No Poo for This Curly Girl

My no poo journey has been rather haphazard at times, but I’ve finally fallen into a routine that works for me and with some surprising results. I’ve gone from I’d like healthy hair to it’s all about the curl pattern!

For those of you not used to the terminology, “no poo” means no shampoo – let’s get this straight, this does not mean I don’t wash my hair. If anything, I spend more time cleansing & preening than when I was full soapsuds. It’s just that I’ve changed what I stick in my hair to match what it needs to stay healthy.

Just like eating well, my hair requires a balanced diet & sone gentle encouragement to bounce into it’s natural curl pattern. That diet means not stripping out the natural oils with shampoo leaving it dry & frizzy. Instead I cleanse my hair with conditioner, called “co-washing”. Just like ditching the washing machine, this requires extra effort on my part to scrub & massage my scalp until the conditioner grabs anything that needs to be washed away (having Mr Geek on hand helps avoid dislocated digits). And now for some chemistry! Another big no-no for curlies are non-water soluble silicones as they don’t wash away without sulfate shampoos (did I mention that I don’t do the poo thing?). This means following a strict set of ingredients & squealing with delight when they’re sold in a local supermarket – there’s lists of “curly girl approved” products that range from 79p to +£20 and just because they’re expensive doesn’t mean your hair will love them more. Lots of it is trial & error and as my hair recovers from the torture I put it through my needs change.

Transition to healthy hair takes a long time (like 8 months +), but even after a few short months my curls are happier than I’ve ever seen them. And yes, curls! Not just frizz & waves, but big 2C/3A curls 😌

Er… 2whatnow? Well, curl patterns come in all shapes & sizes from 1a (straight as a ruler), to 4c (kinky ziggly). Prior to using the Curly Girl Method, I had 1c – 2b on a good day.

I’m really lucky to have such an easy transition – lots of people find their hair rebels for a good few weeks, but mine has only objected when I tried a gelatin treatment (that’s another post!). So, for now I’m co-washing with silicone free conditioner once or twice per week, deep conditioning once per week with this lot:

(For reference, the skin active is for my face!!)

A combo of olive oil massaged in with the (un)done and left in a showercap for an hour whilst I bathe – rinse – then 2Tbsp of Apple Cider Vinegar in warm water tipped over & left for a few minutes to remove any build up – rinse – cowash – rinse – squish in a 10p splodge of conditioner (don’t rinse) – squish in Cantu Curl Activator Creme – squish in gel (preferably flaxseed, but usually V05 hard set because my homemade flaxseed invariably goes off) – plop for 30 minutes – diffuse until crunchy – finally Scrunch Out The Crunch! Et Voila! And….. Sleep. In a buff.

Seems like hard work eh? It’s only once a week & a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do (or a guy if you’re Luke Arnold, because we all know he’s secretly plopping those curls).

Whilst he may have my #hairgoals I’m still pleased with my progress. So much so that I even gave myself a DIY deva cut before our holiday! (Again, for those of you not following CG, a deva cut is a haircut where you cut the hair dry by cutting one curl at a time to form a shape that encourages your curls to form well – usually by adding lots of layers).

For the lowdown on the nopoo / Curly Girl terminology, I wrote this post post a while back.

Are you no poo, low poo, or a curly girl? What are your tips for making your hair happy?

Almost Cut My Hair… Then I Did

Ever since I decided to write this blog I’ve been humming the Crosby, Steel, Nash, & Young song that my Dad used to play me as a kid… 


Actually, I did this a few weeks ago before we went away on holiday, but I wanted some time to get used to it before I blogged. 
As some of you know, I’ve spent a great deal of this year wearing headscarves (officially a tichel) to make light of my hair coming out in clumps at the start of the year. I kept it long despite the daily winding up of balls of hair & needing Mr Geek to wash it for me because 1. I couldn’t get my arms up to shampoo & 2. The weight of my wet hair needed me to support my head with my hands. I did this because, well, I gave long red hair. That’s who I am. Until I snapped.

My GP has now put me on an extraordinarily high dose of vitamin D, which I just don’t process and my hair has recovered in as much as my scalp is covered once more. It’s also had an impact on my energy levels & I’ve stopped falling asleep mid conversation for the most part (now, it really is because you bore me).

But I wanted to look “better”. No matter how funky I made my headscarves, being in a wheelchair, they just added to the “sick” look. So I marched my family into the hairdressers & whilst the kids were having their Pre-holiday trim, I asked them to lip off 1ft of hair from my head. I had a vague style in mind & handed her these two photos announcing that I wished to have a midlife crisis & hang about playing the ukulele.

She looked at me & asked if I was completely sure I wanted to cut such long hair & if my husband minded me having so much hair cut off. I opted for even shorter. In my mind, the end result would be the catalyst of me dropping the uptight image & Boho my way through the summer with potential ukulele based nudity.

The reality was close to my mental image even if it took a while to work out how to style it (I have natural ringlets- who knew!?)

From a practical point of view washing, brushing & styling is all infinitely easier with shorter hair and the front is long enough to still be clipped up out of my face.

From a deep down emotional point of view, this is another thing that EDS took away. I can’t manage with long hair anymore & gave in. I loved my hair & to a point also loved my scarves which I will continue to wear when I feel the need to cover  (I didn’t when we went out in Germany & surrounded by women in hijab, I rather wished I had covered some days as a safety blanket). I need to set about working on the new ‘short hair’ identity. It’s still red, but not as red (or pink, or green) as I’d like it to be, but give me time…
When I get back to work, I’ve set myself the mission to tame it into looking more like this:

For those of you who haven’t come across Fleabag, search it out on Amazon (or BBC3 if you’re in the UK). Her hair is amazing. Oh, and the show is tremendous too.

So there you have it – good hair news in that it’s healthy & returning thanks to hearty vit D doses, and other hair news in that my midlife / chronic illness crisis has left me shedding any high flying career ideas that may have once been top of my Maslow triangle,  instead, with holes appearing at the bottom of the hierarchy, I’m reverting back to by teens with a life goal of obtaining that dishevelled & slightly unwell, but still oddly sexy look a la Courteney Love, and a Palmer etc. and playing the ukulele naked somewhere. Now after 2 cesareans, emergency surgeries, & a penchant for Milka, no-one needs to see that!

Just for reference, I was prattling on about where I sit on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – like the foundations of how to be a happy & fulfilled person – without the lower tiers, the higher tiers fail. Based upon this, where are we do you think?

Reduced mobility & Boho clothes are really very suited. There’s another blog right there. But for now, what was your biggest thing you “gave into” because of disability?