Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hair progress

I gotta say... I'm not sure that if I hadn't started the process of transitioning my hair onto toxin-free shampoo I could do it again.

In case you haven't heard the hype, the chemicals and surfactants in regular shampoos are supposed to be bad for you.  For the past couple years, I have dealt with frustrating scalp issues.  I tried to note the circumstances that lead up to a rash on my hairline.  I tried different shampoos and ultimately concluded that it was my body's reaction to stress.  I certainly felt stressed when I had these painful little rash spots along the hairline just above my temples.  I didn't necessarily notice the stress beforehand, but I definitely did once they appeared.

Several months ago, I learned about the potential issues (including allergies and rashes) that can occur with standard shampoos.  I still hadn't learned everything I needed to know to make an educated decision, so I did the best I could.  At that point I knew that the sodium lauryl/laureth sulfates were bad news.  I went to the beauty supply store and combed the aisles for my best option.  I ended up selecting a tea lauryl sulfate with tea tree oils.  I love tea tree oil because it feels so good on the scalp, so this sounded like the best choice to me.  It worked well for awhile, then I got another breakout.  Since I thought it was stress, I figured it wasn't the shampoo and bought another few bottles.

Then I learned more and found EWG's Skindeep website.  I learned about castile soap and that the best shampoos don't act like the typical ones-- they don't suds and bubble.  They also don't do it all the first time, so you truly lather, rinse, repeat.

I researched shampoos and hair treatments; finally I selected a gentle, scalp-calming shampoo.  I found information on the Healing-Scents website for a treatment that can speed the adjustment period.  I'm using that combo religiously, but I'm STILL not through this yet!

If anybody else is bracing to go through a similar transition, here is the process that gives me the most normal hair days.  If I can never get back to good hair days, I won't continue all this drama long term.  I'll keep you posted to let you know if there's ever light at the end of the tunnel.

Hair Transition Formula, a.k.a. Hair Shots

I adapted "The volcano" method slightly from Healing-Scents to make it possible to do on my own.  I've had to use it every time I shampoo for a few weeks now. 

If any of you have the cheap plastic take home drink shakers from a restaurant (like this), it's a great way to get this process done on your own.  Plus it's super classy to take your drink shaker into the shower with you.

  • Put 2 shots of apple cider vinegar and 2 shots of water into the cup.  Swish them together and put the strainer piece over it.
  • Shake baking soda into the shot glass and fill with enough water to stir it into a liquid solution (about even to the level of the baking soda).  I would say 1/3 full is right.
  • If you don't have such a classy container for your concoction, feel free to improvise freely with your glass and barware until you figure out what works best for you.  Use 1/2 cup ACV with 1/2 cup water.

  • Wet hair.  Shake the baking soda into your hair.  Use a little at a time to work it all around your scalp.
  • Tilt head WAY back and slowly pour the ACV mixture onto your hair.  It will fizz and bubble, so don't let it head south into your eyes!
  • Once it's all worked through, rinse it all out.
  • Do your lather, rinse, repeat routine with the castile or toxin-free shampoo.
  • Afterward, you can use nothing, a toxin-free conditioner, or another ACV/water rinse.
  • Rinse out whatever you used and pray that your hair is manageable enough to get through your day!
I am truly an optimistic person, so I'm still excited to see what will happen when I'm FINALLY done with the transition.  I just hope it happens soon!!  I also hope that "normal hair" with toxin-free shampoo is similar to normal hair with the SLS sudsy shampoos.

Here are a few pics of my hair from Easter weekend.  I had blowdried and straightened my hair, and this was the best it got.

Sorry the pic is a little fuzzy.  I wore out my arms trying to get a clear mirror pic and this was the best I had.  It reminds me of stringy teenager hair. :(

The scalp doesn't look too bad.  My hair feels like it's coated in wax.

My hair looks a little better now, and is more manageable (aka, clean looking) as well.  It still feels like it's coated in wax, though.  If I used styling products, this might be fantastic since it provides its own adhesion.  I just want to have it move naturally, though!

So there ya go.  All the details.

What do you think?  Am I nuts for trying to get my hair and scalp off the suds?!  Would you ever consider going toxin-free for your hair products?  If you've done this already, do you EVER get past this waxy hair point?!??