Give it to me, don’t give it away
Don’t think about what the others say
My skins getting clear, my hairs so bright
All you do is f*** me every day and night
You’re my secret beauty routine
Na, na, na, na, what my body has seen
I am lookin’ good and I’m feeling nice
Baby you’re the best magazine advice
Liz Phair, H.W.C
So I wrote a couple weeks ago about my experimentation with shampoo alternatives. I’ve had some small success with it, but I have changed a few things.
First off, while I am now quite pleased with the baking soda rinse, I usually do my hair every other day, occasionally letting it go to a third, I found that the henna conditioning was not at all what I hoped. It does a fabulous job of deep conditioning and absorbing an oily buildup from using only baking soda, it does not do anything for softness or manageability. Lucky for me, I found exactly what I needed. I went out and picked up $0.28 worth of dried chamomile flowers, brewed a light tea with a tiny fraction of my purchase, and put it into a spritz bottle. Every time I wash my hair, a spritz it with the tea and comb through. It is fabulous stuff. It smooths the hair shaft, detangles, reduces frizz and generally softens my hair. I’m hooked.
I have used the henna twice now (two weeks apart) and I am now getting comments about how brilliantly red my hair has become. So even though I am using it lightly, the color is dramatic. I think probably a combination of the fact that I am a natural red head, so my hair takes the color easily and the fact that I am not washing with harsh soaps or chemicals. So this week I am skipping the henna… maybe next week, maybe the week after and we’ll see what frequency really gives me the best balance of condition, residue removal and color.
I also have been playing with yucca root as body wash. That has been less successful. I harvested a really nice root, peeled it, chopped it (I was going to grate it, but it seemed like I was losing all of the soap so I switched to chopping), put it in the foot of a pair of stockings with a little chamomile (told you I’m hooked) and tied it off. First use, very little suds, no odor control, it worked well as a loofah (between the hard chop and the stocking texture) and a little skin softening. So I researched more and found a site about modern native americans using yucca soap to process raw wool. Couple things came out – first, they remove the root by pounding with a hammer, then smash the root itself. Then, according to the site, yucca root only suds in cold water. Ah ha!
So I have collected more root and will be smashing it this afternoon. I tired the old batch in cold water this morning and had mixed results. I added a little baking soda to a glass of cold water and then frothed the sachet in that before washing. It still did not froth as much as I would like – a couple possibilities; it’s getting to old/used up; the chopping didn’t break up enough of the fibers; and/or I am using narrowleaf yucca which may be less effective than the preferred banana yucca. Banana yucca does grow here, but apparently not in my backyard. So if this next batch is no good, I’ll have to look a little further afield to see if I can find yucca bacatta.
So that’s where we stand right now. Hair, check, skin… still working on it.