WFMW – Thrifty Cleansing

June 15, 2011 at 8:25 am (Uncategorized)

I’ve been promising my friend who has a Thrifty Sister newsletter she sends out among a few friends that I would get this post written. I gave her a titillating preview of “Thrifty” personal hygiene, so I should get this completed.

The truth is I’ve been afraid to put it into writing what I’ve been experimenting with. Many will think it’s gross, yet it has been a wonderful experience and I’m very happy with the result.

We here in the West however, have been programmed to expect certain things from ourselves and others in the personal hygiene arena.

Western thinking encourages daily showers and shampoo. I had a hairdresser tell me you must shampoo twice and condition twice, every day to have healthy hair. Why then, when I followed those instructions did my hair resemble hay and straw? My scalp was dry and itchy, dandruff that those special medicated shampoos did nothing for, and don’t get me started on the amount of leave in conditioners and anti frizz products I was putting on and then washing off the next day only to put them in my hair again.

Something wasn’t working. I had to find a different way.

Add to my “hair issues” the fact that I should have had stock in Suave and Lubraderm. I went through so much lotion! If I was African-American you would have called my skin ashy. VERY dry and flaky, I itched constantly and I was applying tons of lotion.

Again, something had to be wrong. I started slathering myself in baby oil before each shower. That seemed to help but not fix the problem.

Then I ran across an article on Parent Hacks.   A mother was having trouble with her little girl letting her wash rinse repeat and condition her very tanglie hair. The 3 in ones didn’t work so she started just conditioning, no shampooing. What she found was that it worked. Her daughter’s hair was manageable and easy to comb. It never looked greasie and since she was only conditioning then rinsing, fighting stopped.

Thus began my first experiment. Conditioning only.

Worked well. The itchy scalp went away. The dandruff went away. The need for all those leave in products went away!

Then I stumbled across this blog…Sorta Crunchy

Shampoo free. Or Poo-free as they termed it.

I decided to try it.

And it works!

My hair has never been more manageable.

I took it a step further. I use only water. That’s right just water.

I spend the same amount of time under the shower spray massaging my scalp and rinsing my hair as if I was massaging in shampoo and rinsing, but without anything but water. Only if I go swimming in a chlorinated pool do I use the baking soda and Apple Cider vinegar to get out the chlorine.

I’ve been doing this since February, water only since March 2011. I did have about a week where I was slightly oily and I just pulled it back into a bun and let it be.

You can’t get much more thrifty than free.

No shampoo to buy, no conditioner to buy, no leaving products to buy. I do have a can of spray coconut oil that I spray lightly after I get out of the shower, that’s it.

Here’s another link to Sorta Crunchy, with an update of how it worked for her.

Here’s another take on it. This time from The Herbwife’s Kitchen.

I went cold turkey not the gentle way she suggests.

I do use a natural bristle hair brush, $5 at walmart in the ethnic hair care section.

I brush at night, use a large tooth comb in the morning and I “wash” twice a week. More on that in a minute.

I love my hair, I no longer feel like I am fighting it. The day I shower, I towel dry, spray a little coconut oil and comb my hair. That’s it, I let it air dry, the curls are well-defined and look lovely. That night comb with the large tooth comb and pull it back into a low pony tail for sleeping, it’s past my shoulders and I hate to feel it around my neck as I sleep. The next day I comb and fluff it back out a bit, maybe wetting my hands with water and running them through to bring the curl back out. That night, brush with my natural bristle brush to pull my natural scalp oils to the ends, pull back into low pony tail for sleep. The next day I usually bush it and leave it in a pony tail/loose bun. “Wash” again the 3rd day.

Shower days are usually Wednesday and Saturday. I started the Oil Face Washing Method I found on Sorta crunchy, can you tell I love her site?

I started with equal parts castor oil, Jojoba oil and grapeseed oil. I also find I need more moisturizer so I added avocado oil as a moisturizer. I only “wash” my face with my triple oil “cleanser” on shower days. I slather on the oil and cover my face with a nice hot wash cloth ala old-fashioned barber shave style then when the cloth cools I use it to wipe off the excess oil.

Another blog on OCM by Aisha Wood.

After doing both the shampoo free and the OCM on my face I began to wonder if this wasn’t the answer to my lotion addiction as well. I decided to experiment a little on my own and in a soap dispenser I placed a 50/50 mix of olive oil and castor oil and began to apply that all over before stepping into the shower.

After steaming my face and “washing” my hair I take a loofah and scrub off the excess olive/caster oil.

That’s it.

Lest you think I am able to do this because I never sweat, never fear, I do.  I go to Curves 3 times a week (well, that’s what I try to do) and I’m getting back into running, and I do clean my house and work up a sweat.  However, what causes the smell is bacteria on the skin mixing with the sweat.  I’m beginning to think that the OCM keeps that bacteria low because even when I sweat, it doesn’t seem to smell bad.  It used to be that after a workout I had to get into the shower quick because I couldn’t stand to smell myself.  Now, Jim tells me that I never have that B.O. smell.  Last week when I had the flu with chills and cold sweats I could smell an odor, but I chalk, that up to sick sweat.

I buy the olive oil by the gallon at BJ’s, that’s a wholesale warehouse, Sam’s club type store. The castor oil I buy from my local natural foods store as well as the grapeseed, jojoba, and avocado oils.

The avocado I actually buy the cooking quality, not the cosmetic quality of, both are cold pressed and as far as I can tell, identical except the food quality bottle is cheaper by the ounce.

I’m not sure what I actually spend a month on the oils. I have only bought one bottle of each so far and I haven’t run out yet.

I do know that I’m not spending near as much as I was on personal hygiene products and my hair and skin feel and look SO much better that even if this wasn’t a “thrifty” option, it would still be my option.

So there’s what I do. You may not be willing to try it, you may think me weird for doing it, but, it works VERY well for me.

Linked up to We are THAT Family, Works For Me Wednesday

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15 Comments

  1. 'Becca said,

    Wow! That’s really interesting! I wash my hair with vinegar but only some of the time; most days just rinsing works well. It’s amazing how many of these “have to” hygiene things are really counter-productive! (Have you tried a reusable menstrual cup?

    • karanutt said,

      I’m currently on Depo shots due to the need for a stable reliable birth control for a year post gastric bypass surgery, but I do have those in my bathroom closet to try.

      • 'Becca said,

        I think since you say “those” plural, you might mean Instead softcups, which are marketed for single use. (It’s possible to reuse each one a few times; it’s just not approved by the FDA.) I have tried both Instead and the reusable cups that last about 10 years, and I much prefer the reusable ones. There’s some comparison in my article.

  2. Carolyn said,

    I jumped over here from Simple Mom. I’ve been poo free for a number of years and love it. I just wash with water throughout the week and once a week use vinegar/water/rosemary rinse. Curious, how to you use coconut oil in a spray can. I could see that in the summer, but winter-no way would my coconut oil spray in a mister. I just put a little coconut oil in my hand and work it through my hair once or twice a week. I am intrigued with the spray idea though.

    • karanutt said,

      I found the coconut oil spray at our local health food store already in the can just like Pam in the cooking oil section. Since I only spray my hair twice a week it seems to be lasting and well worth the money, I have yet to find a refillable mister that works well even for olive oil. :(

      • Jaime said,

        I use a refillable mister (that you pump) that I got from Pampered Chef for my olive oil and I wonder if it might work for your coconut oil? Just an idea. I’ve been using it for years and if it gets “gummed up”, I simply soak all the parts in hot water and it’s as good as new.

        What does the coconut oil do? Help with dry hair? Help tame frizzies for your curly hair?

        I’ve been using the BS/ACV method for about 4 weeks and I’ve begun to feel like my hair just doesn’t smell good. It does stink when I put it to my nose and smell it, but I feel like I’ll get a whiff of it throughout the day and it just doesn’t smell that great. Maybe I’m just missing the shampoo smell? What, if any, oils would you recommend to get a pleasant smell in place of the shampoo smell? Would I just add a few drops to my BS spray bottle? I also thought about using lemon juice in place of the ACV to see if it leavesa pleasant lingering smell? I’ve read article after article and, while I”m pretty pleased with the results, I still have some questions…

        Thanks for any help you can offer! :-)

      • karanutt said,

        Hi Jaime,
        Thanks for stopping by. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature so the reusable pump wouldn’t work, I’m not sure just how they get the oil spray I buy to work, but it does. :) I notice that when I don’t use the coconut oil after my shower that my curls are not as defined and my hair has a courser feel, so I think the coconut oil has a softening and curl defining effect. I only use the BS/ACV if I’ve been in a clorinated pool. I’ve now been doing the “poo-free” for 8 months and I’ve only used the BS/AVC maybe 3 times in those 8 months. I do color my hair, just did last night, and I use an all natural henna color I get from my local health food store. I have a lot of grey and I’ve always liked being a red head.

        I tried something new with the color last night. It had been a bit more coppery in the past than I cared for, so I left it on my hair for an hour and a half, not something I’d recommend with regular hair color!, it turned out beautiful! The color on the grey is more of a deep red instead of copper. NO burning, NO hair damage. I have no split ends that I can find. I’m anxious for my sister, who is a hairdresser, to see it at Thanksgiving. She thinks I’m a crazy hippie, but loves me anyway. :)

        As for smell, Be careful with the lemon juice, I’ve used that to bleach my hair in my teenage years, it has about the same effect as Sun-In, blonde highlights and could burn your hair. Any essential oil would work for a pleasant smell, you’d just have to put it in a carrier, such as a drop of olive oil or such, there are some that you can put directly on, read the labels. Some of the oils, such as tea tree are an astringent and would burn you if not added to oil before touching your skin. I personally don’t use any because most any floral scent is a trigger for my husbands migraines. I notice a slight coconut smell right after spraying my hair, but a it doesn’t linger.

        Do keep in mind that at about the 6 week mark you are going to get oily, this is normal and will pass. Many give up at this time thinking it’s not working. It only lasted about a week and a half, I wore hats and kept my hair in up-do’s. My hair has never felt this healthy or looked this healthy, I don’t think anything would convince me to go back to shampoo at this point.

        When anyone finds out I use only water to “wash” my hair, they are amazed. When I tell them the rest, about the no soaps at all, only oils, they are astonished, Especially if they happen to be working out next to me at the gym. I sweat, but it never smells bad. My theory, I’ve finally got my good flora and fauna that live on us all into balance. What causes body odor is the bacteria that live on our skin. Just some food for thought for going a step further than just shampoo free. :)

        Hope this helps. Let me know as you progress. I’d love to hear how you’re liking the “poo-free” style.

  3. rachel said,

    Oh this is so intriguing! I’m so ready to try it. Also appreciate the first comment… I’ve never heard of a reusable menstrual cup, but sure does sound like a good idea. I’ll have to see how much they are though. Anyway, thanks for letting us know your secrets!

    • Alison said,

      I’ve been using a reusable menstrual cup for 3 years now and would never go back. Check out http://www.keeper.com it’s where I got mine.

  4. Jaime said,

    Thank you SO much for replying!! I have considered no soap as well as I’ve been reading different blogs and articles and such. I would like to try it on my kids. I have a 7 and 9 year old that both have dry skin; my 7-year old has flaky, patchy skin. I don’t bother with lotions anymore because, like you said (I think), they work for a while and then stop and you have to try something else. You end up spending a lot of money and a lot of time in the bathroom and my boys don’t like the time in the bathroom part. :-) I also have a baby and I have begun using just water to bathe him (hair, too), but I have been using baby wash for his hair and body once a week or two because I just love the sweet baby scent. I know, I know, I’ve been conditioned to think that is the sweet baby scent, but I love it. :-) Any recommendation on how often I should “wash” my boys’ hair with the BS/ACV? Or do you think I simply should use water? If I/they were to use water-only, should we “wash” our hair every other day? And does that mean a good head scrub and then brushing with the natural bristle brush? I’m not sure what no shampoo/water-only would look like on kids.

    If I were to go soap-free… Is there anything I need to know to do? Like using a natural bristle brush on my hair seems to be helpful. Is there anything I should do for my body? Do you still use a washcloth to “scrub” your body or even skip that? What about private areas or during your menstrual cycle? I have been showering every other day for years to help with my dry skin; would I need to shower every day?

    Okay, I’m on a roll… How about shaving? What would I use to shave if I didn’t use soap? I’ve tried shaving without soap and I get razor burn.

    I’m planning to finally write my experience down once I feel like I’ve gotten all the kinks out and I really know what I’m doing. Plus, I want to make it past the greasy/oily stage so people can see my hair and be impressed, not grossed out. :-)

    Oh, and when you said that if I use an essential oil, I need to put it in a carrier, would it work to drop it in my BS/water mixture? And I’ve heard people talk about putting certain oils on their hair instead of products, do they use them in a carrier every time, too?

    Thanks for the help!

  5. tammy said,

    hi. i just ran across your blog and find it amazing. My girls are 7 and 11 and have very tangly curly hair. They are also on swim team and have practice every day after school. I have tried multiple products to get the chlorine out but their hair is chronically stiff and straw like. I am wondering if using the bs/acv daily or every other day would help. Thanks for your input. Tammy

    • karanutt said,

      I would give it a try, it can’t be any worse than what their hair is going through now. :) Let me know how it goes. Also, check at your local health food store for coconut oil in a spray can, LOVE mine, it allows me to spray a small amount all over so my hair doesn’t get greasy.

  6. Mel said,

    will this work in long, curly, medium thick hair?

    • karanutt said,

      Mine is down to my shoulder blades and I have what many people pay good money to get, spiral curls. It has gotten a lot thinner, but I’m looking 40 in the eye come April and I had gastric bypass so the fact that it is thinning out a bit is to be expected, however, it is by no means thin. I’ve noticed that all the products I used to use to keep it detangled and to define the curl are no longer needed… Good luck.

  7. Vol 4, Original Issue Dates: June 12, 2011 – June 3, 2012 | Thrifty Sisters Living said,

    […] can read about her discovery and her adventures on her blog http://involuntaryhousewife.wordpress.com/2011/06/15/thrifty-cleansing/ which has all of links.  But I am going to copy her post here for your reading.  For some of you, […]

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