No doubt hair care is necessary. Doesn’t mean I enjoy it. For all my life I have found hair care to be a tedious chore. Washing, conditioning, waiting for leave in conditioners and oils, blow drying, straightening, curling, dying, styling, cutting, trimming, visiting salons and whatever else we do to our hair, its is all endless and dreary. Then there is the ridiculous prices of hair care products and equipment. Added to this, too many hair products do more damage to environment with their micro-plastics, single use plastics and palm oil than any good they do for anyone’s hair.
Now we live full time in our caravan, traveling and working around Australia, I am less interested (if that was possible) in hair care and now that I get to see many beautiful natural places and understand more just how fragile they are, I have had been more determined to do my bit to reduce my environmental footprint.
With shaving my hair off completely being a worse fate worse than regular hair care, I tried a few things in attempt to make it as convenient, low cost and environmentally friendly as possible in the time we have been travelling. There has been a complete failure, a success and an undecided outcome.
The Failure – “No Poo”
In my teens I tried egg yolk, avocado and lemon juice in my hair. In my adult years it’s been apple cider vinegar, baking soda and coconut oil. All in an attempt to keep my hair clean, nourished and looking healthy with natural products and with little cost. Each worked with varying success but when I was informed of the No Poo idea by a work mate (prior to travelling) I knew it was something I had to try when we travelled. It ticked all the boxes – convenience, no cost and no impact on the environment. Sounded perfect.
No Poo for those that have not hear of it works on the basis our hair can naturally look after itself. That we don’t need to be using shampoos, conditioners or other hair products, instead if don’t use these things our hair’s natural oils will keep our hair clean, healthy and shiny. Hence the No Poo – no using shampoo.
I did my research and saw the benefits in other bloggers before and after photos, silky healthy looking hair and without having to do anything. A few bloggers said it didn’t work for them but for the most part even they encouraged others to try it. So I did.
At first it was okay. Everyone who had done it previously warned that in the beginning my hair would need to time to adjust. That it may seem oily and look unwashed but things would settled down if I persevered. So I did with great hope and anticipation. However something no other No Poo blogger spoke about was the natural elements – sand, dirt and salt water – my hair would regularly be exposed to as we lived the travelling life. It is possible under a hot shower (not always available when traveling) to wash away most of the sand, dirt and salt regardless these put my hair into what I can only describe as hyper-drive with my hair increasing its oil production and not in a healthy way. Add further insult my hair’s natural oils didn’t then reach the ends of my hair making it look shiny and healthy. Oh no, the oils stayed on top part of my hair. The result was oily hair on top and dry brittle hair at the ends that split easily. I ended up with one awful dreadlock and not one that gave me a hip-travelled-wordly-woman look.
In the end I gave up on No Poo, terribly disappointed. I washed my hair with shampoo and used conditioner (not anything environmentally friendly, another disappointment). Immediately my hair felt and looked a thousand times better. I have been washing my hair weekly using store bought products however I am going to trial using baking soda and vinegar with the occasional deep nourishing with avocado or egg yolks. Hopefully this will be the compromise that will minimise impact of caring for my hair on the environment and will be cost effective. I just have to get organised.
The Success – Hair Dying
I do not remember ever having my hair dyed by hairdresser. I have always done it myself or as a teen I was brave enough to let select friends do it. For cost and convenience reasons (ie avoid hair salons) I wanted to keep doing it myself as we travelled. Not too much report here other than it is absolutely possible to dye your own hair in a public shower. Just need the usual equipment – hair dye, gloves, an old towel, a barrier cream, a time keeper, a mirror and something to do while the dye does its thing. (I used my smart phone to keep time, keep me entertained and as a mirror.)
Each time I have done it, I have dyed my hair as I would have in my bathroom at home only I hang out for the 30 minutes waiting for the dye to take in the shower stall playing games and checking out social media on my phone.
My tips are:
- ensure you have everything you need, wandering back to your camp site is annoying
- pick a public bathroom where you using it for 30-45 minutes isn’t going to cause hassles for others ie a very quiet campground, a quiet time of the day and or with multiple shower stalls
- CLEAN UP afterwards and I mean properly by ensuring you throw away all your rubbish and leave no hair dye on the walls or floors
- otherwise simply follow the hair dye instructions as you normally would
The Undecided – Cutting My Own Hair
I just could never get myself organised enough to get to the hairdressers. Okay admittedly (with a sigh) my lack of interest in going to a hair salon very probably was the real reason I could not manage to get myself to a hairdresser. In my defence though I did try three times to book an appointment but without success. So I became annoyed, seems the only thing more annoying than hair salons is deciding you absolutely must go out of necessity and then it being a chore to even book an appointment. (Insert another sigh here).
My hair was turning itself back into that awful single dreadlock most days, it was dry and brittle. My split ends were horrendous. My hair needed cutting desperately. Unsuccessful with hairdressers I found myself looking at videos online of women cutting their own hair. Turns out it is rather common with most self cutters wanting to save money or unable to afford to salons. Valid reasons but what sparked my excitement was that it was possible my niece says to “do it myself”.
There are, as I learned simple ways to cut your own hair as well as rather complicated ways to it. Guess which I chose!
My hair is thick with a wave and it frizzes at any opportunity so I have pretty much always had it long and layered. When I learned I could cut my own hair in minutes keeping the layers by using the Ponytail Method I knew I was onto something exciting.
I have cut my own hair twice now using the Ponytail Method and this why I can’t decided if its been a good thing or not – not one person has noticed I have cut my hair. On one hand its means I have successfully cut my hair much like it has always been cut by hairdressers and it hasn’t been a terrible disaster. There is a part of me though that is a bit disappointed no one, literally not one person, noticed. There is the possibility others have noticed and have not said anything because it is that bad but then I know I have real friends who would never let such an opportunity go by especially if they could get a laugh.
Anyway photos at the end show the main steps of cutting my own hair using the Ponytail Method but my advice is watch numerous videos before trying it yourself. There are videos on getting other looks from cutting your own hair, layers it is what I wanted, you may not.
The Uncomplicated – Daryl’s Hair
Daryl’s hair is regularly cut by me using clippers. Same as we did when we lived in house. Very uncomplicated. (Trying very hard not to be jealous!)
The Despondent – Chika
Chika will tolerate being bathed but not without clearly communicating her displeasure as you can see in the photo. She takes about 30 seconds after a bath to dirty herself again by rolling about in dirt. She is too funny.
Chika is bathed somewhat infrequently at do it yourself dog washes or under the hose at campgrounds. She spends just about all her time outside and she loves lying in the dirt so washing her frequently would just annoy her and be a waste of time. Usually we wash her when she smells terribly doggy or gets herself covered in something ghastly like poo (why she likes to roll in poo I will never know). More recently she has had allergic reactions to something which has caused a skin infections and itchiness. This has meant more frequent bathing to lessen infections and relieve the itch. She still no more appreciative though.
Hair care can no doubt be achieved while traveling. It is easy enough to buy hair products and see a hairdresser (every town has one). Where’s the adventure in doing it the usual way? Travelling life is also about doing things a differently and giving things a try.
PS The Ponytail Method in Pictures