Saturday, November 02, 2013

The Indulgence of Washing My Hair: Part II

. . . . continued from The Indulgence of Washing My Hair: Part I

The Second Oil ~~ Second Scene:  Anointing

Well, I made a lot more of the second oil than I needed.   After all the roots, scalp, and tips were oiled, I went back over them and oiled them again until they were well-oiled.   Then I stroked the remaining dry hair with oiled fingertips until all the hair from root to tip was oiled.   Still more oil left, so I saturated the roots, scalp and tips.   Still plenty, so I did an abhyangha, oiling all my skin from forehead to toes.   Oiled all the rough or dry parts a second time.   Still some oil left, but I figured I'd had enough.

Anointing took about an hour.

A complete oiling limits some activities.   The bathroom was a bit warmer than the main room (60 degrees) because I ran the ceiling heater.   That matters because temperature determines how many clothes I like to wear.   Clothes tend to absorb and hold oils against laundering, so I preferred to stay in the bathroom where it's warmer and I didn't need to wear clothing.

Blogging while soaking with oil doesn't work ~~ computer is in the main room and I didn't feel like moving it.

My hands were oily ~~ so no reading books, no writing notes.   Traces of oil can dissolve inks.

What to do . . . what to do . . . .

I figured since I started oiling an hour ago, that might be enough time for the roots and scalp to have received enough benefit.

The First Rinse and the Second Rinse

I rinse first with cool water to wet the hair thoroughly.   I think it may help distribute the oils more evenly while leaving them in the hair.   Clean, gentle water is important: by the time the tap water leaves my tub faucet, it has been filtered twice for chlorine and by-products.   Chlorine and its by-products are among the harshest things to punish hair with.

I rinse second with the warmest water my scalp can stand.   Hot water melts and carries away some oils and dissolved solids from the hair and scalp, and distributes the remaining oils/fats/waxes more evenly.

I also rinsed my skin with warm water. 

Shampoo (Shikakai)

I must have mixed a lot more shikakai than I needed.   After applying it liberally everywhere from root to tip, there was still some left.   So I smeared it all over my skin except around my eyes.   The moistened powder was pleasantly rough and seemed as if it would exfoliate skin.   Recommendations are to let shikakai sit on the hair for about 20 minutes and up to an hour.  I wrapped my hair in a loose twisted strand, wound it into a loose bun, and clamped it up on top of my head.   I didn't use the plastic grocery bag as a cap after all.

This was the first time I tried shikakai on my skin, and I was unsure of how long to let it set.   After debating about which to rinse first, hair or skin, I rinsed my skin first and then scrubbed with a sisal cloth.   Fresh, fresh, fresh!

The Third, Fourth, and Fifth Rinses

I hoped the shikakai had enough time to do its job.   I unclampled, unwound, and unfurled my hair to prepare for rinsing.   I do all water work under the tub faucet, head upside-down.

The third rinse (first rinse after the shampoo) is hot.   I start rinsing at the tips and gradually work up the shaft to the roots.   After I've rinsed thoroughly and there seems to be no more shikakai anywhere, I stand up and squeeze water down the shaft as if I'm milking the length from head to tip.

The fourth rinse (second rinse after the shampoo) is cold, rinsing until the hair changes from a warm temperature to cold.   Same pattern of rinsing from tip to root.   Same pattern of squeezing from head to tip.

As I squeezed the cold water down the shaft, I realized I'd forgotten to prepare the Fifth Rinse.   So I stepped out of the tub all wet, filled a repurposed plastic water bottle with cold water from my drinking water filter and squirted one full squeeze of lemon juice into it from one of those refrigerated yellow plastic lemons.   Back to the tub to pour lemony fresh rinse water over my head and down the length of hair, replacing the neutral pH of tap water with the lower pH of lemon water.   Again, same pattern of squeezing water down from head to tip.


A big fluffy towel wraps around like a turban, arranged with just enough towel on the left side to catch the long right side of the towel in the wrap.   I (probably somewhat unnecessarily) squeeze the wrapped towel a few times, thinking that I'm pushing water into the terry fibers.   Then I unwrap it and turn it to the other side and the other end, so the driest part of the damp towel is around the back of my head and the damp end hangs long.   Wrap it up and tuck the end under the back.   I think wrapping twice allows twice as much water to escape from hair to towel.

The End

And that's the end of this hair-washing experience!   Rinsing, shampooing, rinsing, and wrapping took about an hour, which included shampooing, rinsing, and scrubbing my skin.

The Bow

After sleeping on it, I concluded that I did NOT let the shikakai set long enough.   My hair is still oily the next day ~~ smells nice, feels healthy, but quite oily.   A very wet look.   One might even say "slick".

The Encore

When I have time, I'll go through all of Part II here except for anointing, since I still have plenty of oil in my hair.   That encore would entail two rinses, a good long shampoo, three more rinses, and a wrap.

Friday, November 01, 2013

The Indulgence of Washing My Hair: Part I

So I'm home on Halloween night washing my hair.   Washing my hair doesn't always take all night, but tonight I'm doing the long, indulgent process and during intermissions between acts, I'll tell you all about it.

First I'll explain that my hair measures at least 51 inches from the hairline at my forehead to the tips behind my knees.   I didn't measure the longest of the fairy tale ends (the wisps that trail even longer).

Prelude: Massage

First, I just finished a deep scalp massage for blood and lymph circulation. That took about 10 minutes.   Using my fingers to gently push together from opposite directions, I aim to push the skin away from the skull, which allows blood and lymph to fill the space between.   When your skin is tight against your skull, it squeezes fluids away from the roots of your hair, starving your roots.   Your healthy scalp will have some room to move around like the hide of an animal, and will allow your hair to grow thicker and stronger.

To continue the massage after my break for blogging about it, I'll focus deep massage on the hairline around my face and the top of my head, and then exfoliate over the rest of my scalp.   During this phase of the massage, little flakes start falling, and I want to put those flakes in the sink or tub, not my carpet or keyboard.   I use my nails very lightly to exfoliate the skin (and not scrape unnecessarily at the hair itself) until I don't see any more flakes dropping. 

The massage and exfoliation I've described so far, along with the brushing in the next step, enhance the health of your scalp between washings.   Brushing and washing are not all that great for hair ~~ manipulation causes damage.   It's been 19 days since I last washed, and it could go a few more days without much trouble.

Stimulating!   That took about 5 minutes.   I put extra attention around my face and top of my head because the skin is tightest there, and thus, that's where thinning happens first.   Now I'll use my brush with wooden bristles to detangle, distribute scalp oils, and stimulate the scalp again.

Ahhhh!   Only a few minutes to gently separate the tangles and stroke from root to tip a few times until the scalp feels satisfied.

Foreplay: Search and Destroy

Next is search and destroy: find and slice off damaged ends with my sharpest scissors.   I keep a scissors only for hair so it doesn't get nicked or dulled by other objects.   To expose the damage, I separate a lock of hair and twist it into a loose strand.   Twisting releases the ends of individual hairs from the lock and they stick out from the strand like bristles of a bottle brush, making them easy to see and slice off.   Again, I want these in the sink, not my floor, so off to the bathroom I go.

Before I settle down to search and destroy, I mix some shikakai powder with filtered water to soak and become a paste.   Later, this will do the job of shampoo.

Found less damage than I had anticipated: it's been several months since the last s&d mission.   Seven locks of hair averaged about six minutes per lock.   I took breaks between locks to prep and eat a snack.

Brushing out the twisted locks is the reward for a search and destroy mission.   The brush glides through my hair easier now . . . ahhhhh.    

Time to change my shirt from a pullover to a button style so I don't have to pull a shirt over my hair after it's oiled.    In the summer, I do this in the nude and don't have to worry about clothes.

The First Oil

I applied a special castor oil treatment that I cooked up last summer and stored in the fridge.   Castor oil is heavy and sticky and goes on the scalp to nourish the roots and improve hair growth.  I warmed about a half-tablespoon measure of the oil, and applied it to my scalp with my fingers.   It took about a half hour to part the hair, touch oil to the skin and rub it in, part the next spot, touch oil to it, rub it in, in dozens of places until my whole scalp feels lightly oiled.   I did that treatment while bent over at the waist with my hair hanging in front of me to the floor.   Then I gathered my hair and clipped it into a bun to roost on my head as I type this blog and fiddle around with oils.

The Second Oil

Now I'll mix the oil for treating the hair and lifting the castor oil.   I could have done this at any time, but I hadn't decided what to use.  

The coconut oil is STIFF, and I guess that's predictable since it's only 60 degrees in the room.   I have not yet turned on the heat for the winter.   Started with coconut oil and added some ghee for the cholesterol which is good for hair and skin.   Added some borage oil and a little argan oil.   Heating a little on the stove as I type this.   I'll add drops of carrot seed essential oil and geranium essential oil.  I use all organic oils so I feel good about letting it soak into my skin.

Smells nice.   Now I'll put this on my hair, bit by bit, starting at the roots and working some through to the tips.   The most important parts are the scalp, roots, and tips.   I don't need a soaker, just want the feeling of moisture.   This is messy and little drips of oil drop to the floor, so I'll do it in the bathroom.   I have a plastic grocery bag ready to use as a cap when I'm done.

. . . . continue with The Indulgence of Washing My Hair: Part II.