I read an article in New Idea recently – well it was an old magazine because I only read them when they are given to me! – a small bit on how awful Julia Roberts must smell because she does not wash her hair or use soap or deodorant. Whether this is true or not I thought I should stand up for all those who choose a more natural form of personal hygiene!
That’s right! I don’t wash my hair. Or use soap. Or deodorant. Well, that isn’t entirely true – I wash my hair every day – and I use soap to sanitize my hands – but I can count on one hand how many times I have used hair cleaning (or styling) products in my hair in the last four years.
About four years ago one of my friends told me that she only washes her hair once a week and I was astounded. I washed mine with shampoo every single day! My hair gets disgusting if I don’t wash it!! Then this same friend later stopped washing it all together and I just couldn’t tell the difference. She had long wavy hair and it always looked beautiful. So I gave it a go.
And it was disgusting 🙂
It took two or three months for the oils in my hair to settle down. Fortunately for me my hair had been cut short so it wasn’t so bad to work with. The first three weeks were the worst. I felt slimy and yukky. Then it got better from there. My body oils eventually found their natural balance since they were no longer being stripped out of my hair every day.
Initially I used a bit of baking soda and vinegar, but to be honest I found this itchy and dry and I got a lot of dandruff, so I stopped that and just started washing with hot water. To care for my hair now I wash it well in really hot water (hot as I can stand), distributing any oil along the length of my hair, and letting the hot water remove the excess. I give my scalp a good massage in the shower every day and I don’t vigorously dry my hair in a towel, but gently pat and squeeze the water out. Occasionally I use a little bit of conditioner to make my hair a bit smoother, or a bit of coconut oil to keep my hair in place. My hair looks its best when I give it a good brush, as this also helps to distribute oils, makes hair shiny and massages my scalp, but being a busy mother of three, I still regard this as an optional exercise, for beauty emergencies only. School pick-up times don’t require hair brushing. Besides I am growing my hair longer, and at the style it is in right now, no amount of hair brushing is going to make a difference!
What I notice now are the times when my hair gets really oily: when I am unwell, stressed or about to enter my menstrual cycle. It is a natural warning system that something is up and that I need to take care of myself.
It is also true that I do not use soap. This started because my skin is sensitive to soaps and my body is sensitive to the scents soap always seems to have in it. So I just stopped using it. I clean myself with soap if I have DIRT on me, if I am shaving, or to remove germs from my hands, but otherwise I wash myself in hot water with a wash cloth. Sometimes I put a few drops of an essential oil on the washcloth and wash with that. I don’t smell.
I notice my body odour on really hot days (when even a normal deodorant would find it hard to cope) and also when my diet isn’t up to scratch. A lot of the time it is just me noticing it, nobody else. When I changed my diet to purely whole, real foods (no chemicals, additives, or anything with more than 2 whole ingredients in it) about two years ago I noticed a great change in my skin, my hair and my body odour. My hair was shinier and I really didn’t stink. I guess it is because I wasn’t consuming any toxins that had to be released through my skin. Digestion is so underrated by our society.
I think these functions in our body are there to let us know what is going on for us, and remind us to keep ourselves healthy. These functions are masked when we strip ourselves of our natural oils and then replace them with synthetic ones. And I do hate the smell of overpowering deodorant with an undercurrent of stale sweat. Natural sweat is much more bearable, actually!
Well I know it isn’t for everyone, but it works for me .. and saves me money on unnecessary and expensive hair products. It also saves me from having to scrub soap scum out of the shower, and that definitely works for me!