is used in pretty much all deodorizers and many cleaning supplies, so it makes sense that it would do a thorough job cleaning the scalp. This treatment is supposed to be done about two or three times per week. According to a few different websites that I have checked, this treatment not only cleans and deodorizes well, it also stimulates hair growth. I don't know yet from experience how reliable that claim is, but I will find out soon.

For conditioning hair - Mix one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into one cup of water, and pour it over your hair. Let it work for a few minutes, then rinse the hair thoroughly.

In addition, since I like to have my hair smell pretty, I found a few different recipes for leave-in conditioner which use essential oils. I found a website where I was able to order a couple of essential oils for only a few dollars each. In place of mousse and other styling products, I will be using coconut oil, which several people have recommended to me.

I'll be posting regularly on how this experiment works for me, for those who may want to also try it. In addition, if you would like to know more, I recommend reading one of my favorite websites for DIY projects, Instructables.

I am also planning to experiment with homemade deodorant, which a few friends have tried and found success with. There's nothing wrong with the stuff that I normally use; I just think it would be fun to try making my own, plus it comes out cheaper. A few of my friends swear that the homemade stuff actually works better than store-bought. Since I still have plenty of store-bought deodorant left, I'm going to finish using what I have before trying homemade. I'll probably be starting that experiment in about a month, so I'll post more about that later.

In honor of my new "projects," I am adding another post label: DIY Experiments. So, in the future, if you want to view only posts about different homemade product attempts that I have done, just click on the DIY Experiments link under the "Posts by Topic" heading on my sidebar.

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"