Sunday, May 1, 2011

Be the Change - Showers

My hair is a slightly stringy mess right now. Because I'm working on being the change I want to see in energy conservation and reducing consumerism. Translation: I now take cold showers and don't use shampoo.

Explanation: I've been kicking around the idea of quitting shampoo for a long time. It's actually a really useless product. The natural oils our scalp produces are really all one needs for healthy hair, but we've gotten into the habit of stripping all that natural oil out with shampoo, and then dumping a bunch of other products into our hair. Because we've stripped the natural oil, the scalp over-produces in order to compensate, and suddenly we're addicted to using shampoo in order to avoid looking like an oil slick. The biggest thing holding me back from quitting shampoo was the really long transition time our scalp needs to stop over producing and scale back to a more normal oil production level - up to 3 months potentially battling the oil spill (though I'm hoping it'll be more in the 6 week range, from what I've read that's about the average length of time).

Bruce doesn't use shampoo, partially because he feels the way I do, partially because he's a guy and just doesn't care, and partially because he just has his perfect haircare routine down. Seeing his gorgeous hair encouraged me to finally take the plunge into no 'poo. And what is his secret? The cold showers.

Cold showers are not only great for your hair and skin, but also for your immune system (yes, counterintuitive but according to Bruce there is science backing this up). And cold showers are character building. Very character building. Very very . . . well you get the point. And in addition to being great for my hair and skin, cold showers also require no hot water, therefore no water heater, therefore less energy usage!

Since I'm in the super oily transition phase (2 1/2 weeks in!) I also use baking soda occasionally in addition to the cold water. It removes excess oil without totally stripping it 100% out like shampoo so I can get cleaner hair without ruining my progress. I also let my hair sun-dry whenever possible, it seems to help a little. And yes, sometimes despite the baking soda, I do just give up and tie a bandanna over my head.

No, it's not exactly fun giving up my nice hot showers, and I've all but stopped shaving in the shower because I don't want to hang out in the cold water longer than I need to (the bathroom sink will do for now), but the reward is worth it to me, so I persist. I am so glad the hot weather of summer is coming up to offset the cold, I don't think I could undertake this in December!

And in case you didn't notice, it's May Day! Another under appreciated holiday, at least in my circle of influence. May Day is a weird little holiday in that it can represent so many things - flowers, fertility, the start of summer, and more recently International Worker's Day commemorating the 8-hour work day and the fight for fair hours. Since there are no May festivals around here, no May Queen to crown, no May pole to dance around, I will be spending my May Day outside enjoying the flowers and general beauty of nature.

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