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.