When we went on our first date (not that I knew it was a date), Nik came away with the impression that I was a bit of a “crunchy, granola girl.” And rightly so really – I had just come from washing my car, having changed my shirt in the Trader Joe’s parking lot. So he was lucky I had a clean shirt on but my hair was in a braid, I had very little makeup on, and I was wearing Birkenstocks. A clear “granola” tip-off, right?
Well, I’ve never considered myself to be all that crunchy but I guess I do fall nearer that end of the spectrum, particularly compared to most women I’ve met on the East Coast. Perhaps it’s because I grew up in rural Alaska but I’ve never been quite so interested in shoes, makeup, and clothes as many women. Perhaps, this is also because I’ve never felt all that comfortable or accomplished in those areas either. When I moved to Baltimore, it probably took me 3-4 years before I felt like I was dressing appropriately for social events that I was going to. I would show up in jeans and a T-shirt and be severely underdressed – for something that I thought was just a little party! So I had to make a conscious effort to buy more skirts, to dress up more, and it has worked. Worked so well, in fact, that now, when I go home to Alaska, I often feel like I’m overdressed.
So anyway, over the past few months (since March), I’ve been on a bit of a “granola” experiment – mainly, I’ve stopped washing my hair with commercial shampoo. I’ve been making my own shampoo from a recipe that I found (and have since heavily adapted) in ReadyMade magazine (a DIY Martha Stewart-esque magazine). I also only wash my hair twice a week – a big change from my 6-7 days a week addiction before.
My hair definitely went through a season of months where I thought that I was going to have to shave it off. It was exceedingly greasy, didn’t want to do anything that I wanted to, and basically drove me crazy. But then, sort of gradually, I realized that my hair was back to normal. Or I should say, it is back to its true normal – not the chemically-induced normal that I had lived with my whole life. I don’t have to use any sort of gel, conditioner, or styling products. My hair is also the best shape that it’s probably ever been in. I haven’t had my hair cut since January and I have very few split ends. I think I can attribute that to three things – the new shampoo, less washing and hence less hot hair-drying, and I now use a wide-toothed comb instead of a brush.
So yes, I’m one of those weird girls who only washes my hair twice a week. I figure that I save at least an hour a week that I used to spend on doing my hair. (Sadly, I’m using up that saved hour commuting to my new middle school but that’s a whole different story).
And guess what? I like being one of those girls! I like knowing that I’m not putting any dangerous chemicals onto my hair, into my body, or into the Bay. And my hair likes it too.
Part 2: The technical stuff (as in why I stopped using commercial shampoo, why my hair freaked out in the beginning, and the recipe for my homemade stuff if you want to try it too). Coming up soon – no promises. (It took me three weeks to finish this post!)