Friday, April 10, 2009
Loving my hair but AT WAR WITH MY SCALP
Up until I went "no 'poo" I was in a constant battle with my hair. I have very thick, coarse, and dry hair. I think I was probably ten when I decided I wanted to grow my hair long, previous to that I had quite short hair, pixie crop type cuts. Which I absolutely love but I have so much hair it was like a clown wig on my head, OK not that bad but it wasn't the ideal cut for my hair. From looking at pictures I still had short hair for at least half of middle school/junior high but it was getting longer because I clearly remember giving up on conventional methods of thinning my hair around age 12. Previous to that I remember trying thinning it with thinning shears, layered cuts, and I am sure much more.
To this day I have only had my hair cut by 5 people, my mom once a few years ago, me a few months ago, my husband a handful of times, Darla a million and one times probably, and a colleague of hers when she was busy having babies. Basically from my first hair cut Darla is the only one who has ever cut my hair and probably the only one besides myself who will in the foreseeable future. Back to the giving up on my hair at the tender age of 12. At that time we shaved the under almost half of my head and have continued it to this day. My husband is the one who shaves it for me now, he doesn't actually trust himself to trim the length of my hair. I think at the time I had barely shoulder length hair. It made it so much more manageable that was for sure but it was still HUGE hair, I always say I was born 10 years too late, I could have rocked the shit out 80's hair metal do and been queen of the world! HAHA.
Since that day I have been growing my hair, I did regular monthly trims so the growing was slow going but it was relatively healthy but I still battled with it. As you know I finally have the hair I have always wanted since going "no 'poo", if you don't know go check my previous posts. I can brush my hair, I can style it, I can just let it be, I can do basically anything I want with it because it is in love with me and I with it. All seems like a fairy tale until we get to my scalp...
My scalp is NOT happy with "no 'poo" and it's gotten really bad. I've been prone to dandruff my whole life never anything too bad, mostly because the thickness and color of my hair hides it extremely well. At some point in reading about dandruff causes I read that some think it can be hormone related, I can relate to that at certain times that is for sure, those days your hormones are working against you and then your head messes with you too, yeah definitely had those days. What finally pushed me to "no 'poo" was actually my scalp, I was sick and tired of the buildup I would get, a very thick waxy buildup. All was good for a while and then I had issues with baking soda and the hard water, terrible soap scum. I tried a different wash, flaxseed and while I liked it the first time I soon had issues with it, specifics can be read in a previous post. So I tried using apple cider vinegar rinse only, seemed to be working. Once winter started to change to spring my skin changed too including and especially my scalp. I got itchy, dry, and flaky, I changed the makeup of my lotion to be more moisturizing and that helped my skin. My scalp was on and off, some days it would be fine and others it would be flaking like crazy. When I went to Indian Wells for a week I started with really bad flakes and after one shower with soft water and only an apple cider vinegar rinse the flakes went away almost instantly, I came home and bought a filter for my shower head. Things seemed to be better, until a few days ago...
The flakes were really bad and then I was getting itchy, really itchy. Last night I showered and once my hair dried I took a close look at my scalp, it looked like extremely dry flaky peeling skin, so I gave myself a hot coconut oil treatment. I heated up some coconut oil applied it to my scalp with a dropper and massaged to my hearts content with my fingertips, I have always loved a good scalp massage. I was going to let it sit for a bit but got tired and then the morning got away from me so I did not get to rinsing it all out till this evening. I used a baking soda wash to make sure I got all the oil out, I did so with a lot more massaging, things were going good and then when I was done I glanced down at the water collecting at my feet, it was like an oil slick, which at first made sense but then started to baffle me because of the way it was clustering in tiny balls rather than a real oil slick looking way, so I took a closer look, it wasn't really oil it was more waxy, kinda like the build up I use to get...so basically I have been building up all that on my scalp for who knows how long. It all seems to be gone now and my scalp feels pretty good and looks ok, a few flakes but not too many, I may do another oil treatment in a week or so.
Perhaps this can turn the tides and I can do my normal apple cider vinegar rinses and a monthly baking soda wash. I am quite reluctant to go back to conventional shampoo mainly because I don't want to hate my hair again. I am looking into some other sort of soap or wash but don't want to waste my money on a product I will hate or the hardest part is finding one that I can agree with the ingredients. I will not use anything with sodium lauryl/laureth sulfates even naturally derived ones. They cause extreme frizziness and are just nasty chemicals, the naturally derived ones are from palm oil and palm oil is basically what threw me WAY over the edge with conventional soaps and shampoos and basically everything.
I am on the fence with coconut oil, I did research it a bit and found it to be less of an issue but now that I am looking for alternative products again I am beginning to question that again. I think I need to find a coconut oil that is farmed in a responsible way and I think I found that in Jungle Products, the coconut oil I currently have is Spectrum which is organic but not sure about their farming practices. For more info about palm oil check out The Rainforest Action Network's (RAN) website and their Problem with Palm Oil section. The main issue for me is the poor Orangutan's, animals always get me and there is just no turning back.
RAN has a list of companies that have pledged to get their palm oil from sources that don't exploit the environment and people. Jungle Products is one such company and so is Dr Bronner's which I have been wanting to buy but was on the fence because of the inclusion of palm oil in almost all of their products. I have read that some people use it for shampoo and I would much rather use that than baking soda. I can't find a good source for baking soda, it is either Arm & Hammer which does animal testing or a plastic bag of it at the health food store. Not sure why I can't find a paper packaged non animal testing brand of baking soda. There is also the whole mining of baking soda which I don't actually know much about but mining is a four letter word to me and it was brought up on some blog by someone at some point.
And my journey with "no 'poo" and my hair and all that continues with twists and turns...