Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Yes, I'm really going to write about my hair on a public radio station blog . . .

I left TV for radio for many reasons, but right up there among those reasons is that I am basically uninterested in wearing stockings or spending much time on my hair -- both of which TV work requires.

That's me, on the left, with my idea of a hairdo. As you will notice, I'm a 60-something woman with long hair -- which makes society's Fashion Police mighty uncomfortable. But then, I'm such a rebel in so many ways that maybe that's the point?

But anyway, just because I don't care much about how I look, doesn't mean I don't try to take reasonable care of my hair. It, however, is baby-fine, fly-away and a great generator of static electricity. For six decades of winters, my hair has either floated about my head or clung itchily to the side of my face. Nothing commercial helps. Nothing. And I am not too proud to try any shampoo, any conditioner, any goo or any spray that anyone suggests. The truth is that, while I may have very good qualities, I have very bad hair.

Back in October, the New York Times ran a story by Dominique Browning asking, "Why Can't Middle-Aged Women Have Long Hair?" Evidently, this is a burning question among New York Times readers, because when last I checked, Ms. Browning's article had generated 1256 comments. 

I rarely post on my personal Facebook page, but I did post that article and got quite a few responses. One person (Carolyn O'Neal, was it you?) commented that while she could see long hair, she couldn't see giving up shampoo as the article suggested?

What??? I'd missed that! So back I went and read what I had indeed overlooked the first time . . .
You would think that having long hair means you are spending a lot of money on hair products. I won’t even tell you what my Madison Avenue hairdresser, Joseph — the consummate high-end hair professional! — told me about how we shouldn’t even be using all those chemically laden shampoos.
Valery Joseph salon website photo
O.K., I will tell you: Those shampoos strip out the hair’s protective oils, and then you have to replace them with other chemical brews. He recommends regular hot water rinses and massaging of the scalp with fingertips. A little patience is required while the scalp’s natural oils rebalance themselves and — voilĂ  — glossy, thick tresses, for free.
Glossy thick tresses!!!? No way are they going to appear on my head. I'll leave those to Troy Polamalu.

But, I reasoned, what's there could not get more bothersome. So I Googled away and found many sites advocating the No Poo approach to hair care. Most of these suggested substituting some kind of baking soda mixture for shampoo and then rinsing with diluted apple cider vinegar. 

I began experimenting a couple of months ago, and, as of now, mix 1 tablespoon baking soda and one cup of water in an old plastic, pointy-topped mustard dispenser (the kind you see in diners), spread the stuff all over my scalp, rub vigorously, rinse. Next, I condition my ends and rinse. Then, using the companion, pointy-topped ketchup dispenser, I rinse my hair with 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar diluted in 1 cup of water. 

So far, much better -- at least as far as static electricity goes. You'll have to tell me how I look.

Okay, okay, so this is a pretty low-minded topic for a public radio blog.  I would submit, however, that if you're turning up your nose in disgust, you've never spent a winter with your hair levitating on its own. 

If you have, and you've got any questions you'd like to ask, please shoot me an e-mail.

Here's looking at you . . .

1 comment:

  1. The hair and scalp are both healthiest when slightly acidic, however most of our shampoos and conditioners are rather alkaline and leave our hair more basic as well. That's just part of the reason that an occasional apple cider vinegar and water rinse can really restore the health and shine of your hair, while its naturally antibiotic and antibacterial characteristics fight the causes of dandruff and itchiness.
    Daniel P. Kray
    Author, “Apple Cider Vinegar: A Modern Folk Remedy” available from major retailers through Earth Clinic.