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Sunday, April 25, 2010

I am going "No Poo" - are you?

Well, the no impact week is ending today, and I would say that for me, this project was only minimally effective/successful.  That being said, I think that it would have been the perfect project for me to begin my one year of living with less - as it would have been a wonderful way to awaken my eco-consciousness and become aware of all the changes that I would be trying to implement in the coming year.  Over the past week, I found that with each of the challenge areas: Trash, Consumption, Water, Energy, Transportation, Giving Back; that I am already making huge life-changing efforts.  Of course, you can always do more, but for me, I think that success lies in making slow, steady changes.  For example, one of the areas that I have been focusing on of late, is to try to reduce the levels of toxins in our home environment.  From the food in our cupboards to the hygiene products in our bathroom, I am going through each of the products one by one and trying to figure out which ones have been filling our bodies with poison (I know, I know, sounds dramatic right?)  Well, the reading that I have been doing lately has made me think that maybe that statement maybe isn't so far off.  One of the first changes that I have made is to switch to the 'No Poo' method of washing my hair ('No Poo' is slang for giving up traditional shampoo/conditioners - and no, I didn't make that up myself - it's a real technique!  If you are interested in reading more about this method, click here).  Don't worry, I didn't jump into this one lightly - I actually read up it first (for once)!

I have been 'No Poo' for about a week now, and so far, I am actually quite pleased with the results.  I have really fine hair and I was extremely worried that my hair would turn into a greasy, stringy mess, but so far, it hasn't.  Also, it may not spell like apples anymore (aka hormone-disrupting phthalates), but it doesn't smell bad either.  Actually, according to Trent, it doesn't really smell like anything... I can live with that!  While I have started with the shampoo/conditioner and soap in the shower, I will be gradually phasing out my other cosmetic products... it makes me sick to think about throwing away half full bottles of stuff that I paid a lot of money for... that is the 'frugalista' in me (which in this case, wins over the 'ecodiva').

All of that being said... you would tell me if I was stinky right?

Marebare :)


  1. Congratulations! I've been "No Poo" for nearly 2 years now, and my hair has never looked better! It did take me a while to settle into a routine that works for me though... my problem wasn't grease, but sebum (that nasty waxy stuff that builds up).

    My solution is this: I wash about twice a week with a baking soda solution and then do a rinse with distilled white vinegar with a few drops of lemon oil added. If I happen to be suffering from sebum buildup, I let the vinegar sit on it for 10 minutes or so (usually while I'm soaking in a nice hot tub). I also have a very fine toothed plastic comb that I use while the vinegar is still on the hair. I find that the combination of the comb & the vinegar really work well to remove excess sebum. (The stuff that comes out with the comb is rather gross looking though... sort of like grey wax.)

    Anyhow - I used to have real problem hair - oily at the scalp and dry/frizzy at the ends. But now I'm finally getting to the point where most of my damaged hair has grown out and it really feels WONDERFUL! It's wavy without being frizzy. I will NEVER go back to using shampoo again!

  2. OK... one more thought while this is still on my mind. Most modern conditioners and many other hair produts use silicones to coat the hair and make it shiny. Essentially, the shampoo strips away the natural oil and sebum which would normally coat the hair, so the silicones are used to perform the job that your body would do naturally if you just leave it alone. The problem is that the silicone is not water soluble, and it prevents the natural oils from soaking into the hair shaft and "conditioning" the hair like they would normally do. This is one of the reasons that you have to shampoo so often when you use these products.

    The baking soda and vinegar have a hard time removing the silicones, so I highly recommend that you wash with some sort of cheap shampoo (that doesn't contain silicones) as a "final wash" before you start a "no poo" regimen. I was unaware of this step when I first went "no poo" and, as I had been using a leave-in conditioner full of silicones, my hair was a total disaster after only a few days. Once I washed out all of the silicones it went MUCH better!

    To find out if your hair care products contain silicones, look for anything that ends in "cone" or "xane".

    OK... and (I seem to be on a roll here). The other thing that I find very helpful is brushing with a wooden bristle brush. Natural fiber brushes (like wood or boar's hair) will absorb the oils and sebum as you brush and help to redistribute them along the hair shaft so that it coats and conditions the entire length of the hair and prevents oily buildup near the scalp. I found that wooden bristles worked better than boar's hair because my hair is really thick and the boar's hair wasn't stiff enough to hold up.

    Also, if you brush right after washing your hair (after you've allowed it to dry), these brushes do a remarkable job of removing any excess sebum buildup. It seems to work best when your hair has just been washed because there will be little to no oil, which allows the sebum (which is naturally sticky) to adhere better to the bristles. Basically the sebum sticks to the bristles and then you can scrape it off or wash it off to remove it. It sort of makes a bit of a disgusting mess at first if your scalp is over-producing sebum, so you have to clean the brush pretty well when you're done.

    OK... I'll shut up now. Happy "no poo'ing"!

  3. Again, look at you with the pillar of knowledge... I think that you should move up here so that you can be my official 'simplicity tutor'! Thank you, thank you, thank you for the amazing tips and advice. Anyone in my life that I have shared this new idea with thinks that I am totally off my rocker - so it is such a relief to 'know' someone out there who has already made this transition successfully!

    Great advice, but we have really different hair types by the sounds of things: my hair is super fine and thin... and so far (after one week) it seems to be doing okay, although it does look pretty greasy after 2 days of not washing. I am hoping that my scalp will quit over-producing the oil sooner rather than later!

    Thanks for the support - you really have no idea how much I appreciate it!

    All the best!
    Maren xoxo

    PS - don't be alarmed if I send you a 'panic message' if the dreaded sebum shows up!

  4. Ha! I'm amazed that you're brave enough to go public with it all. When I first did it I didn't tell ANYBODY. I figured people would think it was totally disgusting, and I wasn't so sure that I wasn't completly off my rocker either! I figured that if I told anybody they'd all be staring at my hair thinking god knows what. It took about a year before I was brave enough to "come out of the no poo closet" so to speak!

    BTW - what on earth is KD? (I'm referring to macaroni & cheese here).

  5. Um, yeah... I am pretty sure that some of my friends DO think that I am completely nuts, however, this is nothing new to them... and if they don't like it, they aren't my REAL friends anyway!

    I am chuckling at the KD reference now! KD in Canada stands for 'Kraft Dinner' - our version of Mac and Cheese... for some reason I thought that this was a universal thing!? Apparently not - but I think that it is basically the same thing. Whatever you call that stuff - it is my husband and my son's FAVORITE food - and I have been threatening to take it away b/c of the dreaded chemicals in it... I did find an organic one that we can all seem to agree on though, and it still is pretty cheap (when you buy it by the case!) so I am going to try out the 'florentine' recipe - if only just to get my son to eat some spinach.

  6. LOL! OK... well as if we needed further confirmation on how cheap I am... I have never actually purchased "name brand" mac & cheese, so I have no idea what Kraft calls it here in the lower 48!

    I'm actually not a big fan of the chemicals either, but it makes for a "catchy" recipe. I have a new website devoted to Mac & cheese recipes that I will be rolling out as soon as it's ready, so I'm trying to take pictures of some of the recipes... hence my Meatless Monday choice!

    But here's an "insider's tip" for you on that recipe... instead of the nasty pre-packaged stuff, just use any pasta you want and substitute 1/4 cup ground parmesean for the packet of orange mystery substance. Probably cheaper, easier and healthier too!