About this blog

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Wales, United Kingdom
In autumn 2010, my husband Ian and I both quit our jobs, sold our house and left the flatlands of the east for the mountains of Wales. Our goal is to create a more self-sufficient lifestyle in a place we actually like living. Whilst Ian will continue to earn some money as a freelancer, my part of the project is to reduce how much we spend by growing and making as much of what we need as possible. The purpose of this blog is to keep friends updated with how the grand project is progressing, but all are welcome here. If you're not a friend already, well perhaps you might become one.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Hair experiment: Eight weeks

After six weeks I decided to give it another two, and now I have. I can't say my hair's changed very much in the last two weeks, so I'm not going to bother with photos again - just look back at the pics in the previous post.

This is disappointing. I had thought it was still improving, and hoped it might have got to a nice, silky soft state by now, but it hasn't. This is very frustrating, because it's fine really - it's not smelly or itchy, I'm quite comfortable with going out in public without it attracting attention (Actually, there's one person who may be able to tell me whether it's noticeably bad. I met up with her a week ago and I don't think she knew at the time that I was doing the experiment. Are you reading? Did my hair look awful?) The trouble is, it looks a lot nicer when it's just been washed, and I miss that. Not all the time, but at least some of the time I would like it to look that nice.

This means I'm going to have to give in and wash it. I'm not going to abandon two months of adjustment to a shampoo-free world and go straight back to the old shampoo-and-conditioner routine. I'll take baby steps from here, all the way to there if need be, but stopping short of the old routine if I can.

The first baby step is to rinse thoroughly with warm water. I'm very doubtful that this will have any impact on my hair, but I feel I have to try it first. After that I'll try very dilute bicarb in water accompanied by a nettle and vinegar rinse. I'm wary of bicarb because it did nasty things to my hair last time I tried it, but maybe if I use little enough of it I won't have those problems. Also, the vinegar should balance out the alkalinity - hopefully quickly enough to prevent the damage.

I should add that I've already experimented with the nettle and cider vinegar mix as conditioner, and had been using it for some time (after shampoo) before starting the no-wash experiment. I tried just nettles, that is, nettle tea made by boiling nettles for a while. The nettles themselves go on the compost heap, not on my hair.

My first attempt was nettle tea (with a bit of rosemary, to improve the smell, which didn't really work) without vinegar. This worked, but didn't keep - by the end of a week it was fermenting. I then tried adding cider vinegar at a strength of about one part vinegar to two parts tea. It stank. The third attempt was about one part vinegar to eight parts tea, and that seems pretty good. The smell is OK (I'm not particularly keen on the smell of nettle tea, but the vinegar isn't overpowering in this one. I've given up on the rosemary as it doesn't make much difference, so it's just a waste of rosemary) and it lasts well - I still have a little left from two months ago, and it hasn't gone off yet.

I'll keep you posted on the minimal washing experiments and in the meantime, I'm looking out for new season nettles.


  1. This is really interesting - thanks for documenting it.

    I'm not sure I could go cold turkey into no 'poo but I have been slowly cutting back. I used to have to wash it every 1.5 days or it would get greasy and horrible, then over time that reduced to every 2 days, then every 2.5 - it's around once every 3 days now. I probably wouldn't go to a fancy gala with it on day 3 but it's fine for every day life. I hope I can reduce it further then slip in some more natural rinses without it noticing ;)

    I look forward to reading how your next stages work out. :)

  2. Glad you're finding it interesting :)


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