Coping with the transition phase
By Sophie Isbister, Life & Style Editor
I’m two weeks into my no-shampoo experiment and my life is starting to feel like a combination of the musicals Grease and Hair. For real though, it’s oily—very oily. This is to be expected; my hair is naturally really oily anyway, so during this “transition phase” (as the gals in the Facebook low-poo/no-poo community page call it) it’s no wonder my hair is overproducing like crazy.
So instead of focussing on my progress (because there is no progress when you live in grease limbo), this instalment will focus on ways to cope when every day feels like a bad hair day. Whether you’re trying to stop using shampoo like me, or even just trying to go a few days between washes, these strategies should give you the knowledge you need to keep it going.
First, brushing! The Facebook community suggests brushing your hair frequently with a boar bristle brush (available at any drugstore). The natural fibres of the brush are supposed to be good for your hair, and frequent brushing distributes your scalp’s natural oil throughout your hair’s length, having a conditioning effect on dryer hair.
Dry shampoo is also an option for those oily days between washes. I’m not using any store-bought products on my hair for this experiment. I’m going full-hippie, which means making my own dry shampoo out of cornstarch, cocoa, and essential oils—see sidebar for recipe! I only use it in emergency situations (read: not every day), but it makes the roots look a little less greasy, and also can give your hair a nice scent, depending on the essential oils you use.
Having a good style in your hair can also make it appear less greasy. In fact, there are a lot of styles that hold better in oily hair than in clean hair! As someone with very fine and straight hair, I’ve always had a really hard time making up-dos stay in place—not anymore, since my hair is now always infused with its own natural oils. Braids are also a great way to get your hair off your face and neatly tucked away.
My favourite style these days has been a top-knot. This is really easy to do: just brush your hair upward (this part is important!), then gather it all in a ponytail very close to the top of your head. Backcomb the pony a bit, then wind your hair around the base of the ponytail and secure in place with bobby pins. This look can also be dressed up with a headband or bandanna, further hiding your oily shame. A sock bun also works really well with greasy hair.
Braids continue to be a challenge for me. I think the real trick is exercising your arms so they don’t hurt so much! I’ve had minor success just pulling all my hair back in a French braid. And for a casual day at school or work, I’ve been working on a single French braid that goes along my hairline, and then gets pulled into a low side bun.
When all else fails, try complaining! The Internet is great for this when your friends are tired of listening; whether you find support on Facebook, Reddit, or Twitter, support is there for any struggle that may come your way while you kick the shampoo-habit. Everyone says it should start getting easier for me, so I hope my next instalment is a lot more positive!
Simple dry shampoo recipe:
¼ cup cornstarch
¼ cup cocoa (optional)
A few drops of essential oil
Combine all the ingredients in a sturdy Ziploc bag. Use cocoa if you have brown or dark hair, but omit if you have blonde hair. Use any kind of essential oil—I like sweet orange. Once the ingredients are combined, store in a jar and apply to the roots of your hair with an old makeup brush.