Thursday, August 9, 2012

My Hair Routine

I haven't blogged in a long while but I won't apologize for that.  Life has been hectic!  I am due with baby #3 in just a few weeks and so I am busy wrapping up the last little bit of preparation I need to do.  Also, Z1 is turning 7 in a few days and we gave him a birthday party early just to make sure we got it in.

Today's post is about my scalp and hair.  I haven't spoken about hair issues in a long time.  Since I cut my locks and started wearing it very short, there's really not much to talk about.  My routine basically consists of washing my head and oiling my scalp three times a week.  I get a cut every few weeks.  A really easy routine.

Initially, I had some issues finding a shampoo that worked with my scalp.  I tried plenty of natural shampoos including pure castile soap and black soap.  Those shampoos did not make my scalp feel good.  They exacerbated the itching and soreness of my scalp.  Eventually, I gave up on natural shampoos and stuck with what actually worked:  Head and Shoulders.  I would follow that up with tea tree oil in jojoba oil as a carrier directly onto my scalp.  I've been doing this consistently for months with great results:  a healthy, happy scalp.

But of course, I had to go and mess with a good thing.  The ingredients in Head and Shoulders bother me and I really want use natural things on my body.  I had been hearing about the "no poo" method, basically using baking soda and vinegar to cleanse the scalp and hair.  I gave it a try and almost immediately, I knew it was a big mistake.  Itchy, sore scalp galore.  It took me about two weeks back on my regular routine to get everything back in order.  But I wasn't about to give up completely.  I had one more thing to try: Grandpa's Pine Tar soap.  This was something about which I had heard good things from folks dealing with psoriasis and dandruff.  I gave it a go and it works just as well if not better than the Head and Shoulders!  And with such a short ingredient list (Coconut oil, palm oil, purified water, pine tar (Pinus Palustris) oil, vegetable glycerin), it was a huge win.  So that is what I use now (followed by the tea tree oil).  I am quite pleased with the results.


I was a bit worried about the pine tar as I had heard rumors that it was carcinogenic.  I searched all over and I couldn't find anything definitive saying that it was cancer causing.  I did, however, find some articles that suggested that coal tar (the active ingredient in Neutrogena T-Gel) is. 

I use the bar instead of the shampoo because the shampoo has a longer ingredient list.  To preserve my bar of soap, I made this:   


It's made out of 100% cotton yarn and took me about 30 minutes to complete.  It works very well and kept me from buying a soap saver.

Going in search of a natural solution for my scalp meant learning a little about the scalp. I was curious as to how and why the scalp is so different from other skin on the body. I found this article and it was fascinating.  Indeed, there are some serious differences between the skin on the rest of the body and the skin on our heads.  I think the most important lesson I took away is that if you don't have much hair on your head, you may need to wash your hair very frequently--more frequently than if you did.  Why?  Because if you don't have a lot of hair on your head, there is no where for the oil to go except to stay on your scalp which can produce a lot of issues.  This was good to know because I had started to feel that maybe washing my scalp too much was resulting in me having to wash my scalp so much--like a never-ending cycle.  Especially since a few folks I know who wear locks wash very infrequently, like once a month or even once every 6 weeks.  I can't imagine washing less than 3 times a week, though, so I was really wondering what was going on with me.  Nothing is going on:  it's just important to keep my scalp clean so that the pores don't get clogged and just to maintain a good balance up there.

I'm just reminded that it's not always the case that something is wrong with me.  Sometimes, it's as simple as working with my specific situation, honoring my ideals in a patient and loving way.



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