Tuesday, March 22, 2011

So, about that hair thing...

Yea!  (clap! clap! clap!)  Let's talk about my hair!

First, some necessary background.  I am not historically a low-maintenance hair washing type of gal.  I may be frugal in other areas of my life but have always enjoyed being pampered at a salon, love to indulge in expensive shampoos and conditioners, and (despite having been proven wrong my whole life) continue to buy in to the idea that if only I found the right product, I'd pretty much pass for a supermodel.

Don't laugh, but my planning notes from when we were moving to Austin and trying to figure out how we'd make ends meet contained vows to cut out all extraneous purchases such as music and chewing gum (oh, my former gum expenses -- yeah right, ha ha), but I was unwilling to trade in decent haircuts for Super Cuts.  When we traveled to Paris in 2006, I just wanted to experience the place and didn't care much about bringing back souvenirs so instead spent money stocking up on Kerastase because it was actually cheaper there!  (By the way, I am not so vain that I can't see that none of this matters in the end; I'm just saying I enjoy a good cut and color as much as the next girl and have no shame about my fancy shampoo buying habits.)

Kerastase, Wen, Curly Girl (DevaCare), Redken, Matrix, Abba, MOP, Bumble & Bumble, Fekkai, not to mention 30 years of dabbling in standby drugstore brands such as Finesse, Pantene and the rest of them...you name it, and I've probably tried it. 

And then in January, I went cold turkey for the hell of it and switched from using this (at nearly $30 a pop):
 To this (about 1 Tbsp. of baking soda mixed with about 8 oz. of water):
One squirt bottle lasts Joe and me about a week.  Oh yeah, Joe became a believer and joined me in this hippie hair washing weirdness while we were in Mexico and hasn't looked back since.  And he's a dude who produces nearly enough oil to convert to biofuel, so for anyone out there thinking your hair's too oily for this technique, I respectfully disagree.  For conditioner we put about 1/8 c. apple cider vinegar in a liquid measuring cup and fill the rest with water from the shower.  (And no one has told me I smell like pickles yet, though Georgia does object to the vinegar smell in our bathroom in the mornings!) 

They say it takes a few weeks for your hair and scalp to adjust to this technique and come out of the overly oil-producing cycle caused by frequent washing with conventional shampoos.  So, that was the only hard part of the switch in my opinion - sticking it out through the "I'm not so sure about this..." phase.

But yeah, now we're totally digging it.  To be honest, it's not that I think my hair feels or looks any better than it did before, it's just that this is so cheap, easy, and chemical free, and I think my hair doesn't feel or look any worse, which amazes me.  It's less "slippery" immediately after being washed, but that's okay.  Maybe you should try it for fun?  If it works, you'll be looking at shampoo commercials the way we do now, thinking, "What a racket!"  

Technically, I did have my hair washed with real shampoo once in February, because I got it highlighted at a fancy-pants salon.  Guess there's still hope for me - I haven't gone full hippie just yet!

That about covers it.  If you're interested in trading your shampoo and conditioner for baking soda and vinegar, I'd recommend reading this post that explains the "why" of why some people think this technique makes more sense, as well as the "how-to" in a little more detail than what I just provided.

Any takers?

[For the teeny, tiny fraction of you who may not care about my hair, here are some gratuitous pictures of the girls basking in the sunlight.  June's twiggling of her belly button has left ear tugging in the dust when it comes to self-soothing techniques, and judging by appearances, I'm thinking this kid is pretty darn soothed by now.]

Sun bathing.

My little twiggler.


Danni said...

You lost me at the vinegar. I like the perfumy smell of shampoos and conditioners :p

Kate said...

Fair enough, Danni. I don't mind a good shampoo/conditioner scent myself. But, if it's any consolation, you do not actually smell the vinegar at all once you've rinsed it out.

Now actual perfume, that's another story. Somewhere along the way I've become almost grossed out by all perfumes and don't understand why people insist on wearing them. I feel like it inflicts your scent preference on everyone around you, and perfume wearers almost always overestimate how much they need (though no one thinks they are doing this).

Sarah said...

Wow, I am fascinated. I thought it was going to be a non-shampoo that's really a shampoo, like Wen or something. I'm definitely going to try it!

Sarah said...

I'm the same way - cutting back on costs does not include shampoo or expensive haircuts. I tried a cheap haircut a couple years ago just to make sure I wasn't crazy for spending the extra money and it was a disaster. Could I really save on the ridiculously expensive shampoos by going with baking soda? Wow, baking soda is a such a versatile, miraculous "product."

Susan said...

I could see myself trying this at some point. I've got a huge new bottle of Deva right now, so it'll probably be a while but maybe when I run out of that. I think going from no shampoo to only conditioner was more drastic than it would be to drop the conditioner and use baking soda, so I think I could do it. We'll just have to see if my hair likes it because I'm obviously pretty sold on Deva!

Oh, and I totally agree with the 2 week thing. It was definitely a rough 2 weeks of no shampooing for me before things balanced out. But, that was before Deva products existed and I was just using random conditioner with the least amount of chemicals in it I could find.

Are you using any products after the washing? You know...gel, mousse, hairspray...anything?

Anonymous said...

I cannot WAIT to try this!! In my old age, I get angry about spending $15 for a bottle of shampoo at the salon. - Tom T.