Last march (2014) I really stepped up my hippy game. Before that I kind of identified with “crunchy granola” parents, more because I attachment parented, and we eat clean. The last year though, was a game changer. I threw out all the shampoo, lotions, conditioners, hand soap, body wash, deodorant and tooth paste. I wrote a whole blog explaining “no poo” and I posted recipes for body butters, hand soap, deodorant and toothpaste. Today I want to give an update. the last year has been a learning experience, and I’m happy I took the year to learn more about my body. What I did not expect was that I would learn so much about communication and compromise.
No Poo/Dandruff/Eczema/Psoriasis: Well, I have to say, I did not know what to expect with my hair. Talk to your hair dresser and he or she will probably be mortified if you even consider quitting shampoo. Turns out, it’s really freeing. I had never just used water on my hair in my life, I was so attached to the suds, and the silky feeling after conditioning. At first that hard wet feeling really bothered me. But I was amazed by how quickly my hair dried, and how light it was. I hardly had any transition. Most people have a greasy week or 4. I had a few weeks where my hair needed extra TLC in terms of brushing sebum through. Even now, a year later, i have no split ends, and my hair is soft and shiny! But the only problem I had is that I couldn’t get rid of the dandruff. I had never had dandruff until I gave birth to Jo, and have struggled for the last 6 years. I had tried EVERYTHING. The only thing that seemed to keep the flakes away was washing often. So you can imagine how “in your (my) face” this issue was once I stopped washing. I began searching forums and googling “natural” dandruff cures. The one that stood out the most was pouring 50/50 ACV (apple cider vinegar, and they say the smell goes away after your hair dries, maybe if you have less hair, but I have thick wavy hair and the smell DID NOT GO AWAY! It drove me and my husband crazy!) and water onto my scalp and letting it sit for 30 minutes every 3 days. OK, that was quite a commitment. But I was encouraged that it would help. It didn’t. In fact I ruined the pH levels on my head so I ended up with waxy hair. By waxy I mean, if you were to pinch a chunk of my hair it would feel sticky-ish. ALL of my hair. And water couldn’t penetrate it! Water would just roll right off my head like my hair was made of wax paper. I even went in the swimming pool, and it did nothing! So I tried apple sauce to get rid of the wax. Apple sauce helped the wax, but then my hair was filled with apple flakes! So it looked like I had the worst case of dandruff in history! I think it took 3 baking soda scrubs and LONG soaks in the tub to remove the apple flakes. In the end, the dandruff came back. So I tried an egg wash. OMG, that was the most disgusting thing I had ever done. Besides the complete weirdness of massaging snot-like goop into my hair, it smelled AWFUL. It continued to smell until my next ACV rinse. Those were my more amusing stories. But over the year I tried many “cures”. patchouli, lavender, coconut oil, tea tree oil, honey, kombucha, aloe juice, yogurt… Nothing helped. At least nothing helped for more than 3 days. Then the itchiness came back. I read that dandruff might be a type of yeast, so I cut out sugar, and started using probiotics, in fact, I have been brewing kombucha in my kitchen for months now! Still no relief. At the end of the year I tried a “low poo” conditioner from Shea Moisture, it didn’t help. So I finally decided to try the African Black Soap system from Shea Moisture. I kinda wish I had tried this 6 years ago! So far so good! right now I plan to use it once a week, then see how long I can go between washes. If the dandruff stays gone I will go back to no poo. If it comes back I will used this system as needed. I do use coconut on my ends, I think that’s why I don’t have split ends.
Lotion/Moisturizer: I’ll be honest. I missed lotion the most. Out of EVERYTHING I changed. I love lotion. And while I used hand made moisturizers, lotion bars etc, I just missed regular old lotion. I thought my skin would adjust so I used nothing for a few months. I hated it! I missed being super smooth! And the simplicity of a pump. So at the end of the year I bought Shea Moisture’s baby lotion. I love it. (Should I mention that Shea Moisture is not paying me to pimp them out, its just an affordable brand that doesn’t have a whole bunch of added chemicals.)
Acne: My acne has been gone for over a year now. I stopped using all the astringents, soaps and spot treatments. Now I oil cleanse, and use a jojoba and coconut oil serum twice a day. Oil Cleansing is super simple. Massage the oil of your choice (I used jojoba) into your skin for a few minutes, then cover your face with a wet hot wash cloth (Don’t burn yourself… common sense, guys.) for 2 minutes, then just wipe the oil off. Only do this at night. I also still use my lemon scrub (sugar, lemon, raw honey) 2x a week.
Body Wash: Turns out water cleans really well on its own. I suggest using a scrub occasionally, or something a little on the rough side to get a good scrub. I do still love my coconut oil and sugar body scrubs, I’m just sure to rinse the shower REALLY well after because coconut oil hardens and traps dirt and it’s slippery and gross looking.
Toothpaste: I enjoyed using my DIY toothpaste, but my husband HATED it. He especially hated that it clogged the sinks… So we’re back to toothpaste, I have been using the Trader Joe’s brand toothpaste with fennel. It tastes like jagger, but it really gives you a whole mouth clean feeling.
Deodorant: Another thing that my husband was not impressed with. I used it occasionally. Like today because it’s going to be 80 degrees, AND I had coffee. That’s what I learned, If I drink coffee, or eat dairy, I should use deodorant. But I’ve maybe used it 15 times in the last year. I made a deo with beeswax and it seems to work better, less drippy. My co worker traded me ***succulent clippings for the deo. It was an awesome trade!
Hand Soap: The hand soap smells nice, and works well, but it’s super watery and was an annoyance for husband, so we are using hand soap again. I’ll have to research what kinds are more environmentally friendly.
Kombucha: I started brewing kombucha in our kitchen 6 months ago, and it is going very well! My kids like it, I drink it daily. It think it causes minimal annoyance for my husband. Kombucha is a fermented tea, it’s filled with probiotics and is extremely healthy. I started brewing it to help with the dandruff, it didn’t help, but it was more affordable to make my own then spend $4 a bottle.
Oil Pulling: I still oil pull a few times a week.
House Plants and Succulents: My newest obsession is clean air. I started out adding succulents as decoration in our home, which has been fun, and a good test since it’s difficult to kill succulents. I recently added a few air cleaning plants to each room. A Peace Lily, a Parlor Palm, a Snake Plant, a Golden Pathos and Aloe Vera. My husband has reminded me that plants belong outside, however I think he prefers this obsession over no poo.
So the moral of the story is this: I had fun, I feel good about the last year. However, somethings just weren’t worth the effort, or the fight. I’m definitely gonna stay on the crunchy side, just not as strictly. I have a lot on my plate, and unclogging a coconut oil filled sink is just not worth the effort. And as you can tell, my husband just wasn’t impressed by any of this. Since he responded a bit better to eating real food, I think I’ll focus on that. And kudos to him for putting up with it for so long!