Tuesday, September 20, 2011

No-Poo Do: An Update

It's been a week now since I last used shampoo.

(It feels weird to say that. Like I'm rebelling against something!) This is what one week has gotten me:

My hair just feels weird. I can't quite get used to the texture. It's not soft and silky, but not hard and gritty, either. Sunday I worked up quite a sweat, and it felt like I'd doused my hair in aqua net and then jumped in a swimming pool. Ew.

I miss the feel of lathering up shampoo.

I miss the scent of my shampoo. Baking soda and vinegar has no scent whatsoever once it is rinsed out of your hair.

My straight, flat, shapeless hair actually has body. Even if I go two days without washing, it still has some life. It's not just my imagination, either - I've had several people comment that it looks fuller.

I can go a full 48 hours without washing and my hair doesn't look like a grease pit. It does start to get a little funky at the end of the second day, but it's nothing that a headband won't fix, and certainly not as bad as it was before.

It's cheap. I mixed up two cups of each a week ago and I still have some left.

I am defnitely going to keep at it. I suspect that I am still in the "breaking-in" phase, and my hair hasn't really adjusted yet. Although my hair looks much fuller, and it's masking to some degree the thinness on top, it's far too early to tell if it will really make a difference in how much hair I have.

Each time I wash it I spend a good 1-2 minutes just massaging my scalp, and I think that helps. Sunday, after I felt like I had helmet head, I wet my hair and just used the apple cider vinegar as a rinse. It felt smoother and softer, but it also was oily by the next morning.

At this point, the pros definitely outweight the cons, for much the same reasons as women wear heels - if it looks good, we are willing to endure a little pain/discomfort/irritation. I'm going to stick with it for a full month and see where I'm at then.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Great No-Poo 'Do Experiment

One interesting effect of Pinterest is that I am finding all sorts of alternatives to self-care and household products. One that keeps popping up is the idea of a no-shampoo hair care regimen. At first I was repulsed and ignored it completely. I mean, really - who wants to not wash her hair? It brought up all these images of nappy matted smelly hair. Gross. Plus my hair is really oily and the thought of not using shampoo was mildly terrifying.

But it just kept coming up, and the more I got to reading, the more curious I got. It seems the majority of folks going No-Poo were doing it because of the horrific effect of the gawsh-awful chemical in the shampoo.

I decided to give it a go, but my reasons are not nearly so altruistic. I'm cheap, and baking soda and vinegar (yes, you read correctly - baking soda and vinegar replace shampoo) are really cheap - especially when you consider that you dilute them in water.

The other reason is that my hair is falling out. My hair is as thin as the little old ladies in a nursing home. No joke. It's just on top, but of course that's what everyone sees. I'm terribly self-conscious about it. I recently chopped off a good 14 inches, which helped somewhat, but it's still really really thin.

I hate that.

So I decided to give it a whirl, since many people said their hair felt fuller and healthier. I'm up for that! Anything to make my mane a little healthier - and it doesn't hurt that it's so cheap!

I'm told there's a breaking-in phase, where you hair thinks you're punishing it and pours out all kinds of oil. It supposedly can last one week to several months. I washed my hair with the baking soda/vinegar combo yesterday morning, and while it felt sorta greasy all day today, it didn't really look greasy until tonight. We shall see how this progresses in the days to come.

Here's how I did the mixtures: one tablespoon baking soda to one cup water. The water will dissolve the baking soda and it won't settle. Just pour it over your head and massage gently into your scalp. It won't make any suds whatsoever, but the cool water actually feels pretty good, and after a bit of rubbing, my hair starts to feel smooth and even a little slick. I let that sit on my hair while I take care of other stuff (like my prickly legs), then rinse out.

The next step is a vinegar rinse. Strangely enough, the baking soda replaces the shampoo, and it's the acidic apple cider vinegar that replaces the conditioner. My feeble brain just cannot work that one out. How in the world something as acidic as vinegar can condition is beyond me.

But I digress. . . . I used the same one tablespoon to one cup water ratio for the ACV. Both concoctions are in bottles in my shower. I am buying spray bottles tomorrow to make it a little easier to apply. The vinegar should be applied to ends only (especially if you have oily hair - or so I'm told), and that's pretty hard to do when you have short hair and the vinegar-water just pours right through your fingertips. Anyway, I do the best I can to get it on the ends, and then rinse it out fairly quickly.

I don't dry my hair any more than absolutely necessary. I let it air dry most of the way, and then break out the dryer to keep it from being too flat.

So far, my hair doesn't really look or feel much different, though I suspect that will change over time.

I will keep you posted. :)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Life: Full Steam Ahead!

If the day ever comes when I have absolutely nothing to do, I really will have no clue how to handle it! Life is crazy, and while it generally makes me crazy, too, I don't think I'd have it any other way.

School has started back. It's my last semester. In fact, I just had my board picture made yesterday - talk about exciting stuff! I was also asked if I wanted to serve as a tutor for my class and the new night class. Since this will provide a little extra moolah after my work-at-home job ends, I jumped on the chance.

And church - lemme tell you, church is some exciting stuff right now! We are involved in a church plant of a Harvest Bible Chapel, and our launch is the 18th! It's been an incredible trip - we started in right at the beginning, and have been blessed along the way to see our tiny little crew of four families grow to a group of about 35 adults and 40 kids. Words can't adequately describe how awesome it has been to see God working through the lives of the launch team.

I've been tasked with being the administrator for Fellowship One, the program we use to track everything from attendance to contributions to background checks for volunteers. Right now it's a big job, but once we get past launch, I don't think it will be quite so time-consuming. I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to use my job skills to serve.

I've also been given the opportunity to use my creative abilities - by acting as the photographer for the church (at least until someone comes along who can do it better than I can, at which point I will gladly hand over the camera).

And - Jeff & I are greeters. Jeff heads up the greeter team, so I get to help him with some of the technical stuff, like setting up mailing lists and proofreading correspondence before it goes out.

Right now we are small, and everyone is doing a lot. It's a great blessing to be needed again. I truly haven't felt that in years. I adore our little congregation, and I can't wait to see what God has in store for us.

So, all these things, plus other craziness like baby showers and grocery shopping and errands and such are keeping me crazy busy.

But even in the sleep-deprived haze, I know I've got a lot to be thankful for.

Yeah. Life is good.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Rain ... Blessed Rain

August was officially the driest month on record for Chattanooga, Tennessee ... ever. I believe the total "rainfall" was 0.01 inches - and I used quotes because that miniscule amount can hardly be called rainfall! In fact, we actually went over 31 days without so much as a drop of rain.

Enter Tropical Storm Lee.

Since late last night, we have been deluged with a steady, heavy rain. The last official numbers from the local news station showed us with 6.32 inches. The previous record for a 24-hour rainfall was 7.61 inches. I don't think there's any doubt we'll break that record today.

How's that for crazy? I suppose someone was praying for rain - in the span of 24 hours, we are going to break two records!

All that said, it is so pleasant where I am. We have an aluminum awning over the front porch, and the rain sounds positively heavenly. The air has cooled to the low 70s, and it is a welcome break from the miserable upper 90-degree heat wave that I thought would never end. Braeden has enjoyed it as well. It took some convincing, but I finally got him outside to play in the rain. He splashed in the mud puddles, creating some pretty impressive "waves."

All this gives me hope that fall might actually come to Tennessee this year. Bring it on - I am ready!