Less ‘Poo

February 10, 2009

Today, my hair is happy.  Why?  Because it is Wash day in the 4th cycle of a self-imposed wash-hair-every-other-day routine.  Today my hair is clean, shiny, voluminous, and soft.  I feel like a Pantene commercial… yes! yes! yes!  But yesterday it was oily and clumpy where greasy hair coagulated.. mmm is that hair you want to run your fingers through or what?!  I’m trying to train my hair to be less greasy and encourage voluminous, healthy hair on its own. Counterintuitively you may think, I am washing my hair less often. I have naturally oily hair, and usually shampoo every day.  If I skip a wash, the next day my strands becomes a slick, smelly mess (the funky old hair smell is probably the worst part).  The catch though, is that in the dry winter I’m finding that my hair gets too dry and staticky since I wash it so often.  If there’s one annoying thing in an already windy environment, it’s clingy hair.  Haate it.  I’ve tried adding moisturizing conditioner, but that lands me right where I don’t want to be, in a grease trap. And it cycles on and on.. After doing some research, I’ve learned that washing hair every day strips it of its natural oils, thus provoking follicles to overproduce.  The solution to getting out of the rat race then, is to stop suds-ing up daily.  Some very brave people actually go all out in the No Poo Method (can be as gross as it sounds).  As your scalp gets used to the new routine, it actually produces less oil, resulting in nice hair as well as time saved in the shower!  This probably appeals to me moreso than beautiful hair, because I loooove those extra snooze minutes in bed. Usually it takes a few weeks for the oil production centers to right itself and balance, so in the meantime, here’s what I’ve tried doing to make more pleasant the yucky oily and smelly transition period: 

  • Use less shampoo.  I used to love dumping a whole palmful onto my head and working it into a super lather atop my hair but this only dries out strands more.  Along the same lines, less products in general (including conditioner), since it adds gunk and weight, compelling you to wash it out at the end of a long day
  • Air dry, or if you must use a blowdryer, put it on low heat.  I try to shower at night for this reason. Well, that plus I like sleeping (I always take longer in the morning than if I shower at night, for some reason). Blow-drying for me equals dry, frizzy hair, which means I have to put products in it to weigh it down, leading me quicker to Oil City!
  •  After a wash, part hair in the middle to dry initially, and then re-part to the side for instant volume! This eliminates the flatness of hair that tends to settle throughout the day. I just learned this yesterday, and I am loving it!
  • Use a dry shampoo in between washes.  Spray on at night, rub it throughout your hair, and it’s supposed to magically eat up the extra oilies and refresh your mane.  That’s the commercial at least. I bought a mini version of Ojon Rub Out Dry Shampoo, and was disappointed that the magic didn’t work for me.  When I lightly coat, my hair ends up still greasy the next day. If I spray more, the smell is OMG STRONG.  I used it while studying for the Series 7 (my Berkeley education has conditioned me to choose study over hygiene), and it definitely overpowered the room we were using.  Sorry, study mates! It didn’t work for me, but lots of other people like it, so maybe my hair is just so greasy nothing can cut through.  I do like the idea of a colorless dry shampoo though and will try other alternatives.  I’ve heard baby powder works also – but lightly sprinkle it, unless you like the gray hair look (assuming you have dark tresses). 

It has now been over a week of this, I’m foreseeing another two weeks or so of this up and down cycle, and then hopefully it’s easy non-greasy hairrr! All in all, if this doesn’t work, it certainly makes me appreciate the days when I get to shampoo! I woke up this morning super excited that today was Wash day.  And when I came to work, I kept parting and re-parting my day for that bounce. Probably not smart, since that stimulates the follicles, ugh.