My Shampoo-Free Experiment

I didn’t shampoo my hair for 2 1/2 months.  Sounds gross, doesn’t it?

Back in November, I mentioned that I might give going ‘poo-free a try.   Right before New Year’s, I began using baking soda and vinegar to clean my hair.

Why on earth would someone do such a thing?  Several reasons, for me.  My family history of cancer is pretty grim.  My grandma had cancer, my grandpa died of it, my dad died of it (at age 51), and now my mom is in remission from it (at not too much older than 51).  I am very much at risk.  What can I do to give myself and my children a fighting chance?  Eliminate carcinogens from our daily lives.

None of us are smokers or are exposed to smoke regularly.  We don’t drink a lot of alcohol.  We exercise regularly.  So three major risks are out of the way.  But there are still a lot of horrible things hidden in stuff we eat, stuff we put on our bodies, and in our environment.  We haven’t made any giant, life-changing leaps as a family, but our small steps in the right direction are overall indicative of life change.  We filter our drinking and shower water, we buy organic when the price isn’t prohibitive, we make most of our food from scratch.  Most recently, I have been looking at the products we put on our bodies.  Many lotions, washes, and hair products have nasty things like sodium lauryl sulfate, parabens, and other carcinogens.  I began by purchasing organic lotions and shampoos.  Then I started seeing blog posts about making my own (which seemed cheaper and actually, less time-consuming than driving all the way to the natural foods store in my area).

So first up, shampoo and conditioner.  I began with Simple Mom’s method (click on the word “posts” in the previous paragraph), a baking soda and water solution massaged into the scalp.  I used this method for about one week, “washing” every other day, and my hair was  Greasy, and about 12 shades darker than normal.   I apologize to all of you who saw me during that phase (which was right around when Markus was born).  I took her advice and eliminated the vinegar from the equation.  Better, but still gross.  I decided I must be in “transition time.”  After about three weeks, I was feeling so dirty that I was ready to give up, but then I tried Mrs. Boo Radley’s method (here outlined on Sorta Crunchy’s blog) and found it worked much better on my fine (yet thick), greasy hair.  I didn’t need the apple cider vinegar rinse at all, though.

After 2 1/2 months of using baking soda, I still considered Day 2 to be a “ponytail day,” and I wondered if there was another product I could try that would still be economical but do a better job.  Some people had recommended Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap, so I bought a bottle online.  Can’t say I liked it!  You could have topped off your car with the oil on my head that day!  I didn’t have time to re-wash, so I put on a hat and went on with life.  Thankfully Dr. Bronner’s can be used for a million other things, so it wasn’t a waste of money.  🙂

The next day I used a little bit of my old organic shampoo.  My hair was soft, shiny and blonde again for the first time since Christmas.  It was also lifeless.

For now, I continue to “wash” with baking soda every other day, and I have added a very light apple cider vinegar rinse (about 1 tablespoon ACV to 1 cup water) now that my hair has finally gotten used to the baking soda.   And every third or fourth wash, I use my organic shampoo to get me back to a normal hair color and rid my scalp of any build-up.  My hair has much more body than it ever did with daily shampooing, and it holds styles much more easily.  It still doesn’t look fabulous the second day, like photos I’ve seen of other ‘poo-free people…anyone know if there is a remedy to that?  It’s been three months now, so I figure my transition time must be over.

You may notice I called this an “experiment” in the post title.  Since I’m not yet fully convinced that it is something I will stick with (especially if I found an organic shampoo that worked well with my hair), I still do consider it an experiment.  Only time will tell if it will become part of my routine.

Next up, my face.

The “Fit” Challenge

As much as this post should be about getting my body fit (another challenge I’m facing lately), it’s actually about our home.

The Challenge: Fitting all of Anja’s stuff and all of Markus’ stuff plus a new big girl bed into the 2nd bedroom.

The Bigger Challenge: Fitting all of what is currently in the 2nd bedroom (the bigger one) into the 3rd bedroom.

I hope to post photos of progress.  It may be soon, it may not.  I want to get this done sooner than later, but Husband is in no rush.  I’ve been measuring, drawing, rearranging furniture (on paper), picking paint colors…but nothing has been moved or done in real life yet.  However, I found an inspiration photo for the kids’ room that will save me from removing a wall of wallpaper (even though there are four other rooms of wallpaper we want removed eventually).

Anyone have any successful renovating or fix-it-up (big or small!) projects that you’ve completed lately?  I love reading stories and seeing finished products to inspire me, to remind me that it can be done.  Thanks!

Spring Cleaning

Our kitchen is the cleanest it’s ever been. Even cleaner than when we moved in (since the people who left didn’t clean the house before they moved out…is it just me, or is that really rude and gross?)!

It’s all due to Tsh’s e-book, Spring Cleaning for Normal People. I don’t get paid to plug her, I just really like her site and really like her e-book (and hey, what’s not to like about a book I can leave on my computer–one less thing to clutter up my house). I think I bought it two years ago, and though I’ve never done it in 10 days straight like the book lays it out, I’ve always appreciated her great tips and step-by-step process.  It makes me, a chronic multi-tasker, able to focus on one thing and get it done before moving onto the next.  That is HUGE for me, since I tend to start shining the sink and go, “Oh, the cupboards should be wiped down.”  Then as I wipe them down, I’ll inadvertently open one and decide that I should remove every single item in them and start organizing.  And my husband comes home to a giant mess, complains, and I respond that it’s all okay because I’m “organizing.”  Ha!  Piles everywhere….that is the name of my game.

I just commented to him that out of all the things I could have inherited from my family, why couldn’t it have been neatness?  I mean seriously, instead I got Mom’s thighs and Dad’s shoulders.  Straight A’s in high school don’t mean much if you can’t keep your kitchen counter clutter-free.  But I wouldn’t probably have the creative, fun side of me without a case of the messies.

Anyway, all that to say that I pretty much followed the kitchen cleaning part to the letter this time (I started with the kitchen since I haven’t gotten to it in-depth the past two years), and it feels AWESOME.  The only thing on the list I didn’t do is clean my oven.  It’s not in my genes.  That is the one part of my mom’s house that makes me feel all self-righteous.  I can run my fingers over her shelves and not find a speck of dust.  I can eat off her floors.  Her mirrors don’t have fingerprints on them.  Don’t get me wrong–I think it’s super that she’s so clean (remember, I wish I could be!).  But when I open her oven and see burnt-on scum, I feel all tingly inside.  Sorry to out you, Mom.  But nobody’s perfect, and I like that.  Your dirty oven makes me happy.

First Day of Spring

We’re a little odd around here…we celebrate the first day of spring the way most people celebrate Easter, mostly because we don’t want bunnies and eggs mixing with Christ’s death and resurrection.  Anyway, we had some fun today, and here are some photos and words.

Anja, post-egg hunt, opening her finds.
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Here’s a similar photo from last year. Makes me sad (but happy) how much she’s grown. Sigh…look at those little baby cheeks! And she had yet to start being terribly naughty.
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Dying eggs:
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Those two closest to Anja ended up being my favorites…double-dipped so the colors were richer (one pink-orange and one green-blue).
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Yeah, we had egg salad for supper tonight. 🙂

And Markus spent a lot of time doing this. The “baby paper” in the bottom left corner was his gift for the day, along with a pair of sunglasses (Anja got a pair, too). He was immediately intrigued by the sound it made.
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He is bound and determined to become a thumb sucker. I keep taking it away from him, hoping he’ll stick to a pacifier (though he doesn’t use either very much…he’s still a pretty contented little guy). Did I mention he was 13 lbs 10 oz at his 2 month appointment? Freaking HUGE. But so cute.

Favorite Anja quote of the day…during snack, I commented to Husband, “She’s one of those rare birds who will eat cheese plain.”

As he was replying, “I think most kids do,” she interrupted, while flapping her arms, “I’m a parrot!” and chuckled heartily. I had a good laugh, too, and then explained her joke to Husband. Sometimes she transcends her little kid dorky humor and makes a decent funny. Love it.

Confession: I Hate the Phone

I rarely answer my phone. Half the time I forget it on vibrate and don’t hear it, and the other half of the time I can’t tell who’s calling (unless a person is entered into my phone) because it only shows the last 7 digits in the caller ID, and I’d say 65% of what I get is solicitations and scams (even though we’re supposedly on the “do not call” list). I miss my landline.

Can I really be a woman if I hate talking on the phone? Can I ever have real girlfriends if I hate talking on the phone?

Seriously. Answers, please! I feel like my fear of the phone isolates me and keeps me from having better relationships with other women.