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mother of josh, richard, and mutt. lover of books, yarn, and the quiet places. spinner, knitter, kayaker, survivor, vandweller, warrior.

Monday, July 27, 2009

to poo or not to poo

okay, so this is not about pooping. but i hope i got your attention. pooping will be for another post, after i am sure you all love me enough to come back after reading it. some people don't do well with discussions about body functions, and i don't want to discourage what readers i get. but after all, we all have body functions, and vandwelling raises some challenging issues of dealing with them. but for the record, i have never, ever passed gas in my whole entire life. no kidding. just wanted to make that clear, as there are some who might pass nasty rumors about me. same thing with snoring. nada. unlike my numees, who makes stealth vandwelling a thing of the past for sweet mike. just repeating what he said. anyhow....

this post is about shampoo. or more specifically, no shampoo.

in my efforts to simplyfy my life and downsize my gear, i spend alot of time evaluating stuff i use, and whether i can find items that are multi-purpose to eliminate redundancy. for instance, i use dr. bronner's for both my bath soap and dish soap and dog shampoo. i have used it as a shampoo, and in a pinch as a toothpaste. i also use it for handwashing clothes.

my usual routine for doing my hair has been to use Aussie's shampoo/conditioner combination. the perfumes they use are not too overwhelming, and it definitely leaves my hair soft. but it has been impossible to find these last few months, so i began searching for an alternative. dr. bronners peppermint soap does clean my hair really well, but i didn't want to add a bottle of conditioner to my toiletry kit, so i was googling around the 'net looking to see if there was a different dilution of the bronner's i could use to get softer results. what i found was a whole lot of info and blogs about the no 'poo revolution.

seems there are as many reasons to go shampoo-less as there are methods of doing it. some folks want to cut down on the amount of plastics they put into the environment, while some want to cut down on the chemicals they put in their body. some do it for economy, and some for simplicity. after reading some of the websites and blogs and the hundreds of comments from people who have done it, i thought that all of these reasons were valid.

if you click on the blog title above, it will take you to an article that will answer some of your questions. blogger is not letting me add extra links for some reason, so google "no poo" or "shampoo alternative" for some great blogs on the topic.

my experience so far has been interesting. the baking soda wash with the vinegar rinse method seemed to be a little too complex....the mixing and the waiting and the "put this one on the roots and this one on the ends only" was intimidating, along with the comments that stated alot of rinsing was necessary. of course, there's that multiple bottle issue....

what i have found that works pretty well is washing my hair with dr. bronners every 2 or 3 days (no conditioner)with just a quick rinse with water and a scalp massage on the days in between. my hair feels different. it has taken some geting used to. it doesn't feel greasy, just different, and cathy says it doesn't smell funny.

my hair is super fine and has developed alot of natural wave in the last 2 years. i only have a few threads of grey so far, so it is still very soft. what it doesn't have is is very limp and fly away. since cutting out the shampoo/conditioner routine, my hair has alot more body and curl. the kind of body that i could only get using some kind of styling lotion like "curly sexy hair". (which i hated the feel of, so rarely used it.)

so, ultimitely i have come full circle.....seems i washed my hair, stripping out the oils, so had to use a conditioner to prevent dryness. then i had to use a styling product if i wanted any kind of control or body.....

now, i've eliminated all the in-between steps, as well as costs and bottles of stuff, to use a mild soap (not toxic, like detergents in shampoo). the oil production in my hair has leveled out, and what i get is just my hair in a state as close to natural as possible. i'm really liking it, considering i used to feel i could do without a daily shower if necessary, as long as i could wash my hair. i am now in the process of growing my hair out, so we'll see how it goes as it gets longer.

i'd love to hear from any of your experiences if you have tried this, or any comments on hair care on the road.........


KucK said...

Holy cow I have never met anyone else who knew about Dr Bronners! I love love love love it! I have the peppermint & orange flavors right now. I like the peppermint for when my scalp is acting up, and the orange for when I feel a bit greasy. I've tried their patchouli oil (supposed to be for tattoos but good for elbows too!) and the shikkaki hand soap is decent. I tried their conditioning rinse but I didn't too much care for it. Ah, well. Still one of my favorite products ever.

I wanted to thank you for the comment you left on my blog the other day. You have no idea just how much it meant to me. I try to be as honest as possible to myself, because I lie to myself a lot. Assuaging my fears and whatnot.

I have not heard of Ishmael, but I clicked on the link in your sidebar and it is definitely something I'd be interested in. I really liked Ruiz's Mastery of Love and The Four Agreements; I know Richard had said that you read Mastery a couple years back, so I'll definitely trust your judgment and see if I can find a copy of Ishmael.

terrapraeta said...


I admit... I do still use commercial shampoo and conditioner... but...

Last summer, living in the tipi, my showering and hair washing was severely limited... we had the solar shower rigged, but it almost always rained late in the afternoon, ie, right when I was getting off work so I could shower. So it was cold shower or nothing and I often chose nothing. As a result, I got to the point of washing my hair only once ever 5-7 days. By the time we moved into an apartment, my hair had adapted to that, so even now, a year later, a five day schedule is pretty commonplace for me.

I should probably try to no shampoo route, though... after all this time, I may well adapt quite easily.....


Anonymous said...

I was so happy to realize this wasn't a story about your fiber intake :) Monkeys have been no-shampoo forever!


Vickie said...

I've been trying this since your blog entry, with mixed results. I plan to keep it up for a while to see what happens.

My experience with Bronners and hair in the '70's was not good, so I think I'll skip that option.

The baking soda wash (with or without vinegar rinse) is producing lovely results--lots of body and mangeability, with a nice wave I haven't seen in years. By day's end, though, it feels waxy.

Let us hear how your trials are working out, please.


Vickie said...

Can't thank you enough for pointing me in this direction! It has taken a while, but man--I love the results! No more waxy feel. My hair is soft, silky, shiny and well behaved.


kate said...

vickie! i read your first comment, and decided i really ought to actually give the baking soda a try. just a couple days, and i am sold! everything i had read made it seem like it would be hard to do in a van. was i wrong! i just add 1 tbsp. of baking soda to a cup of water, pour it over my hair, and rinse. my hair is so soft and gorgeous. so simple!

most of the blogs i read said they had a similar experience to yours...after a while, there hair just acclimated to the "no 'poo" technique, and the oil production leveled off. i'm so glad we discovered this!

thanks for sticking with it, and reporting back. i may never have tried the baking soda if you didn't. love ya!

kate said...

kuck, any friend of my boy's is sorta like an automatic kindred spirit, ya know? i have loved your blog for some time, but was afraid to comment, cause i thought it was really only for a friend of yours. but i can't ever leave my flap shut for long, so i'll be chiming in on your blog every now and then, like it or not!

and, sweety? i am all about assuaging my fears, whether it be by lying to myself, or whatever. but don't worry, we make the greatest warriors!

after ishmael, read the story of B......i'll send you a copy if you can't get one!

kate said...

janene- i have now switched to just an every-other-day baking soda routine.....i LOVE it.

i believe you are one of the most adaptable people i know :-)

kate said...

tiberius, my sweet sock monkey! i hear the only soap you need is to wash your mouth out with. is this true????

Anonymous said...

It was Bocephus that was saying all the naughty stuff. I am a good monkey, just ask Sweet Mike!


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