Poo-Free Philosophy

loreal hairIt’s official. I’ve lost count. I vowed I would go poo-free for thirty days. They say (whoever they are…) it takes 21 days to make or break a habit. It’s been at least that long. So now I’m kind of used to the poo- free lifestyle. I realize my hair will never be glamorous. But it never WAS glamorous to begin with! No big loss.

So thirty days into this experiment (not that I’m counting) here’s the breakdown of what you can expect, should embark on the no poo journey, too. After your first mental breakdown, (and possibly a second one) you will start to see some changes. All good things take time. Basically what happens is, your hair must undergo healing from years and years of damage. You will notice when you stop the shampoo routine,  your hair will feel incredibly dry or “rough.”

healthy damaged hair
Conditioner merely “fills in the cracks” from where the shampoo causes chemical damage

There’s a good reason this happens, and it doesn’t last forever.

You see, when you stop shampooing with harsh chemicals, you are no longer stripping your hair of much needed vitamins and nutrients. That’s good, right?  Likewise, when you stop conditioner, you stop accumulating build-up from the silicones that the conditioner coats your hair with. Also good, right?  Then why does poo-free hair feel so coarse? The truth is, while your hair might have felt soft and silky with traditional products, it wasn’t your true hair you were feeling. It was an artificial softness from the silicone film that was covering up your shampoo- damaged hair. Conditioner  doesn’t repair the shampoo damage to your hair, it merely puts a band-aid on it. When you go poo-free, all that built up conditioner washes out, and you are left with your real hair. And it is really damaged.

scarecrow hairAnd yes, it will feel as damaged as it looks. During this time, your hair will not fall softly on your shoulders. It will not hold a shape. Your ponytail will be like like straw. You will be able to run your fingers through it, but you will hate what you feel. This is where the first breakdown usually occurs. Things have to get worse before they can get better. Only once all that silicone slime washes off your hair shaft, can your body’s natural oils start their repairs.

hair combOnce that nasty silicone film is gone, your hair will begin to retain the much needed vitamins, nutrients and (most importantly) moisture it desperately needs. At this point, it’s up to you how you want to proceed. Some people use baking soda to wash and apple cider vinegar to rinse. Others find the baking soda is a bit harsh, so they use honey as a rinse, because it attracts moisture. For right now, I’m just using water, because my hair has only just started healing. I want to see how water-washing goes. I have already seen significant difference in the color, vibrance, sleek and shine. The straw has started to relax. There is a light at the end of this tunnel!

And there are other benefits to No Poo, besides being chemical free!

shower wall hairNowadays, I’m loving how much shorter showers can be!!! When I’m in a hurry, I can just wet my head and go. Back in my shampoo days (don’t you love how I phrased that? As if it was 20 years ago…) wet hair would totally stress me out! On the flip side, having to shampoo & condition would stress me out. It was such a process… not to mention all the hair on the shower wall… Oh c’mon ladies, I know you do it, too!!

Now that I’ve hair shower drainquit shampoo, I barely have 15 strands of hair stuck in between my fingers. That’s amazing!!!  My hair is substantially thicker, and there is MUCH less to pull out of the shower drain! My ponytail is noticeably more full, as is my hair’s natural texture. I had no idea! I’ve had fake hair all these years- and I’m not just talking about the color.

Nevertheless, there is an adjustment period to No Poo. You can read more about my first detox days here. It wasn’t pretty. It was like rehab for shampoo addiction. Not kidding. I almost needed a straightjacket.

sunbeamsAnd then, there was yesterday. Ahhhhhhh, yesterday!!!! Like rays of golden sunshine after the storm. Like the promise of a new day. The breakthrough had come! I actually LIKED my new hair!!!

That’s when it hit me.

No Poo is far more than just a transition for my hair. It’s a transition to being unafraid. To being MYSELF. To receiving healing

I’m not trying to philosophize too deeply (ok, so this might get deep,) but we have all spent years chasing after the ideals of a beautiful life. We buy products, we try tinctures, we spend thousands of dollars on wardrobes, skincare and salons. For what? To look like something other than who we naturally are. Why are we so afraid of being ourselves?  I will never have gorgeous, salon-styled hair. Or a closet full of fashionable designer clothes. Or live in a model home. And at the end of the day, if that’s all anyone remembers of me, then I will have lived my life all wrong anyways.

For me, No Poo has been a journey of breaking free. 

After all, to continue the metaphor, don’t we all “shampoo” our lives? By striving to meet society’s expectations, we unintentionally strip away everything that is good and wholesome in life and cover up the damage with artificial happiness. We run after education, jobs, money, and power while we sacrifice God, children, family, friends… self. We mask this disparity with social engagements, furnishings, vacations, and business. But underneath that false veneer, we are cracked and worn. Frail and weak. Damaged.

worship womanWe need to strip away all that veneer in order to heal. We must bring ourselves to a place where we can retain nourishment, specifically from God’s word. As we enter a state where our natural self is raw and exposed, God will smooth out the rough places. He will heal our wounds. And we will start to see our natural shine return. There will be bounce in our steps. There will be joy in our families, radiance on our children’s faces. Our lives will be full of luster. We will have a natural sheen that the world can not understand. Because it is still artificially “shampooing” itself to death.

In everything we do. In everything in life, there is a lesson to learn. All we need to do is open our eyes and truly see. The truth lies all around us!!!

Even in an empty bottle of shampoo.

An that, is my Poo-Free Philosophy.

 

No Poo in the Shower

Normally my shower is full of poo. There’s poo in every corner. In all shapes and colors. Each one with its own aroma. Each one leaves its own texture. I hate to get rid of it.

And yes. You read that correctly.

shampoo hairI have a love affair with poo. We stockpile every kind, from Pantene, to Paul Mitchell to Selsun Blue (OK, that’s my husband’s) I love the sudsy goodness on my scalp, the fragrance of… whatever it is, the creamy rinse that leaves my hair so sleek and utterly comb-able. I love shampoo.

And now I’ve gone and thrown it all away.

pureologyToday is detox day #12. I’m sorry I didn’t write sooner about it, but to be honest, I’ve been suffering a deep, dark withdrawal that I wasn’t ready to share with the world. I mean, NO POO??? I felt a bit like a criminal somehow, walking around with un-shampooed hair. After all, somebody might catch me… and then what would they think?

But I had to at least try, just to see it it’s even possible.

And then I think about all those people, since the dawn of time who didn’t have these sudsy little bottles for their hair. They never knew the joy of a salon-styled, freshly blow dried coif. They had to wash in the river for crying out loud. At least my hair won’t smell like fish!

If you spend at least four seconds surfing Al Gore’s internet, you will learn there are zillions of ways to quit shampoo. But I opted for the most basic route first. Water washing.

Of course I’ve often gone for days without washing my hair. We all have. It’s good for you, or so they say. But what I’d never done before is wet my unwashed hair. I mean NEVER. In fact, I would wash my hair just because it got wet! 

combSo Day 1 was like a total shower crisis. There I was, having wet my hair. And that was it. I attempted a comb, and to my surprise, I was easily able to comb through it. Sigh of relief. And that was the moment I realized I’d been holding my breath.

Day 2 of No Poo. Still scared out of my mind. My husband’s dandruff shampoo mocked me from it’s shelf, with it’s bright happy colors and swirly little fonts- like it was having a party and I wasn’t invited. I gritted my teeth and did the comb test. Everything felt MUCH thicker, and definitely greasier. But the comb sailed through.

Day 3- I was so distraught from days 1 and 2 that I threw it in a ponytail and didn’t wash. Denial Day

hair brush messDay 4 was not so good. When I wet my hair, it felt like someone had dumped a bottle of bacon grease in it. Not the slippery kind of greasy feeling like conditioner. But a sticky greasy feeling, like rubbing my hands across a carpet full of Crisco and bubble gum. Not fun. But I persevered. When I blow dried, it looked light and fluffy, but the texture was sticky straw. Yuck. Another pony tail

Day 5. I couldn’t WAIT to get in the shower and rinse all that nasty…oh wait… I still couldn’t use shampoo. No degreaser. No wonderfully dried out scalp and locks. That was the day I almost cried. If there had been something other than Selsun Blue available, I might have caved. Again I persevered. And wore a pony tail. Which was pretty much slicked to my head. Gross

water rinseDay 6. I rinsed. And I rinsed and I rinsed. And I rinsed and I rinsed and I rinsed and I rinsed… And I combed my hair under the shower water. And I rinsed. And I combed. And I rinsed. And I combed.  Maybe I was imagining it, but it felt a little better. That day I blow dried and wore it down. But I kept TOUCHING it because the texture was unlike anything I’d ever experienced. Not straw exactly, but thicker and courser than my hair had ever felt in my life. And it dawned on me that I had barely lost ANY hair in the shower the last 5 days. Hmmmm. Interesting…

Day 7. Well, Day 6 had been such a success that I didn’t want to mess it up- so it was a ponytail day. I was still scarred from Day 5 and dreading the next “water wash”

hair combDay 8. Rinse. Comb. Rinse. Comb. Every time I ran the comb through my hair, I studied it to see HOW LITTLE HAIR came out!!! Could this be for real??? Blow dry was successful, but just in case, I wore a ponytail

Day 9. Perhaps the beginning of a breakthrough. Perhaps not. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but it’s all starting to feel a little more normal now. After my blow dry, I kept running my hand through my hair and thinking “Perhaps this is how my natural hair is, and I’ve never known it my entire life!” That thought kept me going to Day 10. It was kind of exciting. Like meeting a friend I never knew. My REAL hair!!! Maybe it would be better than my chemical treated hair! Oh the possibilities!!!

Day 10. More of the same. Still adjusting to and excited to discover my real hair- for better or for worse, this was my hair the way God intended. And it’s DEFINITELY much thicker. MUCH, MUCH THICKER.

Day 11. My hair was less “stiff” after blow-dry. It’s starting to relax more now and find a balance. I can run my fingers through it during the day and 1. they do’t get stuck and 2. It actually feels nice- although the new, thick texture is totally foreign to me!

hair 1Day 12. I did NOT blow dry. My hair FELT smooth and flowing, but it looked unstyled (as it always does without a blow dry) so I really don’t know what I was thinking. Perhaps I thought that getting in touch with my new, NATURAL hair would suddenly turn me in to the next Loreal model. Ha! A girl can dream, can’t she?

So that’s my No Poo Adventure so far. I’m determined to make it to 30 days before giving a definitive assessment. And perhaps I will try a different No Poo technique after that.

I know I had you on the edge of your seat with this journey. So stay tuned for the next installment of my poo-free adventure!