June 27, 2011 § 17 Comments
Part 1: the conversation
While I [Natalie] can’t remember the exact words exchanged, but I know the general concept went something like this:
Micaela: “Ahhh Nat.”
Natalie: “Uuuh?” [this is a Korean sound that covers any and all meanings possible, include 'sure', 'what', 'yes', 'ok', 'i agree', 'go on', 'oh! that's interesting' etc.]
Micaela: “So I’ve been reading this urban homesteading blog, you know the one I talk about like everyday?”
Natalie: “Uuuh, uuuhhh.”
Micaela: “And I’m pretty heavily considering…ahh…yep. Well, I think I’m going to stop using shampoo and conditioner on my hair and see what happens. Like an experiment. You interested? You want to do it together?”
Natalie: silence. a slight head tilt followed by a: ”I’m in. totally. I mean…whoa wait. Let me do a little research, but I’m in, for sure.”
That was in the month of March. And here I sit, late June upon us, with the rain pounding the pavement outside my window, the beginning on monsoon season here in Korea.
Part 2: the reasons why.
Now, I [Micaela] know what you are thinking…”ewwww” and “do the herbal essence commercials not mean anything to you!”
1.) The cool-kids are doing it.
I follow blogs rather religiously. One in particular is called the Path to Freedom and it’s by a family living in Los Angeles county who is choosing to have as little impact on the environment as possible through urban homesteading (aka having a large garden, generating their own electricity, and simple things like not using shampoo). I pretty much think everything they do is the bees knees. So, when I came across this article I was pretty inspired. And figured if the cool kids over at this blog were doing it, I should jump on the band wagon.
2.) I am 23 and I still use Johnson and Johnson Tear-Free shampoo.
Upon further investigation (read: googled it), I found that not only is it good for the earth to refrain from using chemically manufactured shampoo, but it is also good for your body. According to an article on CopperWiki.com, “shampoos could contain toxic ingredients — chemicals that are found in anti-freeze, engine de-greasers and brake fluid — which are absorbed through the skin into the body and the brain three times faster than water!” So, when you are putting some shampoo onto your head you are not only exposing your scalp to dangerous chemicals, but you are flushing them into the sewage system which in turn pollutes our water.
One of the main ingredients in shampoo is sodium laureth sulfate, which, on the mild side has been proven to irritate skin and eyes (have you ever really thought about how strange it is that we massage shampoo into our skin…and yet it burns when it gets into our eyes?).
3.) Boyfriends 존재
Well, one perk of neither Nat or I having anyone to impress (read: boyfriends, employers, potential-employers or even cute-boy-at-the-record-shop) there could not be a more ideal time to experiment with greesy hair.
Most of the blogs I read said it could take 2 to 6 weeks for the oils in your hair to normalize. Essentially, using shampoo strips your hair of it’s naturally produced oils. When you use shampoo, your hair adapts by producing more oils. In order to get your hair to normal pH levels, you need to refrain from using shampoo to allow your hair to produce the amount of oil it needs. So, we’d figured this would be as good a time as ever to test it out.
4.) Those expensive organic shampoos
To be quite honest, I [Natalie], have been a purchaser of those natural…organic…green…very expensive….beautifully packaged and bottled…shampoos and conditioners. I love them. I love how they smell. I love how soft they make my hair. But they cost me my pay check. And that I’m just not so fond of.
So there’s got to be another way, especially if you are buying organic shampoos and conditioners for the whole family. And I’m here to tell you, there is…keep reading…
Part 3: just gotta get in the shower.
This is what we were originally using for showering and cleaning purposes; purchased around the corner at our local Lotte Mart and down the street at Homeplus superstore.
As you can tell, they are locally produced and endorsed, especially the DeBON [which we first read as DeBone], made by LG. You probably are more familiar with this company as the producer of your cellphone or washing machine, but here in their home country, they dabble in just about everything.
Start first with some baking soda, not to be confused with baking powder [we've learned from experience through an extremely unfortunate mixup of the soda and the powder]. The powder will be your downfall…so stick with the SODA.
Ours we purchased in a little sack for about 45 cents. It isn’t even half gone yet, and we’re pushing a few months now.
So when you are standing in the shower, dump a little baking soda, quarter size amount into the palm of your hand. Turn off the shower stream, let a few drips of water hit the baking soda, creating a little creamy paste substance. Flip your head over and direct the paste-like substance into the roots of your hair. Focus on the greasiest areas of your scalp, the crown of your head and your part.
Now, give yourself a little head massage for a minute or two. Some articles say that the massaging of the scalp stimulates hair growth.
If you are looking for creating a lather by massaging the baking soda into your hair, I better tell you right now, that you won’t find it. In fact, it feels kinda gritty. But I’ve when you choose to learn a new kind of normal…you get used to it. And you know what? I even like it now.
While living in Korea, sometimes you run into troubles. Like all you are wanting to find is some apple cider vinegar to condition your hair, but all you can find is apple vinegar of some kind. It kinda smelt the same and it was in our kitchen for other culinary endeavors, so we decided to try it.
But upon Micaela’s arrival back from the States, she brought many essentials like, homemade cookies, sour gummie worms, skittles and….exhibit D.
Apple Cider Vinegar, compliments of Trader Joes, directly imported via Micaela’s backpack compliments of crossing the oceans by Asiana Air all the way to Chilgok, Daegu [yes, we understand the irony of the carbon footprint].
We’ve taken two tablespoons of the vinegar into a small travel size spray bottle, filled the rest of the way with water. After the baking soda, spray a bit of the vinegar/water mix on the ends of your hair. Let sit for a few moments, similar to using conditioner, then rinse out.
And there you have it.
Another tip we’ve picked up from the Urban Homesteading blog is, if it’s available to you, grab some coconut oil before your shower and add it to the dry ends of your hair. Let it sit for a few minutes before jumping in the shower.
part 4: be one of the cool kids.
Micaela and I are pretty into this. In fact, we love it.
We both sorta missed on the finer points of our science education [not because our mother's didn't try their darnest], but now, every time we step in the shower it’s a bit of an experience. Perfect.
Which, might I add that, overall, I step in the shower with the intention to wash my hair significantly less often. Today is…what?…Monday. Last time I washed my hair?…Tuesday. That’s correct. A full 6 days ago.
Before you go blasting me for my lack of personal hygenie, I would just like to say, let’s remember back to the days of reading Laura Engels Wilder and how the knobby-kneed-Natalie admired her all the more when I read she only bathed once a week. Obviously she’s my [weekly] inspiration.
So, we are writing all of this to say, you should try it! And let us know what you think! Have you already been doing this kind of thing for years? Do you think this is the weirdest thing you’ve ever heard? Do your own research. Let us know what blogs, articles or research you find. We’d love to learn more!
Anyone who is interested in joining the experiment for at least 6 weeks, Micaela and I would love to take you out, once we are state-side, and hear about what you thought. We’ll even bring you an Endangered Species chocolate bar.
And if that doesn’t inspire you. I don’t know what will.
Until next hair washing,
M & N