Natural Hair Care Update: How to Care for Long Hair with Few Products and Little Effort

It’s been a while since I last wrote about hair care with natural products, so I’d like to tell about the current state of my hair and the way I take care for it in a simple, natural way.

My hair is still growing, albeit slowly as I had to cut the tips more often the last few months. My braid is so long now it tends to get stuck under my coat or backpack when I don’t pay attention. Friction = bad for hair! The first few strands are close to the desired tail bone length now, at least when my hair is wet and I pull it so it straightens for a moment. Growing out wavy/slightly curly hair all the way down to the tail bone takes a looooong time.

Current products in use and hair care routine:

I don’t use baking soda most of the time anymore. Sometimes I still wash my hair with baking soda when my scalp is really, really itchy. Somehow it seems to “reset” the skin, but it also dries it out, hence the spare use.

At the moment I try to extend the periods between washing with shampoo. Right now I’m trying a 3-4 day cycle:
Day 1: Washing with shampoo (when I’m at home a shampoo bar/hair soap, without silicone and all these nasty things; when travelling a mild, natural liquid shampoo) and rinsing with diluted apple cider vinegar when using the solid shampoo.
Day 2: no washing, or only rinsing with water.
Day 3: Washing with diluted vinegar.
Day 4 or 5: See day 1.
So far this works pretty well. I hope to get to three our four days without a vinegar rinse in between, but first I’ll have to wait how it turns out when capoeira class starts again, though I’ve read about other people’s positive experiences with using only water or a vinegar rinse to get rid of the sweat after exercising.

A recent addition to my routine is the use of a paddle brush with wild boar bristles, to spread the sebum by brushing and thus making longer shampoo free periods possible. It takes a while every day to thoroughly brush my hair with it (100 strokes isn’t enough sometimes …), but so would washing, drying, and detangling it! Plus, extra arm exercise.

For the tips I still use coconut oil or sheabutter nearly daily, as they are very dry despite my attempts to spread the sebum all the way down by the whole brushing endeavour. Maybe it will take a while for my hair to adjust, or it’s just too long already.

As I try to avoid blow drying my hair (heat is really bad for hair!) I have to leave the house with moist hair sometimes. In winter I now just roll it around my hand and put it under a very thin, crocheted beanie (one of these with holes in the crochet pattern) in a loose bun. This way it dries without tangling too much and doesn’t freeze like it did some years before.

One thing I’ve neglected the last few weeks is putting my hair up in a bun every few days instead of braiding it. Wearing a tight braid at the same spot all the time can result in itchy scalp and/or a headache. I really need a nice new hair pin. My old one broke and it’s hard to find a wooden one that isn’t too long but still very sturdy.

Update: For now I have switched from vinegar-only washing to conditioner-only washing for the days between the “real” washing day with shampoo, and before and after using shampoo I put conditioner in my hair as well; I want to keep this up at least for the cold winter days – my hair feels really dry and frizzy without extra care at the moment. New post will follow soon.

Upcycling a chopstick

Today I tried for the first time in many weeks if my hair is long enough now for a bun held by a single, long hairpin. Victory! Finally I managed to do this bun: (the page is in German, but the pictures should be explanation enough) … held by a chopstick. Because I have no long hairpins as I’ve been wearing a braid held by two small hair ties for many months now.

Well, after half a day of running around on campus with a chopstick on the back of my head and getting stuck in my scarf and the hood of my jacket all the time I decided to make myself a shorter and nicer hairpin from this annoying stick.

I really like it now, so I decided to show you how to upcycle a random chopstick with nothing but sandpaper.

First of all you need a chopstick, needless to say. I used on of those you get for free with Asian take-out here.

P1280197Put it in your bun and decide how long you want it to be in the end. Then remove the excess of chopstick. I just stood on the tip of the stick and snapped it  carefully, but you could use a knife, a saw, or whatever of course. Take the part you want to use and smooth the new tip with sandpaper. I used very rough sandpaper I had around, but anything medium should work as well. Make sure you get something like a blunt but still pointed tip, or you won’t be able to shove it through your bun easily (I tried before using sandpaper, and it was not funny, I can tell you.) I decided to flatten it a little as well. It should look somewhat like this in the end:

P1280200Put it in your bun and wear it with pride :)

P1280192(Please ignore the heap of boxes, my family came over last weekend and we put all the random stuff lying around in the living room on darling’s desk. We really need to organize the wires and soldering station and all.)

I’m thinking about adding some colour at a later point – after sanding the whole thing down a little it should be possible to use the acrylics and the simple water based varnish already in my craft cupboard. Of course one could add ornaments by glueing things to the thicker end to make it look more elegant, but for the time being I like the simplicity of my version. Although I might shorten it a little more.