To brush wet hair, or not to brush wet hair?

“Don’t brush your hair when it’s wet!”

That’s something I’ve heard for a long time.  Since I was a little kid and my older sister tried to explain to me why she didn’t brush her hair when it was wet, because it snapped like rubber bands.

I’ve never had that problem, and do always brush my hair when it’s wet.

It seems like something out of a “Long Hair Bible.”  It’s one of the big “do nots” of long hair.

So I wanted to get to the bottom of this.

The fact is, Yes, your hair is weaker when it’s wet. How much damage that happens to your hair if your brush it wet seems to depend.

If your hair snaps like a rubber band when you brush it wet, then by all means, don’t do that, haha!

You also shouldn’t rip through your hair at anytime when you brush it.  Learn to be nice to your hair.

Brush, brush, brush.  Do not #2 usually seems to be to use a comb and not a brush.  This is something I still don’t understand.  If we’re talking about a comb vs a bristle brush, then of course a comb is going to be far less potentially damaging.  But I don’t see much difference between a comb, and whatever you call the kind of brush with the plastic teeth covered in plastic nubbies.

Everyone’s hair is different. Before you adhere to the Do’s and Don’ts of what is or isn’t good for your hair, pay attention to your hair first.  Evaluate if what you’re doing is actually damaging your hair or not. If you’re not sure, or can’t tell, go ahead and give something new a try. Don’t be afraid to go back to what you’re used to if you don’t see results.  Remember, when it comes to results it could also take a while to see them, especially if you’re trying to discern whether or not your hair is being damaged less.

My hair is thick, I’m tender headed and I don’t like combs. I always brush my hair very carefully because I don’t enjoy torturing myself.  I’ve never personally experienced the rubber band snapping thing. My hair is damaged for sure, but I’d blame it more on the past 2 (ish) years of putting junk in my hair, trying to curl it, straighten it, get more waves, and so on.  Not to mention not taking well enough care of my self in general. Frump girl had frump hair, haha!

That’s my  take on the hair brushing when wet issue.  My hair is not exceptionally long at the moment, and I want to keep it this length until next summer, but I do intend to grow it out again eventually.  I prefer longer hair, but I think it will be easiest to keep track  of any changes that occur due to No Poo if I keep it at the same length for a while.

My No Poo adventure will begin again either tomorrow or Friday.  Depends on when my hair needs a wash.  I’ll be glad for it though, I’ve been finding the strong smell of shampoo/conditioner a little repugnant.

No Poo: Tweaking

Today’s Photos.  A few hours after a BS/ACV wash.

There is a small section that seems more oily than the rest, I’m thinking I may have just accidentally passed over that section, as it’s not an issue I’ve ever had so far.  We will see I guess! I’m not sure if it counts as “cheating”  but if I head out for any special reason this weekend I will likely just apply a little setting powder to the top later so that it doesn’t look so out-of-place (it’s a trick I learned from having bangs that would get stringy/oily faster than the rest of my hair)

Oh, and that Olive Oil nonsense, took 3 more washes to get it out.  Clearly I must have been doing something wrong, haha!

I switched to Apple Cider Vinegar a little sooner than I wanted to.  It seems fairly common for some people to have to tweak their process a bit, but I wanted to give it closer to 3 weeks before I made any big changes.  Unfortunately I ran out of white vinegar, and I just decided that it would be better if I just bought a giant jug of ACV rather than buying more white and having to buy more sooner.  I’m weird like that, disliking multiple shopping trips and things of that nature.

I initially wanted to wait until I was sure  my adjustment period was over, even though it’s not been very bad for me, so that I better knew what effects were being caused by my changes, rather than my hair still adjusting.

My hair wasn’t dry before I started, and hasn’t really been all that dry after I started, it’s definitely a tad more dry now.

I think that means I need to start dialing back on the Baking Soda.   I’ll give it a try next time and see what happens.  I have also been sticking to an every other day washing since my post about the greasy 3rd day, but I think it’s time to see what happens over a longer period of time again.

The heavy feelings is gone though, and I’m pretty sure now that it’s just gone, and not that I just got used to it. More reading also has me thinking that the “heaviness” I have been using to describe my hair might have actually been what other people are calling waxy.  Not sure really. My hair has never been in a state that I would describe as waxy, but it could just be that it was waxy and I just didn’t know that’s what was going on.

More reading, yes! I suspect that I will keep reading about No Poo, BS/ACV, and all sorts of various methods, various do’s and dont’s, researching, testing, etc.

Another update in a few days pre BS/ACV wash!

No Poo Update

One day shy of a week.  I’d say that it’s going pretty well.

I had been washing every other day.  Tonight it had been closer to 3 days.

First two photos are of my hair shortly after it’s finished drying (as opposed to a day or more after washing).  The next 3 are from today, just before I washed it again.  I apologize for the inconsistent lighting, as the 3 day photos were taken in my bathroom because I just barely remembered to document the status of my hair before washing again.

Also, this is my first time fiddling with the gallery.  I’m not sure I like it, we’ll see if I change my mind.

For 3 days, it did not seem very far off from I’m used to.  Either the heaviness is easing, or I’m just getting used to it, hard to say!

I have also continued on with some research.  I had all the how’s and some of the why’s . (I will not be citing sources here, I encourage you take anything about my No Poo endeavour as merely an anecdotal experience, and the facts as I currently understand them.  So I also encourage you to do your own research)

So, Why do I need to use vinegar?  Why do some people use apple cider vinegar?  Why is it permissible to use lime or lemon juice?  Why do many sources say that the vinegar is for counteracting the baking soda?

A lot of it has to do with the pH.  On the pH scale most people’s hair is in the middle..ish.  Baking soda is a base, vinegar or lime/lemon juice are acids.  While baking soda will raise the pH, the vinegar will lower it again.  Now I knew all that already except for the bit about my hair having a pH balance, and that balance being fairly important.  Apple cider vinegar is more acidic than white vinegar.  Lime and lemon juice are also more acidic (I believe).  So what I originally thought was largely due to preference, is a little more technical than that.  It probably still has a bit to do with preference, but more so the preference of how it affects the pH of your hair.

There are other reasons to use an acid after baking soda, I’m still a little confused on that topic though, so I will save that for another update.

I’m also experimenting with using olive oil for a moisturizer boost.  My hair is not overly dry from going No Poo, it’s just something I wanted to try out.  I tried it once before I started No Poo, and with shampoo I had no problem getting the oil out of my hair.  With BS/WV….not so much.  I think I will have to wash it again to get it out.  I know that this is something plenty of No Poo veterans do, but it seems I’m missing a step or something.

More No Poo updates to come!

No Poo!

I’ve taken the plunge into No Poo land!  Last night was day 1. Prepare just as meandering a post as usual!

“No Poo” means No shampoo, and (sometimes) None of the poo that’s in shampoo!

Most of my motivation came from not liking the money I have to spend on “good” shampoo/conditioners.  I’m picky about the health and feel of my hair. Store brands just don’t cut it, leaving my hair dull, dry, and feeling rough.  My favorite brands were Kenra and Joico.  Pricey stuff (although not the most expensive I know!)

Here’s the skinny, as I understand it anyway.  Shampoos have detergent in them, detergent that we don’t really need to be putting in our hair.  Why are you supposed to use conditioner? Because the detergents strip away all the oil and good stuff from our hair.  If you have hair longer than an inch or so, and you’ve ever forgotten or skipped the conditioner you’ve probably noticed that your hair turns out pretty dry, and sometimes brittle/crunchy.

This is because many shampoos have sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), which is mostly used to create that “lather” we’re all used to.  But because of how SLS works, it’s also pretty good at stripping away too much oil.  Oil that your hair needs.  If your hair didn’t need it, they wouldn’t make conditioner to replace what was taken away!

The common immediate reaction to No Poo is “Eww! Gross!”

Not so fast!  For one, anyone who takes a No Poo approach to their hair care regimen has probably put more thought into their hair health and making this decision then you do when you’re deciding which new brand/scent you want to buy.

For two, just because someone is No Poo, doesn’t mean they don’t clean their hair!   For some people, that is the ultimate goal, to not ever wash their hair.  But I don’t think that many people can get there. It takes a long period of adjustment and gross hair to get to that, if you can ever get to that point.  I’ve read about some people who have gone 8+ months and their hair still isn’t out of the ‘icky’ phase.

What I’m doing is not that! I actually used some of that Sulfate Free Shampoo for about a month, in hopes that it might cut down some of the transition time, but more on that later. I also already only washed my hair ever 3-4 days.

The process:

I’m going with a Baking Soda (BS) and White Vinegar (WV) approach.  It’s very simple.

  • You mix 1-2 tablespoons of Baking Soda in 8-16 oz of water (1 teaspoon/1 cup ratio), same with the vinegar.
  • You pour the BS mixture in your hair and work it around.  It won’t lather, nor should it feel gritty.  If it does, add more water, in the future perhaps use less BS.
  • After you rinse, you use the WV mix, rinse again.

Once your hair is dry the vinegar smell goes away.   I may switch to Apple cider vinegar though, just for a nicer smell while I’m doing the washing, ha!

Now there is still a transition period, but with regular BS/Vinegar washing, it shouldn’t last long, A week or two maybe, for some people it’s up to a month.  I think it largely depends on your own oil production.

I’ve heard this is less likely to work if you have hard water.  I have no idea if I have hard water or not, so for now I’m pre-mixing with filtered water.  (And from now on, I will remember that taking ice-cold water from the fridge into the shower with me to dump on my head is not an awesome experience!)

Part of the transition is also working out the build up from previous products, so a clarifying shampoo to jump-start might be helpful, especially if you typically use a lot of products in your hair.

And speaking of products! Another No-No!  BS won’t be able to combat the heavy stuff left behind by most styling products (no fizz, smoothing, etc) However, the consensus seems to be that going No Poo eliminates the need for such things, especially if frizz is a concern.

Some people say “But my hair is TOO oily to not use shampoo!”  Which is highly unlikely.  Shampoo strips the oil out of your hair and scalp, so because there’s not enough, your body makes more.  Supply and demand.  Most people with super oily hair actually have their shampoo to blame, it’s causing the over production.

That’s about all my thoughts for now.  I will be updating about my progress.  I did not think to take any “before” pictures.  But this is 24 hours after the first BS/WV wash. For now I will stick with my usual washing schedule, but may increase frequency of washing if I hit a rough patch in the transition to see if that helps.  My hair feels normal, looks fine, feels clean (not greasy).  It does feel (and behave) like it’s a bit more weighted down than usual.

My hair is shoulder length, wavy/straight and very thick.Image

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