Why I decided to stop shampooing my hair.

IMG_1780When I was a kid, I had a DIY hair ruining experience that traumatized me. My hair melted off and it was my own fault for not reading the warning on the perm bottle. Over processing happens to many of us at some point. But it left me feeling very self conscious about the way I looked. At the age of nine, I had officially became the perfect target market for Big Beauty ad campaigns.

For the same reason that a junkie might turn to jesus, I turned to the enticing promises of beauty products to fix my down-and-out hair. I entered the Big Beauty marketplace as an up-and-coming insecure teenager with bad skin and hair and a will to be beautiful. It took me 20 years to look back and understand the origin of my unwavering belief in the words printed on plastic bottles.

By my late 20’s I had 2 daughters and had slowly emerged from the fog of my young years. I began questioning my own beliefs and reasoning. I started to understand myself better and I saw my own “don’t tell me what to do” attitude morph from a child’s defiance to teenage stupidity and finally into a grown woman’s will to find her own identity despite mainstream standards set by multi-billion dollar industries. This is the will that my children will inherit.

As a hairdresser, I had been hearing about the no-poo method for years. No-poo-ing means using Baking soda and Apple Cider Vinegar or lemon juice to cleanse and condition the hair. My first thought was 1. Gross for not shampooing your hair, and 2. Double gross for using the word ‘poo’ associated with hair.

But there was something about it that I found intriguing. Everyone I encountered who used this method generally liked their hair while the rest of us (myself included) complained and bitched about our hair, desperate for that hair product system that would magically turn us into Pantene models.

My hair has gone through many changes. Cuts, colors, styles, bangs, not to mention texture changes due to hormones. After I had my first child, my curly thick dry hair straightened out, thinned out, and got oily. Nature’s way of being an asshole while I nursed my colicky baby. nice.

Still I remained, notoriously a hair product whore. I was controlled by my restless and constantly unsatisfied hair. I would find a product or product line that I liked, use it until it ceased to please me, and then move on to another. A new one would work for a while but at some point my hair would inevitably stop liking it, meaning it was time for a switch. I would be happy with my hair for a couple weeks, and then all of a sudden it would be lank, lifeless, and oily all over again. Over my now nearly 30 years, I have spent more money than I would like to admit on hair products.

One day, while watching Mad Men, I had one of those ‘DUH’ moments when I realized that a good ad makes you think that you need something. A necessity. Without even wanting it, it becomes absolutely necessary to have it. I had been naive enough to let myself get tricked into thinking that I needed to empty my pockets to buy my own beauty.

This ‘duh’ moment was the origin of my no-poo journey. I got tired of searching all over for something to fix me and make me beautiful. I was being fed BS by companies who wanted my money in return for my promise to never feel beautiful enough and keep on buying. And as a mother, my bullshit sensors are very fine tuned.

I must add that I am not anti-hair product. There are some great hair product companies out there. I respect the companies that are breaking the mold instead of defining what is “beautiful” and are encouraging people to work with what they have naturally instead of fighting against it. I love that there is more of a focus on sustainability, natural hair, and social awareness emerging within these smaller companies. The industry is slowly changing to suit the wants and “needs” of 99% of the population who are living in an economy that is deep in recession, disillusioned by corporate America. People are slowly starting to get back to their roots. (Pardon the pun)

But it isn’t changing fast enough for me. All I wanted was to like my hair and not pay dearly for it. I started blogging about hair to share my hair trials and tribulations with others. Part of starting my blog was to report about jumping off the hamster wheel of beauty industry standards, into the great black abyss of what I hoped would be a more sustainable and self honoring beauty regimen. I switched to the no-poo method.

First thing I did was rename it the ShamPHree method. It sounded prettier and made it easier to talk about. Sham for Shampoo, PH because it balances the PH of the hair and scalp, and ShamPHree because it is about freeing your hair of shams.

It took a bit of experimenting with different ways of applying the B.S. (Baking Soda) and ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar). I went and purchased paint mixing bottles from my local art supply store to use as my applicator bottles. I also purchased some yummy smelling essential oils to add to my ACV so I would still get the yummy clean and fresh scented hair that I missed from my shampoo days.

My hair looked and felt great after my first ShamPHree. 2 weeks in, my hair was better than it had ever been. After 2 months, I had my ShamPHree system down. My hair was Shiny, soft, smooth, and balanced. I could go for 4-5 days in between ShamPhree-ing and it never looked or felt oily and limp like it did before. I honestly didn’t expect it to be such a drastic change.

I am now 8 months into my ShamPHree journey and I have no intention of ever going back. I have spent a total of 26$ on my ShamPHree journey experiment. My hair is as happy and healthy as I could ever have imagined. I have successfully detoxed my hair and mind from the grips of mainstream beauty and now I’m on to questioning and personally boycotting other corporate shams like useless baby gear, Febreze and gimmicky kitchen appliances. I only wish I would have started sooner. But then, had it been sooner……It may not have inspired me to share my journey with you.

Are you on instagram? If so, I would love to see your shamphree journey. Please hashtag your #shamphree photos and help inspire this hair revolution!

Want to embark on your own journey? Please check out this resource to empower your Shampoo-Free journey with all the knowledge you need to ditch the suds, DIY.

f*** flattering, why you should question beauty rules.

Erin, the founder of Fat girls+short hair=yes came to me for a haircut yesterday. We chatted about our lives and our blogs. She started her Tumblr site to give some love to big ladies who rock short hair.

At one point, she mentioned her own “F*** flattering stance”. I love this statement and I completely agree with her. There are beauty “Rules” that are ancient and baseless and they limit our imaginations and our views of ourselves. In honor of all the fat girls with hot short haircuts, here is an inspiring guest post from Erin herself.

Fat girls+short hair=YESSSSSS!

PicMonkey Collage

Last year, I was feeling a bit bored with my hairstyle and decided to go for the ubiquitous asymmetrical under cut.  (Well, it was ubiquitous in my community of badass queer femmes for a while there.)  My hair is wavy but for some reason, the left side of my head is basically straight, so I thought I might as well just shave it off anyway.  It was fun for about three weeks and then I was over it.

Screen Shot 2013-03-06 at 1.05.02 PMLeft, my grown-out under cut.  Right, my new short ‘do, with fellow short-hair-don’t-care babe Mads. (photo credit: Leila Hofstein for Sugar Town)

Growing out an under cut is a giant pain in the butt, so  I decided to just go short all over.  I hopped on the internet to search for some short and feminine hairstyles and was immediately cranky and disappointed.  Literally none of the sites I found with short hair galleries featured any women who were fat, chubby, or even just fuller in the face.  And all the advice for larger women basically said “OMG DON’T HAVE SHORT HAIR. IT’LL JUST MAKE YOU LOOK FATTER!  QUICK, HIDE BEHIND LONG HAIR SO NO ONE CAN SEE YOUR CHUB!!!”

Which is ridiculous, not to mention f****ed up.  I embrace the school of thought that says wear what you want and look how you want, regardless of what the magazines tell you—cuz they’re just trying to sell stuff to you by making you feel crappy about yourself.

Screen Shot 2013-03-06 at 3.20.11 PMPhoto of Beth Ditto

I decided to put my rage to use and created a Tumblr.  I put out a call on my Facebook for friends to submit photos of themselves, I posted some pictures of a few celebrities (like the always amazing Beth Ditto), and I persisted in my Google-ing (even though most of the search results were often offensive, demeaning, and/or racist).  I wanted to create a resource for folks like myself who just wanted to see how various short styles would look like on someone who was similar to them.

Fast forward a few months and my little blog has over  400 followers on Tumblr, and over 300 posts featuring lovely and fierce ladies of all kinds.  I try to represent folks from lots of different ethnicities, hair types, styles, and sizes (though I can always use help in the form of submissions and suggestions!).  I comb Tumblr and the internet for photos, and I’m slowly but surely getting more submissions from followers.

I sometimes get comments from folks who say that seeing the images on my blog gave them the confidence to do what they’d always wanted to do, and how much they love their new style. I also hear about the awful things family members, friends, and hairstylists say to big girls who want to go short – it breaks my heart, makes me mama-bear furious, and strengthens my resolve to keep the blog going.  We all deserve to be in control of our own appearance and we all deserve to be treated with respect.  Find someone who will work with you—in most cities you can find someone just by asking around.  And if you can’t find someone—get DIY with it! Play with your hair, figure out what works best for your hair type and your lifestyle, and screw the haters.

Screen Shot 2013-03-06 at 1.05.12 PM
Posts from FatGirlsShortHair: photo sources from left to right: http://cherry-blossomgirl.tumblr.com/post/27373971086,  http://fatgirlsshorthair.tumblr.com/post/40783984988/i-know-i-need-more-accessories-some-tats, http://blackgirllonghair.com/2012/05/ty-natural-hair-style-icon/

The 10 Step Program for Growing out Short Hair.

Screen Shot 2013-01-17 at 9.47.18 PMAre you trying to grow out your short hair? I feel your pain. I think I could write a book on the subject of growing out short hair. I have spent my whole life failing at it. Finally, now that I am almost 30 I have found the patience and restraint as well as the strength to talk myself down from a near-hair-chop in desperate times.

As a 29 year old with hair now past my shoulders, I am excited to share with you my tried and (finally) true guide to growing out your short hair. Let’s start with a breakdown of grow-out phases from pixie to practically Rapunzel. Here is a very reasonable 18 month hair growing out plan to follow, with a trip to see your stylist ( or DIY, or assisted DIY;)) every 8 weeks.

The 9 phases of growing out hair….

short1. Pixie cut. This cut will grow out into a mopp-ish shaggy mess in about 2 months. Make sure to have your follow up haircut scheduled for 8 weeks. At that point, have your stylist trim the back up so it hugs your neck, and texturize throughout the haircut to add movement. A little rule of thumb……The first 4 months of growing out a pixie cut is not about the business in the front. It’s about the party in the back. Basically, the back should be kept as short as possible until the front pieces are jaw-length. This will keep you out of the mullet zone.

2. This flirty and adorable haircut will look great for about another 2 months. Have your stylist cut the back short again, and give you a general shape up and trim. This will polish it up.

3. The most challenging phase yet….2 months of weirdness. This is the phase that generally teeters between mullet and shag. Have hats and head-scarves accessible;) After 8 weeks, have your stylist trim the bottom layer in the back to get you working towards a bob.

4. Phew! finally. You have entered bob territory. You made it past the first big hump. Now is the time for bangs! you will feel so much better with a little bob and bangs. Discuss bang options with your stylist.

5. Grow, grow, grow. Another challenging phase as the hair hangs just above the shoulders….Can’t quite put it in a ponytail, and it looks a bit awkward down. after 2 months, have your stylist trim it and remove weight from the ends to help you avoid that weird bell shape that can happen.

6. You are barely past the shoulders! Enjoy the fact that you all of the sudden have tons more styling options! After 2 months, have your stylist add some more layers to it. This will make it look longer, and give it shape.

7. Experiment with your color. Now is a good time, because you have 4 more months of growing without a lot of exciting haircut options to try.

Highlights around the face? Ombre? If you are home-coloring, I highly recommend using DIY hair color by Madison Reed, which Resorcinol-Free.

If you purchase a Madison Reed Radiant Color Kit, you will receive not only the colors of hair colors your choice, but also the necessary tools to apply it. The entire line is designed for the DIY hair colorer! And if you need to tone in between coloring, be sure to check out their Color Reviving Gloss to refresh and revive your hair.

After 2 months, have your stylist give you a trim to cut off any dead ends.

8. Are you bored with it yet? keep growing, and have your stylist give you some nice face framing layers at your 2 month appointment. This will give you soft and pretty pieces that accentuate your face when you wear your hair up.

9. Your hair is basically long. Now is another great time to experiment with bangs. Try something fun and different like short and choppys, because now that you are long haired, your bangs will pretty much be your only outlet for hair-cut experimentation. After 2 months, get an end trim. And for the rest of time, do make sure your ends are trimmed every 8 weeks. This will keep your long hair much healthier. And Yes, you certainly can trim your ends yourself.

Now that you understand the phases of hair lengths during the process of growing out your hair, here are 10 tricks to help you along the process from short to long.

The 10 step program for growing out short hair.

1.Have a long term goal to work towards. Make sure that it is a hairstyle that is similar to your hair texture. I pinned mine to my mirror so that I would see it every day as I grew towards my goal.

2. Have a short term goal. There are 9 phases of hair lengths between very short and very long. Have your next-phase hairstyle in mind, this will keep you on track.

3. Communicate with your hairdresser. Make sure your hairdresser knows what you are working towards. Show them a photo of your short term and long term goal, and tell them your concerns. Haven’t found a hairdresser that you like? Consult HTHG to help you get on a good grow out path!

4. Book your haircuts in advance. I recommend every 6-8 weeks. A regular trim and reshaping can go a really long way! If you know that you have an appointment booked, you are less likely to make irrational hair choices when your hair is not behaving. Patience!

5. Remember the 2 week rule.  The lumpiest, frumpiest short hair grow out phases can go from wretched to amazing in the course of 2 weeks.

6. When in doubt, accessorize. Going through a particularly hard growing out phase? Get some headbands, clips, head scarves, hats, and flowers and have some fun with them.

7. Find a hair routine that works for your hair type.

Take good care of your hair so that it grows out healthy. I love coconut oil treatments to nourish my ends. Make sure your diet supports healthy hair growth. 

Here at HTHG, we swear by BeBiotin for rapid and strong hair growth. I have taken it daily for a year and my hair, skin, and nails grow like CRAZY.  Start juicing for faster growing hair. Read up on herbs to support healthy hair growth (Hello Horsetail!.) Remember that sometimes, less is more. Don’t fight your natural hair, learn to love it.

Find a product line that resonates with you. We suggest you check out the Hairstory Studio Haircare line, starring New-Wash magic cleansing cream. I have been using it for 2 months now and my hair has literally never looked of felt better. I use it once a week and my hair is never greasy, and always healthy! They have a line of 4 simple products for all hair types to help you master happy healthy hair without a fight. Check their shop out here, and make sure you mention that How-to Hair Girl referred you when you go to make your purchase.

8. Brush your hair! I don’t go anywhere without my paddle brush. Remember this scientific fact…..Heat and friction cause cell mitosis (The division of cells and creation of new cells) Hair is made of rapidly creating cells on the head. Anything that heats up and stimulates your scalp will help your hair grow faster. This is why hair grows faster in the summer months. Why is no one talking about this fact??? Brushing your hair daily will make it grow faster. It will also help distribute healthy scalp oils and condition your hair. My favorite paddle brush is the Mason Pearson.

9. Experiment with short hair styling options! Have fun and play nice with your short hair.

10. NEVER forget the power of bangs. Bangs can make your short hair look longer. They can add some excitement back into your life. They can help you get out of a hair rut. They can add instant polish and personality to the shaggiest of mops. Talk to your stylist about getting bangs. DIY your bangs. I always do. It is really fun and empowering. Why do I ever even consider not having bangs?

Also, nothing helps a hair slump like new color. If you are curious about DIY home-hair coloring, I highly recommend using DIY hair color by Madison Reed, which Resorcinol-Free.

If you purchase a Madison Reed Radiant Color Kit, you will receive not only the colors of hair colors your choice, but also the necessary tools to apply it. The entire line is designed for the DIY hair colorer! And if you need to tone in between coloring, be sure to check out their Color Reviving Gloss to refresh and revive your hair.

Also, I recommend a shopping stop at Beauty Store Depot for all your other DIY hair cutting and coloring tools to fill your toolkit!

Got it? You are good to grow.

Here is more on growing out a pixie cut.



Introducing the Q-Redew for natural curl magic.

The secret to easy volume and fresh curls is out, peeps. It’s called the Q-Redew.

  ‘What is a Q-Redew?’ you ask, skeptical of yet another hair tool that promises you better hair in minutes. (That is me speaking to myself when first introduced.) You probably know by now that I am a hair product and tool minimalist. Almost even a purist, at this point. But I still never turn down a chance to try something new, especially if it is something as simple and genius as a VAPOR WAND for the hair. I mean COME ON!

Screen Shot 2013-04-15 at 7.24.06 AM

So, I watched a video on Youtube that demonstrated reviving curls in 3 minutes with the Q-Redew after a sweaty yoga class. It got me more interested. I ordered one.

I got it in the mail and waited to try it out on a day that was cold and dry and my hair was flat and static-y. That is pretty much the norm for my hair in the winter. I have very weather sensitive, temperamental hair that can be quite straight and feel almost thinnish when the air is dry, and big and wavy-curly thick and bushy when it gets humid.

I was curious about this curl styling tool. I wanted to see if……..

1. It was easy to use.

2. It would give me volume without frizz.

3. My hair could be tricked out of it’s weather induced state.

4. The effects would last long enough to make it worth the work.

5. It would work for someone not-officially-curly, like myself.

Here is what I found. The Q-Redew is super easy to use. Just plug it in, fill up the little cartridge with water, click it in, press the button, and a gentle stream of vapor comes out within seconds. Scrunch your dry hair with your hand while directing the vapor into your hair.

2 minutes of this, and my hair was FULL of volume. I mean like tropical jungle volume. At this point, I gently twisted pieces of my hair together to encourage more curl and less poof. Still no frizz (I give partial credit for that to my no-poo routine!!:)

At this point, my co-stylists were watching me quizzically. Melissa says “What is that thing?? your hair looks amazing! I need one” and I gave her the rundown. Then, Alexa tried it in her straight hair….Instant volume.

Now, the test of time. I had 5 more hours before my day of hair-doing was over. Time sped by, clients came and went, pile of hair on the floor got bigger and bigger. At the end, I did a little inspection.  My hair was just as awesomely big and lush as it was when I first Q-Redewed. It felt big. It looked big. I had big, wavy, bouncy hair in December. All of my questioned, answered. I am sold.

Another thing I love about it? No-damage whatsoever. My ends dry up and break at the thought of heat styling, generally. And it does to your hair what it would otherwise take an hour and several products to do. The Q-Redew revives luster and fullness and bounce and curl back into dry hair, gently and naturally. I’m totally feeling it.

Another great thing about this tool is it’s post workout handy-ness. Christina at www.hairromance.com writes about how many of us skip the gym on a good hair day. If you are a wavy or curly haired girl, 3 minutes with the Q-Redew after a workout, and you are back to hair heaven!

For the record, I would especially recommend the Q-Redew for naturally curly hair, naturally wavy hair, weather sensitive hair, dull lifeless dry hair, and those who live in dry climates. Also, if would be great for if your curly or wavy hair is very fine and easily weighed down by products. Basically, I think any hair type would benefit from using it to give the hair a gentle but powerful do’ boost.

Convinced? Click here (Q-Redew ) and get you one of these amazing tools!

xoxo, HTHG


8 steps to loving the hair you have.

I very rarely hear people say ‘I love my hair‘ about their hair in general. Certainly after a new cut or color job they say they love their hair, but rarely do they say they just really love their hair as it is. If I can do one small thing as a hairdresser, blogger and mother, it is to help you love the hair you have. This is just one small part of accepting and loving yourself.

When I worked at Vain in Seattle, my friend and fellow stylist Liza Jo was the resident curl specialist. I spent a lot of time watching her work, and watching her with her clients. It seemed to me that her clients consistently LIKED the hair that they had naturally. They were proud of it, and liked to pamper it.

When I moved to NWA and opened my shop, I became the curl specialist in my area. It was a natural progression….I love to cut curly hair because It’s a challenge. I love it because it is not only allows but demands a free-form cutting style that is different for every head of hair. There is nothing formulaic about it.

Cutting curly hair is completely rewarding. Why? because most people who found me (Through reviews on www.naturallycurly.com) Had finally learned to accept the hair that they have, and work with it instead of against it. And they were ready for the right haircut for their own unique curls that would allow them to honor and love their hair every day with minimal effort.

This all got me thinking. Why do some people love their hair, and others don’t? Why do people with our dream hair wish they had someone else’s hair? Why do we wish our hair was straight and silky when our straight and silky haired friend secretly lusts after our wacky and wild waves?

I think that many of us see our hair in our own minds as being different than it is in reality. We have unrealistic expectations for how we want our hair to look. We yearn for hairstyles that it would take our hair hours of fussing with to achieve. We look in the mirror and are disappointed in what we see.

For a curly haired woman, learning to love your hair often involves letting go of ever having that smooth and silky Pantene hair from the commercials. It involves letting go of hours and dollars spent trying to beat the curl out of it. It involves surrendering to the facts of nature. It is an identity shift that says to the world ‘I’m curly and I’m damn proud of it’. After all of that, I start hearing them say “I love my hair for the first time in my life.”

1. How do we learn to love our hair? The first principal to loving our hair is universal. Accept it. See it for what it is and let it be itself.

2. Look at your routine with your hair.  Are you stripping it of it’s defenses, and then filling it back up with chemicals and waxes in an effort to change the texture so that it looks more like the vision of it that you have in your head?

3. Are you manipulating it with heat to smooth it out or curl it up, and at the same time drying it out and stripping it of it’s integrity? Are you coloring it constantly to try and get it to look naturally beautiful?

4. What is your hair M.O.? Give it some thought. HTHG can’t make you accept your hair. Maybe it goes much deeper. Maybe you should talk to a therapist about your self image. There is no shame in self help.

When you finally accept what you have to work with, It is time to start to love it. Take stock of what part of your hair routine you do because you were taught to do but you don’t know why you do it. Do you shampoo every day? do you blowdry it? Do you fuss with it because it is a habit, and the thought of having virtually maintenance free hair seems impossible?

I know a lot of middle aged woman that came of age when hair products were pretty much limited to gel, mousse, and hairspray. They still have stiff and wet looking hair from the old gel bottle. They still don’t like how their hair looks or feels and they don’t know why they are still putting gel in their hair. But they still do it. They strip every natural defense that their hair has with strong shampoos, and then they fill it back up with gel. What is gel, even? Slimy goo that turns crusty when it dries?

4. Experiment with your routine and work with products that enhance what you have naturally, stay away from the ones that promise to give you someone else’s head of hair.

5. Next, you will need to find the right cut for your hairstyle, and your lifestyle. Ask around. Stop people on the street who’s haircut you love, and ask them who does it. If your hair is curly or textured or very wavy, search your area for someone who knows how to cut curls. www.naturallycurly.com has a wealth of information on curl stylists around the globe.

Gather photos of styles that you like to show your stylist, but be realistic. Find ones that will work with your natural hair texture. Don’t be afraid to try something that you have always wanted to try. Go for it.

6. Communicate effectively with your stylist. Make sure you are on the same page before they start cutting.

7. If you wish your hair was longer and it doesn’t seem to be growing fast enough, Check your diet. Make sure you are getting necessary nutrients and vitamins to support good hair growth.

8. Find a photo of your desired hair length. Make sure it is a similar hair type to your own. Pin it above your bathroom mirror and look at it every day. Be excited for the day when your hair is that long. Make it a positive hair thought, and your hair will grow faster. I promise.

Here is my dream hair photo from last year, and a pic of my current hair. It happened so fast!

Remember, hair can change in ways that are beyond your control. Certain medications, changes in the weather, stress, and hormones can work a number on your hair without you even realizing what is going on. Don’t freak out. Do some research and make it work for you. Be open minded. I had to adjust to 3 different heads of hair through 2 pregnancies, and I have watched numerous friends and family members lose their hair with chemotherapy. Sometimes it grows back differently. Welcome the change and have some fun with it!

In conclusion, I realize that my word or advice can not make you love the hair you have. That is up to you. But empowering yourself with knowledge, curiosity, and inspired hair tips and advice from someone who is on a similar hair journey through life might help a bit. I hope that you love the hair that you were born with. If you don’t, I hope you are on the path to loving it. Share this post with a friend and maybe we can help more people love and accept their hair. It is just a drop in the bucket, but that is better than an empty bucket.



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