A reader of mine, a mother of 2 asked me to discuss my hair care regiment because she is where I was months ago. And you know what Shannon, I have to be honest with you. Although I am pretty content with my hair now, there are days where I still want to cut my hair off just like you do. I want to take a buzzer right from the nape of my hair all the way to my crown and be done with it.
Except.. do you know how fortunate I am to have hair to even f with? The fact that I even have hair to begin with. I mean, why should I even be complaining? This thought alone is the reason why I don’t spend too much time on it. Except that I probably do spend a lot of time looking at the split ends and snipping them off because my visits to a hairdresser are few and far between. This is a weird thing I do when I’m thinking.
But honestly, when I tell you I don’t spend time doing it, thinking about it etc., I mean it. 90% of the time, I roll out of bed and do one of two things:
Stand up. Or roll onto the floor.
I either glance in the mirror, check my part a bit with my fingers and walk out the door or I throw it up in a high, messy bun with an elastic or a chopstick and walk out the door. Wait a minute, I don’t ever just walk out the door, I have a child. What parent out there has ever just “walked out the door” with their child. Basically, I don’t have time to f’s with my hair. I have so many other things that take priority, like whether or not my child wiped his butt.
Having been a hairstylist for more than 5 years (kind of still am) this is the complete opposite of where I used to be. I would do and put, cut or spray just about everything in my hair. And one thing I learned is that: hair is trainable.
Our bodies are very well designed in that everything that it is supposed to do, it does for us. Including take care of our hair. We just don’t let our bodies do it. We don’t trust it. We rely on what others tell us. And what they will think of what we look like. We compare hair. We wish we had different hair. We do everything that big marketing companies want us to do so that we can spend money just so that we can feel better about the way we look.
Because what we look like, we’re told by companies, isn’t good enough. What our hair is naturally doing, isn’t good enough. And so gallons and gallons of water is wasted washing chemicals down the drain. Billions and billions of dollars are spent on products, packaged in plastic, trying to achieve hair perfection.
I get it though. It’s hella hard not to buy in. Trust me. This no poo, non-traditional hair care business isn’t easy. There are days where I hate my hair. There are days that I think like I look like the greasiest, dirtiest mess ever. I want to give up on it some days. I get self-conscious and wonder if people think I even shower. Of course, most of this is just made up in my mind. Or… everyone around me just won’t tell me the truth. I sometimes daydream about the shampoo I used to use, it’s smell and lather and fantasize about going back to it.
But I don’t. I won’t. I think it’s out of fear that I will mess up what I’ve worked on for so long. I don’t want to go back to all of the lies.
So here’s what we’ll do Shannon, beautiful mother of 2, who seems to have tried everything without any hope – let’s find you a solution. I’ll share what I do and give some insight. I’ll talk to you like I would my clients who used to sit in front of me in a chair at the salon. Ready?
Are you living in the country or the city?
The type of water affects your hair. It is not actually the soap itself. Depending on where you are and what the water is like, your hair will react differently. Country or “well” water is considered to be more hard. City water is still “hard” it is just treated more with chemicals. Rainwater before it goes into the ground is considered soft. Here’s an article that discusses more about that. I live in the city and my building is fairly old. So I’m not sure what is in those pipes.
How often are you washing your hair?
And not just that, how often do you wash it with soap and how often do you wash it with just plain water? I wash my hair maybe 2 times a week. Once with soap. Once without. Don’t get it twisted, I shower (I think?) more than 2 times a week. I just don’t always wash my hair.
Are you washing with hot water in the beginning and then ending your shower by rinsing your hair in cold water?
Heat opens up the hair follicles so you can clean it better and the cold water helps to seal it. I do this in replace of hair conditioner. First I wet my hair and when I apply the soap to my hair, I actually only put it on the top most layer working from the middle of my hair down to the ends. If I feel like being risky, I’ll maybe put a tiny amount on the top of my hair near my roots.But I don’t do this often.The top of your head and the roots of your hair is where the head forms all those oils.
My soap already has oil in it, I don’t want to add it to an area where oil already is coming from. I just like to rinse my hair roots with hot water and that’s it. The outer layer of your hair, as in the hair that you see most, is what collects the most pollutants from the air. That’s why it’s important to clean that part, not to mention the ends because everything ends up settling at the ends because gravity is boss. I wash it with hot first then before I get out I douse it with cold water.
Are you using heat on it? The more heat we put on our hair, the more damaged it becomes. Avoid using heat excessively. I rarely blow dry my hair. In the last year, I think I used a blow dryer three times, which saves on energy. I only recently started straightening my hair again and I do it once every other week, if that. Doing this gives me another day or two of not washing it. The greasiness in my hair actually helps protect my hair from the heat, but at the same time it also helps to tone the greasy feeling down. Maybe because it’s being burned off? I don’t know.
Are you really patient?
At six months I wanted to shave my hair. At over a year, I now love my hair more than ever. I have more good hair days than I’ve ever had in my Life. My hair felt really awful at one point, and now it’s the softest I’ve ever felt it without using any products. But I struggled to get to where I am. And I already told you I still have crappy days just like the rest of us. I persisted. I was patient. You need to be too.
Are you testing different products for at least two weeks?
Maybe one week minimum. So that’s seven-fourteen days of washing. It doesn’t need to be every day, just in total. Your hair needs to adjust to whatever it is you’re using. Some no poo methods did not work on me. Some of the homemade soaps made my hair feel greasier. I switch up my homemade shampoos that I use on my hair to see the difference and also so that my hair doesn’t just get used to it and then not work as well. The soaps that I use that my friend makes have a few simple ingredients.
Do you accept your hair?
How well do you know it? Do you have thin hair? Coarse hair? Do you have a lot of hair but it’s fine? I have a ton of hair but it’s actually very fine. Which is why my hair gets build up easily and can look greasy if I use a soap that has too much oil in it. Your hair will also never look like anyone else’s because it is your own.
The one thing I hated at the salon was if someone brought me a picture and told me to make their hair look like that person’s hair in the picture. What works on one person will not necessarily work on you. We have different textures, different face shapes, different thicknesses. The sooner you can accept what your hair naturally does, the easier it will be for you to transition.
Yesterday I was having a good hair day. Today I washed my hair but didn’t use any soap. Today I like my hair too. It feels so soft. I’m also in a different city so the water could be different. Tomorrow I will not wash my hair. I probably won’t wash it until Monday. I spend very little time on my hair and I like it that way. I have way more important things to do than fuss about my hair, like write this blog.
Just remember, the process is different for everyone. The time of transition is different for everyone. Trust that you won’t have a perfect score of great hair days even when you think you’ve gotten over the imaginary “no poo hump”, but that it does get better over time.