Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Hair experiment interview - part one

Insects will love the nectar your scalp will be producing. (Photo by Nia)

Since I have now become internationally famous and am constantly receiving phone calls from journalists begging for interviews, I thought I'd save them some time and post one of the few interviews that I have accepted to give. A rare gem, I tell you. This one was done for a research project that "investigated people's activities, experiences, meanings and expectations that lie behind doing daily hair care at home". Scientists around the world will thank me for my input one day, I'm sure.

Here's the first part:

Doing things with hair

On your blog you posted "brushing it seems to help". Tell me about brushing your hair - then/ now/ before the experiment?

- What did it do and particular to your hair?

- How did it feel like using the brush?

Before the experiment I either brushed with a normal plastic brush or a natural bristle brush. I didn’t notice much difference between the two. During the experiment (which is still going on in a way) I only used the natural one, since the plastic brush makes the hair too static. After I wash and dry my hair the roots of the hair seem a little oily, but the rest of the hair looks clean. Brushing the hair helps to spread the oiliness evenly. The hair doesn’t look quite as clean as it does with shampoo, but the results are still pretty good. If I brush too much it’ll look dirty, though.

On you blog you posted that before the experiment you washed your hair twice a week but during the experiment you had to rinse it nearly every day so was there an increase in having to do something with you hair i.e. having to wet it?

- Could you tell me about rinsing your hair only with water? How does it compare to washing it with shampoo? What did it do?

- Could you tell me about rinsing your hair with cold water? What is it like?

- How does a vinegar/ water wash compare to a shampoo/ conditioner wash?

- Could you tell me a bit more about the “sauna method”?

During the first couple of weeks, I had to wash the hair with water almost daily, and it still looked kind of dirty most of the time. So yes, there was definitely an increase in having to wet the hair. Compared to washing with shampoo, using only water doesn’t seem to get rid of all the oiliness. It does help somewhat, but the hair doesn’t feel as clean or as light as it does after using shampoo. I only rinse with cold water after I’ve washed my hair with warm water. It’s not that pleasant, but without the cold rinse, washing with water seems almost futile. The final rinse is as cold as I can manage and lasts for maybe thirty seconds.

I’ve tried vinegar before, and it works pretty well as a conditioner after shampoo. If I understand correctly, it returns the natural pH balance of the hair in the same way a conditioner does. It also seems to get rid of any dandruff. Without the shampoo, the effect is a little different. Compared to using only water, I think it got rid of some of the oiliness and made the hair look a bit cleaner. I only tried vinegar once or twice during the experiment, since I wanted to find out what would happen if I used only water.

The sauna method simply means going to sauna and sweating. I imagine it gets the oils in the scalp moving and helps spread them more evenly on the hairs. I might be wrong, of course, but after sweating and rinsing with cold water my hair felt pretty nice even in the hardest weeks of the experiment. I’m not sure there’s much difference these days between going to sauna and just washing the hair with warm water and then cold water.

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