To Poo or No-Poo

“Get your afro out of my way.”

It is a cry often heard in our car in the past when Mr. Fairweather has been at a junction and trying to turn. You see, I have really dry, thick, curly hair that takes on a life of its own. People talk about getting out on the wrong side of the bed. My hair does that some mornings all on its own. So I tend to chop it all off as this makes it easier to manage. Or if I manage to put up with it for long enough, grow it out so that the weight of the hair pulls the curls from out to down. Growing it out usually involves living under a hat for the winter.

Just before the Little Paddler was due I went into the hairdresser and said, “Take it all off. Who knows when I’ll be able to make it back in.” The beauty of a newborn is that you give up caring what your afro may be doing and so I found myself somehow through the worst of the growing out phase before I realised it. But my hair was in shocking condition. It needed a lot of help and to be honest I was fed up of looking at empty bottles. Shampoos and conditioners only worked for so long before I’d have to change brand.Conditioner disappeared like it was going out of style. And I was only washing my hair once or twice a week.  Have you ever read up on what goes in to shampoos and conditioners? It’s not pretty. And besides, we were broke so I was looking to see where to cut back. I said to Mr. Fairweather  that I was thinking of going ‘no-poo’.

He stopped in his tracks and looked at me.

“What?”

“No Poo. No sham-poo.”

“That is a terrible name. Find something less unfortunate to call it.”

bread soda paste (photo credit: fairweatherpaddler)
bread soda paste
(photo credit: fairweatherpaddler)

Sadly, I didn’t name it and I haven’t come up with a viable alternative. But it didn’t stop me trying it. Why, you might ask. Was I planning on growing dreadlocks? No. I was broke and desperate to feel like I could change the situation even in tiny steps. And if I couldn’t afford to go back to the hairdresser, I was going to have to figure out how to fix my hair myself. So I started researching. Bread soda and apple cider vinegar everywhere said. That’s BS and ACV if you’re starting to look No-Poo up. You can then go WO (water only) and learn all about scritching and sebum removing washes. It’s like a whole other language at the beginning.

But curly hair is different. Bread soda and apple cider vinegar are too harsh. What I needed was a deep nourishing and moisturising cleaner. Step forward the number one contender for the job – honey. Now I know putting food products into your hair sounds nuts, but honey really is only the tip of the iceberg as far as no-poo washing goes; egg, beer, coconut water, maple syrup, avocado, banana, tea, yoghurt are all used. Start researching before you put it into your hair though.

So here is the basic recipe I use for dry, curly hair.

honeybee working the clover (photo credit: fairweatherpaddler)
honeybee working the clover
(photo credit: fairweatherpaddler)

Honey Shampoo Recipe
1 tbsp honey
3 tbsps water
A few drops of essential oils (I like lavender or tea tree or eucalyptus)

Mix honey and water and heat gently until honey dissolves. Add the essential oils for fragrance. They also help with itchy flaky scalps. Now the mix will be quite runny and it does take a bit of getting used to but when you apply it to wet hair, you are just looking to get it onto the scalp. Massage well into scalp and then rinse thoroughly.

Sometimes if I feel that my hair needs an extra boost I use this recipe.

my aloe vera propagation (photo credit: fairweatherpaddler)
my aloe vera propagation
(photo credit: fairweatherpaddler)

Aloe Honey Shampoo Recipe
4 tbsps aloe vera gel
2 tbsps honey
A few drops of essential oils (I like lavender or tea tree or eucalyptus)

Mix everything together well. Apply to roots and scalp and massage in well. Leave on for as long as you can and then rinse thoroughly.

Some people will advise a clarifying wash first to help shorten the transition period where your scalp can often go into overdrive producing too much oil until it settles down. I didn’t bother and just jumped in the deep end with a woolly hat at the ready in case my hair got awful during the transition period.
At the beginning, try and leave it as long as you can between washes. I rinse my hair every day to try and get the curls under control and that’s fine as long as it’s only water. I found my scalp got a bit itchy after a couple of days but once I did another honey wash, it would settle down. Gradually, the time stretched out. Now, I can go a couple of weeks if I wanted to. My curls are more defined now and less frizzy and fly away most of the time. A little bit of coconut oil on the ends helps with this and smells gorgeous. There’s a reason you see coconut used in so many shampoos and conditioners.

My hair tends to knot up a bit, but a bit of aloe vera gel with or without a few drops of essential oils helps detangle and define the curls. Going to need more aloe vera plants. I don’t use a brush. Never really have. I’ll comb through when wet with my fingers or a comb if I’m feeling fancy. And that’s it. Nice and easy. So far, so good.

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4 thoughts on “To Poo or No-Poo

  1. Your hair sounds amazing! You’re lucky you can wash it so infrequently. I *should* wash mine every second day, by the third it’s getting a little too oily. My hair is curly-ish and curliest just after I’ve washed it but tends to straighten as it gets oilier. Like you, I’m conscious of the awful products that go into our shampoos and conditioners (don’t even get me started on toothpaste).

    I found your recipes really interesting. I’d have to make sure I tried them when it didn’t matter about the result – I suspect it would make my hair oilier. I’ve tried egg whites before as an intensive conditioner but it was a bit messy and frankly, I’d rather eat them! I use this great, affordable ‘organic’ shampoo and conditioner which contains no parabens or petrochemical cleansers. I do hope you have something similar in your region – especially as the product I use doesn’t appear to be exported and this comment now basically a tease.

    Good luck with the ‘fro 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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