Lessons on oil and preparedness
By Sophie Isbister, Life & Style Editor
In case you missed it, this is part two of a six-part series on banishing shampoo from my beauty regimen. And I can already tell it’s going to be the most intense personal journey of my 20’s! One week in, my thoughts are mixed: the road is bumpy and slick with grease, and is there even a light at the end of this lubed-up tunnel? Read along, dear reader.
In my first few days of no ‘poo, I learned a lot—mostly about oil and preparedness. Day one was easy. Day two, I put my hair in a ponytail and went about my business. Day three and four were excruciating, but the good news is, I learned what everyone else is thinking about my greasy hair: absolutely nothing! Everyone who I neurotically polled—and that’s about, oh, I don’t know, everyone I came in contact with—said that they could barely tell my hair was oily. That still didn’t stop me from feeling like a seething grease-ball, but combined with a bandanna, the pep talks from my friends and colleagues were genuinely helpful.
So on day four, at my wit’s end with my unmanageably oiled coif, I made my first attempt at washing with baking soda and rinsing with diluted apple cider vinegar. That’s when I learned that I was woefully unprepared to go no ‘poo. First off, I hadn’t gotten a hair trim before embarking on my journey. Immediately after working a comb through my tangled split ends (saved up over a couple months of unseasonably dry weather), I placed a phone call to my hairdresser and made an appointment ASAP.
I wanted to get a haircut not only to try one of those long bobs everyone is talking about, but also to ask my trusted stylist Rosalind Downey what she thinks about this whole no ‘poo fad. I was happy to learn that not only does Rosalind think that going shampoo-free is a good idea, she had some helpful tips as well. While she cut my hair into a totally on-trend lob, she touted the benefits of apple cider vinegar as a conditioner.
“Apple cider vinegar won’t make your hair any softer while you’re in the shower,” said Rosalind, “but it balances out the pH balance of your hair. It’ll smooth the cortex down, stop it from being fuzzy, do all of those things, but you just have to remember that it’s a rinse—it doesn’t have a thick or creamy consistency like a conditioner.”
Rosalind’s comments confirm my experience with my apple cider vinegar rinse. I told her that I had been pretty unsure about putting the vinegar rinse on in the shower; I ended up unceremoniously dumping it over my head, and not feeling very conditioned.
“It’s something weird you have to get used to,” Rosalind told me. She recommends using a spray bottle to saturate the hair with the vinegar rinse, and a squeeze bottle to apply the baking soda mixture—which, I’m happy to report, did leave my hair feeling pretty clean.
She also recommends that I use virgin coconut oil on the ends of my hair during my experiment, and told me how: “As soon as I get out of the shower I warm a bit [of coconut oil] in my hands so they just look shiny,” says Rosalind. “And then I just go on the ends and start working my way up, not anywhere near the roots. That helps get rid of the tangle. It keeps it healthy.”
With the blessing of my stylist, and a fresh cut free of tangle-making split ends, I embark onto my second week of blissful, shampoo-free simplicity. To recap: baking soda makes a great shampoo! Must buy a squeeze bottle. And a great haircut can improve your self-esteem, even if you are drowning in oil. Thanks for reading along, and tune in next week!