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04 February 2009 @ 05:59 pm
Bethany's Hair Care 101  
When I did my 25 Random Things About Me the other day, the random thing that got the most comments was:
17. I haven't brushed my hair or used shampoo in it for more than 4 years now.
I guess it's been so long since I stopped doing those things that I kind of forgot that many of my friends don't know that.

Before . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . After
I have so much worse pictures of me from when I had big hair, but you won't ever see them...
unless you come to my house bearing armloads of junk food.

My mom has stick straight hair and is the biggest tomboy I know. Because of this we had no clue that you should care for curly hair differently than straight hair - and no one bothered to tell us. I was very frustrated with my triangular hair as a teenager because I knew that it could look better but I had no clue how to get it that way. (And this was before you could Google stuff. Yes, I'm That Old.) On my first mission trip to Australia (when I was 17), a friend with naturally curly hair asked me, "Have you ever tried to not brush your hair and see what happens? 'Cause that really helps hair not be so frizzy." I couldn't fathom not brushing my hair! Wouldn't it get tangled? But I figured I was as far away from my usual world as possible, and I should try it. I had short hair at the time (because I got fed up with my frizzball hair when it was long) but even then I could see an immediate difference. Now, those of you who knew me at WOLBI are probably thinking, "Um, WOLBI was after that and your hair was not so great when we were students together." You're right, of course, but that's because I didn't have any style till I was like 19. Hehe. What I had then was unstylish - but mostly unfrizzy! - hair. Anyway - I have not brushed or combed my hair since I was 17.

In the fall of 2004 I discovered an online community for Christian girls with curly hair. My hair was quite long at that time and was far better-looking than any previous time I'd had it long because I didn't even own a hairbrush, but it was still a little frizzy and I had a flaky scalp. The online community was based on the book Curly Girls by Lorraine Massey, which challenged everyone, but especially wavy and curly girls, to stop using shampoo and stop brushing your hair. Shampoo has a lot of chemicals that strip your scalp and hair of its natural moisture, causing frizz. I probably would've thought it was crazy to stop using shampoo if I hadn't befriended several of the girls in the community who hadn't used shampoo for months and had beautiful - clean - hair. The book suggests that curly girls just wash with conditioner. This works for most of my friends, but even after the shampoo detox period (usually 2-3 weeks, as your scalp gets used to not having its natural moisture stripped away each day), my hair was not getting un-oily. So I took some suggestions and I tried a baking soda rinse and an apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinse. Hallelujah! My hair was totally clean and healthy, and - bonus! - the acid in the ACV helps get rid of flakes! It also makes it so I have to wash my hair less frequently (every other day or two days in between), and I don't have any split ends. (I used to have a ton of those when I was a teen.) I remember how amused Isaac was that I was putting food in my hair. LOL. Since then, that is all I've used. I do use some organic (because it doesn't have the "evil" ingredients) shampoo when I travel, for convenience sake, but I really dislike it because my hair has to be washed more frequently and the flakes come back.

So. Here's my hair care recipe routine. I'm sure it would work for anyone else with any hair type.
1) Mix 1 Tbsp baking soda with 1 Cup hot/warm water. (I keep the ingredients and measuring tools in my bathroom.) Stir it up in a cup or something, and pour it in your scalp. Massage it in with the pads of your fingers, and then rinse it out thoroughly. (You could make a large batch of both rinses and keep them in, say, a 2 liter bottle, and that would save you time when you shower. I've just never bothered with that.)
2) Mix 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar with 1 Cup warm/cold water in a different cup or whatever. Pour it on your scalp, massage it in with the pads of your fingers, and let it sit for a few minutes (while you shave or wash your face, etc.). Then rinse it out thoroughly. Your hair will not smell like ACV; it will smell like whatever conditioner you follow with.
3) Put conditioner on the canopy (top part) of your hair. Then get a bunch of it on your fingers and comb through your hair with your fingers. This is how you detangle, if necessary. Let me tell you - I go to the beach often, drive on the highway in Isaac's convertible with the top down, and had my hair teased like crazy yesterday, and every single time I have been able to get all the tangles out by just using conditioner and finger-combing. Normally I don't have very many tangles in my hair at all, though, despite not even owning a brush or comb.
4) Gently dry your hair by scrunching and/or blotting with a towel.
5) Use a bit of gel or mousse and scrunch it into your hair. Then air dry or blow dry with a diffuser. (My hair is always the shiniest and least frizzy when I air dry, so I nearly always do that.)

Oh yeah, and if you have any wave in your hair at all, layers are your friend.

And that's it! I am more in love with this method than ever after my photo shoot yesterday in which my hair was teased (tangled) into 3 different, big hairdos and sprayed with enough hairspray to make a long-lasting homemade flame thrower. After finger-combing with lots of conditioner and doubling the ACV, my hair is back to its normal, shiny, defined-curls self. No extremely drying clarifying shampoo necessary.

If you have any questions, just ask!
at: : home
feeling : : hungryhungry
Joelle: It's like a Fairy Talesilver_nyssa on February 5th, 2009 12:58 am (UTC)
*Prints* It's only been the last few years that my hair has gone curly. It used to be barely wavey, now I have days that it looks like I have a perm.

I'm going to try this tonight! Do you normally wash it in the morning or evening?
*bethany*kimana83 on February 5th, 2009 01:13 am (UTC)
I know what you mean! My hair was stick straight when I was a kid, and then puberty hit and we were like, "Uh, what do we do with it now?" And, clearly, we had no idea for 5 years. Hehe.

Usually the morning, but it varies. My hair tends to dry strangely when I sleep on it, but sometimes I just don't have time in the morning, or I don't want to go out in the cold with it wet.
Sarah: Glamourpansyprincess on February 5th, 2009 01:01 am (UTC)
I haven't brushed my hair or used shampoo in it for more than 4 years now.

I used to be able to say that. Surprised? ;) But after a few days when my hair just felt icky and nothing I did seemed to help, I used a bit of shampoo (that I had picked up by accident thinking it was conditioner) and loads of conditioner and voila, it was clean and silky again. I felt like a horrible traitor to my hair while I was sudsing my scalp...but amazingly enough I didn't detect the slightest bit of difference. Since then I use a dab of shampoo about once a week, sometimes less, when it feels like I've got a bit of build-up, and just conditioner the rest of the time. I use a protective spray for the days I blow-dry and straighten, plus my extremely-expensive-but-very-worth-it hydrating cream to control the few little frizzies I get. I still get awesome curls when I let it curl, and it's very soft and healthy, so I'm guessing my routine agrees with it!

Anyway, don't know why I'm babbling about my hair care...I guess it's just that I'm finally admitting to the world that I'm no longer a "Curly Girl." Haha
*bethany*kimana83 on February 5th, 2009 01:18 am (UTC)
No, not really. I think a lot of former die-hard CG people do. ACV would've worked as well - possibly better - than your shampoo (trust me - if it could get out the 3 gallons of professional-strength hairspray I had in my hair yesterday, it can get anything out), but who cares? If it works for you, then it's good. =o)

And weren't you more of a wavy girl anyway? A lot of wavy girls use a bit of shampoo here and there. I still say you're an official Curly Girl (if you want to be) because you don't, like, douse your hair with shampoo like most people do. =o)

I don't mind if you babble about hair care. It's just nice to have a comment from you! =o)
Kellycraneke on February 5th, 2009 02:35 am (UTC)
I actually started using shampoo on my stick-straight hair again when we moved in August. The water here is SUPER hard and I was getting all kinds of build-up and it just felt gross. I actually shampoo every day now, but I could probably cut back to every third day or so. Probably should, actually. :-P
*bethany*kimana83 on February 5th, 2009 06:48 pm (UTC)
Yeah, shampooing (or washing of any sort) every day is rough on your scalp. If you get any build-up, do try the ACV - it's amazing, and got out the tons of professional-strength hairspray that I had on my head Tuesday!
Bre: curlsbreezy83 on February 6th, 2009 01:17 am (UTC)
Ha! I COMPLETELY fell off the bandwagon, as it were :P You still seem like a Curly Girl to me!
Theresat_jay on February 5th, 2009 02:22 am (UTC)
I knew you and Sarah (although I see her comment that she jumped off the wagon) --- and I think Holly? --- were all Curly Girls, but this was the first time I've ever seen it explained. I don't know why I never asked before 'cause I've always been curious, but then of course I could have Googled it and easily found out.

I didn't see all of the comments questioning you on this; I'm sure they were interesting! LOL
*bethany*kimana83 on February 5th, 2009 09:01 pm (UTC)
LOL. Yes, Holly is a curly girl too - or at least was. The community sort of died out a few years ago so I'm not sure who's still shampoo-free.

The comments were mostly on Facebook, and were more curious than disgusted. Hehe.
· la que el xavi se llevó ·: Athletic // Llorente is a modelgaueko_izar on February 5th, 2009 02:29 am (UTC)
I have to say, that's really interesting. Pretty cool, actually. Pretty much the only hair problem I have is that it's just really fine and won't hold style no matter what I do to it, and it's also more on the oily side of things. But that "recipe" looks really interesting. =D
*bethany*kimana83 on February 5th, 2009 09:02 pm (UTC)
Mine was like that until I hit puberty. Then it went crazy. Hehe. You should play around with non-shampoo options and see if any work for you. I'm more sold on ACV than ever. I think my hair loved that I doubled the strength of it to get all that hairspray out, 'cause yesterday and today it's been extra shiny!
That One Girlmiddlegirl on February 5th, 2009 04:52 am (UTC)
This looks interesting to try... my hair looks fairly as curly as yours (photos here, though my hair is shorter now). Right now I use shampoo and conditioner especially for curly hair, and then follow it with no-frizz leave-in conditioner, and then curl-defining mousse. However, I only comb it (with a nice, big fat comb) once I get out of the shower, and then don't touch it again until after the next shower.

But your hair is gorgeous, so I might have to give your method a try - I'll bet it's cheaper, too.
*bethany*kimana83 on February 5th, 2009 09:08 pm (UTC)
I would say don't even comb it when you get out of the shower. If you finger-comb with conditioner when you're in the shower, you won't need to, and you also won't be disarranging the curls like a comb/brush does. Other than that, if your routine works for you, there's no reason to change unless you want to try something that may work better. And yes, it is cheaper. That, and as "green" living has caught on, people are looking for ways to use fewer chemicals, and this certainly does it. There are a lot of straight-haired people who don't use conditioner at all; they count the ACV as conditioner. My hair is dry and curly, though, so it needs the extra moisture.
(Deleted comment)
*bethany*kimana83 on February 5th, 2009 09:16 pm (UTC)
Dork, indeed. Not only is it better for you to cut out shampoo, it's cheaper!

I saw your Crunchy Con post about those shampoo bars. They look interesting. I've used a few organic shampoos, but as I said in my post, my hair always gets dirty quicker and the flakes come back. You can always tell when I'm been away from home for a while - my hair is much flatter and greasier! Hehe.

I'm not brand loyal to conditioner. The book the online community was based on suggested conditioner without things that end in -cones (as in, silicone, dimethicone, etc.). Those things tend to cause build up. That said, since I use the ACV every time I wash my hair, I've never had any build up, so I just choose my conditioner based on which smell I like and which one is on sale. (Thanks to CVSing I have a good supply of Garnier, Aussie and Herbal Essences!) I know a lot of people also love TRESemme, and they have at least one kind that has no -cones. And then if you really want to go healthy with your conditioner, you can get an organic kind and use that, and they don't have -cones either. And a lot of people (especially those with straight hair) just use ACV as their conditioner. My hair needs extra moisture though, so conditioner isn't optional for me.

When I use a normal conditioner I rinse part of it out. It's good for my hair to leave some in to keep the extra moisture. Since your hair is not very curly, you may want to rinse it out completely. Experiment a bit to find what suits your hair. And if you leave too much in one day, your hair may not look nice, but it will actually be good for it. Extra hydration! =o)
Brenda: curlychestnutcurls on February 5th, 2009 04:12 pm (UTC)
I've always had terrible problems with my scalp. I have really oily skin and I guess it carries over to the scalp. It's gotten a little better now that I wet my hair and comb it out every morning (although I NEVER brush mine either - yikes!), but it's still yucky a lot of the time. I do rub in baking soda once in a while, and that seems to help, but I'm going to try the ACV thing too and see if it makes a difference. Thanks!!
*bethany*kimana83 on February 5th, 2009 09:17 pm (UTC)
Definitely do try and see what happens! One of the founders of the community used to have dandruff (the real kind, not just flakes, like I had) and it completely cleared up when she went off shampoo. It was so bizarre! I doubled the concentration of ACV in my rinse the other day to get all that hairspray out of my hair and it got it all out and my hair is SO SHINY today and yesterday. I may have to double it more often just to get the extra shine!
Beka: Stock: She hides and hopes to be foundautumnjoy on February 5th, 2009 11:22 pm (UTC)
Hmmmm. I'm not really unhappy with my hair, but I am intrigued by the idea of apple cider vinegar. Do you think it would be good as an addition to my regular routine (a shampoo-conditioner in one, and a leave-in anti-frizz conditioning cream), or would it have to replace something?
*bethany*kimana83 on February 11th, 2009 05:07 pm (UTC)
Hmm. I'm not sure, but I think I would try it between the 2-in-1 and the leave-in conditioner. Play with when you use it and the concentration of ACV to water till you get what works for you. Or, if you're really happy with your routine, why change it at all? =o)
Mandy: AoGG: Annearien_o_lindele on February 6th, 2009 06:57 pm (UTC)
I've read about Curly Curl techniques in the past but always decided against trying them out because they seemed like too much trouble. But now I'm interested again. I'm not sure if it's because of the water here, or the dry winter air, or the shampoo I'm using, or being pregnant, or what, but my scalp has become ridiculously dry and flaky recently, and I don't know what to do about it. In my teens my scalp was super-oily, but by the time I was 20 that settled down...but it's never been like this!

My hair normally has a little bit of wave to it, but right now it's very dry, brittle, and usually quite straight. Perhaps it's the way I'm taking care of it, but I don't know. I've been trying to get it to grow out again for years now, and I just can't seem to get over this little dilemma; I realize that you are not a hair stylist and likely don't consider yourself an expert on hair types, but I am wondering if you think the recipes you posted here would help a case like mine? I'm getting rather desparate.

BTW, I'm mostly using a hemp shampoo and conditioner from Nature's Gate for dry or frizzy hair, which I was under the impression would be good for my hair, but it definitely is not helping. :(
*bethany*kimana83 on February 11th, 2009 05:19 pm (UTC)
My hair is always straighter and frizzier up north. I guess it really likes Florida. *shrug* I don't know if these recipes would help you or not, but what's the worst that could come from trying? Best case scenario you find a new hair care routine that works well for you. Worst case scenario you're back where you started, but you've saved a little money on shampoo.

I would say that you should try both the BSR and the ACVR and definitely keep using conditioner. Did you know you can use conditioner on your scalp to add moisture and it won't make your hair greasy? I've been doing it for years. Actually, for the girls who can get away with just using conditioner, that's the only way they clean their scalp. So definitely don't rule that out. Actually, there's a scrub that may do wonders for you - 1 Tbsp brown sugar mixed with however much conditioner it takes to get a consistency you like. Use the pads of your fingertips to massage it into your scalp all over. The brown sugar sloughs off flakes and the conditioner moisturizes the scalp. Plus, it smells amazing. There was also some sort of olive oil hair conditioning recipe in the CG book that a lot of girls tried and adored. I never did it, and I gave my book to a friend, so I don't recall the recipe, but you could ask around. It was apparently extremely moisturizing.

I hope you find something that works!
Mandy: AoGG: Annearien_o_lindele on February 16th, 2009 06:30 pm (UTC)
I didn't notice until last year, but my hair definitely prefers FL, even if I don't. :P I think that perhaps the extra humidity helps to keep it from drying out like it does in the drier northern air. Even when I was swimming in a chlorinated pool 3-4 times a week in FL, my hair was not greatly affected by it; as much as I am wanting to start swimming regularly here, I tremble over what it's going to do to my hair. :/

I've decided to get my hair trimmed again soon and add layers (I've been trying to get it all to about the same length again, but that isn't working because I had layers before, and with not getting that hair trimmed with the rest, it is getting really damaged and defeating my desire), and to try the BSR/ACVR/conditioner routine. I haven't used shampoo since I read your post nearly two weeks ago (and have used the BSR and conditioner only twice!), and my scalp hasn't itched since. I haven't looked closely to see if the flaking has stopped entirely, but I can tell that it has at least been dramatically reduced. Just from cutting out shampoo! I am shocked over this development because both of the shampoos I'd been using were for dry hair, which I'd equated with moisturizing (one was specifically for moisturizing, actually).

I've told Stephen all about this and he thinks my plan sounds good. I'm not sure what he'll think of the layers because he so wants my hair long, as I do, and I don't think I've been able to convince him of the necessity to remove all the damaged hair before it can grow healthfully. Also, I just remembered that when my mom trimmed my hair at the end of December I had her cut all the hair underneath shorter than the rest because it's been soooo damaged for years. It has worked very well in stopping the breakage, but I'm not sure how it'll affect layers. I really don't want to go that short with the rest of my hair. Sorry...I'm beginning to ramble. I'll let you know how everything turns out!
*bethany*kimana83 on February 28th, 2009 02:21 am (UTC)
Yeah, chlorine kills my hair too, and I've never been a regular swimmer.

THat's great that just cutting out shampoo has stopped your scalp from itching! It's been almost 2 weeks since you wrote this - have you continued having success being shampoo-free?
Carol: Snape--by icy_azaleabluiidmommy on February 6th, 2009 09:51 pm (UTC)
I gathered it was something similar to this from things you and Sarah have said from time to time. I must say, your hair *is* beautiful.
*bethany*kimana83 on February 11th, 2009 05:37 pm (UTC)
Thanks! It didn't used to be. Heh.
Rebecca R: Jackprincessmia241 on February 7th, 2009 02:22 am (UTC)
I don't use shampoo unless it's just a grease ball and just looks awful; I can tell when I need to shampoo it. But I always use extra conditioner after it.
I do comb my hair though.
*bethany*kimana83 on February 11th, 2009 05:38 pm (UTC)
Your hair is pretty straight, so combing is fine. =o) You have pretty hair.

It's nice to get a comment from you! But I take no comments to mean school is going well. =o)
Rebecca R: emoprincessmia241 on February 12th, 2009 01:45 pm (UTC)
lol yeah, I feel so behind. :P But it IS going well.