No ‘Poo: My Hair History

So, I officially went “No ‘Poo” last week.  That’s ‘poo as in shampoo, not diapers.  (You can see details about how I No ‘Poo my hair here–with before and after photos–and you can see my ten-month No ‘Poo update with photos here.)

What prompted me to do a crazy thing like stop washing my hair with shampoo?

1.) I have naturally curly/wavy hair I’ve been fighting with my whole life.  I’ll go into that in a minute.

2.)  I’m doing everything I can to cut non-necessities out of our weekly budget!  With thick, curly/wavy hair, I can go through the shampoo and conditioner like nobody’s business.  Going no ‘poo pretty much solves the dilemma of budget versus chemical-free hair products.

Let us begin my life-long hair saga.  It’s really only right that you know my history before you understand how far I have come in my “No ‘Poo” journey.

For as long as I can remember, my hair has been very thick and hard to manage.  I have always wanted short hair, but I would always get a rude awakening when I’d go in to get it chopped and it would come out looking nothing like I had imagined, and way more like a shrub.   No matter how many times I cut it and felt super disappointed at the outcome, it never fails that every few years I’d try it again with my fingers crossed.  Alas, the shorter my hair, the tighter the curl.  Even bangs take a ridiculous amount of styling to come out looking like bangs and not one giant ringlet in my forehead. I just cut myself some bangs a few months ago, and I hate them again.  I truly have tried every hair care product under the sun.  Will I ever learn?  My hair is curly.  It works best shoulder length or longer, with long bangs.  I’m not Victoria Beckham. The End.

I have spent a lot of time learning my hair type, playing with my hair, trying new styles, experimenting with products, bobby pins, and blow dryer techniques. I can’t even tell you how many Friday nights I spent experimenting with hair styles in front of my mirror.  When I go somewhere, I have generally taken at least fifteen to forty-five minutes to style my hair.  This depends on whether I am starting with freshly washed hair or doing something quick like taking yesterday’s hair and pulling it into a chignon.  Even though I’m going “No ‘Poo,” I don’t plan on cutting out the time I spend styling my hair.

Okay, before I jump into the whys and wherefores of cleansing your hair without shampoo,  first let me take you on a journey.  A journey of Hair.


My hair history

We begin our tour d’ hair with me in the first grade,  the first time I ever had my hair cut short.  I cried because I looked like a boy.  For the Ebenfeld Christmas program, I’m pretty sure my aunt or mom tried to curl it to make me feel better.  I’ll let you figure out which one is me.  My sister who is pointing and laughing right now should be reminded that she got a mullet on that trip to the salon.

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My hair finally grew into my first mane.  You don’t brush curly hair, but who could have told me that in 4th grade when it was acceptable to wear turtle necks under floral jumpsuits to school?

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Fast forward to sixth grade when again, I got the notion to cut my hair into a “wedge.”  Well, just a note of wisdom.  It might not turn out looking like Molly Ringwald if you start out having the completely wrong hair type, and then go downtown to a barber shop to get it cut.  Just saying.  Plaid vests help though.


Seventh grade comes along and I’m obviously a more stylish and mature woman, as you can see here, with my attempt to grow “baby bangs.”  Excellent choice.

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In eighth grade, the bangs went away.  I styled my hair every morning with a round brush and a curling iron.  It was known as “the puff.”  But I was a cheerleader, so nothing else really mattered, as long as I was wearing my monogrammed jacket.

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Freshman and Sophomore years was all about rocking baby bangs, whether or no they are proportionate the rest of of your massive hair.

The summer between my sophomore and junior years of high school, I worked six days a week and wore my hair in a bun.  When I took it down, it was long, and not in a good way.


My sister dragged me up to the salon on the corner telling me how much I just had to have those new “layers.”  So I got layers cut and they changed my life.  I wore it one of two ways:  blow dried “straight” curled with a large barrel iron (every night by my sister) or Jessie Spano, aka “curly” (tons of Wal-Mart gel).  The crowning moment of my high school career came when I was voted “best hair” my junior year.  As you can see here, in my senior pictures, excellent choice made by the student body.



And now for the young adult years.

I kept the curly look and wore it like this a lot.  Aka, The Mane. By the way, this is gel.  Tons of gel.  Like two bottles a month.  People liked this, they really did.  Seriously, I would wonder what was wrong with me if I did not get at least two comments a day from strangers.   People to this day will tell me they like my hair this way.


Bec and Rach Christmas

One life-changing day came along when I was oh, say 22 years old.  My sister was about to give me a little trim, and my hair went from that to this:

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Everyone was like “Aw, you cut your hair.”  Sad face.  I am like, “Are you kidding me?  All my dreams are coming true right now.”  It was the best accident that ever happened to me.  Can this be possible?  Yes.  It is called texturizing shears, a flat iron, and heinous amounts of heat.  That is how it is done.  Every day I blew it out with a round brush and then straightened it with a flat iron, and then finished it with Redken Heat Glide.  It was no joke.  It took an hour, at least.  I loved it dearly.  For once in my life, my hair had a “normal person” style.

Now, I need to note that at the time of the Big Chop, I had already known David for a couple of years.  I had actually dated him for like 10 seconds, and then broke up with him very spastically on Christmas Day.  This was followed by ignoring him and living in denial for around seven months.  Anyways, it was during this “be-contemptuous-and-ignore-my-future-spouse” phase that my sister chopped my hair.  David was the ONLY PERSON on the entire planet to say that he liked my hair better short than long.  I remember the day he told me “I really like your hair better that way.”  I, of course, nodded and politely continued ignoring.  Oh, but I filed away that little comment.  That is why he is the only person I will spend the rest of my life with.  Well, there are other reasons, but I think that is a pretty good one.  (It helps he was madly in love with me and wouldn’t have cared if my hair was looking like Richard Simmons.  Or maybe.  But I’m pretty sure no.) We were married pretty shortly after that comment.

Also note, I did not “grow my hair out for my wedding.”  I’m sorry, but every bride-to-be gets all stressed out trying grow their hair out for their wedding, and I’m here to tell you it’s just completely overrated.



Enter my married/professional years.  I kept my hair in the bob and continued to straighten it every single morning for work.  I tried to grow it out a few times, but I always went back to my graduated bob.

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Sometime before we re-located to California, I grew my hair out again.  The day I learned I was pregnant with Michaiah, my sister cut bangs like a trendy hipster.  I tried.

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Inevitably, as my pregnancy progressed, I hated everything, including my long hair, and I thought the answer would be go to back to my graduated bob.  I did, but that proved to be a huge disaster when I became 8 or so months pregnant  and I just did not have the will to beat my hair into submission every morning.  Or ever.   Enter my sister, who showed me how to polish my natural texture by using the flat iron to create a curly/wavy look.  This was like two days before I gave birth, so ‘scuse my huge arms and face.  I was probably basically in labor now that I think about it.


That little technique was a lifesaver, and I have been wearing it this way for the past year.   It has been my favorite hair style, trumping my graduated bob… because it takes a lot less time.

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Yes, I did take this in the car and text to my sister to brag about my good hair day.

Oh, and this hair style too…the Simple Gibson Tuck.  Found on Pinterest.  Best style ever for my busy mom days.

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Does anyone else have hair issues like me?  Curly girls who like to straighten their hair?  Any disastrous hair cuts I should know about?

Now to post this and figure out which of these gems I’ll be using as my feature image.  Next week I’ll be talking about the whys and wherefores of quitting shampoo.

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  • Audra

    Oh my gosh! YOu are hilarious! Love ALL the pictures & I will say that your hair is cute shorter :) Anyway, I’ve always had the opposite problem. Naturally wavy but very fine & nothing would stay in my hair unless mass quantities of hair spray, mouse, or whatever else. Pretty much my hair was crunchy from all the product just to maintain whatever it was I wanted on those rare occasions. I feared for my life when I showered and washed my hair as it was basically an oil slick once I got my hair wet and all the goop would hit the bottom of the shower. Good times. :)

    • Rachael

      He he! Yep yours is the hair I would have always wanted my whole life.

      • Audra

        I meant mousse not mouse. Although my mom always said I had a rats nest when I was trying to attempt a hairstyle :0)

  • Lynda

    Dude – at least you have tons of hair to do all this with! I’m jealous … AND, I love the Red in the one where it is pulled up with your blonde friend.

    I don’t usually say “dude” especially to a girl … but for some reason it just feels appropriate.

    YOU always look SmAsHiNg!


    • Rachael

      Thanks Lynda. I do love my hair with red in it! The blonde is my sister…aka hair stylist…aka BFF.


    I absolutely love this post! I laughed my butt off! what a great saga…mostly starring me. LOL
    even without the part about me being a great hairstylist, I would have love this anyway. Great pics, hilarious descriptions!
    cant wait for next week!

  • Morgan

    Hey! Great post! I found it through Becca’s facebook tip (thanks Becca!). I love your blog; you’re so fab these days (and always I guess, haha). You’ve now officially made my RSS feed! I think it was the phrase “whys and wherefores” that really won me over. And, I’m pretty excited to hear about these whys and wherefores!

    • Rachael

      Morgan! Your photography is stunning! Thanks for commenting. My RSS feed has a new blog too…Morgan Trimble Photography!

  • Catherine Lamb

    Yay! I’m excited to hear how it’s going :) These pictures are amazing by the way!

  • Kim

    I remember the puff!!! I remember the bangs that came around the corner before our bodies did! Ahhhahahaha…this is the BEST post ever. Love the hair history and still wish I had your hair. Long Rapunzel curls or graduated bob – I’ll take it! :)

    • Rachael

      Seriously, I cannot wait till mall hair with ratted bangs comes back in style! I have the perfect mane for it.

  • Jaime

    Omg Rachael I laughed so hard you are hilarious! Your commentary on your pictures was freaking hysterical. I absolutely love your curls! Well deserved “best hair” vote in my book! And your hair always looks fab so hush

  • Krista

    Oh gosh, we have such similar hair! I have a photo like the one of your senior pic only it was my senior year of college. And then I cut it all off.
    Unfortunately I am not nearly as dedicated about my hair and so most days it looks like crap. I wish you lived near me so you could show me the last style, with a flat iron? I hardly believe it!
    I don’t think my hair is quite so curly now though after the hormones of 4 kids… :)
    One of these days I will do the no ‘poo trial, but I have too much going on right now.

    • frugalfaye

      Hey Krista! The flat iron method is super easy…you just use it just like you would a curling iron, but you pull the hair through very quickly in one motion. Wish I could show it to you too!

  • Lovely Light

    I love how much detail you went into! A man reading this wouldn’t understand. My mother wouldn’t understand. But I totally get you!