This is an odd thing I felt inclined to write about but it has been an odd day. I realise I probably spend more energy on washing my hair than any other single task I carry out on a regular basis and it is especially problematic during the winter when I can’t afford to sit around with wet hair. The state considers clean hair to be a luxury. Any social services care package won’t include it and difficulties experienced washing one’s hair is excluded from consideration in DLA assessments (at least it was last time I looked).
Obviously the first thing you can do is to cut your hair short or preferably shave it off. Shaving it off is likely to leave your head rather cold, it would probably itch a bit and a short hair-cut needs to be kept short. Despite cutting my hair into a brutal bob just six weeks ago, it has since grown long enough to put into a pony-tail.
Beyond this, one must find ways of reducing the frequency of washes. Our grandmothers would not have dreamt of washing their hair every day or every other day, which seems to be the norm for most folks these days. I have heard that if you don’t wash your hair at all for six weeks, it eventually begins to clean itself, but I’ve never been able to stick it for six weeks.
There are certainly likely to be days when it needs washing but nothing can be done about it. I have scarves around my head when this is the case. These are also a great way of keeping warm, since much of our body temperature is lost through the head. Nomads is the best place for Fair Trade multicoloured scarves.
There is such a product as dry shampoo, which comes in an aerosol can and does improve the appearance of greasy hair – although this is very much a temporary measure. An emergency tip is to brush face powder or talc into your hair - it absorbs the grease so it does look perhaps slightly better than it did before, but um, somewhat greyer. At the end of the day, there’s nothing disgusting about hair which is a bit shinier than hair that has just been washed; if it can’t be done, it can’t be done.
But when it can… I have to wash my hair in the bath, because I don’t have a shower and can’t manage bent over at the sink. Unfortunately, immersing my head in warm water almost guarantees that I fall asleep. If I am alone in the flat, I have a small alarm clock which I set to go off in twenty minutes time to avoid sleeping while the water cools down around me.
If you need to condition your hair, use leave-in conditioner – using the stuff you have to rinse out doubles the wet section of the job, you usually have to hang around while it works and it is far more slimy and a potentially irritant when it gets in the bath water. The cheapest and most pleasant-smelling I know of is Boots’ Coconut & Almond Oil Leave-In Conditioner. You can spray it on your hair while it is wet or when it is dry, whenever you like.
If you have to rest before you begin to dry your hair, have two towels ready for the purpose, preferably in situ over a radiator or other heat source. I am currently experimenting with a microfleece turban from Lakeland Limited, which seems to be particularly absorbent.
When I get out of the bath, I dry myself on a bath towel but then I have to proceed in a state of undress until my hair is dry. Of course I get extremely cold for a short time, but making myself any more comfortable poses the risk of going to sleep with wet hair wrapped in a damp towel. While asleep, I then cool down and remain cold for a greater length of time only to wake up with all sorts of aches and stiffness and a bad case of the sniffles.
In order for the flow of blood to your arms, which hold the hair-dryer, to work with and not against gravity, you need to lie on the bed on your front with your head dangling over the edge. I also think having your head upside down speeds the process, but I haven’t quite grasped the physics. Pace your drying, swapping hands and taking breaks etc.
I find the application of moose on one’s hair does seem to make it dry much quicker. Presumably I’m not doing my hair any good, but hey. I am fascinated by the blurb on all cosmetic products. My can of moose poses the question, “Who is in charge of your style? You… or your hair?” and goes on about micro-hold technology and all kinds of made-up crap. The other day I was looking at cleanser which was supposed to cure my acne and it read “The tingling sensation tells you that your skin is perfectly clean and clear of impurities.” and I’m thinking, the tingling sensation may have something to do with the fact that alcohol is the third ingredient on the list…
Do store hair products like moose in a sensible place. Even my “Hoots mon” joke didn’t go down well with my beloved when my can exploded in the bedroom late one night.
And don’t forget, that when you’re done get up very very slowly after you’ve had your head hanging upside down or else you are likely to pass out.