Adventures in DIY Beauty

Two things you should know about me:

  1. Sleek, smooth hair has been one of the Holy Grails of my life. I’m resigned to thick wavy hair with more volume than I know what to do with but I’m damned if I’ll tolerate frizz. I’ve been a sucker for every anti frizz, smooth and straightening product from Tressame to John Frieda to Matrix. I’ve had two blowouts but my hair doesn’t like chemicals and the texture was rough after the “straight” grew out.
  2. I’ve always admired the DIY-Domestic Goddess-Perfect Hostess types who can pull together a six course dinner, tablescape and homemade makeup out of a shoebox, glue gun, last year’s wrapping paper and organic honey. I’d be one myself only I have few skills, limited coordination and am lazy.

That hasn’t kept me from dreaming big DIY dreams though; I’m pinching pennies where I can, the same as most people are now  – making my own jam, soap, cute little planters, I’ve thought of trying them all. But I’m honest and intelligent enough to know they’d end in tears, fire, skin grafts and people saying, “I told you so.”

I’d been getting poorer and more frustrated with my search for the perfect sleek and smooth product.  Every shampoo, conditioner and product worked for a few weeks or months before my hair got used to it and demanded new tribute to straightness. It seemed everyone was blogging and saying good things about the baking soda rinse and it seemed idiot proof.  So, I got myself some plastic ketchup and mustard bottles, raided my pantry and set to work.

I used the recipe here:

“Shampoo:” 1 cup hot water + 1 tbsp baking soda

“Conditioner:” 1 cup hot water + 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar.

During the process I learned a few things:

  1. Words mean things:  when one decides to go shampoo free one should use the whole word or risk funny looks when one mentions going “poo free” for a month.
  2. Buy the largest ketchup and mustard bottles you can find.
  3. Use hot water and not HOT water.
  4. Shake cautiously and not enthusiastically. Those bottles are not water tight. Trust me.

My hair was moderately in need of a wash the first time. The blog referenced above advised working the baking soda rinse in in sections and then rinsing. I used half the mixture for this and then rinsed because I wanted to be sure it was working. Then I used the other half. Then I worked in the conditioning mixture, left it in for several minutes and hoped for the best.

I didn’t feel that squeaky clean, dryness that I usually got with shampoo. My hair didn’t feel particularly soft after I used the ACV mixture either. It was tangle free though and felt very light.  Store bought shampoos and conditioners have always left my hair sodden and heavy and I always assumed that was normal, if not fun. Have you ever tried getting dry after a hot shower with wet hair in a humid climate? Usually I wring my hair out several times before I towel dry it. After the baking soda and ACV mixtures, I could feel it drying as I towelled off and dressed. It was just damp when I began to style it.

My blow drying time was cut in half. The ACV scent, slight at best, faded as I styled and my hair got softer as I brushed it. I used a little John Frieda Frizz-Ease and, for the first time, there was no freaking frizz! My hair was sleek and the wave was manageable and pretty.

That was back in April and I’ve only used shampoo and conditioner at my hairstylist’s. I’ve found that 2 cups water to 2 tbsps ACV works better for me and I comb it through my hair in the shower. My hair looks and feels smoother and shows off its colour beautifully. I’ve gotten lots of compliments. I never experienced the excessive oiliness some people reported as their hair got accustomed to the baking soda and ACV. In fact, my hair seems to stay cleaner longer and holds a style longer. If I get my hair flat ironed on Friday, it still looks and feels good on Tuesday instead of being oily and ragged. Dollars stretched all round!

My hair has lost some volume. Not a problem for me because I have more than I need but it’s something to consider if you have fine or thin hair. My hair drops less and is far less of a pain to clean out of the waste of the shower. I will be eternally ticked off at all the money I spent pursuing the path of anti-frizz when the answer was sitting in my kitchen all along. I also feel a bit like that woman in the Prego vs. Ragu commercials: what other questionable decisions have I made over the years?


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