Just when you thought my bladder was the only problem!
I knew that my routine was abnormal for most people but it had become the new norm for me. I don’t think I was a daily poo-er until after high school. I’m not sure what changed that caused me to get on this frequency. Was it my lifestyle? It could have very well been. Nightly partying can lead to many strange habits. However, it was most likely my obsessive compulsive tendencies that pushed me to the twice a day poo or even the occasional three times a day poo. When traveling with coworkers for conferences I could tone it back to the daily poo until recent years. Stress, OCD and personal hygiene scrutiny had taken over and I pooed more than anyone I knew.
I did regard it as a problem but had no intention of correcting it until I made a connection between it and my health. After an evening pooing, I got out of the shower and realized that my face and scalp were bright red and itching. After a little deliberating I came to realize that it wasn’t actually the shampoo but the conditioner that had cause me to break out.
What did you think I was talking about?
Yes, I meant shampoo the whole time. That’s what all the cool people call it. “No Poo” What did you think I meant?
Oh, right. I could see how that would be a bit confusing.
As we were…
Over the course of the last two years, I have been suffering from allergic reactions. Sometimes I know what caused it, sometimes it’s a mystery. A coworker has joking speculated that I will be allergic to air next and to be honest I’m not so sure that isn’t a possibility.
The night I realized that my new conditioner was lighting my head and face on fire I decided it was time to get my obcessive hygiene regimen under control. I began searching the internet for homemade shampoo and conditioner regimens because you guys know I love a good hippie recipe. I also knew that I had to stop subjecting my body to the continuous oil stripping. No matter how gross it is to think about (oily skin, oily hair… bleh!) your body makes those oils to protect you. My body was probably exhausted from constantly trying to protect me. That’s when I discovered the No Poo Movement.
I thought I could really get on board with this! The No Poo Movement meant less chemicals on my body and less chemicals in the environment. Women ranted and raved about how fantastic they felt and how healthy their hair and scalp were. I watched YouTube videos and most of these women had hair that looked clean and fresh. No yucky hair there!
There seem to be several ways to go about the No Poo. Some no poo-ers wean themselves off of shampoo slowly. Some do what is called the CO method which is conditioner only. There’s the baking soda wash + apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice) rinse. The most frugal of them all is the WO method – water only.
I wanted to go cold turkey and do the water only method. As someone who had been shampooing it up twice a day, this didn’t happen too long. Your body apparently has a mindset on providing you with all the oils you need no matter how much you fight it. When you stop shampooing your body doesn’t understand how to kick it out of overdrive. It takes a while for the feedback system to learn not to be so crazy. With my head quickly achieving slip and slide conditions – I knew I had to try the baking soda. There was no way I could try to CO when my conditioner had set my head to blaze!
I mixed up my baking soda wash and my vinegar rinse then hit the shower. I don’t know about you but I felt that this had all the potential to go scientifically wrong. Don’t you mix baking soda and vinegar to make the volcano in science class?
My head didn’t foam up probably because I rinsed like a mad woman between the two steps. However, after the vinegar rinse I realized that my hair was doing what all the blogs warned you about. It was on its way to feeling like straw. Oh, it was so awful! I can’t explain to you how it felt. It still felt kind of greasy yet at the same time it felt like I had been lied to my whole life and that Scarecrow was really my father and he’d let the Uncle Tin Man come over and condition my hair. Dear Holy Hell, what a mess.
I battled on though despite this horrible feeling. I tried doing a honey rinse in between and that seemed to help a little. I kept reassuring myself with blog after blog. It will take time for your hair to adjust. Be patient. I took pictures that I was sure one day I would look back on and say, ‘And you thought this was an awful choice! Aren’t you glad you trudged on through the worst of it? Yay, no poo!”
A week in trying to convince myself it wasn’t so bad. Cody doesn’t look so sure.
After weeks of creatively trying to figure out how to cover my head, I finally gave up. My hair felt gross, it smelled weird and it was impossible to comb or brush. I had bought the boar hair brush to help work the good oils through. Unfortunately, my hair was so out of control that combing and brushing just broke it off by the handfuls. This was not the happy scene the blogging world had shared with me.
As my hairdresser lowered the chair over the shampoo bowl this past Thursday, I broke the news to her as she began to work water through my hair. “Sharron, I have a confession to make. I haven’t shampooed my hair in a month.”
You’d think that she would have made a horrible face full of shock and disgust, but that didn’t come until I told her that I had been shampooing twice daily. Seems in the hair world over shampooing is scarier than my entry level dreadlocks.
An hour later, I was clean and detangled. I still can’t believe I made it a month without shampoo. I so badly wanted to be part of that world that doesn’t use chemicals on their mane but it turns out I need some occasional suds on my head. It has taught me that I can indeed make it without shampooing my hair every single day (or even twice a day). It also taught me that a guy I knew in my gangsta teenage years was wrong, I did indeed have a hair type for dreads. I learned that my obsessive compulsive demons are right where they have always been … in my head. Despite all my worry about how gross my hair was, Sharon insisted that if anything my hair had felt powdery and not greasy. Plus she swore she couldn’t smell anything foul in there either.
If you are pondering the no poo lifestyle, give it a try. It wasn’t for me but there seems to be tons of people out there who are overjoyed with their new found regimen. For the rest of us, it’s a choice between feeling clean or feeling right and sometimes you have to pick feeling clean. I mean really, how can I go on saving the world one birdie at a time if I spend all my time brushing oils from my scalp to the ends with a boar hairbrush?
A day after my shampoo intervention. Shout out to Sharon for being brave enough to stick in hands in my no poo mess!