Julianna Yu's Blog


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My No Poo Update

8ZzOUHeyyy! I’ve been keeping you in suspense for months. Hope you had an incredible summer and great kick off to the fall season.

Does she still no ‘poo? Has she done more experimenting? What is she washing her hair with?  So many changes ya’ll.. mm..not really..but sorta.. hang on tight. I’m going to address all of that. 🙂

First of all, I went into this alternative hair washing method for mainly these reasons:

  1. To go longer without hair washing
  2. Reducing my exposure to harmful ingredients
  3. Neat DIY

And most importantly, I went in with an open mind. I knew this wasn’t going to be an easy transition but I wanted to make an effort to try this routine out. I knew that as my routine and life circumstances changed, it might make more sense for me to buy shampoo (cleaners with low toxins of course).

I can’t believe I started making my own rinses since the end of April 2012 – That’s 2 years and 5 months. Whoa.

Early on this spring, I tried a few shampoos from the health food store with mixed results. I tried a few bottles but I still felt my hair felt cleaner with no ‘poo and could go longer without washes with no poo. My hair tended to feel oilier after a day of washing. I’d use dry shampoo to stretch out my washings by another day or two and style my hair in braids. As with no poo, I could usually go 3 days from wash day to my next wash. So naturally, I went back to no poo after I finished a bottle.

A couple of changes I made since my No Poo series was I swapped ACV for lemon juice this summer, mainly to just see if it would work and so I wouldn’t have to refrigerate it. The latest change I made was stop using baking soda for my washes… Let me explain. 🙂

unIHS

Baking Soda, ACV Rinses & PH levels

The last time I washed my hair with baking soda might’ve been a couple weeks ago. *sigh* here it goes. I read Baking Soda Destroyed My Hair by Kanelstrand (Her blog goes into detail about the PH level with diagrams too! Definitely good to check out if you’re currently no poo’ing) that highlighted the effects of raising your scalp/hair’s PH level ((baking soda is alkaline and ACV is acidic) and lowering it in a short amount of time isn’t good for your hair in the long run because it makes your hair prone to breakage and dryness. And hence the importance of looking for a PH balanced shampoo.

The more I read, the more it made sense for me to try another alternative. I was experiencing some dryness and decided to try a shampoo recipe with aloe vera and glycerin from a blog post about no-poo alternatives by Sara at My Merry Messy Life. The mistake I made was that I read the post really fast and missed the part where Sara says she likes using it to freshen up her curls. She has curly hair but I don’t…and I didn’t realize this until after the 2nd wash. Regardless of my mistake, I really appreciated the insights from her post.

I happily mixed up a concoction of vegetable glycerin with aloe vera and some essential oils and I washed my hair. My hair felt heavy but I figured I was probably transitioning. So, I waited 3 days and used dry shampoo for the 2nd and 3rd day. On wash day, I washed it and it felt kind of greasy but I figured once again it was probably the transition. The next morning I looked like I had just slicked my entire scalp in gel.. So, I put my hair in a bun. I looked like I was ready to ready for a ballet exam or recital. GROSS.

I had no time for tears. My hair looked absolutely disgusting but it was clean and I was going to work out that day so I would deal with it in the evening.

I tried a PH balanced coconut milk and aloe vera gel recipe. I loved how simple this recipe was but given the state of my GREASY scalp, it wasn’t cutting it. I felt I needed baking soda. It’s a hard habit to break. I tried to mix a little bit in my palm with water and I scrubbed my head. It was still heavy with the residue/grease. I reached for the last bit of Apple Cider Vinegar Clarifying Shampoo by Live Clean from my pre-no ‘poo days. It was the best decision in that moment but I also felt defeated to be honest. I knew I needed something to remove all the buildup in my hair. There have been different times that I have returned to using this clarifying shampoo – a couple of weeks in June 2013 and a few times during my mom’s treatment this fall and this instance.

I had revisited the curly hair shampoo recipe post after I woke up with the really greasy ballet bun hair and realized the mistake I had made.

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My Current Routine.

I decided the day of the greasy ballet hair bun to pick up a couple of new products to try from the health food store because I had no time/energy/patience to devote to tweaking hair recipes on top of my current routine. I probably spent about an hour in the store reading labels and checking the handy Good Guide app on my phone that scores the product based on the health concerns, the environmental and societal impact of the product. I can easily scan the product’s barcode with my phone to pull up this information while I’m shopping.

I have been using TheraNeem Gentle Therape Shampoo for the past two weeks (washing every 3-4 days), I am loving the mild scent and the lather was a surprise. I wet my scalp and scrub it as I normally would before adding rinses, and then I add in the shampoo and scrub really well all over. I wait a few minutes then rinse out the shampoo and towel dry as much as I can then blow dry.

I brush with a boar bristle brush everyday and I use my own dry shampoo (another recipe for another post) when my the crown of my head looks a bit oily (usually 2-3 days after a wash) or I’ll just put my hair up or braid it.

I will likely experiment with DIY shampoo recipes again – I would love to use more pantry items like herbs and tea. But right now, I’m going to use up what I’ve bought so far. I am not too ecstatic with the higher price tag.

Are you a no poo’er? Do you wash with baking soda? If you’re a no poo’er have you experimented with any baking soda free recipes? Do you have any PH balanced shampoo recipes to share?

Hope you have a great weekend!

If you’re interested in reading about the No Poo series: start with My No Poo Secret followed by the Transition Phase & Method and if you want more, Resources & Solutions 

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Lip Care: Lip Moisturizer Love

Lip Moisturizer Line Up

Lip Moisturizer Line Up

Happy FRIDAY!!

I’m looking at my agenda and this weekend is going to be busy… dinner out with family, meeting up with friends, Sunday BCBD class (cannot believe we’re 5 weeks into this session. Madness!) and an ever growing to-do list. Until, then, a light fun topic for today. Lip balm or lip moisturizer, whatever you wanna call it. 🙂

I’ve never been much of a lipstick wearer. Other than wearing it for ballet performances or playing dress up, I don’t remember gravitating towards it. It just had this smell and my lips always ended up dry. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s gosh darn attractive on people. I’m just not a daily makeup kind of gal. At least not yet. So, as far as colour and lips is concerned, I would always pick plain lip moisturizers for everyday life and tinted lip moisturizers for special occasions.

I’m one of those people that can’t just have one when it comes to lip moisturizers. I hate chapped lips. To prevent this, I usually try to make sure I have a moisturizer on hand. As I’m sure many of you can relate. At any given time, I probably have about 5-7 in rotation.

I remember back in highschool I used a lot of the sparkly colourful Bonne Belle stuff. I was hooked on that stuff buying singles and mutli-packs. Then, just stuck to Vaseline for the most part and occasionally Chapstick (strawberry) in university and mainly Vaseline in my post university years. Finally, just last year during my switch to greener products. I started trying out other alternatives which included lanolin because it sounded like a good alternative to vaseline. At the time, vaseline (petroleum jelly) was my main lip moisturizer. I had 2 little containers of it at home and at work. It was a no fuss simple routine and I was hoping I could do an easy swap with lanolin.I found out about lanolin because of Tsh’s post about natural beauty (last section).

It was also hard to give up Vaseline because I had been raised on this stuff. My mom use to smear vaseline on my face focusing on the nose to keep it moist in the winter. Of course this would happen right before I went to school. I have a big forehead which already draws enough attention, but nothing draws attention to your face like a shiny nose coated in a thick covering of Vaseline. Attractive!! haha

I found Lanolin to be very thick and it has a strong odour (which isn’t surprising because it’s made from sheep sweat – pretty cool and sort of gross huh!). It’s actually a very common ingredient if you look at your lip moisturizer’s. I have used it on my lips overnight but wanted something I could use easily on the go. I just decided to try lip moisturizers from the health food store looking for moisturizers with plant oils, shea butters, cocoa butters, and essential oils and without the dirty dozen.

My Current Moisturizer Line Up

Current Line Up

Druide – Citrus: I love the scent of lemons. This lip moisturizer has a very luxurious feeling one because of how smooth it glides across your lips. The jojoba oil and shea butter helps it go on smooth and keep my lips moisturized. This is my absolute favourite lip moisturizer right now.

Kiss My Face’s – Peach with SPF 15: This one is probably my second favourite. It moisturizes well and it has a soft scent. My friend told me she thought I smelled nice while we waited in a crowded line for seats at a restaurant and we realized it was because of this lip moisturizer.

Badger’s– Pink Grapefruit: I like this about the same as the peach one as it is light, does a good job of moisturizing and has a nice scent.

The Chillin’ Cherry by Bee 23: This has a blend of oils and although I liked it at first, I got sick of the scent after a while and realized, maybe I’m just not a fan of cherry coke. I got this at the Green Living Show last year and after meeting Michelle the sweet creator behind these products, I felt like I couldn’t walk away without taking home a couple of the products. Main reasons why I bought her products was because she makes her products herself, they didn’t have any toxic ingredients and this was lightly scented (at the time that’s something that appealed to me).

Scentuals Tinted Lip Moisturizer (Passion) – Berry: Scentuals is based out of British Columbia. Their lip moisturizers are free of lead, petroleum, and synthetic fragrances. I love the Berry scent and that it moisturizes and gives my a nice subtle colour. I ordered a pack of three through Ethical deal in the spring and I also liked the Bombshell one (red). The Bombshell is really rich in colour and I’ve worn it out at night and to weddings. I wish I had these when I use to wear lipstick for ballet recitals.

Flirt (natural rose flavour), Passion (berry flavour) & Bombshell (classic cherry flavour)

Flirt (natural rose flavour), Passion (berry flavour) & Bombshell (classic cherry flavour)

Scentuals Tinted Lip Moisturizers

Scentuals Tinted Lip Moisturizers: Can’t help but laugh at these quotes.

Do you have a favourite moisturizer? What scents do you like? Any ingredients you look for in a moisturizer? Please share! 

– Julie


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{DIY} Face Moisturizer

The other day, I shared about my simple 1-ingredient oil moisturizer. Today, I’m sharing a DIY recipe I made up with a friend this past summer. Disclosure: I’m not an expert on skin care and everything I’m sharing is based on my experience and what I’ve read online. To be on the safe side, please contact a medical professional for advice prior to experimenting with oils as with any change in skin care regimen, you may experience adverse reactions. Thanks for stopping by.

After my initial visit to buy face oils, I found myself going back to the health food store and researching online about making my own moisturizer. I read many recipes which intrigued me but I was nervous about taking the leap and actually doing it on my own. This past summer, I made my own moisturizer from a combination of oils (coconut oil, cocoa butter, avocado oil, grape seed oil, vitamin e oil and lavender essential oil).

I had been collecting glass jars and recently used up a raw honey jar. I washed it a few times with hot water and dish detergent. If there was still any odour I would’ve removed the odour from the glass jar before sterilizing. Since it was a moisturizer I wanted, I decided to use my honey jar to store my DIY moisturizer.

I went to my friend Cherry’s house after work to make it one friday night (one of my favourite nights this summer!). We had been talking for weeks about our big Green Beauty night. LOL! At first I was hoping we’d be able to make some lip moisturizers and body butters but as the days drew near we were both realizing we probably should just focus on one product. This face moisturizer took priority because we were thinking ahead about cold fall and winter months.

Naturally, I researched recipes other people had and printed 2 and told her I wanted to do a combination of 2 of them and just add whatever she had that sounded interesting (avocado oil). That’s pretty much my approach for cooking too. If I have a particular type of food in mind and I haven’t made it before, I’ll research about 2-5 recipes and do some combination of the ones I like the best.I wanted to incorporate grapeseed oil and coconut oil. Prior to this, I was just using grape seed oil or sweet almond oil on my face.

DIY Face Moisturizer Ingredients

DIY Face Moisturizer Ingredients

DIY Face Moisturizer

Ingredients

When I made this, I wrote down everything but the shea butter and cocoa butter amounts. I am guess-timating my shea and cocoa butter amounts.

  • 4.5 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp shea butter
  • 1 tbsp cocoa butter
  • 1 tsp avocado oil
  • 2 tsp sweet almond oil
  • 2 tsp grapeseed oil (good for sensitive skin)
  • few drops of vitamin E oil
  • several drops of lavender essential oil
Before Melting Shot

Before Melting Shot

Instructions

  1. If you are reusing a glass jar, remember to sterilize your glass jar. I did this the night before actually making it to save time.
  2. Put your empty jar into the pot and fill with cold water with enough to cover about 1/3 of it. Make sure not to get any water into your jar as we’re attempting to make a face moisturizer not a lotion.
  3. Bring water to a boil. While water is boiling, combine oils into jar.
  4. Once water comes to a boil, bring it down to low heat.
  5. Once the oils in the jar become translucent, everything has melted.
  6. Take the jar out of the hot water carefully and set it on a trivet. Add essential oils at this stage.
  7. Let the jar cool then place in the fridge.
  8. You can leave it overnight and when you take it out, you can store it in a cool/dry place. If it begins to liquify, just stick it in the fridge. I’ve been able to keep mine just in my room all winter and it has remained soft. There you have it, you’re own very unique DIY Moisturizer, made by you! Woohoo!! 🙂

Ideas for Next Time

  • The only thing I would do next time is cut back on the coconut oil and try using more butter or incorporating some beeswax and perhaps trying different combinations of essential oils to change things up.
  • As I edited this post, it occurred to me, I could probably have just melted the butters with coconut oil then added the other oils when the melted mixture was off the stove and cooling since the other oils didn’t need to be heated. Something that I didn’t really think about until I was writing up this post.
Oils are all melted

Oils are all melted

This was a lot of fun to make. Cherry is a “go by feel, what’s the rush?” kind of girl. I’m more of a “precise and cautious” person when it comes to doing something new. We talked about this and laughed because she was so cool with just “eyeballing” and I wanted to track every spoonful/step. 🙂 I told her I wanted it to be as precise as possible so if I wanted to tweak it next time, I could compare and see how my adjustment effected my outcome and it would be easier to share (with you lovely readers) how I made it. She told me that a little bit of coconut oil goes a long way and she was right. I would like to try cutting back on the coconut oil next time to see if it will make it less oily.

Cooling

Cooling

DIY Face Moisturizer: Ready to use!

DIY Face Moisturizer: Ready to use!

When using this, I only needed a small pea size amount for my whole face. A little bit goes a long way. This is the same reason why this is such an economical thing to do. I use to probably spend around $80-90 for my facial moisturizers for the year. Now, I can spend about $30-35 on oils and butters and use it towards more than just my face and for more than a year.

I was so happy that Cherry was cool about having me over to learn how to make my own moisturizer. I told her I was nervous about melting oils in a glass container at home. LOL! YUp, I still get nervous about being alone and MELTING stuff on the stove and since we were melting oils in glass, I just had this fear that something could go wrong if I was on my own.

I was incredibly excited to try this when it was done. When you open the jar, the scent of lavender hits your nostrils. I ADORE this moisturizer. It took a lot for me not announce it to everyone I talked to. That level of excitement people. haha

I primarily use it on my face on cold fall/winter days and on my hands overnight. I can pretty much use it all over but I mainly use it for my face.

My recipe didn’t use water but if you wanted to use water in a DIY beauty project (perhaps making a lotion or spray) definitely take a look at this very informative link on DIY 101: Working with water by Crunchy Betty.

Check out my friend Cherry’s post on her DIY moisturizer.

What scents do you like in your moisturizer? Do you have a DIY moisturizer recipe to share? What’s in your favourite moisturizer?

Please share!


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DIY Antibacterial Soft Scrub Cleanser

In late September, I was jumping around on DIY blogs and I ended up on One Good Thing By Jillie. I ADORE her blog. She’s got a ton of great posts and is just one of those blogs that I can probably spend an entire day browsing around laughing at her commentary and in complete awe over the wonderful and very useful ideas she’s sharing. When you’re done reading this post, seriously jump over to hers. It is full of DIY goodness, crafts, recipes, home remedies/solutions and more. The one that stuck out to me was the DIY cleaning solutions. Now, I’ve been using either a 50/50 vinegar-water spray or a mixture of vinegar and baking soda for cleaning most surfaces and a few quirts of Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Soap in citrus in vinegar/hot water solution for mopping. However, I’ve been wanting to mix things up a little and wondered about whether I could combine my Dr. Bonner’s with baking soda. I didn’t think to take the plunge, until I came across Jillie’s soft scrub cleaner post (She got the recipe from Emily of Live Renewed)

Jillie’s post reminded me of my childhood. Specifically, memories of mixing up concoctions in the bathroom with my sister. We use to like taking lotion and mixing it with baby powder. It was exciting to watch the liquidy texture of lotion change to a stiffer paste with the addition of baking powder. It made us feel like we were creating something new, even though there wasn’t a purpose – that’s the whole point of playtime right? To just play.

I had an empty dish washing detergent bottle I washed and saved from the recycling bin and hadn’t yet given it a purpose yet. I just knew I wanted to use it somehow. This antibacterial soft scrub was it. I grabbed a mixing bowl and followed Jillie’s instructions to a T (except for the vinegar). I recently read about a common green cleaning mistake – not to mix vinegar with castille soap (yikes, I had been adding Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Soap to my vinegar/hot water solution for mopping – not anymore!). I felt like a kid again mixing away. Yes, making your own cleaning solutions can be fun. I made a double batch and used a funnel to fill the dish washing detergent bottle.

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20121213-182012.jpg

I’ve used this in the tub, on the taps, in the sinks, counter tops and the door knobs. It left our bath tub shiny and I loved the scent as I washed it. It smells just like my yoga mat spray. So if you have ever used a yoga mat spray or tea tree oil, you’ll know what I’m talking about. The scent has really grown on me. 🙂

I’ve been making this about once a week for the past few months. I tried to make a triple batch and store it but I found the mixture would dry up and I’d need to add water to loosen it and I’d end up with globs of white stuff. That was fine. It still cleaned well but I just couldn’t get it to come out of the squeeze bottle without taking the top off.

If however, you want a more liquid solution, I’d recommend just making a batch or double and use within the week.

Do you have any homemade cleaning concoctions to share? What are your go to favourite green cleaning products? What do you use to clean your home?


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No ‘Poo Resources & Solutions

If you’ve been following the No ‘Poo series so far then you’ve read about my secret, my transition & method and maybe you’re ready to give it a go or maybe still on the fence but enjoy reading about it, that works! Everyone is welcome.

This post will have resources I used as well as factors to consider and finally a section on solutions to common problems. I’m not an expert on No ‘Poo (although, not sure if there’s such a thing). I’m sure I haven’t covered all factors and don’t have all the possible solutions. I write from my experience and from what I’ve learned from others.

My Go To No ‘Poo Resources (AKA My faves!)

1. How To Clean Your Hair Without Shampoo by Simple Mom. There’s also The Oh-So-Important Hair Update (24 months later). Tsh’s blog posts are what convinced me to give this whole thing a go. Her blog is about simple living. There’s always something interesting to read and learn. She’s got a book out on “Organized Simplicity” too.

2. No ‘Poo To You, Too!! by Crunchy Betty. In this post, she shares what convinced her to go no poo, what shampoo does to your hair and her method. I like this blog because there are lots of DIY sharing going on namely putting food on your face, hair and skin and household stuff. Love it!

3. Going no ‘poo by Stephanie over at Keeper of The Home. She shares a link with resources and info and goes on to share what excerpt made her want to try this out. Also her No ‘Poo Update post (a year later) with details on her hair washing method.

4. The No Shampoo Alternative by Christi at Nature Mom’s. This was where I learned about the importance of really giving your scalp a good scrub. The post also shares about why you should go without shampoo (your health), the chemicals in shampoo, how to no poo and trouble shooting (including a tip on dealing with frizzy hair).

5. Secrets to My No Poo Success by The Eco Cat Lady Speaks. Extremely informative post. It covers her system, motivation, sebum, silicones in shampoo, dealing with hard water (you need to use more acid the harder your water is), baking soda, acid rinse and brushing.

Factors to consider when going No ‘Poo

  • Hard water versus soft water. Washing with baking soda in hard water can leave hair feeling like it is dirtier than before washing. As Veggie_One describes “the minerals coat your hair with a fine powder which can mix with sebum and cause hair nastiness”. The baking soda combined with the minerals in the hard water leaves soap scum in your hair. I noticed this texture in the early stages of no poo. Using baking soda and water is like a natural soap and the hard water will leave a residue in your hair making your hair feel greasy, waxy or dusty. This is unlike traditional shampoos which are detergents that are made to lather in both hard water and soft water.
  • Ratio of baking soda to water. If you use too much baking soda it dries out your hair, start with 1tbsp and go up and down. You can also try making a paste of baking soda in your palm.
  • Ratio of apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice) to water. Start with less if you’re hair is normally on the greasier or oily side. Focus on your ends rather than on your scalp. I only use about 1-1.5tbsp (I eyeball it) on my actual scalp. Also, if you’re worried about lightening or darkening your hair. I’ve read that lemon juice lightens dark hair and apple cider vinegar can darken light hair. Keep in mind, the purpose of the acid is two fold: 1. Cut through the soap scum 2. Restores the pH in your hair.
  • Frequency: How often you wash during the transition (less is better – start with less than before you started No ‘Poo) AND how often you use to wash (at least in the beginning of your transition) can have an impact on how your hair/scalp reacts. You might want to consider stretching out your washes with water only washes or dry shampoo’s between actual washes (no ‘poo)
  • Other products you use in your hair. I would refrain during transition time and stick with natural oils to style your hair – like almond, coconut oil, jojoba oil and grape seed oil, but this is my personal preference. Do what works for you!
  • Hair brushing routine. Make it daily. (Confession: I didn’t use to do this, couldn’t be bothered before. So this whole no ‘poo thing has me playing with my hair more than EVER before. Cannot stress the importance of this.).
  • Brushing your hair before you wash
  • Pre-mix your solution or mix as you go. I pre-mix my acid/conditioning rinse but make the clarifying rinse (“shampoo”) right before hopping into the shower.

Solutions for Common Problems

Issue: Oily/Greasy hair

  • If this happens during the transition, it could just be your scalp over-producing oil like it use to when on shampoo, it will take some time to adjust.
  • In the short term, to combat the greasiness, I’ve tried increasing the baking soda to 1/2 tbsp for the next wash to get rid of the grease, but make sure to follow that up with an acid (ACV or lemon juice) on your hair.
  • Try lemon juice in place of the ACV. This worked for me and I stuck to lemon juice up until late November. I decided to try ACV again now that my hair had adjusted.
  • It could also be too much of the conditioning rinse. I remember finding that I was using too much apple cider vinegar when I first started and it left my hair feeling heavy/oily.
  • You might want to use a dry shampoo when you are stretching out your washes. Sprinkle a bit on your scalp where it is greasy (usually the crown), scrub it in and brush it out with a comb. It will soak up the sebum. You’ll have nice volume too. For ex. Assuming you’re in the transition phase, if you were washing everyday before No ‘Poo and now you are doing every other, you might find your hair is getting greasy by day 2 around your crown.
  • Not rinsing out well enough. Make sure you are scrubbing your scalp well (focus on your scalp not your hair) when you wash your hair and spending a good amount of time rinsing out the solutions.
  • Try putting just a small amount of the conditioning rinse on your head (some people omit this all together) and pour more on the ends and bottom half of your hair.
  • Brush and comb your hair right before hopping into wash
  • Brush daily. Start with the ends of your hair and work your way up. I like brushing from my bottom layer up to the top (4 sections).

Issue: Itchy Scalp

  • Scrub your head for longer during the baking soda rinse. Spend a while rinsing it out and making sure to scrub all over your scalp paying close attention to the crown of your head.
  • Add aloe vera gel to your baking soda solution. I felt that this help me when I had an itchy scalp.
  • Also add lavender essential oil to your conditioning rinse. Tea Tree oil or lavender, peppermint essential oil could work well too.
  • Brush daily with your boar hair brush.
  • Wash your combs/brushes weekly or every other week.

Issue: Dry Hair or Straw-like Texture (Cause: Too much baking soda)

  • Reduce baking soda ratio
  • Leave your conditioning rinse in longer before rinsing it out.
  • Use oil to condition your ends. Just a drop can go a long way. (coconut oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, and sweet almond oil).
  • Brush daily with your boar hair brush.
  • Don’t wash too often

Issue: Waxy, dusty residue in hair. It feels like there’s gunk in your hair AFTER you washed it. (Cause: Hard Water)

Assuming the cause is hard water, try one of the following suggestions:

  • Install a water filter in your tap. This will filter out minerals in your hard water.
  • Using distilled or previously boiled water (way to soften hard water). Here’s a post on the no shampoo method with hard water using boiled water for the baking soda rinse.
  • Water temperature. This worked for me not sure if this would work for everyone. I just use hot tap water when I make my baking soda rinse and I also wash out the baking soda rinse with hot tap water in the shower. I finish with a cold conditioning rinse and the very cold water (the coldest I can handle). In my quest to find a post on how to solve another issue I was having, I came across this post by Sara Valor where she shares that hot water opens up the hair cuticle and cold water closes it up. Two birds, one stone.
  • Switch from ACV to lemon juice. Some people have also switched from ACV to white vinegar. The acid helps cut through the soap scum. Let the acid sit in your hair for a few minutes before thoroughly scrubbing and rinsing out.
  • Increase the amount of acid you’re using.
  • Brush your hair before you wash and scrub your scalp really well while washing and rinsing.

Issue: Washing Too Much

Maybe you’ve found yourself washing more than you’d like (just as much or more than you use to with traditional shampoo) or maybe you want to cut back.

  • Stretch out the no ‘poo washing with water only (WO) washes. Still scrub your scalp really well but without the baking soda and ACV rinses. I’ve done hot water followed up by cold water.
  • Another way to go longer between washes is to use dry shampoo. I explain how to use it in the Greasy/Oily section above.

Issue: “Dandruff” or Dusty White Residue Covered Bristles (Cause: Baking soda residue)

  • Wash your brushes. Gets the gunk out of the brush and keeps it out of your hair. I started doing this when noticed the white stuff on my bristles. I also started scrubbing my scalp longer and rinsing longer because I knew it was probably baking soda residue on my scalp.
  • I wash mine once a week with a simple solution of warm water and Dr. citrus liquid soap and an old tooth-brush.
  • I leave it to dry overnight lying on its bristles on top of a towel.
  • Up your lemon juice or vinegar in your acid/conditioning rinse.

Issue: Staticky Hair

  • Using some honey in your BS solution. I’ve read some people using 1 tbsp worth. I had static a few weeks ago and didn’t get around to try this tip out because I didn’t have any more static after the next time I washed.

General Advice

Don’t obsess about the basic ratio (1TBS to 1 cup). If it doesn’t work for your hair, change it. Keep experimenting. Don’t obsess about getting the right ratios quickly. You need time to figure out what’s best for you.  I found that I had to tweak when seasons changed and when I was working out or perspiring more. Your baking soda amount might be more than your apple cider vinegar (ACV) or lemon juice amount. I remember when my hair was greasy/sweaty in the summer, I upped it to 1.5TBS to 1 cup of hot water for my baking soda rinse. And in the fall I changed back to 1TBS to 1 cup of hot water.

Experiment, change things up, try something new, get dry shampoo (or make it) and make sure you have some hair ties, big hair clips for those not-so-pretty days. It’s not a quick and easy transition for most, so don’t fret when things are not as smooth as you had hoped.

For the acid/conditioning rinse with ACV or lemon juice, be careful not to get this in your eyes. I haven’t had any issues (it’ll hurt), but at the beginning I use to close my eyes tightly while carefully pouring the solution on my hair.

What do you think about alternatives to traditional shampoo? Do you have any shampoo recipes to share? What is your hair brushing routine like?

Have you kicked shampoo to the curb? What was your motivation and how are things going? Would love to hear your thoughts. 

If you start to no poo after reading my series, leave me a comment so I can hear how things are going. If you try any tips I’ve shared, let me know as well. Got any to add? Please share!

In case you missed the other posts in the series, here they are.

My No Poo Secret

My Transition Phase and Method

Have an awesome Saturday!


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No ‘Poo: My Transition Phase & Method

This is the second post in my No ‘Poo series. If you didn’t read that one yet, check out my No ‘Poo post here. If you’re still following this blog after reading that last post, well I’m glad we’re friends still and you aren’t completely put off by the idea. Thanks for keeping an open mind.

I’m at a cafe right now listening to The End is Near by Band of Heroes. I Shazam’d that. I definitely don’t use Shazam enough but I love that this app exists. I’m always tempted to use it at cafes but it’s difficult when it’s too loud inside. Luckily, it’s quiet here so it picked it up. I can barely make out the lyrics but the tune is familiar… Oh yes, The O.C. lol Yeah, I use to watch that and as much as I’m embarassed to admit that, one of the reasons I liked that show was the music.

I just reread my journal entries of my No ‘Poo Experiment from the first two months. I journaled weekly. WEEKLY!? Revisiting the entries reminds me of how far I’ve come and boy how frustrating the transition felt. I’m not going to lie, I had moments where I felt like I was going crazy. I still look back and think, really? I did that and for the most part I only consulted blogs? That’s some serious commitment to giving this a shot. I didn’t want anyone to convince me to give up on this, so that’s probably why I didn’t tell very many people to begin with. It’s too easy to give up when things get tough.

A couple of friends became involved when I ran up to them in my very honest moments saying things like: “Do I look gross? Greasy right?? *nervous chuckle* Be honest.” and happier moments like “Smell me. You’ll never guess what I used.” It’s obvious I trust these two. And I’m lucky to know them in real life. Cherry and Shaza are bloggers too. Definitely check them out.

Before I explain my transition, I thought I’d list out the reasons behind why I decided to embark on this No ‘Poo experiment.

My Reasons for Going No ‘Poo

  1. Better for scalp and hair. Shampoo is a detergent. It strips your hair of sebum (the oil your scalp naturally produces). The more you wash, the more often you need to wash. It’s a bad cycle.
  2. Less chemicals: The chemicals used in traditional shampoo can easily get absorbed into your scalp. Sodium Lauryl or Laureth Sulfates (SLS and SLES) creates a lather that we associate with “cleaning”. The mineral oil in shampoo coats your hair giving it that oh so lovely but artificial shine that we associate with healthy hair BUT this chemical doesn’t easily absorb into your skin, so you’re left with grease that you need to wash out with more shampoo. GROSS. Learned this tip from SimpleMom.
  3. Less waste: when you reuse bottles and refill them, you are cutting back on waste. Hurray!
  4. Another way to use household ingredients that serve other purposes (multi-use products): essential oils, aloe vera gel, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and water
  5. Save money. 🙂
  6. Feels good to have a DIY beauty product that’s easy to make and travel with.
  7. Hair looks better and styles better. Yes, even curly and wavy haired ladies. Like Faye here.

Most posts I’ve read will share that the transition phase can vary from a few weeks to a few months. Everyone will be different because our hair is different, our old washing routine and how many products we use can effect how long it takes. I decided to only share the first month of my transition. You’ll see that a lot of tweaking happend but that over time I got a handle on things. I would say that it took me a good 2-3 months of tweaking which was due to many factors: washing too much, humid and hot weather, getting better about brushing and washing brushes and scrubbing/rinsing well.

In most no ‘poo posts, you’ll find people usually have a rinse with baking soda (or make a paste with baking soda and water) followed by a rinse with lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. The baking soda opens up the hair cuticle and the lemon juice or apple cider vinegar closes it up. This restores the PH of the hair and leaves it soft, shiny and smooth.

My No Poo Ingredients.

My Transition Phase.

Week 1 : Excited for something new, prepared for change in textures, change in routine and no lather.

Recipe

  • Clarifying Rinse: 1 tbsp of baking soda (BS) and 1 cup of water
  • Conditioning Rinse: 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar (ACV) and 1 cup of water

Method

  • Starting focusing on scrubbing scalp with finger tips and water. Then pouring the entire clarifying rinse scrubbing some more and rinsing the solution out.
  • Finished with pouring the conditioning rinse all over my head. Scrubbing all over and rinsing it out.
  • During washing hair felt greasy/heavy and after blow drying, I noticed a bit of dandruff
  • Crown was bit heavy/greasy but always looked better next morning
  • I wasn’t waiting too long between washes – generally about two days.

I’m going to be completely honest. My first couple of washes were not as bad as I thought it would be. haha My hair felt greasy/heavier around the scalp and my hair felt a bit dryer than usual after the conditioning rinse but once I blew dry it looked normal.

Week 2 : Oily & Greasy Mess//Lesson Learned – Don’t add oils during your transition phase unless you’re hair is really dry. If it is dry, try tweaking the BS amount first. And when you do decide to use jojoba oil, add a little bit and only on the ends of your hair not near the scalp.

Recipe

  • Clarifying Rinse: 2 tbsp of baking soda (BS) and 1 cup of water
  • Changed the clarifying rinse to 2 tbsp of BS and 1 cup of water. My hair would still feel heavy/waxy after washing but after blow drying it looked normal.
  • Conditioning Rinse: 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar (ACV) and 1 cup of water

Method

  • Used hot tap water for Baking Soda rinse and for washing out that rinse.
  • Used cold water for the conditioning ACV rinse only on the ends of my hair.
  • I read somewhere about using hot water for the BS rinse and cold water for the ACV rinse.

In retrospect, because my first couple of washes went well, it kind of fooled me and made me think that my transition wouldn’t be so bad after all. Wrong. My third wash made me crazy. I was excited about experimenting and wanted to try to incorporate some jojoba oil (I already had on hand) after the BS rinse but before the conditioning rinse. I added a few drops of jojoba oil into my palm (I meant to only add one drop but a couple of extra came out). It is an incredibly moisturizing oil that I find is heavier than almond and grape seed on my face. Oh dear.. I knew this wasn’t going to be good. I rubbed the oil between my hands and massaged it into my hair. Big mistake. As I’ve already mentioned my hair was already oily from my old washing routine. I finished with the conditioning ACV rinse and my head was left feeling heavy, waxy, and sort of greasy looking. This is going to be bad.

I blew dry my hair like normal hoping that after it dried it would look better. Nope. OK, so I have a bad hair day. Things could be worse. Side note: I say that a lot don’t I? haha Life has taught me that things can get worse and to make the most of it when things are going well.

I pushed forward and went to work. I needed to tell someone about my No Poo experiment (did I look as bad as I thought?) and so I told my co-worker & friend about my experiment. I went up to Cherry and told her I wanted to tell her a secret and I wanted her to tell me if I looked as gross as I thought I did. She said I did look greasy yes. hahah We both had a good laugh and I went about my day. I was so relieved when she didn’t make a face and called me gross. Cherry smiled and said that it was something she wanted to try too.

I knew I should hold back on washing for at least a few days but I couldn’t. I needed to remedy the situation asap. So, I told my bestest bud at work Shaza and she said that when people do an oil treatment on their hair with coconut oil and olive oil and find it’s still greasy after washing, they just wash more to get it out. Hmm… my dilemma was that I wasn’t using shampoo so it wasn’t going to be as easy as that. This is where I needed to tweak my ratio. It had to be more baking soda because my hair was oilier than ever. In my recipe above, I doubled the BS amount that night.

Week 3 : VERY Itchy scalp, dandruff and greasy around crown and dry straw-like hair. Not a pretty picture. Lesson Learned: Rinse out the BS very well and use a Boar brush.

Recipe

  • Clarifying Rinse: 1 tbsp of baking soda (BS) and 1 cup of water.
  • Changed Clarifying BS Rinse back to 1 tbsp of BS and 1 cup of hot tap water.
  • Made an additional moisturizing BS rinse with oil: Used 2 cups of warm tap water and mixed with 2 tbsp of baking soda and 1 drop of jojoba oil (I read somewhere that essential oils should be diluted in oil) and 1 drop of lavender essential oil (to help with the itchiness) to fill my new squeeze bottle
  • Conditioning Rinse: 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar (ACV) and 1 cup of water

Method

  • Used cold water for the conditioning ACV rinse only on the ends of my hair.
  • Bought a boar brush to bring sebum (scalp oil) from root to tips of hair. Started brushing daily
  • Before heading into shower for a wash, brushed with boar brush, then use a fine tooth comb
  • Scrubbed scalp throughly focusing on greasy crown areas in the hot water in the shower
  • Poured the cup of baking soda rinse (the warm water with 1 tbl of BS) all over and scrubbed again thoroughly focusing on all the problem greasy areas.
  • Waited for a minute. Then rinsed and scrubbed scalp again
  • Then used squeeze bottle to just squeeze a little bit of the moisturizing baking soda rinse (only used about ÂĽ cup)
  • Scrubbed scalp again really well then rinsed
  • Used ACV rinse on my ends and rinsed again
  • Towel dried (I read somewhere that this could help with the greasiness)
  • Then just use my fingers to arrange my hair (heard not to comb hair when wet)

Week 3 was probably the most challenging week. The itchiness made me feel like scratching my head like crazy. When, I got home and brushed, there was a bit of dandruff and baking soda residue on my boar brush. I felt this could be the source of my itchy scalp – leftover baking soda that wasn’t rinsed out. I spent a lot of time researching how to deal with dry hair and a greasy scalp and devised the above method. I read somewhere that essential oils needed to be mixed with a carrier oil so that’s why I incorporated the jojoba oil.

Week 3 & Week 4 : Other Good Habits I Incorporated

  • Washed my brushes and combs weekly with hot tap water and bit of dr. bonner’s liquid soap.
  • I cut back on washing to just twice a week. I decided I needed to in order for my scalp to regulate the oil production and not to further aggravate my hair (stop the itching!) by using BS so often.
  • I did a water only rinse (comb out my hair, wet my head with hot water, scrubbed my scalp, rinsed with hot water, then followed by cold water) between my hair washes
  • Used dry shampoo on days when hair around my scalp looked greasy. I will do a separate post on my dry shampoo recipe.
  • As a result of the changes scalp no longer itches

Present Day : After about 6.5 months of no ‘poo and going strong.

Recipe

  • Clarifying Rinse: 1tbsp BS and 1 cup of hot tap water. Use entire solution every time.
  • Conditioning lemon rinse: 1tbsp of lemon with 1 cup of cold water with 1 drop of lavender and/or peppermint essential oil. Refridgerate after use. I just use a bit on my scalp and a lot on my ends after I use the shampoo rinse. In June (a month after I started No Poo) I started using lemon juice in place of ACV and at the end of the month I started to add lavendar essential oil. I didn’t add a carrier oil in my conditioning rinse because I noticed other similar recipes on the webs didn’t use a carrier oil and I was afraid at that point to over condition my hair with oil.

Method

  • Comb before washing hair.
  • Massage head while wetting it in hot water.
  • Use shampoo rinse to cover head and massage/scrub scalp well, focusing on crown.
  • Let it sit in head for 1 minute.
  • Rinse well with hot water.
  • Use conditioning rinse all over scalp (just a bit) then concentrate on ends.
  • Let it sit in head for 1 minute.
  • Rinse well in cold water.
  • Towel dry well.
  • Blow dry if no time to naturally dry.
  • Don’t brush out hair when wet.

Also Essential to My Hair Care Routine

  • Brush out hair daily – start with tips and move up (Joyous Health hair brushing tip). I usually brush in layers separating my hair in 4 from bottom to the top. I’ve gotten compliments. 🙂
  • Wash brushes/combs weekly.
  • Occasionally use dry shampoo if I am in need of a touch up but it’s too soon to wash. Usually this might happen the day I’m going to wash my hair. The hair around the scalp will look shinier/greasier looking. Especially the more frequently I wash it.

My current method works well. I will continue to experiment though and just recently started using ACV again. Here are some pictures of me during my 2.5 month mark.

Feeling a little silly taking pictures of my hair outside while people are having lunch. Whatevs! Great sunny weather that day in July to be doing it.

Side shot.

Back shot.

Backshot with the crown of my head.

Hair washing day in New York. You can see the bangs are a bit greasy. Obviously a before hair washing pic. haha

Even though I only shared about my first month of my transition, I would say it took about 2-2.5 months for my hair to adjust

Look out for my next post on factors to consider and ways to tweak your method to fix your hair/scalp issues and the no poo blog resources I used.

Now, what about you? Have you tried no ‘poo? If not, what are your thoughts? If so, what was your experience like? And are you still going no ‘poo? Please share! Let’s get a discussion going.


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My No Poo Secret

This post has been sitting in my queue for months. I’ve been tinkering with it here and there, every now and then. The longer I go between edits, the longer the edits take. Do you experience this as well? Here’s hoping the wait was worth it and you enjoy the post. 🙂

I stopped washing my hair with shampoo at the end of April 2012.

Really? Yes! Yes! And I’m not a mess! Totally wrote that because it rhymed and showed excitement.

I basically went No Poo. Which means I stopped washing my hair the traditional way with commerical shampoo products. I started to wash with baking soda, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, aloe vera gel, essential oils and water. Although, not all at once. I spent a few months experimenting. I’ll share with you in another post. Prior to this, I had been using Live Clean Apple Cider shampoo (just the shampoo, no conditioner) for well over a year. I loved using it. The bottle felt good in my hands and I felt like it was probably one of the better shampoos at the drug store.

After the earth week lecture I went to, I was convinced that a shampoo change among other greener changes was in order. I had researched about shampoos and came across some very interesting posts on “No Poo”. Sounds disgusting right? Like we’re giving up on going #2. As it turns out, “No Poo” is just short for “No Shampoo”. You read that right, No shampoo for real. And as much as I wanted to jump on the No Poo train. I didn’t feel like I could at the moment because I didn’t know how I would be after the operation and whether I would have time/energy to tinker with a washing routine. Heck, I didn’t even know if I would need assistance in the shower or the washroom for that matter, so I wouldn’t want to put it on anyone else to help me with my new no poo routine. The idea took a backseat.

I remember being a teenager and struggling with greasy scalp and dandruff and not really knowing what to do. I would go to a beauty supply store to pick up a fairly pricey shampoo to help me with this problem. That was expensive and I relied on these products to get my mane looking tame. Ohhh that rhymed! Eventually, I stopped buying the stuff (couldn’t afford it) and returned to the regular drug store shampoos and rotated around. I still felt like my hair would end up looking terribly greasy when I washed every other day, so I went from every other day to almost every day (as often as I could). Sound familiar? Many people are in this boat with shampoos. Even though I heard that washing it often was not good as it stripped my hair of it’s natural oils, I would do it feeling that it was a necessity. Eventually, I cut back to every other day and if I stretched it I would go two days without max. The point of this story was I needed to buy a professional shampoo to get keep my scalp grease and dandruff free and it just wasn’t economical for me. Also, that gradually I found myself washing more often to prevent the greasy look.

So if you were like me, someone who found themselves washing more often than I knew was good for me, maybe you have a greasy scalp, dandruff, this post might be something for you to try out. Or maybe your a DIY’er or an aspiring DIY’er (high five!), whatever the case, you have nothing to lose by trying. Before embarking on this venture though, my hair looked and felt fine. I just wanted to try this greener and economical alternative out.

If this is the first time you are hearing about No Poo you maybe thinking this is disgusting, too “weird” for you to even consider. I would encourage you to just try to keep an open mind. This is just something that has worked out well for me and I’m sharing in hopes that if you have ever considered an alternative to shampoo, perhaps you might be open to trying this.

What is No Poo exactly? Washing without using traditional shampoo’s. The most basic method ratios.

1. Clarifying Rinse: 1 cup of water & 1 tbs of baking soda

2. Conditioning Rinse: 1 cup of water and 1 tbs of apple cider or lemon juice.

After my recovery and when I returned to work, I remember thinking about the idea and still put it in the backseat because I had gotten a few bottles I needed to use up first and besides, I was still transitioning back to real life. Lol! It was hard.

As I mentioned in this post, I had begun my journey of changing over to greener products well over a year ago. This spring (May 2 to be precise), I remembered I ran out of shampoo a couple days before and I needed to wash my hair. What was a girl to do? I was heading to the nearest Shoppers when a nagging voice inside of me went “This would be a good time to ditch shampoo”. I remembered No Poo and reread the blogs I had previously come across. This was it, what better time then now I thought. A small part of me was thinking, really? BUT it’s spring…and before I know it, it will be summer, won’t it be tough? And the bigger part of me thought, won’t I always have an excuse? Won’t life only get crazier? haha Doesn’t it always? 🙂

That day, I read as much as I could about other people’s experiences and was prepared for the transition that was going to happen. There would be no lather (bye bye sodium lauryl sulfates!) and my hair would be clean but probably feel very different than after I shampoo because there would be no leftover film coating it to feel soft. OK. Goodbye CRaP! Sounds good. I’m game.

Don’t get me wrong, I was very excited for this. To kiss my dependence on shampoo products goodbye was incredibly liberating. I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs in excitement. I felt like this could be the one thing that inspires me to continue with DIY projects. And it did.

I won’t lie a part of me was also afraid. Could I lose friends over this? Haha Would I look so terrible that it would look like I hadn’t washed at all? Would I smell? All valid concerns. Naturally, I kept this a secret from most folks unless I felt like the opportunity was right to share. So I told a few people I trusted could handle this.

The other part of me was saying “What’s the worst that can happen? You will have pushed yourself to try something new and you will see what your hair is like without shampoo”. Things can always be worse.

I didn’t give myself a timeframe for a trial because I knew that the transition period would take a while. I figured a couple of months at least and see if I like it.

I’m proud to say I’ve been a No Poo’er a little over 6 months (it has been six months and 6 days) since I started No Poo on May 2, 2012.

During these 6 months, I got my bangs trimmed once in July and on Oct. 26, I got my hair washed and trimmed. I was so busy on Oct 26, that I didn’t think of washing my hair first before going to the salon (which is really the only way to keep it No Poo). And by the time it hit me that I was probably going to get my hair washed, I was panicking a little on the inside “What about my whole No Poo thing?” I was sort of bummed… but figured, I’m already here (there are seriously bigger problems than my hair) and my hair could use a wash (even though I would prefer washing it the No Poo way). Gross thing was, after my hair was washed and cut, my scalp tingled and the smell of the shampoo and the styling product kind of made me feel gross. I missed my No Poo ritual. haha

Needless to say. I’m a full fledged No Poo’er.

In another post, I’ll share pictures, more details on my method, resources and more on my experience so far.

Do you No Poo? What was your experience like? Enjoy this post or got something to share? Let’s continue the conversation in the comments.

Here’s wishing you a great Thursday!

– Julie