Self-Sufficiency Sundays: Wash Your Hair!

Did you know that a lot of shampoos contain the exact same cleaning agents as laundry detergent? Sulfates and other harsh cleaning agents work by stripping your hair of all its nutrients and oils. If you have curly hair, which is usually pretty dry, this leaves it brittle and exhausted. Then you have to put in loads of conditioner to undo the effects.

Screw that. Here’s a recipe for a homemade cleanser from Lorraine Massey’s Curly Girl, which I found out about from the lovely Whit. Simply take the juice of one large lemon, mix it with your usual amount of conditioner, and pour it through your hair. (I like to massage it in a tiny bit.) Then rinse it out.

“But wait!” you might be thinking. “You still have to use store-bought conditioner! That’s not self sufficient!” I’ll admit that I myself use store-bought conditioner on my hair. But you don’t have to! The Internet is full of conditioner recipes.

Curly Girl also contains instructions for using baking soda and water to clear out product buildup. I found the lemon recipe more effective, though. If your hair is really dry, you may only have to use the lemon rinse once or twice a month (although you should still cleanse your scalp every few days – see the book for details). And remember that your scalp produces natural oils for a reason. If the tiniest hint of oil around your roots is unacceptable, then that says more about your culture than your hair.

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7 Responses

  1. But how far does that lemon have to travel? If you live in California not far. But otherwise…

  2. Very true – this method is best when used on a seasonal/regional basis.

  3. “You still have to use store-bought conditioner! That’s not self sufficient!”

    True. But it’s also not self-sufficient unless you grew and picked the lemons yourself.

    I like this series, but I do kinda have a problem with the phrase “self-sufficient”. I mean, a lot of the things you hate about the American Work Ethic, Capitalism etc. are to do with the myth that people can “make it on their own.”

    From Cal Montgomery’s Critic of the Dawn (an AMAZING essay you should read if you haven’t read and re-read if you have):

    And, because disability is so identified with dependence, let me talk for a moment about that.

    I am a dependent person. I eat food whose final preparation I handle myself, but which has come to me across roads laid and maintained by other people from stores staffed by other people — and even those people didn’t grow or raise or harvest or slaughter any of it. I wear clothes made by other people from cloth woven by still others. I am human: I depend on others. And this is called independence.

    I am a dependent person. I need human contact, most of which I receive through an Internet built and maintained by many other people. I do not know my neighbors, but even face-to-face interaction requires someone’s cooperation. I have learned from my time in isolation rooms that I can handle a while without human interaction, but that eventually it will become unbearable. I am human: I depend on others. And this is called independence.

    I am a dependent person. The words I work with were taught to me by people who wrote and read them before I traced my first A. The language I work in is a living entity, shaped and grown over centuries by billions upon billions of speakers. The ideas I work on are part of a tradition nurtured by many thinkers. I am human: I depend on others. And this is called independence.

    I am a dependent person. I do not — have learned that I cannot safely — live alone. I require the patterns of life to be modeled for me over and over again. I struggle to get, and to keep, jobs in workplaces designed for “plug-and-play” workers. I learn some things quickly and easily; I need to be explicitly taught many things that seem obvious to others. I am human: I depend on others. And this is called dependence.

    Independent can mean self-governing. It can also mean self-reliant. It can deny others’ influence on our decisions or others’ support in carrying those decisions out.

    Dependent can mean controlled by others. It can also mean requiring the support of others.

    None of us, of course, is independent in either sense. We grow up in social contexts, supported and denied, enabled and disabled by those around us.

    But some rely on supports which are so common as to go unnoticed, while others use support that is atypical and therefore apparent. Some supports are provided by the community as a whole and go unnoticed, while others are borne — or not — by a small number of people whose lives are profoundly affected.

    So I know the ways in which I am dependent not by looking at how I depend on others, but by watching other people. I look to nondisabled people to tell me which kinds of dependence are recognized, which are devalued. I know the shame that comes with asking for “inappropriate” help.

    Here’s the link for the whole thing:
    http://www.raggededgemagazine.com/0501/0501cov.htm

    Apologies for going off topic. The hair thing is really useful and I love this series – don’t mean to say the series is ad. It’s just the phrase comes with problems.

  4. True. But it’s also not self-sufficient unless you grew and picked the lemons yourself.

    But taken to its logical extreme, self-sufficiency has never existed. Even if you’re growing your own garden, you had to get the hoe and trowel from somewhere. The term “self-sufficiency” is always going to be shorthand for a much more complex reality.

    I suspect our disagreement here is mainly a semantic one. To me and other Permaculturists, the “self” in self-sufficiency has never refered to one solitary person “making it on their own.” For example, my body fluctuates pretty regularly between abled and disabled. When I’m in too much pain to go out and water my herbs, my husband does it for me. In terms of where our basil is coming from, I am not self-sufficient, we are self-sufficient. Self-sufficiency is just as much about community – in fact, I’ve been pretty explicit about that in at least one post – as it is about providing for one’s own needs.

  5. Ok. Sorry. I get it now.

  6. No problem. And, looking over my comment, I realize I came off as pretty gruff, so I apologize, too.

  7. […] People on the internet (including especially myself) please note – this really is possible. (It happened here.) […]

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