I have taken to using a rinse of Rosemary Essential Oil and Honey on my hair. Not because it’s particularly fantastic, but because it is easy to make up and it seems to do an OK job, a better job than anything else (tea, on the other hand does too good a job- gets my hair clean, and turns it to straw too). Washing my hair has become such a chore though. Just, finding the time and the energy you know? I don’t have time in the mornings when I typically shower so I have to take an extra shower at night to do so and it’s such a pain. Showering in student halls is far from a pleasant experience, and who really wants to do it twice? Also, even though the rinse I am using now is fairly simple it is still annoying having to make it up. Why can’t I just grab a bottle of shampoo and go? Why do I have to scrub my scalp and why oh why do I need that final cold, cold rinse? I just find myself disliking how much work no poo is. (And that cold rinse. It’s fine at home cos I can step back and just wet my head, but here in halls there is nowhere to go, and I end up having to have a cold shower too) I’m tired and lazy and it’s cold.

I guess I better suck it up and go shower…

Also: how am I going to explain the jar of honey, the bottles of dried rosemary and parsley and the bottle of lemon juice to my dad when he comes to pick me up on Friday? Me having these things makes no sense, and it’s not like I am about to tell my parents I’ve not been using shampoo for the past 9 months. I don’t want them to get all judge-y on me.

(Yes this is pretty much an entire entry with me whining that I want a good, hot, clean shower and I want it NOW. But is it such a bad thing to want to feel warm and clean after showering, not cold and…icky? This is one of many reasons I really cannot wait to get home. I may end up spending 20 minutes in the shower every day, just because I want to.)

After a long while, some more no poo talk

I haven’t posted about no poo in a while have I? But I am actually still not using shampoo. I just checked and I started this thing in February which would make roughly 8 months since I stopped using Shampoo. I actually feel a bit shocked at that; I thought I’d only been at this for only 6 months. Who knew it has been so long? I admit the temptation to use shampoo is still there- because when my hair looks especially bad I long for the squeaky cleanness, and mostly I want to see what my hair was like with shampoo, and confirm that no poo is better (for me). I’m sure no poo is better. And even if it isn’t, it’s habit now. I’m used to it and it would actually be strange to use shampoo again. My hair is growing nicely (which is important, as I stupidly cut it all off and I’m desperate to get it back to the length it was, and then longer) and it has more curl and volume than it ever had before. It’s soft and healthy. Being no poo has also introduced me to the world of natural body care- I now use a sweet almond oil+vitamin e oil mix for my body (and I’m saving for some coconut oil to add to that mix) and I use a honey+brown sugar scrub to exfoliate. Before, I couldn’t do things like moisturize or exfoliate as I could never find a moisturizer that didn’t break out one part of my body into ugly rashes, likewise for exfoliaters. But these natural things work and don’t irritate my skin at all. It’s kinda brilliant.

Back to no poo.

I think, strangely, no poo worked best when I was on holiday in South Africa and Zimbabwe. I was so worried about how it would work out when I was on holiday but it turned out to be more than fine. I’m not sure what it is about the water there, though I suspect softness, because no poo just worked., No rinses necessary, nothing. It was so easy. My hair was never greasy or waxy, it got really clean, it was soft and shiny, my scalp wasn’t as itchy. It was wonderful.

I long for how it was when I was on holiday. After coming back from holiday I realised I needed to change up my routine. My hair was no way as lovely- it was horribly waxy. I realized that my water was probably hard so I read up on dealing with that and found a number of things to try. First, I tried Apple Cider vinegar, which did a lot for waxiness but left my hair greasy and lank and generally gross looking, and I tried white vinegar, which had much the same effects. And both gave me eczema on my shoulders. Ugh. Then I tried lemon juice and that worked pretty well. My hair wasn’t as waxy and seemed to be coming clean. So I continued with the lemon juice. Since coming to uni I’m not sure if my routine is working anymore. My hair is waxy, and doesn’t seem to come clean. My scalp is itchy and flaking more. Sure, there may be external factors- diet, stress etc. But I’m beginning to think my routine needs to change. I gathered courage and posted to the no poo community on livejournal and received lots of advice ranging from different ways to use lemon juice, to using EOs, to herbal infusions etc.

I have thought about it and I’ve decided to take a break from lemon juice now and try alternate things first. If none of those things work I’ll go back to lemon juice, but I’ll try using fresh lemon juice and I’ll try not using as much or using it less often.

I went to Holland and Barret today and discovered I couldn’t really afford, well, anything. Not even vitamin supplements. Lol. So I’ll first try out those things I do own. I have rosemary and ylang ylang EOs which I plan to try for my rinse tonight. Then on Friday night I will dab almond oil on my scalp, and on Saturday morning I will wash my hair as usual and if the EO’s work I’ll use them again, but if they don’t I’ll try a green tea rinse. Green tea is all I have so it’s what I’ll use XD If tea seems to agree with my hair I’ll buy some lemon tea, or nettle tea. I wanted rosemary tea but I discovered it doesn’t actually exist XD I’m keen to try a parsley infusion too, as I checked out the price of it and its just over £1 for a little plant that I can easily grow on my windowsill. I also really want to try the rosemary infusion but alas, I don’t think I can grow rosemary on my windowsill. :(

That really is all there is too it. I hope I can get no poo to work for me again, because when no poo works it is wonderful. It’s just putting up with all the gross-ness when it doesn’t work that is the hard part!

Another no-poo update

I smothered my hair in a mixture of egg and yogurt about one week ago as a hair mask/treatment kind of thing. Strangest thing I have ever done, but for a few precious days my hair actually looked and felt clean. It was glossy and soft and lovely. None of that weird grey residue, or my hair looking like I have dipped it in a vat of oil. Unfortunately, it soon returned to the greasy mess it was and currently is. I seem to have reached a point in no-poo where my hair just won’t come clean. I don’t know why. I’m not doing anything differently to how I have before. I admit to being tempted to try conditioner only, instead of water-only but that would require me to buy a good natural conditioner. I have little money and I am not keen to use even conditioner on my scalp. I am more than a little tempted to just give up and use shampoo but then I have been no-poo for three months. If it was just a week or two then I could say I tried it, didn’t like it, and give up easily. But three months. Giving up now would be such a waste when its been this long.

Also- I like other things about my no-poo hair. I like the fact my hair is curlier, and has more volume. I like how my dandruff is less, if not yet completly gone, and although my scalp still itches it is not as persistent and just not as bad. But the grease is just terrible. It looks greasy, feels greasy… not to mention dry. I don’t know what to do. My hair looks so bad :( And I’m going on holiday in a few weeks, I don’t want to look this gross then :( I think I may increase the amount of times I wash my hair a week to three times, and I’ll start using my boar bristle brush again (I hate cleaning the thing so I got lazy and stopped using it altogether) and then if that doesn’t work I’ll look into things like the wash cloth method (running a wash cloth down the hair 20+ times to spread the grease or idk something like that). I really want this to work but if it doesn’t come clean soon I may just…dilute some shampoo and use that…so pretty much, give up. I don’t like my hair looking this awful. :(

A no-poo update

I’d just like to announce that soon I would have not used shampoo for like two months! I think that is something worth blogging about. or rather I promised myself I’d keep a little log of this experiment so if i do give it up I’d have a record for my future self, that if I ever feel like going no poo again I’ll know why I gave it up the first time and what worked the first time. (actually its my second time but i have no recollection of the first time because i never wrote anything down and my brain is incapable of remembering things itself)

My hair is looking OK. Not great. It feels and looks thick and has volume and curl it never had before when I used shampoo. My scalp also feels happier than it ever did, even with all natural shampoo, and my dandruff has lessened and that which remains is finer. However I am optimistic for month three because I’m wondering if that is when my hair will finally start looking good. I’m not expecting it to look as it did when I used shampoo but I’d quite like not to look like well, that I haven’t washed it in two months (even writing that makes me feel a bit dirty. there’s this culture surrounding shampoo. It’s just something you do, especially as a girl, and no one is supposed to question it.) OK, so my hair doesn’t look that bad. But my bangs are constantly a greasy mess and there are days my hair looks just as bad. I worked up courage and wore my hair down twice last week and although I felt self conscience it also felt good. It didn’t look so bad. I wore a dark green coat and there were barely any of that unsightly white dusting at all which was a real confidence booster. I did notice that my hair got greasier sooner when I  wore it down, as in it was really greasy the day after that I just had to wash it which was disappointing. I want to be able to wear my hair down without it becoming like that.

As for my routine I usually wash it with water then use ordinary conditioner or the nuance airy hair mask on the ends of my hair like I would if I shampooed it. Also every now and then I’ll also use an oat and honey hair mask on all my hair as a conditioner (compared to just the ends) and to give my scalp a little moisture and just because it feels so good (and smells amazing). I basically strain some oats, add in a tablespoon of manuka honey and a drop or two of ylang ylang essential oil. Works like a charm. My hair feels soft, looks shiny and not too greasy and smells like ylang ylang, which is basically the most gorgeous floral scent ever. It doesn’t irritate my scalp either! I keep meaning to rotate to lavender and rosemary EOs but I enjoy the scent of ylang ylang too much. I don’t use oatmeal after every wash as its too much trouble to strain the oats and mix it up twice a week ,every week. I am lazy like that. And as much as I like the idea of going all natural with my hair I like my conditioner and hair treatments. As long as they aren’t going anywhere near my scalp there is no problem for me. My hair is in good condition all in all, just a bit disgustingly greasy at times.

I think I’ve become very used to not using shampoo. Of course there are days where I really just want to slap on some shampoo, and rinse instead of spending ages carefully scrubbing my head, running my hands through my hair, turning  my hair upside down and scrubbing some more, running my hands through my hair some more, turning the heat of the water down and scrubbing some more, running my hands through my hair some more. I can cope though and I do find it quite relaxing. All the scrubbing feels amazing on my scalp especially.

I’m really curious as to what my hair will look like after three months. If maybe my bangs will finally look like they are supposed to (I even give them an extra rinse between washes and still, still even though the ends look fine the root of the hair looks so greasy!). I’m also curious about how my scalp will be after a prolonged period of not washing. I’m still hopeful about this. Bring on month three!

On going no-poo (sort of)

So I’m going to talk about something I’ve rarely, if ever, talked about before. Simply because it’s a little embarrassing. If you’re wondering what the hell no-poo is, then just bare with me a second.

Basically- my skin sucks. Not in the I have problems with acne or anything like that. No, I have weirdly sensitive skin that reacts to a lot of things. I can’t use biological washing powder, can’t use any bubble baths/bombs/that kind of thing and most types of soap, have to be careful with other skin products, cannot wear most artificial fabrics or wool cos they itch too bad. Yeah. My main problem area though is unfortunately my face and scalp. For years I have been dealing with eczema on every part of my scalp, back of my ears, neck, and the sides of my face.

At one point it was itchy, red, raw, sore and bleeding/weeping other strange fluids in all those places. My skin was cracked and peeling away in little flakes, well quite large flakes. I went to the doctor, got told flatly “You’ve got eczema” (yeah, no shit Sherlock) and got given some medicine type things. The creams for my neck worked quite well, because hydrocortisone is lethal stuff and of course it would work. The moisturiser for my face was decent. The stuff given to me for my scalp however was not so successful. It was like a runny kind of liquid that had to be directly applied to the scalp. All I remember about that is me crouched on the bathroom floor, close to tears as my sister forced me to sit still and applied it. That stuff burned like hell. Safe to say I went back to the doctors. Got stronger creams and a shampoo (still no further explanation about my eczema, no instructions as to what I could be doing to help. oh no. that would be actually helping me). Creams, still pretty good. Shampoo, didn’t work. That was the first of the shampoos I tried. It was Nizoral. I also tried polytar, oilatum, head and shoulders…. Not a single thing worked. I wasn’t going to go back to the doctors again either; it was embarrassing and frankly they didn’t seem to know what to do or to even care.

Randomly I stumbled upon something called no-poo. No-poo is short for “no shampoo”. It’s the process of dealing with your hair naturally- either with Baking Soda and ACV Rinses or by going completely WO (Water only). I did that for a few months, just washing my hair with water and using conditioner to maintain the ends (my hair was long). My scalp went from bleeding and raw to dry and damaged and flaky but much better. I don’t remember why but I gave up the whole no-poo thing. If I remember correctly though I decided to try Nizoral and Polytar again and finally went to just plain old tea tree shampoo. I’d decided denial was the best medicine, so I washed and conditioned my hair twice a week and pretended everything was OK. Truly my hair was OK but my scalp was dry, a little flaky and so very itchy. A few months ago I switched to sulfate and pareben free shampoo which was much gentler and overall much better (my scalp wasn’t quite as flaky, thankfully) but still it wasn’t right. I’d already managed to heal my neck with serious hydrocortisone abuse (it probably wasn’t a good thing to use 1.5% hydrocortisone for two years but oh well) and now am managing it just fine with honey and propolis cream. The eczema on my face is still there, but its mainly just dryness now with only minor flaking near my hairline. I just use a plain moisturiser on that and it seems to be maintaining it. But my scalp remains a mess.

I started researching into home remedies for itchy scalps, because desperate times call for desperate measures (I’ve been dealing with this for about 4…5 years now?), and re-stumbled upon information about no-poo. I decided to go back to it. I decided I’d use shampoo about once a month and the rest of the time I’d be totally water only. I figured the transition shouldn’t be too bad, seeing so I was already using sulfate free shampoo and only washing my hair twice a week. I also researched into tea rinses and Essential Oils to help with my flaking, dry scalp. The livejournal community no_poo has proved to be a wealth of useful information in regards to just about everything to do with no poo and natural scalp maintenance.

And so.

I started No-poo this week. On Wednesday I gave my hair a thorough scrub with hot water, followed by a rinse with a cup of camomile tea with three drops of lavender oil added to it, then I rinsed that out with warm water, gradually turning the water down until it was cold. I made sure to do the whole tip your hair upside down and massage scalp to get it clean, and to run my hair through with the ends of my fingers many times. It was very strange. My hair felt thick and greasy when wet but yet when it dried it was clean and even slightly dry. I de-tangled it with a plastic comb whilst wet and then when it dried brushed it through with a boar bristle brush. The boar bristle brush has been quite good for making my hair look decent, although my hair hasn’t been at all that oily. Only my fringe/bangs tend to get really oily. My hair is more dry than oily. I quite like the boar bristle brush, although it makes my hair really static-y and washing it every day is a pain. The chamomile tea and lavender had a mild effect. My scalp was still itchy but not any more itchy.

Yesterday I did my second wash. This time I rinsed through with a cup of warm water with 3 drops lavender and 2 drops tea tree oil. I also didn’t rinse it out so furiously like I did on Wednesday, instead I gave my hair a quick rinse with luke-warm water (couldn’t face cold water!) then left it. I am still confused for how long to wash it because it never really feels like it’s becoming clean. D: Oh and I rubbed a bit of essential nuance airy hair mask into the ends of my hair because my hair was really dry after the wash on Wednesday and I didn’t want that again. I rinsed out the hair mask and then that was it. Again, detangled it with a comb when wet and then brushed it through with a boar bristle brush when dry. Again my hair looks pretty clean. The ends are much softer also due to the mask. But it feels really thick and heavy and almost greasy. It is mighty wierd. Also my scalp is really itchy. I don’t think tea tree agrees with me :x

I still have ylang ylang and rosemary oils to try. I also have a grapeseed oil carrier base. I might try adding a couple drops of EO to the carrier and rubbing that into my scalp and leaving it in for a bit before giving my hair a quick rinse. These essential oils cost loads (especially the ylang ylang and grapeseed omg) so I hope I find something that works. I’ll be experimenting with different teas too. I might even try things like yogurt and egg and oatmeal, because I am just that desperate and willing to try absolutly anything by this point.

I don’t know. I really hope this no-poo thing works out because I’m desperate here, you know. There’s nothing quite as confidence damaging as having terrible skin, especially in a place like the scalp. I want to be able to wear my hair down without feeling paranoid. I want to be able to wear black and blue and purple again; I’m tired of grey, oatmeal, and pale pastels. Its enough I already cannot wear wool or synthetics. I also want to stop this itching at least because scratching my head constantly makes me feel dirty. I want this to heal so badly, as I’ve been putting up with it for far too long.

(Lastly- if you just read through this all I applaud you. I didn’t mean for this to get so long…)