Back in 2010 I tried an experiment: I stopped using shampoo and conditioner. My increasing disgust at the amount of unnecessary chemicals we add to our water and bodies each day prompted the experiment. The fact that the ingredients – bicarbonate of soda and apple cider vinegar – were much cheaper than the organic products I’d been using also helped.
I wrote gleefully about the success of the experiment here. I really thought I’d found the answer for my super-fine, greasy roots and dry ends, naturally blonde-ish hair. But my passion for it slipped as my focus turned to other things.
In August we got engaged. And five weeks later we got married. And somehow I found myself in the hairdressing salon with handfuls of definitely non-organic gunk on my head. And then we moved across the country. And the place we stayed for the first two weeks had a shower big enough for a five-year old. For a while it was just easier to use shampoo.
But once we moved into our new house, my old hankering for a chemical-free wash returned. I dug out the bicarb pot and an old bottle of ACV, excited to be going back to my more natural routine. I washed, I conditioned, I towel-dried, I combed and… my hair was thick and sticky. Yuck!
Once it had dried naturally some of the swing returned, but my head felt gunky and and I was deeply unimpressed. So I plaited my hair and tried again a few days later. Same result: hair that looked greasier after washing than it did before. I covered my hair with a scarf and put the shampoo bottle back on the side of the bath.
I promised myself one last try scouring the internet for tips. Finally I found the one I needed. Apparently, if the bicarb gets lumpy in the tub (due to moisture I presume) it’s not as effective. Bingo! I only had a little left in my old pot so went out to buy a new tub. I also read about some new methods and decided to give them a try.
Next hairwash day I dropped a tablespoon of bicarb into a plastic jar and added a cup of filtered water. Apparently filtered is better and I certainly wasn’t brave enough to face any more post-shower disappointments. I found an old spray bottle I’d been using for the houseplants and filled it with the same ratio of one tablespoon ACV to one cup of filtered water.
After wetting my hair I gently poured the bicarb solution on and massaged it into my scalp. I clipped my hair up and left the bicarb on while I washed. After rinsing well – once, twice, thrice – I sprayed the lengths of my hair with the ACV solution. The blogs I’d read suggested using less ACV on greasy hair so I thought I’d just put it on the lengths, the bits that really need it. Plus, it’s great for detangling. Rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat. Once more for good luck and…
… my hair was back to normal! Clean, fine, soft, shiny. What a relief!
So I guess what I’m trying to say here is that sometimes life gets in the way of our ideals. But that doesn’t mean we can’t pull it back. One day, one month, one year… there’s nothing to stop you trying again. Sometimes takes some adjustment, a few tweaks here and there. But if you really believe in what you’re trying to achieve, even the set-backs won’t stop you for long.
The trick is knowing in your heart how committed you are. Because if you’re not that committed then you need to keep looking for something that really grabs you. Washing your hair with bicarb might not be your thing. That’s cool. But what is your thing? What excites you, what inspires you?
If you don’t know already, keep searching, keep trying, don’t be afraid to fail. As my yoga master in India used to tell us every single day: “Never give up, always let go.”
Namasté people… I’m off to wash my hair!