When I was a kid, I had a DIY hair-ruining experience that traumatized me. My hair melted off and it was my own fault for not reading the warning on the perm bottle. Over processing happens to many of us at some point. But it left me feeling very self-conscious about the way I looked. At the age of nine, I had officially became the perfect target market for Big Beauty ad campaigns.
For the same reason that a junkie might turn to religion, I turned to the enticing promises of beauty products to fix my down-and-out hair. I entered the Big Beauty marketplace as an up-and-coming insecure teenager with bad skin and hair and a will to be beautiful. It took me 20 years to look back and understand the origin of my unwavering belief in the words printed on plastic bottles.
As a hairdresser, I had been hearing about the no-poo method for years. No-poo-ing means using Baking soda and Apple Cider Vinegar or lemon juice to cleanse and condition the hair. My first thought was 1. Gross for not shampooing your hair, and 2. Double gross for using the word “poo” associated with hair.
First thing I did was rename it the ShamPHree method. It sounded prettier and made it easier to talk about.
But there was something about it that I found intriguing. Everyone I encountered who used this method generally liked their hair, while I complained and bitched about my hair, desperate for that hair product system that would magically turn me into a Pantene model.
My hair has gone through many changes: cuts, colors, styles, bangs, not to mention texture changes due to hormones. After I had my first child, my curly thick dry hair straightened out, thinned out, and got oily. Nature’s way of being an asshole while I nursed my colicky baby. Nice.
Still I remained, notoriously a hair product whore. I was controlled by my restless and constantly unsatisfied hair. I would find a product or product line that I liked, use it until it ceased to please me, and then move on to another. A new one would work for a while but at some point my hair would inevitably stop liking it, meaning it was time for a switch. I would be happy with my hair for a couple weeks, and then all of a sudden it would be lank, lifeless, and oily all over again. Over my now nearly 30 years, I have spent more money than I would like to admit on hair products.
One day, while watching Mad Men, I had one of those “DUH” moments when I realized that a good ad makes you think that you need something. A necessity. Without even wanting it, it becomes absolutely necessary to have it. I had been naive enough to let myself get tricked into thinking that I needed to empty my pockets to buy my own beauty.
This “duh” moment was the origin of my no-poo journey. I got tired of searching all over for something to fix me and make me beautiful. I was being fed BS by companies who wanted my money in return for my promise to never feel beautiful enough and keep on buying. And as a mother, my bullshit sensors are now very fine-tuned.
I must add that I am not anti-hair product. There are some great hair product companies out there. I respect the companies that are breaking the mold instead of defining what is “beautiful,” and are encouraging people to work with what they have naturally instead of fighting against it. I love that there is more of a focus on sustainability, natural hair, and social awareness emerging within these smaller companies. The industry is slowly changing to suit the wants and “needs” of 99% of the population who are living in an economy that is deep in recession, disillusioned by corporate America. People are slowly starting to get back to their roots. (Pardon the pun.)
I got tired of searching all over for something to fix me and make me beautiful… All I wanted was to like my hair and not pay dearly for it.
But it isn’t changing fast enough for me. All I wanted was to like my hair and not pay dearly for it. I started blogging about hair to share my hair trials and tribulations with others. Part of starting my blog was to report about jumping off the hamster wheel of beauty industry standards, into the great black abyss of what I hoped would be a more sustainable and self honoring beauty regimen. I switched to the no-poo method.
First thing I did was rename it the ShamPHree method. It sounded prettier and made it easier to talk about. Sham for Shampoo, PH because it balances the PH of the hair and scalp, and ShamPHree because it is about freeing your hair of shams.
It took a bit of experimenting with different ways of applying the Baking Soda and Apple Cider Vinegar. I went and purchased paint mixing bottles from my local art supply store to use as my applicator bottles. I also purchased some yummy-smelling essential oils to add to my apple cider vinegar so I would still get the yummy, clean, and fresh scented hair that I missed from my shampoo days.
My hair looked and felt great after my first ShamPHree. Two weeks in, my hair was better than it had ever been. After two months, I had my ShamPHree system down. My hair was shiny, soft, smooth, and balanced. I could go for four to five days in between ShamPhree-ing and it never looked or felt oily and limp like it did before. I honestly didn’t expect it to be such a drastic change.
I am now eight months into my ShamPHree journey and I have no intention of ever going back. I have spent a total of $26 on my ShamPHree journey experiment. My hair is as happy and healthy as I could ever have imagined. I have successfully detoxed my hair and mind from the grips of mainstream beauty and now I’m on to questioning and personally boycotting other corporate shams like useless baby gear, Febreze, and gimmicky kitchen appliances. I only wish I would have started sooner. But then, had it been sooner… it may not have inspired me to share my journey with you.