Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Green Family's Further Adventures with No Poo

I know the blog world has been up at nights wondering about the state of my family’s hair, and whether or not we have stayed on the no poo wagon. So here it is, the key to your future good night sleeps: my further adventures in no-pooing (not to be confused with Grasshopper's earlier problems with not being able to poo {solved by putting molasses in her cereal instead of multivitamins w/iron}).

First of all, needed to use the baking soda every day, or my hair would get overly oily, and this dried out my hair, which there is a lot of, but which is thin enough that just looking at a picture of the desert is apt to dry it out. The vinegar rinse helped a little. My hair wasn’t dry the way shampoo makes it – I mean, shampoo strips and dries, whereas baking soda just dried, at the same time it at least left some of the natural oils on my head. Sounds strange, but that’s what happened. Now having these oils has been a blessing: my hair looked fuller, was interested in doing a variety of things its untexured, overly-shampooed state had prevented, and was glossier.

While I liked this effect, there were a few things about using baking soda I disliked. First of all, I wondered if ultimately my hair was even more dry using baking soda than just shampoo. Secondly, it was awkward to take this method travelling -- powders just don’t travel well. Thirdly, it’s awkward having baking soda near water, and showers tend to have a lot of that. Last of all, I felt as tied to baking soda as I had to shampoo, and I was ostensibly trying out the No poo method…and I realized poo was just baking soda in this new reality of mine.

I was considering giving up, which was a hard choice since I liked my textured hair, and so I did what any desperate person does in this situation: googled “no poo” one last time. The second hit was something I hadn’t seen before, an article by Audrey Shulman, a reporter for The Phoenix, in Boston. Her method, which she says is Mexican in origin, is to wipe the left side of your wet head 100 times with a rag, and then the right side of your head 100 times. I’d heard of doing this with a boar’s bristle brush, but that never really worked for me. But since I was at wits’ end, I decided to give her particular method a whack.

I am happy to report that was in November, and since then, I have had a fabulous no-poo experience, devoid of baking soda. When I first started her method, I shampooed twice a week, now I shampoo once a week. This is far better than the baking soda, infinately better than using shampoo.

This is exactly what I do:

I put a wash rag on each hand (one of those rags sewn closed like a mit would be ideal, but I don’t have one.) Standing with my hair under the water, I grab my soaking locks with one rag, pull down, and then grab in the same spot with the other hand. I tried with just one rag and that took too long to get to one hundred, and was actually more awkward – two rags is easier. I do one side, then the other, and I go pretty fast. With the first hundred I try to cover all the hair on the left side of my head, the second hundred, ditto on the right. It takes three or four minutes. Like Ms. Shulman said in her article, my hair feels the way they tell you hair ought to in the TV commercials: soft, conditioned, not too oily, manageable. For zee first time in my life.

I haven’t gotten my act together to make some rinse with my essential oils, for a perfumed coiffure, but figure I will in the near future. Right now my hair smells like nothing, which is fine by me.

Grasshopper, by the way, still uses Aubrey Organics Baby shampoo once or twice a week. In between her hair doesn’t require the washrag cleanse, thank God, because I can’t even imagine trying to convince her two year old self to go for that.

12 comments:

Fiddler said...

Aha, one less product to purchase, I love it! I plan to try this out today... I can see how it might not gain favor with the short crowd though- I'm sure my grandson would NOT be in favor of 200 noogies :)

Fiddler said...

Hair is shiny and soft, and the husband says it smells like "hair"

MaGreen said...

How long between the two posts, fiddler?

I'm glad you're in on the nopoo.

cake said...

this is great. so what exactly do you mean by rag? is it a washcloth? it seems like terry cloth would work best, what kind of cloth do you use?

MaGreen said...

i use the rags that came with the baby -- those slight terry rags that are pink and blue. bigger terry rags would work as well. i don't mean a cut up pair of jeans, as the word rag obviously implies.

Defiantmuse said...

I think also that washing less over and extended period of time helps condition the hair to not produce so much oil. I had dreadlocks for 5 years and during that time I washed my hair once a month. Since I cut them off (about 3 years ago) I only wash my hair about once a week and it doesn't ever look greasy or dirty.

I'd never heard of the rag thing before.....I'll have to tell my partner about it. He still washes his hair daily and says there's no other option for his oily hair. Hmmm......

Mama Randa Morning Glory said...

When I was little I had a fascination with big words and used to love to try and pronounce the chemical names on the back of the shampoo bottle. It wasn't until my son was about 2 that I became alarmed at them. Now I use Dr. Bronner's castile soap, or Alba Bonticals (though the Alba has some chemical ingredients mixed in with the plant extracts). I'm gonna try the no-poo now!

Juniper said...

Sounds interesting- Does this method waste a lot of water? Is it running the whole time?

GreenDaddy said...

Juniper, I think that's a good question about wasting water if it is running the whole time during a complex regimen. I guess it depends on the person and the regimen.

My family is from India and my hair type is different than MaGreen's. I just do the baking soda rub in once every three days (with the hot water running) and the vinegar once a week (with the water running). The few times I pull the oils out with a cloth, I do without the water running. So I think I waste less water than people who shampoo and condition every day with the shower running.

Most of my family in India bathe using a bucket of water and a cup. They really save water. I always talk about switching to the "dhol" method, but I have yet to do it.

MaGreen said...

I shower pretty quickly -- and as of late, I only run the cloth on my hair every other day. But I don't think that takes longer than shampooing and conditioning. Maybe a little longer, but not much. My showers are generally shorter than five minutes...between two and five minutes, depending on the day.

Anonymous said...

Hello!

I am not an english native speaker...could you please send a link to a picture of the rag??. is it the one normally used in the shower to remove the dry skin?

Karen said...

Hi,

When you say you used to shampoo twice a week and now you shampoo only once per week, do you mean that you use the washrag method only once per week? Or, do you actually use some sort of shampoo once per week.

I'm a no poo-er for about six months and my hair is a little dry. I'm looking for alternatives b/c going back to shampoo simply isn't an option;)