For the last almost-year I’ve been eschewing store bought hair products in favour of shampoo bars, hair serums, balms, and gels I can make myself. I’ve also been stretching out my washes, and using only wooden combs and boar bristle brushes. And here are a few things I’ve noticed over the last 11 months.

  • The longer your wash cycle, the longer it will take to add another day. I was able to go from every other day to every third day in a few weeks, but it took me about three full months to switch from every 7th day to every 8th day. Chances are the number of wash cycles stays more or less consistent (I haven’t been keeping track), but it will feel much, much longer (because it is, of courseβ€”don’t try to force it).
  • Slightly contradictory to what I just said, sometimes it will take three washes before you can add another day, and sometimes it will take 15, and this isn’t strictly linear. I think it took me four months to go from every 5th day to every 6th, and only one or two months to go from every 6th to every 7th. Just wait it out. It will happen.
  • Figure out what level of greasy you can handle before you start. It can’t be zero or you’ll never get anywhere, but if your grease tolerance is fairly low, keep in mind you’ll be moving pretty slow.
  • If your hair tends towards being very greasy, you might have to start out with 12 hour increments rather than 24. Also, dry shampoo and hats.
  • Updos are more forgiving to dirty hair.
  • After a few months without commercial products, you’ll start noticing the silicone sloughing off your hair. I noticed it as the cause of giant knots in my hair, down past my collarbone and, gross-out warning, the knots would be full of white flakes, but were much too far down to be dandruff. They eventually went away as the silicone worked its way out of my hair for good.
  • After the silicone comes off your hair will tangle much more easily. You can solve this by combing out your hair and braiding it before going to bed.
  • Your hair will start looking different when its dirty after 10 months or so. It won’t go as flat and dull looking, but will actually stay shiny. Not the same shiny as freshly washed, but still a rather nice gloss compared to the alternative.
  • Positive changes will take time to materialize. Your hair should feel softer and be scent-free and shiny, but it will take a few months. But what’s a few months in a lifelong change?
  • Your time investment in your hair will shift. If you’re used to hot curling, flat ironing, and blow drying your hair in the morning, that time will swap to the evening as you boar bristle brush, comb and braid, and/or put in curlers/pin curls the night before.
  • You hair care costs should go way down. Your hair cuts should even be cheaper if you can find a place that won’t charge you for the wash and blowout if you don’t get them.
  • You’ll also develop new ways of styling your hair. Heat free, product-less ways that work just as well, but are better for your hair. Unless you really like straightening, in which case you may just have to embrace what you’ve got, because I haven’t heard about any heat-free ways of straightening hair.

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