Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Washcloth Method

I can't imagine this method not breaking or damaging hair, and causing hair loss, but... I can see how great it would be for curl definition and moving sebum in place of a brush!!

Mexican rag method.
"This is a variation of the water-only method. You wash your hair using just warm water, and then you use a washcloth to move the natural oils down from the scalp to the ends of your hair. You do 100 strokes on each side. Many women swear by this method"

Friday, April 25, 2014

Henna & Amla

Okie dokie... Anyone have a light?

Seriously, HennaHut says they have fresh henna and based on the smell... Let's just say I feel like I should be rollin'  and firing it up man - woooahhhh that's a potently fresh and natural scent!! I added about 20 drops of tangerine EO and I could still smell the two distinctly Caribbean scents wafting into my nostrils!

If you haven't yet guessed, I'm a henna virgin and am attempting to apply henna by myself tonight.  HennaHut has videos and simple instructions, I'm pretty confident about going ahead on my own.

Here's the before pic. I originally had dark brown hair, added some ash blond highlights and my hair and highlights have lightened from using apple cider vinegar as a conditioning rinse to the point where my blond is WAY too blond.  That coupled with seven white hairs has led me to henna :)

Pretty obvious blonde highlights, I'm looking forward to seeing what the henna does to them!

So, here goes.  I shampooed twice using a sulphate & paraben free shampoo, then let my hair air dry for about an hour.

Update: I was told washing with low poo isn't necessary and doesn't change the outcome.  As a henna virgin, I wanted to do everything right though.  I also devoured the free eBook to the right of the pic here before starting my research.  It's really helped my application technique.  No need to repeat those instruction except a warning to use Vaseline on the skin of your hairline and ears and wear gloves!!

Applying henna is fun, much like playing in mud!  It feels heavy quickly though, but smooshy, so now that I'm sufficiently smooshed, I've got a French roll on top of my head and nothing holding it - lol. Not to worry, I've got an old black T-shirt on in case it falls out. No need for the TouchUp applicator, nor the shower cap!

Next time I think I should use 200g... I feel like although I used 50g of Amla and 100g of henna I could have used a 200g total so I didn't have to stretch it.  But smooshing pretty much took care of an even coverage.

I read that mixing Amla with henna creates a cool toned brown, because I wear cool colours in clothing and makeup, I thought I'd give it a try.

Here's my 7 hour old formerly blonde highlights - they're brown!! Already a success!  Let's see how the oxidization process continues in the next two days until the final colour settles.  Its like a present, its a surprise!!!

Note:  I slept with my sad sebum stripped unconditioned hair in a braid and when I woke up it was still wet so still smelled like herbs - more like mulch actually!  Once dried though, there was no smell.  Makes me think adding rosemary EO for hair growth, or tea tree may be OK even though I hate both scents.

Thirty hours later I'm deciding if I'm going to do a deep condition, then deciding how I'll style my hair for this week, curly or straight :). I'm tempted to go straight because I want to see all the colour though.
Update:  I finally mastered how to combat dryness with henna.

Here's my lovely cool-brown colour thanks to the Amla I added.  I obviously missed some grey at the hairline!

Despite my better judgment, I used coconut milk on the length and ends of my hair, carefully avoiding any contact with my scalp. I used coconut milk before and it was extremely moisturizing to the point it made my scalp (sweaty, hot and moist) too moisturized. I then put on a shower cap, and cleaned my bathroom.  So after however long that was, 20 minutes or so, I rinsed it out with water and did an ACV to water rinse (50%/50% equal parts) and plopped to dry curly.

Wow!  No blonde... Lookin good even though its still wet!  I gave it a coconut milk condition and ACV rinse and plopped to mostly dry, now it's air drying.  That's with sunlight from the window, true colour 36 hours in!!!

So Monday morning, I could still smell the coconut milk and although my hair was super hydrated, it was frizzy.  I caved.  I rinsed it yet again with warm water, no apple cider vinegar rinse, just water and my hair was super soft, full of light bouncy curly volume and great definition thanks to the opportunity to restyle it, no brushes used!

A thought: maybe my hair loves WO, but my scalp hates it!!!???

Update:  my hair looks shiny, feels soft and my sebum production seems to have slowed down.  Its day 9 and I just flat ironed my hair to truly see the colour. I've oiled my ends and I did headband curls for 4 hours and it didn't really take, I need to do them overnight!  Here's my finger combed hair.  I love the colour!  I'll definitely do henna again!

Update:  12 days later...

above is about 10am, below is about 7pm and I'm exhausted, haven't touched my hair in hours and ready for bed!! Notice, my hair is still full of body and shine  - unlike me - all day long!!

Nighty night :)

Update Aug 2014:  This first time I did a low poo to henna my virgin hair, the next time I washed with shikakai and henna'd the next day when my hair was dry - hated that process since I needed to rinse again the day after and my hair hates water (a personal thing I guess)

Last time I henna'd 20 day old sebum coated hair all over, not just roots like a touch-up, I like the conditioning so I do the whole head.   After rinsing day after, knew it was now a wash method for me.

Why: I find the first few days (3days) after henna, my hair feels a little dry, even straw like.  I've been caught 3 times doing a deep condition after henna and regretting it by day 5 when everything is back to normal.

For my hair, and infrequent washes as it is, it's a wash.  I have bra strap length, layered, curly, tending toward dry, high porosity hair.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

scared to transition...

Another ingenious idea I read is to start with a full bottle of shampoo, and each time you use it, top it up with water. Over time, it'll become so diluted, your hair would have weaned itself off shampoo and transitioned to WO so gradually, you won't even notice :)

Curly hair and no/low poo...

On my daughter, and to make my hairdresser feel more comfortable, I use this low poo.  Otherwise, I use either soapnuts juice or a locally handmade castille argan oil soap bar.

I use 50/50% apple cider vinegar/water as my conditioner and that's the only ratio my hair likes, but I'm only using it every 2-3 weeks so perhaps try 1/3 ACV to start, and increase your ratio until you love the results.

I also use jojoba oil to condition my ends, and tend to use a little argan oil to rehydrate the middle of my hair as needed.

I always brush before a wash, add oil or aloe and brush some more.  I tend to wear up dos to keep the oil in and protect the brushed out hair.  I also flat iron my hair so I can brush daily and oil as needed, that's how I can maintain my 21 day cleansing cycle!!

Here's why... The hair cuticle needs to be closed to be smooth, and to help keep moisture in...


Curly hair tends to be high porosity hair.  That is because to curl, the helix or spiral needs holes to bend.  By nature curly hair has lots of holes, so when wet (eg. Conditioners)  like a sponge, it soaks it all up.  But by the time it dries, the water evaporates leaving it dry again.


ACV helps to close the cuticle...


And sebum when brushed through, fills in the cuticle


Here's a response I gave to a question I got about someone struggling to be no poo with curly hair.

First things first.  No poo and curly hair are not exactly copasetic.  From both the BS use, the brushing the snarls comment I'd say that your hair isn't smooth from flat ironing because its dry and damaged.

Have no fear!  It can be healed, but it will take time.

 With hair that long, and tending toward oily, you're totally a prime candidate for luscious curls AND luxurious flat ironed locs, but here's the thing, you hair needs to be hydrated first.

I had the same problem when I starter and by fluke, realized that flat ironing could HELP me.

I ended up washing, plopping to dry and using aloe vera gel for hydration and hold (daily with a bit of water sprayed on wearing my hair curly for a week.  Then flat ironing the next weekend and with straight hair, brushing was a breeze and so was adding jojoba oil and EOs!!  I Eben figured out that argan oil is awesome too!!  I'd recommend starting with jojoba oil for hydration though.

When straight, I add oils and I brush in every direction dedicated to moving the sebum and jojoba oil through the length of my hair and making sure my end had oil too.  I mean a teensy but if oil, not a lot!  My sebum moved from at my ears (ponytail brushing) to my tips in about two months and even my curls became gloriously hydrated!!!

That makes no poo easier with curly hair.  It also made flat ironing on reduced heat possible.

When curly, I prefer brushing while wet with ACV still in.  I don't brush again unless I've wet, brushed and braided my hair so most of the detangling us done, then brush when the braid has dried.

Consider eliminating BS use on the length of your hair.  It may work marvelously at the oily roots, that's great.  You need to condition the length of your hair and treat it separately from your scalp.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Hair and Science 101

I am certain this post will be updated continually, 
but this article just HAD to be shared.  

Split ends are no joke!!

This is your scalp!! 
The brown/orange sticks are hair growing out of your scalp.

And here's the Hair 101 Article - a must read!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Porosity in Curly Hair

I should have high porosity hair, being a curly girl that is.  Curly hair tends to drink moisture.  Funny thing, back almost 15 years ago I can guarantee I had high porosity hair!

However, now after 9 months of no poo and BRUSHING sebum through my hair, and cleansing only my scalp, I now have normal porosity and some characteristics of low porosity hair.

This is a major success for a curly girl!!!   I attribute this healthy, happy hair to ACV and sebum and even in part to regularly using aloe vera gel.

Take a read if you're interested:


I'll take this conversation back to the start of my journey...

If you have high porosity hair and you're new with stripped hair (no sebum or added oil) too much water could stress your hair.  The high porosity hair looks like swiss cheese for example, with cups... If they get filled with water daily, they dry out daily.  Plus, the water weighs the hair down, stressing the pores/cups and leaving the hair extremely dry.  This type of hair takes hours and hours to dry and is likely already dry and frizzy with open pores/cuticles.  When you add oil or deep condition, it takes awhile to help combat dryness.

I only know this because I was figuring out why sometimes oil hydrated for me and other times it didn't, and why my hair hated the coconut oil but loved the super penetrating jojoba oil.  And... Why it took 8 hours to dry! ... And why my new no poo curls were kind of limp.

Now that my hair is sebum coated, my hair dries faster, (1 hour) and no longer exhibits these characteristics.  My curls are boingy, my hair is healthy and hydrated.

Update:  After using henna my porosity changed.  Here's an explanation ...The lawsone (dye) of the henna penetrates the hair shaft and bonds to the keratin in the hair. Remember, hair is made up of keratin protein. As the dye bonds to the keratin, this makes the overall hair shaft much stronger and thicker. In this regard, henna bonds to the hair, fills in any gaps in the hair cuticle, and adds a second layer of strength. (Thanks Janet!)

Friday, April 18, 2014

WO weather...

Spring is blooming, and summer is coming, and I need to figure out how to be successfully no poo, keep my 21 day wash cycle and wear my hair curly.

I remember hating WO and ACV washes in the beginning because I could feel the sebum on the crown of my head just sitting there, I couldn't brush to move it off my scalp whereas when I straightened my hair I could brush it through my hair and be happy and free to go one week curly and then two weeks flat ironed straight before my next wash.

This time I switched things up. Good thing since I got rained on twice!!  First, I washed, then flat ironed on day two because of a very important meeting.  Two weeks of straight hair and I was dying for a wash.  My hair gets limp, lifeless and just needs to be hydrated with water... Not adding aloe or oil, it needs H2O!  As well, I was waiting for my order of henna which was two weeks in transit, I didn't want to wash, receive henna, do henna and wash again, so eventually I just decided to try a WO with ACV and I actually had a lovely scalp week, no itching, but I scritched regularly  and massaged my scalp and it looked pretty good and my hair DRANK up any aloe that I offered!!!

Today I was tempted to do a WO again and push past 21 days but thought better of it because I wasn't sure if the henna would like all that excess oil!  I washed my scalp with my castille soap, did an ACV rinse and detangled with a wide toothed comb air dried clipping up the top fot volume and had a luscious day of curls.  I plan to WO again tomorrow as an experiment, since sebum coated hair dries very fast!  I'll air dry with aloe vera gel again tomorrow and take pics ;)

Hopefully in 21 days I'll have the henna, use it and be able to give it a good washing out!!

Monday, April 14, 2014

WO... What the??

So I was all ready for a wash, 2 weeks of straightened hair makes the oil really obvious, but my henna order wasn't in and I didn't want to cleanse until I had the henna, so I did a WO and ACV to take my mind off of it.

I used a little jojoba and a lot of aloe and let it air dry.  It was gorgeous!!! What a great mess of curls!!!

The next day I wore it in a curly ponytail.  Today half up.  I'm thinking I can WO again tomorrow morning and start again because I desperately need to brush !!!  And I will likely go my full three week cycle thanks to WO.

I previously didn't like WO because I felt I couldn't brush my scalp and I felt Luke there was "stuff" sitting on my scalp.  I still do feel that way and I've scratched and massaged but its just NOT the same feeling as a brushed scalp!!!  I could continue WO for a bit in the summer though which is good!!!

Bonus: It rained today and my curls were rocking out in all their glory!!!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Monday, April 7, 2014

Once upon a time...

Once upon a time ... I used a LOT of gel.  I was smart enough to realize that products that contained alcohol and mousse, were severely drying on my hair.  This was me then, and I thought my hair looked fantastic!

Now I see a tangled rats nest of mis-shapen curls and sad, dry hair screaming for some TLC.

Since ditching the product, and going no poo, my hair is healthy, hydrated and my curls are luscious, luminous and curl back on itself!

I love my hair.  I love no poo.
My little experiment is an absolute success!!

Saturday, April 5, 2014


Here's the real deal! Those are my soapnuts and my finger is in the pic to show you the size.  The one to the left is cracked open, that black thing is the seed of the nut; I put it all into the pot to boil out the juice for hairwashing. 

Cool tip: like any juice, you can freeze it into ice cubes.  With my bra strap length hair, I defrost two cubes close to wash day.  I use it through out the length if my hair, unlike the castille soap bar that I only use on my scalp in the colder months. With both, I follow with a 50/50% apple cider vinegar solution. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Brushing curly hair to move sebum..

On the day you think you should wash, take a deep breath and do this... brush it out and keep it up for 3 more days on your dirty hair.

Then add oil to your hands and rub together till there's a slight sheen, so very little.  Then start at the ends kind of grabbing chunks and pulling downward in sections.  Brush from root to tip and put in a bun.  If the center is dry, add oil to the center "thickness" in the same way.  Brush brush brush.  3 days of brushing and it wearing up, then wash - ensure you're using at the very least 25% ACV in your rinse and the most a 50% ratio as your rinse.

Keep in mind you're brushing with the intention of moving natural oils from scalp to tip and adding oil from tip to the center. Sebum will meet you in between sooner than later ;)

I use this brush, the others are in my brush graveyard drawer.  The longer nylon bristles gently detangle, the balls on the tips gently massage and the padded base helps the brush contour gently to your scalp.  The boar bristles although shorter also work by pulling oils from the scalp through the hair, conditioning with natural sebum.

In my research, I've found jojoba oil and argan oil to be the best for curly girls.  Some adore coconut oil though, I hope your hair does too!!  Some say with the porosity of our hair, coconut oil doesn't infuse into the hair, it sits on top - that's how you know its not suited to your hair type.  By morning, any oil you added yesterday should have absorbed.  If not, use less or change your oil choice.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

What is "scritching" your scalp?

When I scritch, I gently scratch my scalp with my fingernails before I brush at night.  Sometimes bits of scalp release (gross), sometimes I find little blemishes, sometimes I find sore hair follicles maybe because I pulled my ponytail too tight?  Maybe I missed brushing the area?

I don't do it long, I use both hands and scritch from my crown to the outer edges like I'm drawing lines like a knit cap, does that make sense?  I only do it at night and it tells me where to brush or massage more, and where to add aloe vera gel to fix dry spots. 

I must also say that my brushed are generally pretty clean until close to wash time.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Whats transition?

Okay your big question was what's the ultimate goal of no poo??  I believe, and  others may disagree, that when the natural oil called sebum reaches your ends, magic happens. Some say nirvana (its a constant work in progress so I don't like that phrase), some call it being transitioned.  Basically, when the natural sebum is brushed through the entire length of your hair, it changes your hair.  It becomes shiny, lustrous in the sun (rainbows kinda thing) and the new sebum slips down faster because the cuticle of the hair becomes smoother.  Lots of cool things happen like your hair becomes fuller, dries faster, all kinds of interesting things happen, but slowly.  So here's the thing...  Your scalp is becoming healthier, the vinegar rinses and the brushing and scritching are making your scalp and hair follicles happy ... your hair will grow more, grow faster, be more supple, healthy from the root, and the sebum... when it realizes you won't be shampooing and robbing your scalp of sebum, it'll go on vacation, cutbacks at the sebum factory... and production will slooowww down... Its pretty cool.  Not everyone will experience the same transition or results but really... Its soooo cool :)