Photo courtesy of Stars Alive.

Don’t touch that bottle!

Are you ready for today’s confession?  I haven’t used shampoo since June 2010.  Now, this hasn’t been the simplest process for me, but it has been so worth it.  I used to dread washing my hair because when squeaky-clean, it was pretty useless.  By the 2nd or 3rd day my hair had enough natural oils in it to be manageable, but by Day 4 it was heavy and lifeless.  Last year I read this post on Mark’s Daily Apple, and finally understood that regular, even every-other-day shampooing had been stripping my hair of its natural, healthy oils and my scalp had been overproducing new oils to compensate, making my hair too oily to not shampoo.

So, far away from friends and family who might…well, smell me if things went awry, I started my no-poo routine in Maryland as an experiment.  It took a couple of weeks for my scalp to stop overproducing oils, but once everything adjusted, my hair became thicker, shinier, easier to style, and best of all, easier to wear without a lot of styling.

Here’s what I started with: once a week, a “deep” wash using 1 Tbsp baking soda in 1 cup of water.  Following the deep wash and every few days in between washings, a softening rinse using 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (ACV) in 1 cup of water.

My hair really liked this routine, but my hair color went running – I learned that the baking soda stripped color, and I like my color!  I had to find something else.

In Germany I couldn’t find baking soda anyway, so it was the right time to try option #2.  Still keeping the ACV as a conditioning rinse, I started washing once a week with a raw egg, beaten slightly and mixed with 1 cup of water.  Nice!  The egg was gentle but effective, and I kept this routine up through the winter.  While my hairdresser is definitely not joining the no-poo bandwagon anytime soon, she was impressed: after three months overseas I went in and she said, “You must be doing something right.  Your color has held up amazingly well!”  Hair color holding: check.

Since landing in Korea, I’ve switched out the egg for Dr. Bronner’s all-in-one soap, plus the ACV.  I’m not really sure why I switched methods when I hit Korea, but I think I’m going to back to the egg.  My hair is getting dry and I’m finding that I have to wash twice a week to get the same results as I was getting before.

So there you have it!  Three good options to try if you want to go ‘poo-less.  My personal experience may not work for you, so I encourage you to try different things, give your hair time to adjust and show you what it likes, and when you find something that works – stick to it!

To keep up with my promise of 3 recipes a week, I’m also linking to a delicious-sounding recipe for homemade lemon-peppermint toothpaste from Shannon at Nourishing Days; I am totally making this when I get home.  And I’m giving you my very own recipe for thick, wonderful body oil that has been keeping my skin very happy since I started using it last summer.

HOMEMADE BODY OIL

Combine 1 cup almond oil and 1 cup melted coconut oil in a 16-oz bottle, and shake to mix.  Add 20-30 drops of your favorite essential oil (I like lavender and vanilla), or more, to your liking.

When you’re done with your shower and before you’ve toweled off, rub a good coat of the body oil into your skin.  Then towel off; I find that this helps the oil to polish the skin, and the towel removes excess.  Then give your shoulder a little smooch, ’cause you’re beautiful, baby!

Speaking of babies, I just can’t help it…I’ve found some really sweet recipes that make me excited about caring for baby skin without chemicals or expensive store-bought concoctions.  I’m inspired to share it, so tune in next week for homemade baby care!

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