Friday, April 10, 2015

My current wash routine, at 21 months in...

The evolution continues...

So its finally spring and there's a ton of wet misty days.  They're the worst, full blown thunder storms are easier to manage!

I got my hair trimmed and had a low poo wash and condition at the hair dressers.  She did a fantastic blow dry which leaves my hair full and bouncy but man!  The heat!!!  My last henna was in March so that makes my next wash possibly a henna wash.  Yes... Henna is sebum removing, I consider it a wash.  I also add two 3/4 ice cube sized portions of coconut milk to my HennaHut henna and because it's on my hair for an hour I still get the benefits of it deep conditioning my hair.  I only use water to rinse.

Following that, it'll be apple cider vinegar mixed with equal parts water and rinsed as my ONLY wash method until the rainy season is finished.  No reason to fight with God given curls due to weather, not me!

Curly updates soon to follow, and pics of that infamous day 14 to 21 week people keep asking about too.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Hydrate before you add oil.

Curly hair naturally lacks internal weight and moisture so keeping the hair properly conditioned and hydrated is a must! Feeding the curls with a deep conditioning mask is essential, you have to eat to survive; so does your curly hair.  Give it a drink!  (Source: Naturally Curly)

Using apple cider vinegar as a conditioning rinse (dilute up to as much as 50/50% with water) helps hydrate AND lay down the cuticle of the hair.  For routine daily hydration, a little water sprayed to reset curls, followed by adding aloe vera gel for both a little definition and hydration work very well. 

Follow that by adding a hair loving oil like jojoba oil (closest to natural sebum) or shae butter if your hair can tolerate it's heaviness, starting from the ends and adding a teeny bit on the length to lock in that moisture!  It will do wonders for keeping hydration in, cuticles laying flat and curls healthy!  Once no poo, when your sebum travels the length of your hair, you'll need less and less oil added to maintain internal hydration. 

There are so many natural deep conditioners out there, and everyone's hair has different needs.  Some examples are: avocado, beer, banana, egg, greek yogurt, honey, to name a few but coconut milk by far is theeeee most nourishing hydrator my hair has found!  I dilute it *up to* 4 parts aloe or water to 1 part coconut milk.  The great thing is, I freeze both the aloe vera gel and coconut milk into ice cubes and have perfect fresh portions when I'm ready to use them :)

Please post your natural hydration recipes below, enjoy a frizz free, lusciously hydrated mane, you curly girl!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

My current wash routine, at 18 months in...

I wash with Shikakai and ACV, wear curly with only aloe for a week (out, out, 1/2 up, bun, bun, braid... then...) flat iron on medium heat starting at the nape of the neck from root to 2' from the ends until I'm done. Then I part, and brush into position. Then I start at the face and do only the last 2" curling under with the iron. Hoping in theory, I've only touched the hair once. I also do very very small sections. It takes almost an hour but lasts me two more weeks. 

I have a 21 day wash cycle but could go longer but it would be a mid week wash which I don't want. Then I add jojoba to my ends as needed and pretty much with as little sebum as I have. The 3 drops of EOs that I start adding at 14 days since my last wash is plenty moisturization!! 

After my 3 weeks, I "wash" with henna from HennaHut and add 1 ice cube of pre-portioned and frozen coconut milk and rinse with water only and rinse with WO again on day 3 of curly and ta daa... repeat. So I'm using henna and shikakai alternately every 3 weeks. 

I also do have a low poo conditioner for my hairdresser to use as a CO treatment every 6 months!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Hair butter in a bottle

Melissa in the No poo/low poo Facebook group found a product that impresses me.  I'm not a fan of Japanese Honeysuckle which is an ingredient in the Curl Enhansibg Smoothie that I refuse to buy, so I'll be looking in this LOW POO for my daughter to help on on those frizzy days as she tries to learn to care firvher own hair.

The ingredient list posted is as follows:

Ingredients: Aloe barbadensis(aloe vera gel), deionized water, macadamia integrifolia (macadamia) seed oil, persea(avocado) gratissima seed oil, simmondsia (jojoba) chinensis seed oil, prunus (sweet almond) dulcis oil, ricinus (castor) communis seed oil, behenetrimonium methosulfate and cetearyl alcohol(BTMS), camellia (green tea) sinensis, ulmus (slippery elm) eulva, ascorbic (vitamin C) acid, tocopherol (vitamin e), d-panthenol, phenoxyethanol/caprylyl glycol(optiphen), sorbic acid, scent and LOVE!

The following ingredients concerned me, so I googled them:

Monday, January 26, 2015

How to Combat Dryness with Henna

I posted about my first henna experience almost a year ago.

Now, I've mastered it!

I've never had hair as soft, silky and full of volume and bounce as I do right now.  I too found henna drying, I drenched my ends in 100% coconut milk, normally I'd dilute coconut milk in a 1 part coconut milk, 4 parts aloe deep conditioner but this time, I used 6 tbsp (2 coconut milk ice cubes, frozen from the can) in my henna.

So, 100g HennaHut henna, 25g Amla, 6tbsp coconut milk and a little more water to desired consistency.  Awesome!  But,I did use a low poo conditioner to rinse the henna so that may be adding to the fabulous outcome but I'm pretty sure that coconut milk was the magic ingredient.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Where do I start?

Here I am, 18 months into being a no poo curly girl and I think I've finally got it ;)

First and formost, I'm talking about high porosity curly hair that tends to be dry.  As crazy and counterintuitive as it sounds, in the beginning, you must brush to move sebum as quickly as possible.  Preening isn't enough on curly hair, we need the help of the brush.  You know water resets your curls, so after brushing you need to drench your curls, then rehydrate them.

Aloe vera gel is great because it hydrates from the inside, out, its awesome.  As well, using apple cider vinegar as a rinse is a great conditioner.  I use it at higher ratios than most because it is THAT conditioning.  As well, it helps the hair cuticle lay flat, holding in the hydration to prevent even further dryness, and making the hair smoother and less frizzy.

Deep conditioning (I avoid my scalp) is important to keep hair hydrated and happy too.  I'll add a link to my DIY styling recipe's.

Extra oil is needed too.  Jojoba is closest to natural sebum, and is lightweight.  For more oomph, Shae butter for very dry hair was a great suggestion as well.

Oiling hair is important, start from the ends and add it in tiny amounts to the hair until you meet the sebum.  If you need to spray or wet the hair, continue doing thus until brushing gets easier and sebum  makes its way down the length of your hair.  At some point, you'll have enough and not need to add.  The brush will glide by that point, especially wet and saturated with ACV.
 ** Brushing curly hair will cause breakage unless its thoroughly hydrated.

Now washing... Depending on how long you currently go between washes, will determine how fast and how easy this part will be.  If you already only wash one a week, this will be easier.  If your scalp is more dry than oily this will be easier because you will be able to go longer and longer over time between washes.  Saturating your hair with water then rinsing with ACV will help stretch these times. Many people only do this...  Its called AO or acid only and it works!!

Your scalp... Scratching gently all over is called scritching, I do it very often.  It helps loosen dead skin cells and keep the scalp skin healthy.  Massaging happens before and after I brush.  To clean or not to clean... I had an oily scalp.  I was able to cleanse only my scalp and do AO on the lengths of my hair.  It depends on how oily it gets, how you feel and what you can tolerate, but I've learned although day 8 hair is crappy for me, by day 10-11 I look like a goddess!!!  I would never have found that out if I hadn't stretched my washes longer and longer.

 As an incentive, by about 6 months in, I was (and still am) washing my scalp every 21 days.

I would not recommend low poo.  I would hesitate from soap bars or any stronger sebum removing wash.  CO right now is an option, it may make transitioning and going longer between washes easier, but survey says, AO, CO, henna only and my personal favorite, shikakai as  washes are in 90% of curly success stories!!!

Here's what works for me, 50%/50% ACV and flat ironing to last 21 days - yes! I'm serious!

This is my hair story :)

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Shikakai washing

I get my shikajai from a local Indian grocery store.  I pay $2.99 for 100g and it lasts me 3-4 washes.  I only wash once every 3 weeks so this lasts me a long time.

I put my powder (maybe 1/3 cup of powder or even less) in an old stocking.  I add warm water in a cup with the stocking in it and squeeze and squeeze.  Because my curly hair holds the teeny tiny grains from the shikakai and I can't brush my curls once dry, this makes me happier.  I then put the liquid in the same squirt bottle as I will put my acid rinse and squirt it all over. In the shower on wet hair (a choice)  I massage the scalp and behind the ears lol  and rinse.  I also rinse out that stocking for use again ;)

I do use my ACV (apple cider vinegar) acid rinse after because my hair loves it!!!!  Shikakai alone doesn't need an acid rinse though, it is already ph balanced for hair and scalp.

Some people add a little Amla for shine or reetha/soapnuts for extra cleansing in their shikakai wash.

I also detangle with a wide tooth comb with the ACV soaked hair.

I do the same after henna.  I mermaid rinse soaking in the tub for some time getting as much henna out, then standing shower rinse again with water.  I only use water to rinse out my henna.  I add my ACV mix and verrrrryyyy gently detangle with a wide toothed comb with ACV still in.  Then rinse again, and repeat as needed.

I plop to dry after that.

Basically, I wash with shikakai or use henna as a wash since I'm only washing once every 3 weeks.

I do have a low poo on hand for hairdresser visits though ;)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

My Hair Story

Once upon a time, I thought my curly hair looked great!  Not!  It was a nest!

Then I started highlighting, using expensive products to combat the dryness and damage and getting $200 haircuts (plus tip) to get volume and enhance the curls I was blessed with.  I won't ever regret SAVING the thousands I'd spend on products as well!!

Now, I'm pretty happy with the versatility of my hair.  I'm even more happy with how little I have to do and spend for a healthy scalp and head of hair!

Above is in March, after a long, cold, dry winter 20 months low and now no poo.  This is 2 weeks after henna with 2tbsp of coconut milk as my wash, rinsed with only water, then a week later, flat ironed on medium heat and a little jojoba oil added.

This is 28 days after a henna only wash and 54 days since I washed with shikakai & deep conditioned my hair.  This is sebum nourished hair, no dryness, no smell, NO WATER!!! All I do is brush, and very VERY occasionally, as in once before an event, I used pure cocoa powder as a dry shampoo dusted on my three finger tips dabbed on the scalp and brushed out really well to absorb a little sebum to give my roots a little lift.

It looks flat, it is.  It's heavier than I'm used to but softer than baby hair, and super healthy!!  I'm trying to get sebum to make even my ends that soft and healthy before my next wash.   I do nothing but brush - That's pretty much it!  We call this Sebum Only (SO).  But I couldn't maintain it more than 44 days straight.  I needed a deep conditioning by then.

Here are pictures going back in time over the last 15+ months from current pics to back when I started... You'll notice the sebum coated hair appeared thinner, but it was really the dry, damaged cuticle being healed! I do use heat to straighten my hair one week after washing though, it helps me brush and maintain it. For a special event, I'll wash with water and apple cider vinegar and roller set my hair.

Note:  I wash and wear curly for a week using aloe vera gel for hydration and slight hold.  On day 7, I gently flat iron my hair on medium heat in very small sections leaving the last 2-3 inches untouched.  When finished, I use the flat iron on those ends to curve under.  It's then 2 more weeks of daily brushing before I wash again.  

I'm on a 21 day wash cycle.

 The pics toward the end are still back when it was damaged, requiring regular deep conditioning as I experimented with wash methods.


And when my love of henna began...

And here's where it all started, dry, frizzy and damaged.

I can wear it straight, wavy, curly, up or down and my hair has never been more healthy or hydrated!

I love being 18+ months no poo!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

44 days!!!

I can't believe I just washed.  I can't believe I caved.  I can't believe I didn't make sure the shikakai was thoroughly dissolved.  Omg!  Its been so long I forgot!!!

Last night I took the kids out for Halloween and it was raining and all I could think was what will my hair smell like if it gets wet?  I work with kids so if I had a stinky wet head, they'd be sure to tell me over and over again!

I passed my 28 day "i guess im on a roll" and my 40 day "I'm tired of this" phase and the 41 day "I think I might have broke the record" which wasn't a goal but was fun.  And I hit day 44 on a Saturday - today.

When the warm water hit my hair it seriously was buttery with sebum on top, it quickly changed texture when the shikakai was applied.

So some reflections...

Make sure the shikakai is fully dissolved before dumping it on your head.  I've got little grains in my hair still after 20 minutes in the shower.

I forgot how much my hair looooves 50/50% ACV.  It just lifted into waves, became fuller and softer immediately.  I think I may skip the shikakai in the future and just do AO.

I still look forward to henna as a wash.  I have an event this month so will likely henna on Nov 15 so I will have my best hair on the 29th.  Maybe I'll leave these silly shikakai grains in for 2 weeks until henna.  No point upsetting my hair with another rinse.  My hair doesn't like water.

I wonder what my curl definition will look like with sebum thoroughly from root to tip?

I totally could've gone longer.

On that I need to:

Brush every day, sometimes great hair days made me lazy and I barely brush but  then I'd smell a slightly sour smell the next day.  A good BBB fixed any smell but as I said, I was anxious about getting my hair wet as a result.

I'll make sure my daughter doesn't use my brush since she does have some Shae Moisture smoothie she uses.  I'm guessing that the product on my brush deposited in my hair may have added to the sour smell.

I'll consider getting another brush.  My padded base brush takes more than a day to dry a which was an excuse at times to finger brush instead of BBB... Another reason for the sour smell at times. Lol... I'm not convinced that SO means my hair has a slightly sour smell - there's always a reason.

Note: my daughter didn't smell the sour smell I'm mentioning.  I became hyper sensitive to how my hair smells.  I can smell EOs up to 4 days after when I only add 3 drops!!!

All in all... Yeah, I'd do it again :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

No Water for 44 days....

Its sheer lazyness now why I haven't washed my hair.  I'll go crazy curly for Halloween so that will be my next wash.

Limp, lifeless, wig- like but buttery soft.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

CO Washing Experiment

I've been using low poo conditioner only due to swimming every evening  and setting up my classroom on my own, moving stuff, sweating without air conditioning... Drama!!  As a result,  I've been wetting my hair almost daily!!  I'm not brushing at all, just Scritching and I'm surprised at how sebum can move with just hot water and a wide tooth comb. I knew conditioner only washing worked in principal, (like the oil cleansing method) that's why I chose to do it but, I am producing so little sebum though it makes sense that this would never have worked before I regulated my sebum production.  I spent a good solid 9 mos washing only my scalp and ACV all over, brushing daily and using a flat iron on my curly hair.

My hair today is dry, but soft.  It misses the 50/50% apple cider vinegar:water pH balancing conditioning rinse I think.  It no longer has that sebum smell when I wet it in the pool, not that I minded it but after 21 days without a wash, it did smell different than dry hair.

I also think when I was brushing sebum I'd know where and when to add oil so my hair never got dry and my ends were lovely.

Now I worry about split ends and its only been... Two weeks!  I look forward to going back to my usual routine!!  I miss my sebum hair!!

I'll also roller set rather than flat iron because I get way more volume for way longer and I can do the roller set mid wash cycle so AO (ACV:water conditioning) only is the way to go for me!!   I'm guessing once things settle I'll wash or rather henna once a month and AO mid month.  We'll see what winter hair will be like as I hit my 14 monthiversary poo less!

Thursday, August 7, 2014


Have no fear!  Your sebum is coming in, you feel oily... and you're well on your way, great job!! This us GREAT!!

Brush your hair.  Really thoroughly. Like this. Do this every single day. For today though, follow with a nice hot shower to help melt the sebum, massage, preen, just do it.  I personally have a fine toothed comb I use to help comb the sebum, scritch here and there, work it girl!!

Follow with an acid rinse if you want, I find it helps a little to cut smell, sebum, not sure, but I like it with WO.  We call this AO (acid rinse wash)

Out of the shower, your hair is completely detangled, use this time to add some (essential oil) EO diluted in water, spray all over... Or... Add aloe vera gel to the scalp if needed for dryness and it's always a great deodorizer... Or just apply a few drops of EOs in your favorite oil directly to the length of the hair. Don't forget the ends!!  And not too much. Brush or comb it through, it moves the debris from the scalp and from the hair on to your brush and that prevents bacteria making the scalp smelly.

 Wash your brush so its clean for tomorrow.

Dry however you dry it. (Plop to get the best curls)

Ta daa!  No sebum at the scalp means no smellies!  The sebum has moved away from the scalp down the length of the hair, and you.... Look... Gorgeous!!!

Afraid to brush curly hair, here's why you need to.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Deep Conditioning - Coconut Milk & Aloe

This is great for dry curly hair...

1 part coconut milk - this can be seriously conditioning to the point of excess (I use a can, but you can make your own).

2 or 3 parts aloe vera gel depending on how much conditioning you need, it's used to dilute the coconut milk but also offers its own hair and luxurious humectant properties.

Add EOs if you'd like to the mix.

I prefer to apply on dry hair, saturating the ends, working my way up toward the scalp. I personally avoid the scalp completely, it's just too much going on and it makes me feel oily afterward.  Aloe alone is great on the scalp though.

Rinse thoroughly (I only use water).  Style as usual.  This concoction is pH balanced.

Source, although tweaked, and only used as a deep conditioner, NEVER AS A SHAMPOO!  No part of this experience is a cleansing one - this is so misleading - it is a VERY deep conditioner and my tweaked recipe makes it a lovely one!

Yellow Aloe? What's Wrong?

 Aloe vera contains two kinds of 'sap' that are used medicinally. The thick yellow sap that comes from the inner lining of the leaf is called Aloe latex, and contains aloin, a powerful laxative. It flows for a little while after cutting a leaf, and can be scraped off the leaf epidermis. It is also called Aloe juice. The laxative effect of aloin is primary reason why the desert Bedouin people of Arabia cultivated Aloe vera. It has been in cultivation so long that there is no known natural population of the plant.

 The second kind of sap is called Aloe gel, and is contained in clear tissue of the inner leaf. This is the part of the plant that is soothing to skin.