the faint scent of hopelessness

As promised, here’s the written result of the no shampoo freak out I had last week.  I’ll have you know as of today, I’m 69 days shampoo free, but the following still basically represents my current state of mind.  Enjoy. 


Is it too soon to digress?  

When I was little my mom would say, “I’ve had it up to here!” and the line was somewhere around the middle of her forehead.  And really, tell me, is it just me or does anyone else consider that more of a challenge than a warning?  Turns out it’s always a warning, my young readers, do not under any circumstances attempt to get the line above the head.  It will not work out well for you. 

So anyway, I’VE HAD IT UP TO HERE.  And by HERE I mean the top of my scalp.

This whole no shampoo arrangement is starting to harsh my gig.  It’s cramping my style.  It’s chapping my hide.  You savvy?  You picking up what I’m throwing down?   I know one thing for sure, my friend whose name rhymes with Harry is very interested in where I’m headed with this, and she’s getting all set up for the ultimate “in your face.”  And maybe she should be.

I’m on the edge, but not of glory, people.  I can finally see the end of my will to continue and I’m heading towards it like a moth to a flame.  I’m 60+ days without shampoo and I’m out of new ideas to fix the fact that it isn’t working anymore.   It’s as if everything I try works perfectly, but only ONCE!  The vinegar, the lemons, the baking soda, the egg whites, the cornstarch, it’s enough to DRIVE ME CRAZY!   ARG I’m so frustrated I’m falling back on all CAPS to make my point.  I can’t keep doing this. 

But I can’t stop. 

I’m in a kind of strange, sometimes gross, very confusing limbo.  Somehow my shampoo has managed to Vulcan Mind-Meld me into moving it out of the cupboard in which I was storing it for guests, and back into my shower, where it sits and mocks me with its fragrant, shine-producing, chemical-laden I-knew-you’d-cave smirk.  I very well might be losing my mind.

But I keep thinking that I should keep trying. 

I’ve read that it takes some people 3 months to “detoxify,” and I’m 2 deep.  Honestly, I’m pretty sure I’m not still detoxifying.  My scalp is definitely not producing the amount of oils it was a few months ago.  My scalp/roots isn’t the problem.  It’s everything else.  My hair doesn’t feel right.  It’s dull and lifeless and gross.  It’s not dirty, like smelly dirty, it just has the faint scent of hopelessness and despair.  I’m not talking about day 2 or day 3 here.  I can smell the sorrow as I step out of the shower. 

I need a solution, a compromise of sorts.  I need to reaffirm my purpose and evaluate my process.   I need to figure this mess out before I go all Sinead O’Connor. But I just can’t go back to store-bought shampoo today, this I know for sure.  If I give in now, I’ll always wonder what could have been.  In fact, it will bother me so much I can already tell you that if I stop I’ll start all over in a week and my husband probably will institutionalize me.

And where would that leave you? 

Oh COME ON, I wouldn’t just abandon you.  I’m going to figure this out.  Stop fretting.

I ditched the shampoo first and foremost to rid myself of unwanted chemicals.  That is still the primary objective.  I also wanted to stop stripping my hair of its natural oils and I still want that as well.  Lastly, I wanted to hold on to a bit more of my hard-earned money.  Yep, still want that too.  Only now, I’m officially adding another objective.  I want my hair to look and feel at least fair, if not, good, just not bad.  Is that really too much to ask?   

What’s that?  You think I want to have my cake and eat it too?  Well… huh. 

Heck yes I want to eat the freaking cake.  Who doesn’t want to eat the cake?  Why does the cake even exist if not to be eaten?   That’s just the stupidest thing ever.

“Um, I’ll have the cake.  Why no, I don’t intend to eat it.” 

I mean seriously, people, how do you even eat a cake you don’t have?  Nothing about that makes any sense at all.   So weird, but since you brought it up, whatever, fine, I won’t eat the cake.  But. It. Had. Better. Look. And. Smell. Darn. Good. 

Here’s the new plan.  I’m not going to give up.  Yet.  But this wave has crested my friends.  I’m either going to ride it into the shores of fabulousandawesomehair, or I’m going to wipeout and be thrown against the rocks, let’s just call them the rocks of I’mgoingtostartshampooingmyhairagain.  I’m going to ride it out through July.  But if I can’t find a way to bring my hair back to life, I’ll have to settle for a compromise.  Maybe I’ll get one of the reduced chemical products that are starting to come out.  Or maybe I’ll just give it a good wash once or twice a month starting in August.  Either way, the end is nigh.

So how about it?  Anyone else gone/going through this hubbub?  Any tips?  Suggestions?  Advice?  Help a sister out.  




  1. Rwandick · · Reply

    Okay, Sister here to the rescue lol You have stripped your hair from the build up so of course its going to be dull and Blah. Now, You need to condition it with a deep conditioner. You can choose from the ones in this link I sent you and see if any work. Love your blog it makes me smile. Love your Sister, the Wingert one lol

    1. Yay Sister! This is exactly what I needed. I thought conditioning was what I was lacking; in fact a few days ago I rubbed straight up coconut oil into my hair and just left it. Admittedly, not the best idea ever, but hey I’ve been grasping at straws. And believe it or not, I bought jojoba oil last week 🙂 guess I know what I’ll be doing tonight. Love you! Thanks!!!

  2. I wish I could give you some encouragement, but I’m weak and caved early.

    I did see something out there somewhere about making a rinse of rosemary steeped in boiling water, then adding only a smidge of the ACV to it.

    1. Hey LC. Just read your peas post. You’re rad and I totally love reading your blog. So, I’ve seen that too, I even recommended it to another gal who’s trying the no poo thing. And I would try it, except for the unfortunate fact that I truely and honestly, totally hate rosemary. The smell, the taste. Bleck.

      1. Best to ignore that rinse totally, then. 🙂 it certainly wouldn’t enhance your current experience.

      2. Ha! No, no it would not. 🙂

  3. OH EXCELLENT. Another chemical-avoidant freak. I love you already.

    Not to discourage you off your quest… but I ended up off the wagon, and back on shampoo. I could not stand it. It made my entire head feel ick. And that ick feeling kind of gravitated down my forehead and around my ears. This was a while ago, and I don’t remember how long I lasted… a few weeks? I did try. I am a health-nazi by any standards… but more, I am the kind of person who hates disruption to my routine and that extends to how I expect my head to feel.

    I use a fragrance-free shampoo from Whole Foods. I cannot say it gives me near the amount of chemically-induced lather that I’d prefer… but I don’t think it’s going to kill me either.

    1. I totally get it. Your ick (my bleck) is hovering around my hairline, but I fear it will drip ick at any moment and everyone will see. Oh man, I’m going to need a squeegee for my forehead, aren’t I? I’m starting to think this whole shampoo free movement is a conspiracy. Thanks for the whole foods shampoo tip. I think I’m going to need it.

  4. Hey! I’m still no-pooing, but have had some days that are better than others. I guess it’s about five weeks or so for me now. I like Rwandick’s suggestions about the conditioner and if you do it I’d like to hear how it goes! I haven’t done anything like that yet…. I do the coconut oil thing, but sometimes put in too much or too little. So, I haven’t perfected that yet either. I did consider trying Wen, which supposedly ditches the detergent, but looking at the list of ingredients there are still some mystery chemicals on there and the product doesn’t appear to be easy on the wallet either; so I haven’t tried it. Plus, I want to persist with the baking-soda-and-vinegar routine. I haven’t tried that rosemary rinse yet either, but I totally should. Since you have several things that have worked well for you once, I wonder how it would go if you put all of those things in some sort of rotation so you’re not doing that same thing every time? Then again, that could get pretty complicated to keep track of. You’ll need to make a spreadsheet or something. :/ Anyway, as my inspiration for jumping on the no-poo wagon, I hope you’ll stick with it! 🙂

    1. Hey Jessica L! Good for you! It’s nice to be able to compare notes. After the post I did a warm beer and egg white soak. It worked very well so I haven’t done any deep conditioning yet, but that’s next on my list. I totally need to do a spreadsheet, seriously! If I stick this out, I think plotting my successes and failures is going to be necessary. This weekend I made my second batch of liquid soap, this time geared more towards a shampoo. The only ingredients are coconut oil, olive oil, caster oil, jojoba oil, water and potassium hydroxide (lye). As I understand it the lye cooks off and basically becomes salt? I have a book coming this week, so I’ll know more by the time I get around to blogging about the soap. But it seems like a pretty good alternative to anything I could buy. I’m thinking of using it once or twice a month to just get a really good clean. I don’t know if that’s cheating. It’s going to take some time for the soap to cure, so I’ve got awhile before I decide. Anyways, keep me posted, let me know how it goes with you!

      1. I’ve been gathering some of the ingredients to make some of the DIY shampoos listed here too. Any of the recipes that have soap use castile soap, so I bought some Dr. Bronners. My hair seems to have gotten a little dull too, after the last few washings, so I wonder if I need a more thorough clean once every couple of weeks or so. I’m going to mix up one of the recipes shown on that link, so we’ll see how that works.

      2. On a related note… I have my first haircut (since no-pooing) scheduled for Saturday. I keep thinking about your “that’s awesome! ready to wash your hair?” post. LOL! I’m *hoping* the girl that cuts my hair will be cool about it. She already knows I’m a little crunchy based on some of our past conversations, so this may not completely surprise her. (I asked her once for my hair clippings so I could put them in my compost/garden.) I’m thinking I’ll wash it myself that day, so they won’t have any reason to want to lather me up. 🙂

      3. Well? How did the cut go? 🙂

  5. I keep trying to reply to the above thread through my dashboard, but I don’t think it will let me. The haircut went okay. I washed my hair before I went to help avoid the issue, plus I was in a hurry and trying to meet my family at a fair afterward. I did make a DIY leave-in oil conditioner that was made with rosemary, and she smelled that and started asking me what I was using. She was genuinely interested and curious and didn’t give me any grief about it. But doing the baking soda-and-apple-cider-vinegar routine with my coconut oil leave-in was starting to leave built-up yuck on the back of my hair. So, I have been mixing some DIY shampoo using liquid castile soap mixed with some other things (aloe vera gel, various oils, and glycerine) and have been washing with that. I still rinse sometimes with the apple cider vinegar rinse for the detangling effect. So, still no commercials shampoos or conditioners, which is good.

    1. Hi Jessica – wow good for you, you’re making it work! I, on the other hand, have officially thrown in the towel. I’m bummed because I really wanted it to work for me, and I tried and tried, but not a chance. The last straw was actually pretty funny. I made homemade liquid soap with oils geared toward hair and thought I would try that as an alternative to the baking soda. So I tried shampooing with it and it started burning my head! Clearly, I did something(s) wrong with that batch. I jumped outta the shower and grabbed my guest stash of shampoo so fast… I had to get it out and I wasn’t taking chances. Now, I’ve moved on to the next best thing? I’m using Nature’s Gate, sulfate free stuff. It’s quasi crunchy. The craziest thing I noticed was that as soon as I started using it, bam, there was hair in the drain, not as much as with normal shampoo, but still. While using the baking soda that had completely stopped. Until I can perfect my liquid soap and make it safe for human use I will keep using sulfate free, but I’m still hoping something even better will come along. Let me know if you hear any new ideas!

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