FP

Wash. Rinse. Out.

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A few months ago, I shared our decision to stop washing our hair. Since then, I’ve seen a lot of complaints about going ‘no poo’ in my online research. While I’m not in the business of reforming anyone to my way of thinking, I want to bring a bit of hope to the disappointed masses – and those who’re a little iffy about trying it. Please keep in mind, I can share only my experience and that of my spouse. Results differ per individual, which is part of the reason this can be so frustrating.

Q: What is ‘no-poo’?
A: The act of going without shampoo. Or at least going without a chemical-based shampoo. There are those individuals who choose to use completely natural / organic shampoos instead of nixing it from their hair-care routines.

Q: Why ‘no-poo’?
A: One big reason is concern for the environment due to the chemicals used in many hair care products. While this is an added bonus, it wasn’t my entire reasoning. I feel that shampoo and conditioner are very expensive given that cleanliness is a  basic need, right? So, one would think the products would be cheaper based on supply / demand… [my favorite brand pre-no-poo cost me around $10 for a bottle of each]. 

Q: What can I expect as I progress through no-poo?
A: During the first 6 weeks, my hair WAS:

  • Greasy
  • A bit unruly
  • Feeling a little oily
  • Dandruff is a real thing

In the end,  I realized that it only feels yucky to me. It certainly didn’t stink. My conditioner smells like coconuts. It was unruly, but nothing I couldn’t handle. Dandruff was the grossest thing about it as the dandruff mixed with oils in my hair and the mess it left in my brush was less than appealing.

Q: I want to go no-poo, but I have a job… and I might get fired for showing up with greasy / oily / icky / unwashed / stinky hair… or I’m just not cool with gross hair. Suggestions?
A: When I first went no-poo, I had zero desire to be gross. I was legitimately afraid someone on the bus would change seats or whatever because my hair stunk. However, I’ve recently switched to a capsule wardrobe, meaning I often wear the same outfit multiple days in a row. Unwashed hair didn’t seem much different. Here’s my recipe for healthy hair without shampoo:

  • Daily Haircare – Rinse with warm water; scrub scalp. Towel & air dry / blow dry. Style & go.
  • Alternatively – Spritz with water; evenly distribute [very small] dabs of conditioner. Dry, style go.
  • Weekly / As Needed Haircare – Wash thoroughly per usual using only water or [very little] conditioner. Find ethically sourced products as necessary.wp-1485552012039.jpg

It is important to note, I do not recommend any alternative means of hair cleanliness during this time. I explain why below.

Q: I heard about using baking soda / baking powder in my hair… have you tried this?
A: Yes. I’ve never used the powder / soda by itself… but I DID attempt creating my own conditioner using baking powder, lime juice, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar and water.. No bueno. I do not recommend using baking soda / powder or vinegar, or the kitchen-based coconut oil in your hair unless you’ve

  • had a ton of experience with various oils
  • are an excellent cook
  • already know exactly what you’re doing 

Lastly, I’ve seen several posts where people said the powder / soda or the ACV ‘burned’ their scalps. Whatever you do, please rinse thoroughly.

Q: How do you style your hair without product?
A: Play with it. Seriously, find what works for you! I would also pay attention to your stylist, or research your hair type / length [i.e. I have thick wavy / curly hair]. Here’s my go-to styling recipe.

  1. Rinse or spray [with water or salt water]. Rinsing gets it completely wet while spraying will dampen it. I use full rinses for any day I need a fresh slate, and spray for any day I want to define my curls and waves.
  2. After rinsing I towel dry and then air dry. I pause occasionally as it dries to scrunch my fingers through my hair.
  3. After spritzing, I scrunch the hair while it hangs upside down. From there, I usually go straight to styling how I want if I’m putting it up. I pin it with hairpins or braid it. I try to avoid rubber-band style elastics as they pull / weaken my hair. I use Goody’s Ouchless hair ties.

Q: What is the biggest complaint from no-poo’ers?
A: Probably the yucky parts of the transition. We spend years washing our hair with chemical laden shampoos. These strip our hair of the natural oils, so when we go no-poo, our hair will over-oil itself.

Q: What about hairbrushing during this time?
A: I wouldn’t spend too much time brushing it. Just brush enough to get any tangles out, etc. I did find that my brush collected the oils and dandruff and was gag-worthy by the end of it. I might recommend purchasing a back-up brush.

Q: Ewww! Is there a way to clean my brush?!  Eww, eww, EWWWW!!
A: I feel ya. Use this to get all the hair out of your brush. Soak the brush in lemon or lime juice. OR for a more effective clean — buy a couple lemons or limes. Quarter them. Pour water into your clean bathroom sink or basin. Add a little baking soda / powder. Add lemon / lime wedges. Holding a wedge underwater, squeeze the juice out. Allow your brush to soak for a bit with the wedges. Holding your brush underwater, scrub it with the wedges and once the fruit is ripped to shreds, use the peel. Rinse brush thorgouhly. Allow it to dry. I LOVED using actual fruits on mine — it left the bush smelling wonderful!

Q: So do you use any actual products on your hair?
A: I currently use Palmer’s Coconut Oil Formula conditioner. I no longer use shampoo. I occasionally spritz it with salt water using regular sea salt from the shaker in the kitchen. I also sometimes use salt scrubs before using my conditioner.

Q: I like dying my hair, so… how does that work?
A: Pretty much just follow instructions on the DIY box or from your salon stylist to the letter. When it comes to cleaning the hair, just stick to your usual no-poo routine. 

Q: What are some of the greatest benefits you’ve seen from going no-poo?
A: I don’t spend as much money on products. This has been a huge weight off my mind and spirit — before I felt like shampoo and conditioner were absolute needs 100% of the time. They’re not. I don’t spend as much time in the bathroom, though that point could be argued as I love playing with my hair and experimenting with different braids. I’ve more time to enjoy that now, for the right reasons. I have a greater appreciation for my natural hair and wear it down more. I’m not as worried about my appearance, though I still make an effort to be presentable.

I hope this has been informative for any wishing to try this out. Please don’t be discouraged. It’s  truly worth it in the end. If you’ve any further concerns about the no-poo method, I would encourage you to check out this video.

FP

Goodbye, Love

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It’s been a terribly bittersweet weekend followed by a week of healing.

Our beloved cat Twitter [Twitty] passed away late Thursday night / early Friday morning. We did everything we could to save him, but… like Georgi-Boy before him, he’s gone.

We’re in total shock. Twitter was a happy, healthy 6.5 year old. He’s been with us through some really rough times. I’ll never forget this cat…

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Twitter the only time he was still the first week we had him.

I first met Twitter in July 2010. We had walked into Petco for cat litter — our Petco location had a ‘cat house’ where local humane societies would put adoptable cats on display daily, often coming in to set up a play pen for them to show off for customers. I always take a few moments to say hello to these homeless cats and talk to their handlers. But that night was different. There was a kitten with striking markings. He was right around a month old and already tall, lanky, and didn’t quite know what to do with his four left paws. His ears were bigger than most of the rest of him! He had a goofy joker grin across half his face, a black heart-shaped spot on his chest. I asked his name and was told it was Twitter. No, they didn’t know any special reason for the name other than perhaps being named for a social network.

He came over, I knelt down to scratch him through the play pen. He showed vague interest before being distracted by Drew’s shoelaces and making wild attempts to play with them, flipping over to take them in his polished ivory teeth. I felt an instant connection with this oddball… As we went in search of our litter, I heard someone say, “Could we get Twitter? Please?” I looked around briefly for some child… I wanted to see this brat that would take Twitter home; to look in their eyes and insure they dare not pull his tail or tease him cruelly. Then I realized… the child… was ME.

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All three of our cats in a laundry basket. Haru and Ryo are still living, but were adopted by friends when we were homeless.

On the way home, Twitter talked our ears off… Drew teased me about my driving, then got Twitter to confirm with an obnoxiously loud, ‘WOW!!’ At home, our two cats weren’t entirely thrilled to see him, but soon decided he was okay.

Twitter had an affinity for showing off for any sitter, or even for Drew and I. Drew once spun him dizzy with a laser pointer, only to burst out laughing when Twitty became a living bobble head. We were introducing the cats to a sitter when it happened — the sitter was far from enthused by anyone’s antics, didn’t laugh along with us, which had us laughing even harder. One afternoon, Drew arrived home to find Twitter at the top of the cat tree, laying on one side, RUNNING. He was laying down on his side and using his claws to hold him fast to the center post as he ran in circles while laying down… You know, horizontal running…

The truly amazing thing about this feat was that for half of each roundabout, Twitty was laying on nothing but open air. Our cat tree had 4 tiers staggered left and right. A chair sat beneath it.

Twitter, what are you doing?” I heard Drew ask. I looked up from dishes just in time to see my baby mis-step. He crashed to the second highest tier. I was about to scream when he righted himself, awkwardly flopped to the side, and crashed into the third tier. In humored shock, I watched as he tried to right himself again, flipped over again, slid down the back of the chair and landed, draping himself over the chair arm. Just as I was asking if he was alright, a panic-stricken look crossed his face. With great fanfare, he rolled, like a pudding, off the chair arm, landing safely on the floor…

Yes, this cat has kept us in many a stitch. When we stayed in Georgia for awhile, he lived as a part-time outdoor cat. Was even bitten by a snake once and survived. He cared for Haru when he got in a fight with a neighborhood cat over their sister, Ryo, whom Haru was bonded with. While Haru was healing, Twitter taught Ryo to hunt mice — then sauntered off, leaving her to play with it and make her own kill if she chose.

Georgi and Twitter just before Twitty woke up.

When Georgi, our muscled boxer mix entered the picture, Twitter pretended to hate him, but was the very first to cuddle up and sleep with him. And when Georgi passed, Twitter followed me all over our house, often climbing on my shoulders to comfort me.

Twitter and Gingy together.

Twitter and Gingy also had a special relationship. Sure, he’s put Gingy in his place quite a few times. But he also played with Gingy. His presence is sorely missed…

Here’s to a make-up brush thief. A pet sibling. A Joker of Hearts. Here’s to his purring and to the pillow I no longer have to fight for at night. Here’s to finally being able to breathe when I sleep — and missing 20 pounds of fluff in my face as I slept. Here’s to being told “No” anytime I began a conversation. Here’s to missing the chatter anytime birds were about.

Twitter. We love you. More than you loved cheese.

Someone fell asleep on our cheese one night.

FP

Between Covers  

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As we shed the flaking skins of another year, I begin a new bullet journal. While others count up their New Year’s resolutions, counting down the ball drop, I am scribbling down tomorrow’s tasks. Sounds a bit anti-climactic, but that’s alright.

I dedicated much of 2016 to finishing. Completing projects — that still aren’t quite done, because inevitably more is added to the pile — and hashing out my first bullet journal, which was awesome. I also probably read so many more books than what I reviewed, that I’m slightly burnt out on reading new things at the moment. I just want to study what I’ve already read. Go back and re-read, or snuggle up with a favorite author’s new-to-me book…

2017 is about being more intentional. Taking the activities which bring me joy a bit more seriously. Whether a to-do list or material goods, things pile up quickly, which creates difficulty in getting things done. So call it a resolution [though I put zero stock in those], a goal, or a process… but this year, I’m starting out by burning away those things I no longer need to get to what I truly want. Maybe that means realizing a creative project is finished as is. Maybe it’s clearing the drawers in my desk, or donating a few things out of my closet which recently bloated with new clothes. Perhaps it’s learning more – like with my advertising business and the clients I hope to discover soon or the ASL book I picked up at the library.

The point is I’m between the covers of a new notebook. Time to move. Forward.

Happy New Year!