Tuesday, January 31, 2012

No Shampoo Experiment: Day 26

Over three weeks! And just look at this hair. I've got a nice natural wave going on, no grease and everything's coming up Milhouse. Priya Means Love is good stuff. Using the famous apple cider vinegar as a diluted rinse really upped the outcome. It's still not to where I think it's going to be, but slowly, slowly my scalp is becoming increasingly cleaner, less oily, more neutral. My actual hair is a little softer and shinier and the ends aren't breaking off, which they usually would by now this stage of my hair colouring/trim cycle.

Tonight the Dude and I are planning on meeting our new niece. Matt's brother is a new dad and he and his wife live a five-minute walk from here. I've seen a picture of the kid, and she looks a lot like her pa, with her ma's nose. You can already see she's got some good features on her. Really lovely baby, and you can't honestly say that about all them, precious as they all may be.

It's always totally wild to me, you know, going from child-free to parents. And it happens irrevocably in a moment. Pregnancy is, for a woman, a transition stage, but you still have your freedom, if not your body. But whamo! Suddenly you are chained to your baby, exclusively for the next few months at least. And I don't mean chained in a negative way, I mean it in an accurate description sense. Like, that baby needs you and there's no bones about it, no leaving wee one behind unattended. It is in a near constant state of need and you must attend to those needs.

What a massive adjustment. And you would feel all this focused type of love, amidst hormone levels dropping, and your body making all new sorts of changes like lactation and hair loss, all while recovering from your pregnancy and delivery. Dude.

Yeah, I still want to do it.

But really, it's something, eh? To know people for years and suddenly they're almost like new people, because they've undergone a massive life change and no doubt their perspectives have altered as a result. Such a massive thing to have happen. Being a parent is a huge part of a person's identity.

Also kind of wild to think a person could be as young as a few days old, isn't it? A wee little person who couldn't be more brand new. It's the oldest trick in the biological organism handbook, reproduction, and yet it never stops looking like a damn miracle.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

No Shampoo Experiment: Day 19

Day after using Priya Means Love

So, my hair looks pretty clean, eh? Not too bad indeed. However, I've encountered a similar issue I had with the baking soda. It's kind of greasy in the back. Reason? I don't think I'm reaching it very well when I wash. Like I've said, I have a hella ton of hair. Like, tons. So I think I need to put more effort into scrubbing the back, not to mention brushing it out to redistribute the oils.

So basically, I need to use more elbow grease.

The Dude's away on a work trip for a few days. I haven't given much thought as to how I'll spend my time. Drawing and writing, probably. I went for a nice long walk yesterday and managed to fall asleep at a decent hour, despite waking up multiple times. Makes me realize how sedentary I've become. I think it's my natural state, though obviously not the best for my health.

I always sat around. It's a wonder I never became fat. Though I never really ate that much as a kid, so never mind. I'm not fat now either, though I'm... soft. If this were the Renaissance, man, I'd be set. But this being the 21st century, it'd probably behove me to get some more exercise.

If only I cared enough to ever really make a concerted effort. I mean, I do care. My appearance matters to me. I just have always concentrated my efforts on my skin, hair, clothes, basically dressing the body I have, caring for what I've got.

It's not like I have my ideal body, but a long time ago I gave up worrying about it. I have the shortest, highest waist I've ever seen, so that elegant longer, tinier-waisted torso is not mine to have. My breasts are small and that's the way it is. I'm also 5'2". Five pounds makes a big difference on my figure. Going up or down in either direction moves me a full dress size. Five pounds isn't all that hard to lose either, not when I try.

I just don't like trying. How ridiculous does that sound? I really should, though. I'm entering my 30s and it would probably be wise to have a good base of health and fitness to start out with, lest I become one of those frumpy women who look like they've thrown in the towel.

Know what's got me actually bummed, though? My first real wrinkle. It's on my forehead. Between that and my slowly greying hair, it's becoming apparent that I won't in fact stay young forever after all. When I was younger, despite all my anti-aging measures, I still sort of considered in my fantasy brain that perhaps I would somehow be exempt from aging. Heh. Well, it begins. Awesome.

Though if all goes well with this experiment, I should at least enter my 30s with exemplary hair (Grey hairs obscured by a tasteful red, of course).

Monday, January 23, 2012

No Shampoo Experiment: Day 18 - Pryia Means Love Review

Today I went out to Grassroots in the Danforth and picked up Lavender Mud Hair and Scalp Cleanser. I normally would have bought right off the Etsy store, but I kinda wanted the cleanser now.

Using it was a lot more pleasant than baking soda. More expensive, by far, but the goal is infrequent washings, so I'm down with that, and in any case my goal is to get off of shampoo, stop the allergic reactions on my fingers, cease rubbing the chemicals into my scalp and improve the quality of my hair.

You have to shake it till it's mixed and thickened up. You pour a small amount into your hair and scrub it into your scalp. I needed a little extra. I have super thick hair and it always takes more of everything to reach everywhere. It felt a little gritty, but not in a bad way. It has an earthy, herbal aroma.

It washed out easily enough and my hair, which had begun to smell funky yesterday now smells like normal hair again. I can run my fingers through my hair and it doesn't feel dirty or oily. It's air drying now and I can already feel the volume. Ah, success.

I didn't need conditioner or anything. It was enough just the way it was. We'll see how long the clean lasts, what it's like dry and how much headway I've made into this shampoo-free life.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

No Shampoo Experiment: Day 17

I bought a boar bristle brush today. I have really thick hair and it takes a long time to brush it through, but it does make my hair shinier and evenly distributes the oil.

I spent three days in a row washing my hair with water, and I haven't wet it since for two days. Some interesting results. It's not nearly as oily as you might expect. I mean, it is oily, but all things considered, it's okay. I've gone eight days without any cleaning agents, and while my scalp isn't producing as much oil, it's still too much and the excess needs to go. I'm going to be looking into a non-detergent non-foaming cleanser tomorrow. It's red clay, herbs, aloe and essential oils. I'll give it a go and write about my results.

With the addition of my boar bristle brush, it should prevent the oils from sitting on the top of my head and that should improve the quality of my hair and make it look more presentable.

I'm kind of excited about the cleanser, but at the same time, I'm wondering if I should plough ahead and go without anything. I suppose managing the grease while I'm going through transition is helpful, and so long as it doesn't strip the hair of sebum, I should be okay. My scalp hasn't been irritated in two and a half weeks, and so long as that continues to be the case with this new product, I'm still going shampoo free.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Chapter Four

2:20 in the morning and all is well. All could be better. For example, I could be sleeping.

I did some writing tonight. I've completed four chapters of a new novel I'm attempting to write. It's still too new to really talk about in depth, and obviously still a first draft. But I'm pleased with my progress thus far. I've been developing my protagonist, introduced a couple characters and have introduced a conflict. Yes, yes, writing 101. Good for me.

But it's encouraging to keep it up. I'm trying to not just wait for creative impulses, I'm attempting to tap into what I'm pretty sure is there and lying dormant. Getting into a comfort zone and not challenging myself has been bad for my creativity. I used to devote most of my spare time into storytelling and drawing, hours a day.

That pretty much stopped after art school. If you're not meant to be a commercial artist, an art program can kill your drive. Perhaps if I had just leapt into journalism first, I wouldn't have quit for all those years. Many of the classmates I met in in Art Fundamentals pursued their dreams and completed other programs or became commercial artists of some kind. You can't help but question yourself when you're in the minority of those not going for it.

Like I've been saying, though, 2012 is my year. It's the year I'm taking to make creative changes. Just need to keep up my motivation.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

No Shampoo Experiment: Day 13

I washed my hair with only water this evening. Funnily enough, though it's still damp, it feels the best it has so far. Slightly oily, no more dryness and softer than usual.

Ha, as I type this, Bea is crawling into my lap and giving me head butts and cuddles. I can't deny her charms. Good kitty <3

Anyhoo, my experiment is going exceedingly well. I feel like I'm over a major hump here. Not quite where I need to be, but I think there's improvement beginning to occur. And that pleases me.

I'm not sure yet how a couple things are going to go. For instance, I colour my hair. I'm not a natural redhead, quel dommage, and so I purchase a lovely shade of auburn from ye olde hairdresser. I can't bear the thought of going back to my natural colour. I mean, for one, it's nothing special and two, I've begun to gray. It's not everywhere, but it's happening. Genes. What can you do.

So, perhaps I can ask them not to shampoo my colour out, only rinse. I don't want to undo my patient, hard work, but I also don't want to go without hair colouring because I do so love my red 'do.

Just ran my fingers through my hair and it does feel really nice. Conditioner coats your hair and it does have a really smooth feeling. It's silky feeling, right? Slick. My natural hair feels soft. It's not smooth, not dry, not anything. I don't know, it feels like hair kinda should. That slick feeling always made me feel like there was still gunk in my hair, which, really, there was. Now it's bare and air drying and it's an interesting sensation.

I'm totally into this. Only two weeks in and I think I might be hooked.

Monday, January 16, 2012

No Shampoo Experiment: Day 11

You know what? I'm kind of granola. It's come on me so slowly and gradually as I learned things and became comfortable with my body and who I am, but there's no denying it anymore. I'm granola.

Did you know that if you stop washing your face and wearing makeup for a week, your skin starts to glow, your pores unclog and dead skin wipes away on a washcloth? I've been applying the same philosophy to my skin as I have with my hair, only not intentionally. It sort of happened quietly.

I've been hyper about my skin since I was 13. This has been mostly positive, I think, because I'm reaping the benefits now of having avoided the sun all these years. I have few lines and wrinkles, as I've had little sun damage, though general aging can't be avoided. My mom was super into sunscreen and was always on me about protecting my skin. The daycare I went to had a policy about each child having their own bottle of sunscreen and it had to be applied three times a day, prior to each of the three scheduled playtimes outdoors.

I'd shield my face from the sun at school. I'd walk in the shade. I wore moisturizing creams that had SPF in it. I started getting facials when I was in college, and wearing anti-wrinkle cream. I never sleep in makeup, I exfoliate and wear mud masks.

But this week I did nothing except splash with water.

Oh my God. Okay, my skin is so soft. My pores are so small and they're not clogged as much as usual. Dead skin? What dead skin? My skin's own oil seems to have conditioned it and now has reached a sort of equilibrium.

I washed my face last night because I had makeup on. But this morning, my face was still good. Not oily, not shiny, not a problem. I am turning into such a damn hippy. And I love it. It's so freeing. I mean, I'm doing less and seeing improvements.

My hair is much more of a journey. But seeing how easily my face adjusted to nothing, I'm very excited to see results with my hair. After doing some research, I think I'm going to eschew baking soda altogether. It was helpful initially, but I think just some apple cider vinegar is my next step, that and getting a natural bristle brush, something that will evenly distribute the sebum through the stands and prevent build-up on my scalp.

My hair still smells like nothing. Like hair, I guess. It's a little softer than it was when I first started this whole thing. Not great, but better. Now the Dude is thinking about doing the same thing. Mostly he's just a typical lazy dude when when it comes to personal grooming. The less he can get away with, the better. At first he thought I was a little nutty for doing this, though he didn't attempt to talk me out of it. Now he's considering it for himself, though I haven't been on a campaign for him to begin.

Actually, since I was a once-a-week hair washer and he's a daily hair washer, I think he'd be in a far greater battle.

It's a two-week adjustment period-- minimum. Maybe it'll take six weeks. Some people take months. Blech, I hope I'm not among them. I'm thinking of adding some rosemary essential oils to the mix to stimulate hair growth. I've never been able to get past my current length because of split ends and such. Everyone I've seen who's gone no-shampoo for a long time has beautiful long shiny hair. I want that to be me.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

No Shampoo Experiment: Third Baking Soda Wash

I've done my third wash with baking soda instead of shampoo this evening. I usually only wash my hair once a week with shampoo, but I'm going almost twice a week with the baking soda and vinegar. That doesn't seem like a big deal, right? Though it technically is double duty on the hair washing.

My hair and scalp is still adjusting. It's been over a week now. My hair looks good. It's the feel that I'm still banking on changing. The first time it was bizarre feeling, oily and dry, if that's even possible (It is). Not too terrible, really, not enough to quit, but definitely not pleasant. The second time I had more enjoyable results, probably due to the vinegar. My hair was softer and less dry feeling.

This time it's the same thing, a little softer mostly. Not the silky results you'd get from conditioner, but it's moving in the right direction. So I'm still sticking to it. This time I used a little more baking soda and I got it only damp before scrubbing it into my scalp. I think that was helpful.

Two things I've noticed that definitely has baking soda in my good books over shampoo is 1. No allergic skin reaction, no dry skin blotches all over, and 2. Less frizz.

Ploughing on ahead!

Monday, January 9, 2012

330 Days

So I have a couple of changes on the go. I suppose this could be considered New Years Resolution-like, but it's more lifestyle/growing up/future planning stuff.

As for the no-shampoo experiment, I washed it Friday and my scalp is not terribly oily now. My hair doesn't smell bad either. So I'm no worse for wear in the greasy and odour department. However, my hair has a strange consistency to it. It's sort of dry and sort of... not. I didn't do the recommended vinegar rinse, which I will be attempting next round.

When I was in the shower I took a heaping tablespoon's worth of baking soda, added water and scrubbed it into my scalp. But it was rather watery so I took another smallish heap and added less water to create a paste and scrubbed that in as well. It was all very strange feeling. If you enjoy suds and lather, this part is not very satisfying.

I left it in for a minute and rinsed it out. Vinegar is supposed to restore PH balance to your hair and give it a healthy sheen. And vinegar is also a cleaning agent, so it sort of finishes the job. The smell is supposed to dissipate after the hair dries.

I am soooo looking forward to no more shampoo. My hair always looks and feels like a frizzy mess after shampooing. It's toxic stuff, it's bad for your hair, your scalp and really, I'm tired of it. My exema rash breaks out when I use it. It's an oil byproduct and I don't want it on my skin anymore. I'm always red and blotchy and dried out after I use shampoo. Wherever it touches me, my skin reacts.

So that's one change. Going shampoo free 2012.

Change two is around the home. Our living room finally has all its necessary furniture. It's like a real grownup room with enough storage. It's functional. It's comfortable.

And we want to own our own house. And this being Toronto, we're in for a rough ride. The housing market is out of control and we don't want to be house poor. There is a condo bubble developing so maybe there will be deals down the road. But while we wait and see where things go there, we're looking to save up a downpayment.

We currently have a decent amount. But it's not enough to get more than a small condo. And I work from home and we'd like to have a child. So a 1-bedroom condo is not going to cut it for our future. We need at least two bedrooms and a den-like space for me to do my job.

So this be the year we save, yo. Come March, we'll be putting away about a fifth of our monthly income. Very... adult. If we lived in our hometown making what we make, we'd have a house. I love Toronto, but in this one way, I hate it. Getting into the market is a nightmare. I don't want to get a place and wind up house poor, unable to pay my mortgage and other bills. So we're waiting till the Dude's income goes up a little more and we have more in the bank.

Change three is my creativity. I'm halfway through my aunt's illustrations for her children's book. I've also started writing again. I want to get in the family track next year, so if I'm going to do something with myself in this regard, the time is now.

I've spent my 20s doing a number of things. I've been in meaningful relationships. I've travelled. I've moved around a lot. I've lived with roommates, alone, with a partner. I got married. I found a good job. I spent time in counselling to get some closure on my relationship with my father. I've figured out who I am. I'm almost 30 and I really truly finally feel like I know myself.

And now I wish to complete a couple creative projects before my 20s come to a close, before I enter my 30s and home ownership and starting a family take me in a direction away from myself. Not that I'll leave who I am, but my world will expand beyond myself, and for a time I will not be my sole focus. Heck, it isn't now. I have to share my focus with the Dude. He's my husband. We're become a team. But this last year I'm going to dedicate to me.

330 days till I'm 30.

Friday, January 6, 2012

No Shampoo For Me

I'm going to stop shampooing my hair. I've already set this in motion and I plan on documenting the experience. What else is a blog for?

For the past couple years I've trained my scalp to not need shampooing so often. Your hair gets super greasy because the detergents in the shampoo strip your scalp of its natural oils, it goes into hyperdrive to replace them and then ta-da, you need another shampoo the next day.

If you're willing to stick it out, you can get to two days. Then three. Then four. I can get to five comfortably, and seven if I'm stubborn.

But still, shampooing is a pain in the ass. And I have some exema on my finger that flares up when I wash my hair. So the Dude's been washing it for me, once a week. It's sweet, but I really feel like my body is rejecting this substance and considering all the toxicity in shampoo, methinks it's time to move on.

So tonight I used baking soda. I read that I should expect it to take 2-6 weeks for my scalp to adjust and for my hair to look good. Until then, it's going to be a rough road. Well, I believe that. It certainly doesn't look or feel good now. It's sort of dry and greasy at the same time.

Kind of overexposed, but I managed to take a good picture
in the first go, so hurrah!

So here is attempt number one. Looks fine, yes? Well, it's not too bad. Let's see how it fares throughout the week. Also, next time I'm going to do the vinegar rinse. I didn't bother this time and it may account for the blechy feeling in my hair.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


It is colder than Frosty's asshole out there.

It's also the last day of my vacation. Tomorrow it's back to the grind. So to stretch out my day and make it feel more indulgent I redeemed a Groupon for a manicure/pedicure in Mount Pleasant. And it was pleasant, the neighbourhood and the nail salon. It was called Fabulous Manicure Bar, which is not the most appropriate name, I think. Not because it wasn't fabulous, but because the best adjective would be "charming". But I suppose Charming Manicure Bar isn't so catchy.

Going out into that freezing abyss was total crap, though. My god, it got cold fast. It felt blistering out there, the kind of chill that really penetrates your bones. I have an incredibly warm coat, which is mandatory in this country, but still.

I have the rest of the day to spend as I please. I need to do some more drawings for my aunt's book, so that's on my to-do list. But I also want to write. I have made a practice of blogging these past few years, which has been very helpful in keeping me in practice. I think it's important not to get lax about it. I did that with my drawing and it doesn't come quite so easily now, not the creative part. I don't want writing to become a struggle. If you can't write creatively, forget it.

Really, though, my problem is motivation. My biggest obstacle is myself. I'm not a go-getter. I enjoy being comfortable. I'll do what I need to in order to get comfortable and then stay there, more or less. I don't shoot for the stars. I enjoy my life, I love my free time, but sometimes I really think I should be attempting more, just to really try, see what I can do.