Gimme a head with hair, long beautiful hair
Shining, gleaming, steaming, flaxen, waxen
Give me down to there, hair!
Shoulder length, longer (hair!)
Here baby, there mama, Everywhere daddy daddy
Hair! (hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair)
Flow it, Show it;
Long as God can grow it, My Hair!
Hair The Musical, Hair
A little departure from my norm, today. About a month ago I got into a conversation with my friend Two Knives Katie. Katie is very much into voluntary simplicity and spends much of her time living out of her van with her friend Mutt. As a result, she is always trying to find ways to decrease the amount of stuff she has to lug around. Well, in this particular instance she was considering the deep moral question of shampoo.
After some discussion, she tried using simple baking soda in warm water. And she was hooked. So simple, yet it left her hair clean, fresh and soft. At about this time, I had just returned from my trip and a discussion with a friend that never washes his hair, just gives it a good rinse often. His hair is amazingly healthy, but sometimes a little coarser or greasier than I would like. So this appealed to me – a good balance between nothing and a bunch of commercial products.
A few weeks ago I gave it a whirl. I had some mixed results – of course I know that a change like this takes time for your body to adjust to, so I kept on. But after a few weeks, I realized that while my hair was stabilizing, I was ending up with always slightly greasy roots, and the ends (I have long hair) were getting increasingly dry and frayed looking. Makes sense, I was not getting the oils to spread through my hair sufficiently to make up for conditioning the ends. So I started looking for alternatives.
I’m a natural red head. Or at least, I was. As I have gotten older, my hair has gotten lighter and lighter. More and more I get comments about my “blond” hair and I don’t like it at all. I have finally come to terms with “strawberry blond” but still it irks. So a shop down the street sells natural henna and for a while I have been thinking about trying it out. But I never have because I have an aversion to dying my hair. Always have.
But now, it turns out, henna is also a natural conditioner. It works by sealing the surface oils in your hair into the hair shaft. So I broke down and bought some. I read the instructions, and then went online and read a bunch of other instruction sets. Luckily I did, and luckily I tend to take instructions as mere guidelines. According to the package, I was supposed to load up my hair with a full two cups (give or take) of henna paste and leave it for anywhere from 30 minutes to four hours. Then shampoo, then condition with hot oil. Oh my.
What I actually did was make the paste, let it cure for several hours and then worked through maybe ¼ cup of it, combed it through to spread it evenly (and thinly) and then left it for a half hour. Then I rinsed it all out and rinsed with my baking soda and water and rinse again. What I got was very nearly my natural color (at least, my natural color when I was younger), the roots felt clean and the ends felt smoother and better conditioned than they have for months.
So now, all I have to do is determine the best frequency for my hair. The color needs to be refreshed about once a month, or every two weeks without fading. Of course, I used very little and I don’t use harsh cleansers… so it could be more or less often, in fact. And I don;t know how long the conditioning will last. So its still an experiment in progress. I also need to see how long the paste lasts before it becomes foul. In the future I will only make up a tablespoon or two of powder each week. But right now I have an almost full mason jar of the stuff. Once I figure it all out, I’ll post an update.