My Hair Experiment
Yup, as it sounds, this post is about my hair. Specifically the hair on my head.
Being a girl, or more to the point being me, what to do with my hair when we were living/sailing on the boat was a question I had before we left the cottage. Naturally it was no use asking Neil for his advice/opinion on the matter. He has adopted the shave it all to a No2, sometimes a No1, style of hair-do.
Initially, about 6 months before we left, when I knew that the boat was really going to get finished, I decided that trying to maintain a head of blond highlights, as I had for about 25 odd years, was not going to be ideal or practical. I went to my hairdresser, had the blonde stripped out and a mid brown all over colour put on in a similar shade to my natural colour. Turns out my natural mid brown is a lot darker than the blond highlights. I naively thought that this was it for the colour and I could forget it now. I imagined the dye would fade & grow out and leave me with my natural colour. That was until about 5 days of sun in the UK (this was the summer, the whole summer, in 2014) when the dyed colour turned an orangey shade and left me with a root line around my head. I hate root lines and it really made me very depressed. I have never been too precious over my hair style, never one for daily blowdrying etc but bad hair lowers my mood. However, a second all over colour and some clever cutting by my hairdresser in Warwick (although by this time we were in Cornwall) and a UK winter so no sun to turn it orange and I pretty much ended up with naturally mid brown hair. I hadn’t seen this colour since about 1987. Just before I had a mishap with a perly curm, sorry curly perm, and a bottle of Sun-In, the 1980’s home highlighting kit. Essentially Sun-In was neat bleach in a bottle. I ended up with a bright orange, almost luminous, hair colour for weeks. Lesson – never put Sun-In on newly permed hair. Actually, I would advise never use Sun-In at all, assuming you can still get it! Unfortunately there are some incriminating photos of this disaster about. Either in my photo collection or that of Maria or Tash.
Next question was, grow my hair long or have it short. For this I looked around. Quite a few live aboard ladies around Falmouth had short hair but just as many seemed to have long. On the plus side long hair can be pulled back and tied up easily but was short hair going to be more manageable? I had just read a book called “Love with a Chance of Drowning” by Torre deRoche. I’d really enjoyed this book as it was by someone about my age (well a bit younger to be fair) and was more up to date than others I had read by women sailors and things like, hair, wifi and email were topics in the book. I follow the author on Twitter and tweeted to ask for her opinion on short or long hair. She advised the long hair needs good products particularly if in the tropics unless you are going to dread it. Short hair needs less daily attention and that you and your partner become each others hairdresser. Neil, cut my hair – not likely. I used to help him cut his with the clippers but Neil being Neil doesn’t want help if he can stubbornly do something himself so now does his own and I just remind him about the long bit he always leaves on the crown.
I went for the mid option. Really short hair does not suit me and I’m terrified of looking like my Dad. It’s an OK look, if you are a 69 year old bloke but not a good look for a 45 year old woman. When we were in Alvor both in September last year and April this year, I went to a hairdressers for a cut/re-shape of what I already have. Excellent service and price. For €10 I had a wash, with massage, cut and blow dry. In the UK just a wash and cut costs £26. Naturally I want, and have always wanted, a cut that I just wash, comb through once then looks fab. Obviously this isn’t what I have or have ever had. I have a high forehead, a very definite side parting and a cows lick. However, my style sits naturally at the parting and I have it layered to give it some body. If it is all one length and long, I tend to look like Olive off “On The Buses” minus the glasses.
The main problem I have is that my hair blows in my face when we are sailing. If I’m trying to tie lines or fenders this is a pain and impairs my vision. Solution – in the cold where a fleece beanie hat and in the summer, Mum has bought me some lightweight cotton beanie hats – pretty ones naturally. Otherwise I have to put in about 3 hair slides in different places to keep my hair out of my eyes.
Bear with me as I’m not actually at my hair experiment yet…
Here we are, the experiment:-
I had heard that if you don’t wash your hair for a period then your hair becomes naturally self-cleaning. Was this just an urban myth? I have greasy hair that always looked like it needed to be washed on Day 2, maybe Day 3 when I had highlighted hair (the bleaching affect dried the hair). What if the “don’t wash your hair thing” improved things. When I came back from the UK in July I decided to give it a go. I know, I know Rachel you are saying “dirty bi*ch” but I did rinse it every day, I just didn’t use any shampoo or other product. As we were going up river for a week then Finca sitting for a fortnight, I wasn’t inflicting my potentially rank barnet on anyone other than Neil and a few random strangers who I will never see again.
I did do some research on-line and a few beauty bloggers had tried it. Some had found it worked for them and others didn’t. It seemed that the ones that it didn’t work for only gave it 2 weeks max. Naturally I never found a hairdresser or a manufacturer of hair products that endorsed this. It is a multi-billion pound industry; hair care product manufacturing.
I gave it a go. For one month I only rinsed my hair in water, no products at all. I have to say that I didn’t feel it looked that great. Always looked like Day 2. It felt fine, didn’t feel any oilier than before and Neil assured me it didn’t smell dirty but I just felt it didn’t look like a Day1, e.g. just washed. One thing that was advised was to use a natural bristle brush but after a couple of attempts in Spain to ask for a natural bristle brush, I had to give this up and just used my regular vent brush and wide tooth comb.
After a month I caved, well not completely. I had read that the action of massaging shampoo into the scalp makes the hair oilier as the scalp produces more natural oils in reaction to the massaging. So I just used a smidge of my face soap and ran it over the top of my hair when I was in the shower, then rinsed it straight off. No massaging or rubbing at all. It definitely looked better when it dried. I don’t use a hair dryer (we don’t have an invertor strong enough to run a hair dryer) and have to wait for my hair to dry naturally. Usually doesn’t take long in this heat. The next day, I did the same thing but using my Molton Brown Black Peppercorn shower gel (birthday present, thanks Philippa). Again, no massaging, just a smidge stroked over the top and rinsed and yup it looks better.
There are loads of shower gels out there which are for face and hair, usually in the mens section and I’m sure those travellers amongst you (Hils) will tell me that they have known for years that one product does all. I remember seeing little tins of soap or soap leaves in camping stores which were advertised as body, hair and laundry soap.
I’m converted in the not needing masses of different products for body and hair. In fact, when I brushed my hair the morning after using my Molton Brown, I could smell the scent again. I don’t remember this happening when using my regular shampoo. Hoping it works when I move on the Orange and Bergamot Molton Brown as this is my favourite scent.
So, there we go. The Hair Experiment. It would appear to be the “in-thing” at the moment according to Good Housekeeping although they would appear to be dismissive of it (who knew I was such a mover and shaker). I guess if a good portion of your revenue comes from advertising hair products, you couldn’t be too much in favour of a no-wash regime.
Not a sailing post, but it’s relevant to me and my life on the boat and this lifestyle is not just about the sailing but the whole package of living on board a boat moving around places.