28 December 2009 – Hair Matters

December 28th, 2009 § 41 comments

28 December 2009 , originally uploaded by academichic.

All remixed except scarf:

  • Maroon top – a.n.a., thrifted
  • Black tank as vest – Limited, thrifted
  • Skinnies – Celebrity Pink, thrifted
  • Knee socks – J.Crew
  • Boots – BR
  • Green scarf – gift from T. from Christmas Market


Wow, seeing A’s and E’s posts from yesterday really made me wish I had sisters. Being an only child is no fun. I hope you’re having a wonderful time with your families, you two! I’m having a great time with my grandparents and S2, who’s like my ersatz sister, so all is well.

Since I received a lot of comments on my hair yesterday, I decided to answer some of the questions that came my way regarding my ‘new hair routine’. So first some background: I used to do everything to straighten my hair and to basically have it appear anything unlike my hair in its natural state. The grass is always greener, right? But lately I’ve been really loving curls on others and appreciating my own curly/wavy tresses and have decided to embrace them rather than fight them. Some googling here and there when procrastinating has led me to conclude the following about how to care for curls:

1) wash less often
2) ditch the shampoo

I am by no means a hair expert and don’t know that this approach will work for you, it’s just proven really great for my hair. I have read several things that suggest that thick and curly hair needs less frequent washing and that once a week should suffice. I now only wash my hair about once every five days. The other thing I’ve come across is that shampoos with sodium laureth sulfates contain really harsh detergents that strip hair of natural oils and wreak a special kind of havoc on curls. There is a whole “no ‘poo” movement out there I had no idea about (and some very heated debates on the issue – who knew!). I’ve decided to go with a conditioner only washing routine.

28 December 2009 , originally uploaded by academichic.

I no longer blow dry, straight iron, brush my hair when wet (which brushes out the curls, I just towel scrunch), nor do I use any of the myriad of ‘curl enhancing’ or ‘smooth straightening’ products I used to apply. After only about a month of far less hair washing and with only conditioner, my hair feels silkier, has more curl in it, and is much more manageable. (Do I sound like an ad or what?) It’s still going through that six week adjustment period during which your scalp overproduces oil until it adjusts to the ‘no ‘poo’ routine, so during this time I’ve found that braids work wonders for camouflaging that. But even so, I’m preferring this curlier and almost frizz-free version to the way my hair used to look. All I use is a 60 cent bottle of Belea conditioner from my local drugstore and I’m good to go.

This is just my experience and I’m only sharing it in case someone else with similar hair would like to try it and see if it helps her hair the way it’s helped mine. I find that there is a plethora of information out there for how to style straight hair or how to beat curly hair into straight hair submission, but far less on how to embrace and love your natural waves or curls. Please pitch in if you have any information on this topic that you’d like to share – I’m always on the hunt for more tips! S.

Some other helpful link:

28 December 2009 , originally uploaded by academichic.
Scarf Detail, originally uploaded by academichic.

Tagged , , , ,

§ 41 Responses to 28 December 2009 – Hair Matters"

  1. Kim says:

    Your curly hair looks great! This is very timely for me too since I’m also giving my hair a break from straightening and going with the curls. It always just feels so messy though but it’s nice to hear you found something that works. I’m going to have to read those articles!

  2. So glad to see a fellow curly girl embrace her curls. Your hair is gorgeous! I spent years straightening my hair in high school (chemically too) and finally gave it a rest. It can be a bit of a pain, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I love my curls!

    I have tried using conditioner only, but my scalp is so oily. I now condition the ends while shampooing the roots, rinse and condition all of my hair a second time. Seems to work. I could never go without curly enhancing products tho. What a frightful puffy mess I’d be. LOL

    Enjoy your lovely locks! They are gorgeous!

  3. Bridget says:

    I’ve been wearing my hair in its natural curly state for almost a year now. I wash it once per week, and on the other days I condition all but the roots. (I also try to focus mostly on the ends.) In addition, I use a little bit of John Frieda Frizz-Ease Secret Weapon Finishing Creme. It provides a nice shine and doesn’t weigh down the hair (just remember, only use a little!).

    PS: Your hair is gorgeous! Enjoy it!

  4. jentine says:

    Whatever you are doing… it works(and it’s cheap too!)! Your hair is mighty fabulous and I’m glad you are embracing its natural curl!

  5. EmilyKennedy says:

    Winter is a lovely time to try these experiments, isn’t it?

    I have stick straight hair that gets greasy roots at the end of a 24-hour period, meanwhile the ends get super dry. For most of my life I’ve washed every day with shampoo, and for the past 3 years it’s been with shampoo without laureth sulfates. So my hair experiment this winter has been to wash every other day. I am on Week 3 of washing every 48 hours, and I’m amazed at the gradual, but lovely change. Now the greasy roots are coming on at around the 36 hour mark, and my hope is that by the end of Week 6, everything will have balanced out. We’ll see!

    Thanks for posting about your ways!

  6. Grace says:

    Your hair is gorgeous! I am also a curly girl and I haven’t used shampoo in about 5 or 6 years. You get some strange looks when you tell people about it, but my hair has been so much healthier since I nixed the shampoo and it’s also one less thing I have to buy, tote around, etc. I do use products in my hair, but I try to limit the amount as much as possible. Lately I’ve been using Infusium 23′s leave in conditioner because between the very dry winter air and the water at my dorm my hair has become rather brittle. But I am not a fan of using lots of product in my hair.

    I’ve been lurking about this website for quite awhile now and I love it! I couldn’t resist the chance to jump in and talk about curly hair. :) So glad you are enjoying yours!

  7. Your hair looks fantastic! I’m curious, though, about whether or not the oiliness bothers you. I know you run, and the amount that I sweat while I run is the reason that I wash my hair as often as I do. I’ve tried just conditioning my hair, but it just feels so gross to me afterward. Maybe it’s just that my hair is more naturally oily than yours…?

  8. Diana says:

    Beautiful outfit and hair, as always. Sounds like your new hair routine is working well – I think people tend to look best when they let their hair do what it naturally wants to do, instead of forcing it to be something else.

  9. Sal says:

    Thanks so much for talking about your “no poo” experience, S. I’d tried it in the past, but got SO grossed out by that adjustment period, that I’d given up. Maybe I should give it another go!

  10. A-C says:

    I’ve never thought of going without shampoo at all, but I do only wash my hair every other day and sometimes every third day. It just depends. I use a frizz controlling leave-in conditioner to control the frizz and keep my waves and curls looking pretty. Lastly, I tend to go to sleep with my hair wet and for whatever reason, that makes my hair pretty curly as opposed to frizzy curly.

  11. admin says:

    Thanks for all your responses, everyone! It’s great to hear what other curlies out there are doing!

    LHDM – Running and having post-run hair was one of the main reasons I felt like I always had to wash my hair. But while this may sound gross, I actually have found that it’s not that bad to let the sweaty parts of my post-run hair air dry and style it as usual. My hair is oilier now, but I’m thinking that it’s all part of the ‘no poo’ adjustment period and I’ll know for sure how less washing + no poo fares after another month or so. Then I will make the final verdict.

    Sal – I’d be curious to hear about it, if you give ‘no poo’ another go. I agree, the adjustment period is a bit tricky, but I’m really curious to see how it goes after this transitioning is over. S.

  12. T. says:

    About 3 months ago I switched to shampooing every other day (as opposed to every day), and my hair looks better. I run/workout every day, so I do shower every day and get my hair wet every day. I use conditioner and style as usual. I think I will try shampooing only 2 or 3 times a week and see what happens. I can’t imagine I’ll ever be able to get away without at least wetting and styling it every day. I get major bedhead, and the only cure is wetting and styling.

    Thanks for sharing your routine! I think you are right that people need to experiment to find what works for them, and what better time for those of us in the northern hemisphere to do that than January, when we can cover up with hats and hoods??

  13. Thanks for answering my question, S.! I’ll have to think about this some more, but I don’t feel like less than two weeks before a job interview is an ideal time for my hair to have to go through an adjustment period.

  14. M. says:

    Hey I love your hair. I remember a while back you posted a link for a “how to” for that braid hairstyle. Could you post it again please?

    I also have curly hair and I shampoo once a week. I condition every other day because when my hair is dried it gets very tangled and messed up. And since my hair gets very frizzy I have to use a mousse to tame it. I am still on the hunt for that dream product that won’t make my hair stiff and leave my curls soft w/o frizz…

  15. admin says:

    LHDM – No! No major life changes before a job interview! Agreed!

    M- I think the link you mean is for this video by the lovely Julie of Orchid Gray who showed how she does the wrap-around Dutch braid:


    I also find this video by Strawberry Koi in how to do ‘Heidi braids’ useful and it informed my hairstyle in this post’s pictures.


    Hope that helps! S.

  16. jesse.anne.o says:

    I also am on a 5-day rotation! My hair isn’t curly but it’s thick and wavy at the length where it hits my ears. It took a long time to get the bs residue out and then get it to the 5-day rotation point.

    I tried no-poo initially but the baking soda residue was too much to deal with. So now I use a SLS-free shampoo and conditioner. I also sometimes use a shine spray from Euphora, sparingly, when I see frizz or B&B’s silicon de-frizz stuff but that’s pretty rare and mostly if it’s really humid.

  17. Congrats on embracing your curliness! I was just thinking how great your hair looked in your last post. I ditched shampoo about a year ago, and I have never felt better about my hair. For me, it’s still a process – I’m always on the lookout for good leave-in conditioner for my dry ends and I might have to use a sulfate-free tea-tree oil shampoo to curb dandruff. I salute your creativity in dealing with the transition process!

  18. Maria says:

    Besides avoiding blow drying and washing every day, choosing baby shampoo or organic products helped my hair a lot. For those of you living in Germany, dm’s Alverde products have been my go-to for affordable shower products for quite a while.

    …and I still can’t stand my wavy, sometimes frizzy hair. *sigh*

  19. Kathleen says:

    I gave up the blow dry and straighten routine 3 years ago, tired of the fight and realized my hair could stand color treatments or straightening, not both. My hair isn’t thick or super curly, but I shampoo with a non SLS shampoo every four days or so, and other days just use cheapo (no silicones!) conditioner. I use a leave in conditioner… look for ones without silicones. It took awhile (I’m, ahem, lots older than most of you I suspect), but my hair is now much nicer. Love all your recent styles plus the lovely winterscapes!

  20. Christina W. says:

    Your hair advice doesn’t apply to me, but I just wanted to say: HOORAY FOR YOU for deciding to embrace your curls! I’ve always loved your curly hair much, much better than your straight and always secretly wondered why you took time to make it straight instead of leaving it in its natural curly state. I’m so happy for you that you’ve found a healthy way to care for it and make it look beautiful!

  21. Teeny says:

    Hello! Oh curls. I have a head full of em. I have heaps of hair, but it is very fine and curly so I keep it shorter to maximise bulk – when it is longer I look balder. I have heard of the five day rotation and not shampooing; so i try to wash my hair maybe twice a week. 6 weeks till your head stops overproducing oil huh! Hmmmmm i wonder if i could do this.

  22. Kari says:

    I’m so glad to hear that you are embracing your curls because you have absolutely beautiful hair. My hair looks awful once it gets far past my chin and will not hold a curl, so I am extremely envious every time I see the multitude of beautiful styles you can pull off with your tresses.

  23. PrutsPrinses says:

    You know, no one needs to wash their hair every day. I am convinced everyone can do with washing their hair once or twice every week. A lot of the people I know do so.
    The surprising thing is that the people who wash their hair more often, will have greasier hair! A detox like EmilyKennedy’s should help :)

    I have slightly curly hair, I’d rather call it wavy or something. Last year, after discovering the no poo movement, I decided to stop using shampoo and conditioner alltogether. All cosmetics actually, except for toothpaste and my contact lenses stuff. (I also use the baking soda as a deodorant).
    Now that I noticed that my body can survive without all these lotions, creams and soaps, I don’t see why I should be using them! They cost a lot and there is stuff in them I don’t like (check out http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.org )
    My philosophy is that I will use a product only when I really need it. For example, sunscreen when I’m off to the beach,or a little bit of cream when I have a dry spot.

    I admit I had to spend some time finding the right way to apply baking soda, and also the right amount. After a year, I added some spritzes of white vinegar to my routine, which improved the feel of my hair. I can go without washing for 5 days if necessary!

    Good luck to everyone who is trying new ways to care for their hair and bodies!

    PS: I’m also interested in the braiding!

  24. admin says:

    Thank you all for your continued comments. I will let you know how the no poo routine goes after the transition period is over. I am also trying to reduce the amounts of products I use, but I don’t think I’ll ever not wear eye make up. I am also starting to read ingredients and looking for products without sulfates and silicones, with as many natural ingredients as possible.

    Pruts Prinses – for the braids – I reposted that link to how to Dutch braid and one on Heidi braids in this comments section above. Is that what you meant?


  25. Laurel says:

    I haven’t washed my curls in over a year (conditioner only) and they look the best they’ve ever looked as well.

  26. Sheri says:

    I have stick-straight fine hair, so I envy your curls! I experimented with water-only and conditioner-only “no poo”–and I ended up looking and feeling really greasy. The baking soda technique was an improvement, but after a short time, I noticed that my hair was feeling very dry and losing its shine.

    What has worked for me is homemade shampoo with an apple cider rinse. My “homebrew” is SLS-free. It is runnier than purchased shampoo, but it lathers nicely and leaves my hair looking as nice as expensive organic brands. I used to shampoo daily. I’ve reduced that to about 3X/week, and I’ve stopped blow-drying and using all the products I once used (mousse, pomade, etc.).

    I’ve been at it for six months now, and my hairstylist says my hair is healthy. The new routine is much easier and cheaper, and my hair looks about as it ever did. I’ve converted my husband and little girl, as well.

    My recipes:

    Use 12 oz. flip-top applicator bottle. Fill with 10 oz. filtered water and top off with 2 oz. plain or scented liquid castile soap (Dr. Bronner’s or similar). Add essential oils, if desired. (I’ve used lavender, cedar, eucalyptus, rosemary, and peppermint in various combinations.) Apply directly to the scalp using the applicator tip and rinse well. This recipe works equally well as a shower gel or soap for hand-washing laundry.

    Use dish detergent or water bottle with pull top (mine is 20 oz.). Add 2 oz. (1/4 cup) cider vinegar and fill bottle with filtered water. Shake well. Scent with essential oil; eucalyptus or peppermint feel tingly and cover the vinegar smell nicely. Shake before using. Apply and massage through hair. Rinse well, ending with a cool water rinse.

  27. Kelly says:

    I did the no-poo thing for a while. I eventually quit because it made my fine, wavy hair super tangly and I figured out that I *need* silicone in my conditioner to smooth those out. Water-soluble silicones weren’t enough. But while I was on it I found a WEALTH of information from naturallycurly.com and http://www.livecurlylivefree.com (I actually bought my first e-book from that last link, and it was worth every penny)

  28. PrutsPrinses says:

    @admin: Woops, yes, that’s what I meant! Must have scrolled over it too fast :) thank you!

  29. admin says:

    PrutsPrinses – you’re welcome!

    @Sheri – thanks for those tips on how to make homemade shampoo and conditioner! I’ll be filing it away in case I decide to experiment with that! S.

  30. Dottie says:

    I emailed this post to my sister, who has hair very similar to yours but is always fighting her (gorgeous) curls.

  31. Chelsea says:

    Oooh I love this outfit… cool layering and fabulous colors!

    it is AWESOME to get a review of the only-conditioner routine, as I’ve been curious to try it. what I’ve done is stopped buying shampoos with SLS in them… one of the trader joes brands is SLS-free and only a couple bucks. I wonder though if conditioner only would be better… I might just join in on your challenge :)

    I used to battle with my curls all the time as well… suffering primarily from too much frizz and not enough definition. I started using <a href="this technique about two years ago, and it works really well for me.

    I used to only air dry, but I get sick of the feeling of wet hair on my neck, so I’ve started diffusing to get some of the moisture out before heading out for the day. once my hair gets longer I can go back to plopping (read about it here) which is a good way to get rid of moisture while air drying.

    the product I use is when I go curly is by aveda… it’s called be curly curl enhancer and it does wonders (and smells like lovely lavender).

  32. Julia says:

    I’m late to the party, but I’ve been poo-free since spring ’08. It’s been fabulous and I don’t miss shampoo at all!

    The biggest key, for anyone who’s having trouble with greasy hair after ditching shampoo– make sure your products and conditioner are all silicone-free. Silicone isn’t water-soluble, and needs the soaps in shampoo to be washed out. So if you’re using silicones but not soap, you’re just adding layer upon layer of gunk to your hair. I made this mistake initially and had really gross hair for awhile while I figured out what was going wrong.

    S, your hair is beautiful and I am so jealous that you get it to look like that without any styling products! I’ve never been able to successfully ditch all my products without my hair becoming a frizzy mess. You’re a lucky lady!

  33. [...] to do a hair update for a while now, so here it is as an addendum; A while back I posted about my experiment with going No Poo and also washing my hair less frequently, since I read that curly hair needs much less washing than [...]

  34. Linda says:

    I also recently started limiting my poo use. My stylist has curly hair too and says that she washes her hair once a month. The longest I have gone is two weeks, but I am working up to longer. The advice I got from my stylist is to never comb or brush (not even finger comb) my hair unless it is wet because this contributes to frizz. I wet my hair every morning with a spray bottle and then brush it and that’s it. Some days I love my hair and some days I don’t like it as much. At least I don’t hate it anymore! Thanks for starting this discussion. Please keep us updated. Also, I love your style!

  35. [...] What do you do to make a good hair day happen? Are you a straightener? A curler? A dyer? Or a no-’pooer? 12 August 2010 – Super Hero Triad, originally uploaded by academichic. Category: [...]

  36. contacts says:

    I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you make this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz answer back as I’m looking to construct my own blog and would like to know where u got this from. many thanks

    • admin says:

      E. is our resident web designer and the artisan behind our website look. But if you just use wordpress and some of their basic templates, you can likely find a look you’re happy with and can design on your own. Good luck! S.

  37. Parenting says:

    Good stuff, thanks for posting this article. This is a solid reasouce with some useful information. I’ll put this in my bookmarks = ).

  38. magnificent submit, very informative. I’m wondering why the other specialists of this sector do not understand this. You should continue your writing. I’m confident, you have a great readers’ base already!

  39. HowToLearnAboutTheLouisVuittonTote,[url=http://www.vuittontenpo.com/]http://vuittontenpo.com/[/url],LvBagsToAchieveAgencyAndUniqueAssurance,ヴィトン 財布,LouisVuittonGeldbrseZippedSleekAndStylishM58115

  40. Hi fantastic website! Does running a blog like this require a great deal
    of work? I have virtually no understanding of computer programming but I was hoping to
    start my own blog soon. Anyway, should you have any ideas or tips for new blog owners please share.
    I know this is off subject nevertheless I simply had to ask.

    Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>