Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Giving up Shampoo (Days 6-15)

I have been keeping track of how my hair feels and looks but I haven't had time to update. Since I last updated I have moved and been busy job hunting and life has just been crazy.

Here are days 6-15.

Day 6 -- I did nothing. At all. All day. Hair limp and slightly oily. Very soft and shiny. Ponytail all day. Would not have worn it down because it would look plastered to my head. Basically the same as a no water/ no shampoo/ nothing day before going no poo.

Day 7 -- Greasy hair, rinsed only. It was moving day, so I wore it up all day. "Washed" with conditioner that night because it was all I could find and something had to be done.

Day 8 -- Nothing -- hair was "washed" the night before. Wore it up for work, but hair was very soft with no grip due to the conditioner. Felt clean, but since I let it air dry and didn't blow dry it my hair had no body and was a little frizzy.

Day 9 -- Water only. My hair felt ok. I probably could have worn it down, but had to have it pulled back for work.

Day 10 -- Baking soda and vinegar. Very clean. I have noticed that my hair is more manageable without conditioner than it has been. The last few days it's been soft and easy to brush/ comb through when wet.

Day 11 --Baking soda "wash". My hair felt normal, looked good, etc. Easy to comb through when wet, tangled too easily throughout the day, is beginning to lose some of the body that it had during week 1. I am beginning to miss real shampoo, not for the sake of my hair but for the smell of it and the suds when I wash my hair. I almost used it today just for the experience of WASHING my hair...

Day 12 -- Water only. After I took the towel off my normally straight hair, I noticed that it looked not-so-straight. I hesitate to call it "wavy" yet, but with some scrunching and hairspray it is definitely more not-straight than it used to be. Perhaps this is the beginning of at least wavy hair? Oh please let it be. I still miss washing with real shampoo, but if this is any indication of what's to come, I'll take it.

Day 13 -- Shampoo and conditioner. I caved and I regretted it the instant I dried my hair and it was totally and completely flat and lifeless... for the next 3 days. It was silky clean. Too clean.

Day 14 -- Nothing, not even water. I put it up and it was still flat and lifeless from the day before.

Day 15 -- Baking soda and water. My hair is beginning to regain body from Day 13's mistake. Kind of. Not curling as well with the curling iron as weeks 1 and 2.

So that's where I am so far...

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Giving up Shampoo (Days 1-5)

A little over a year ago, I colored my hair and put the little conditioning cream on it after I finished. The next day, my hair was a lovely color, but the heaviest, waxiest, greasiest mess. I washed it three times and it didn't seem to improve at all! I did a little google research and learned that it was the silicone on my hair and that I could use a clarifying shampoo (which I didn't have) OR I could use baking soda to clean it out and then rinse with vinegar and that would take care of the problem. I figured I didn't have much to lose, so I gave it a try! It worked WONDERS! Several years back I read a blog of a woman who decided to go all natural with her body. I don't recall the blog or I would give her credit, but I remember that she didn't wash her hair at all for several months it seemed. I don't think she used soap on her body either.

Several months ago I started becoming very interested in DIY cleaning products. I now make my own laundry detergent and disinfectant cleaner. Pinterest is partly responsible for this. :) I already knew that you could use baking soda as an exfoliant (or epsom salts). I knew that you could DIY deodorant (um, no thank you). So when I stumbled onto the "no poo" movement (hmm, perhaps a bad combination of words?) I was interested. As I read more I became very intrigued and decided I wanted to give it a try. My straight hair might become wavy or curly?! I'm IN! No more spending $15 a month on shampoo and conditioner! YES! Have more body and use fewer styling products! I can do that! I blogged about it on my more private blog and learned that several of my friends wash their hair only once a week or have give up traditional shampoo entirely. I hesitated to announce that I wanted to try going no poo because EW!, right?! I felt like I would be viewed as one of those weird Asheville hippie dread-locked pot-smoking artist people... except that I don't live in Asheville, I'm not a hippie, I don't have dreads, I don't smoke pot, and I'm not an artist.

I originally read about going cold turkey on shampoo and only rinsing your hair in the shower and massaging your scalp so that was my original plan. I was going to tough out the weeks of greasy hair and one day wake up to less greasy hair. Maybe... I was still thinking about whether or not I would survive all the bad hair days and when to start it since I am looking for a job right now. Interview + greasy hair = no job offer. Then my friends started talking about baking soda and weaning off shampoo and the transition being easy... so I decided to just give it a try. No more shampoo but I could use baking soda and I could start "washing" less frequently. If I had an interview or job hunting day and baking soda wasn't doing the trick then I could wash my hair for that day.

I have not shampooed my hair since Tuesday. I have not missed shampoo (except the smell of it). My hair has a ton of body, it curls easily, it is shiny, and my fly-aways seem to have flown far, far away. I never had frizzy hair or dry hair or unhealthy hair. My hair is naturally straight, somewhat fine (but I have a lot of it), and generally does what I want it to do with minimal difficulty.

Day 1 -- Rinsed and finger scrubbed my scalp. Blow dried my hair and styled it with my curling iron. It looked okish, but felt flat and heavy and gross. I put it in a ponytail and that solved the problem.

Day 2 -- Mixed up some baking soda and water and scrubbed that into my scalp in the shower. Rinsed it out really well and used some conditioner on the ends just so I could get my round brush through my hair while blow drying. My hair looked really good. Lots of body and only needed a few turns of the curling iron it get it all going the direction I wanted. I have a good cut that is growing out nicely (I'm growing my hair out) so the ends typically flip on their own. My hair was soft and shiny. It felt a little different than I was used to at the roots -- not really greasy but kind of waxy. I was able to wear it down all day without feeling like it was dirty. It didn't tangle as easily as normal and kept its body all day even after I took a nap on it and had baby hands in it.

Day 3 --  I just used a little conditioner on the ends. My hair felt pretty good, but a little waxier than the day before. It looked good and clean. I probably could have tolerated it being down all day, but we are in the process of moving so I put it up to keep it out of my face. I used my curling iron and it curled even better than the day before!

Day 4 -- Baking soda and water with tea tree and lemongrass essential oils for the roots. White vinegar and water rinse for the ends. Blow dry, hot rollers. I did use hair products on Day 4 because my hot roller curls tend to poof out and not stay nicely defined so I scrunched them with a little oil and then used some hairspray to keep it all in place. The curls held all day (not unusual for me).

Day 5 -- Nothing until about 6 PM. Put it in a ponytail and loaded the moving truck. Told some friends who were helping us about the no poo thing. They are interested! Ran their fingers through my hair... it was soft, not greasy, not heavy... shiny and looked great. I think I am at the point that I can skip a day of washing and not notice! This evening I just used a little baking soda and then a white vinegar rinse to remove yesterday's styling products. I didn't put much effort into styling my hair, but I did blow dry it and it looked good for the amount of effort I put into it which was very little. It feels good though.

I will try to keep you updated on my progress, but so far I am loving it! I have noticed that conditioner makes it feel heavy. I'm not sure if I like the white vinegar rinse -- it doesn't seem to improve things... in fact it might make it lose some of its body. I didn't notice yesterday (Day 4) because it is always very full when I use hot rollers. I think I will just use the baking soda or nothing over the next few days and see what happens.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Lord, if you are willing, you can do it.

Jesus came down from the mountainside. Large crowds followed him. A man who had a skin disease came and got down on his knees in front of Jesus. He said, "Lord, if you are willing to make me 'clean,' you can do it." Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing to do it," he said. "Be 'clean'!" Right away the man was healed of his skin disease.  – Matthew 8:1-3

Any of us who have grown up in church have heard stories about Jesus healing people. We have learned of the blind that were made to see, the lame that were made to walk, the dead who were raised to life, the sick who were made well. We all know that Jesus heals, but sometimes the greatest lessons are in reading between the lines of these stories. The most beautiful lessons are the ones that are a little beneath the words and discovered in the more significant meaning.

As I read the story of the leper of Matthew 8, I realized that there are three characters in this story and they represent more than the role they play in this story.

In reading this story, I noticed that this story is kind of about the leper, but more than that, it’s about Jesus. Jesus is the central character here. He is the first one mentioned and he is the one performing the action in this story.

The secondary character is the leper, referred to in this version as “a man who had a skin disease.” For simplicity we will call him Lester. Lester the Leper just has a certain ring to it. Lester is the one to whom the action is directed.

There is a third character in this story – the crowds that followed Jesus. I had never really considered the crowds to be a character in this story until today, but I think that they play a very significant role that we have to read between the lines to see.

To tell this story I must begin with the Lester the Leper for the story to make sense. Lester came to Jesus and said, “Lord, if you are willing to make me ‘clean,’ you can do it.” Lester believed that Jesus could, but he recognized his unworthiness in coming to Jesus and didn’t know if Jesus would. Like many diseases in ancient times “leprosy was considered a curse of God, often associated with sin” (Gillen). Lester the Leper represents a sinner. Lester represents you and I, “for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). We must believe that Jesus can heal our disease of sin.

Lepers were shunned, cast out from society, and considered unclean. When diagnosed with leprosy, regardless of your place in society, you were sent to associate with only those of similar illness. Leprosy is highly contagious and the ‘clean’ did not associate with the ‘unclean.’ In fact, the ‘unclean’ had to declare themselves if walking through the streets in order to warn the ‘clean’ that they were coming. Lester would have had to push his way through the crowds to get to Jesus. Leprosy was not an invisible disease; it destroyed the body. The crowds would have known, even without him declaring himself, that he was unclean. They would have done one of two things: 1) gotten out of the way or 2) tried to block his way to Jesus. In Ministry of Healing, Mrs. White tells us that this is exactly what happened as the leper approached Jesus (69). We are the leper, but I believe that there are times that we also play the role of the crowd. How often do we treat those who are “worse” sinners than us with disgust? How often do we ignore and avoid those who struggle with the sins that we consider ugly? Rather than leading them to Jesus, the one who heals, how often by our treatment of them do we stand in their way and block their view of Jesus? We should not act like the crowds. Instead, we should show sinners the love of Jesus and lead them to His feet where they can receive His grace and be made whole.

Finally, the central and most important character of this story is Jesus. Lester said to Jesus, “Lord, if you are willing to make me ‘clean,’ you can do it.” Don’t miss what Jesus does here because I think what He does is more important that what he says! “Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man.” Jesus did not just use words, but he did the very thing that everyone else refused to do – He touched the leper, possibly the first touch he had experienced since being declared ‘unclean.’ Jesus reaches into the darkest places of our hearts that no one else dares explore for fear of it rubbing off and He touches us. Jesus isn’t afraid of our sin and He isn’t disgusted by us. With love, Jesus reached out his hand to the leper and He touched Him and made Him well. With that same love, Jesus stretched out His hands on the cross for the sinner to touch our hearts and heal us from the disease of sin.

The leper believed that Jesus could make him well, but didn’t know if he would. Our prayers are not always answered in the way that we want or as soon as we would like. There is one prayer whose answer will never be denied or delayed and is the sinners plea for mercy. 1 John 14-15 (NIRV), “There is one thing we can be sure of when we come to God in prayer. If we ask anything in keeping with what he wants, he hears us. If we know that God hears what we ask for, we know that we have it.” Galatians 1:4 says that it is the will of God to save us.

Believe that God can and will save you and do not stand in the way of those who come to Him.

Gillen, Alan L. "Biblical Leprosy: Shedding Light on the Disease that Shuns" Answers in Genesis, June 10, 2007. <>
White, Ellen G. Ministry of Healing. Review and Herald, 1999. < >

All Bible verses taken from and are from the NIRV.