shamphree: week two

Here’s my second entry during my Shamphree experience, written about 7 weeks ago (or so!)….

“I’ve made it through another week of Shamphree. This week was interesting and a small variable threw a spanner in the works. It was my birthday and I travelled home to stay with my parents for a few days, from Manchester to Northamptonshire. A mere 3 hours on the train but enough to seriously mess with my experiment. I’m putting it down to the water.

After a bit of research (just now, I just googled ‘hard and soft water’, ha!) it seems that Manchester (where I live) has ‘very soft’ water. In Northamptonshire the water is ‘hard’, meaning it is rich in minerals. That will explain why the tap water at my parents’ house tastes really good and the water in Manchester tastes like chemicals. I found that the ‘hard’ water at my parents was RUBBISH at washing the bicarbonate of soda from my hair. Useless.

I Shamphreed my hair twice in the second week, compared to 4 times in the first week. This was because I had so much hard work, and just couldn’t be bothered. Also because the bicarb didn’t really come out, so my hair was kind of bulky with it. In a way, it was alright, I had thick hair that had a lot of body and it would kind of ‘stay’ when I tried to body it up with my hands. But I couldn’t run my fingers through it. It looked good, but it didn’t feel good. It also didn’t feel greasy as quickly as in the first week, probably because it had the bicarbonate just sat it in for days.

Both times I washed it at my parents’ house, I had to re-rinse afterwards. This didn’t help much. It was frustrating, I felt like I had ocean hair for days, without the lovely ocean. On the plus side, I found peppermint oil at my parents’ so I tried this with my ‘conditioner’, and it smelled incredible! My head felt so fresh and tingly. The only other change was instead of cider vinegar, I used lemon juice. That could possible be the reason that it was so hard to get the bicarb out, but I don’t think so. Of course, I’m no expert. There could be complicated reasoning for my Shamphree headache in Northamptonshire, it could be down to the composition of the water and way that reacts with the alkali bicarbonate…. but I don’t know for sure.

Also, I’ve lost my camera cable, so no lovely pictures of my trip, my caked in bicarb hair or my birthday.

I’ve now just done my 7th wash, the first of week 3. I’m sat here with wet hair waiting to see what this wash will bring! It’s always an adventure. It’s hard to tell, because of the bicarby hair I’ve had for almost a week, but it seems like the greasiest hair I’ve ever had (wash 3?) is behind me. I’ll keep you up to date.


shamphree: week one

It’s been one week since I first washed my hair with the Shamphree method, all by the guidance of How To Hair Girl. So 7 days and 4 washes (4!) in, I’m feeling a bit mixed bag. 4 is a lot of washes for one week and I was looking forward to washing my hair less often with this method. However, after doing hours of Shamphree research all over the internet this week, it seems a common issue that new Shamphreers get some seriously greasy hair. Wash 3 was a highlight… I’ve never seen my hair as greasy in my life!


But let’s start at the start, shall we.

Wash 1 was a pleasant surprise. It was easy and I enjoyed it. I bought my mini collection of tools and potions for washing my hair (I’ll post the list after this) and got to work. I made the recipe according to the standard recipe HTHG uses, ignoring her adjustments for colour treated hair. My hair is super bleached, but there is no colour to lose (which is her main reason for a different ratio) and I often get comments that my hair looks healthy considering all it’s been through! I visited one hairdresser last year and she didn’t agree, but I find it easier to remember the compliments.
I followed this recipe. One tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda to 5oz. water for the ‘Shampoo’ and one tablespoon of vinegar to 5oz. water for the ‘Conditoner’. On my dry hair I sprayed the little spray bottle of ‘Shampoo’ at my roots and brushed it through with the paddle brush. I didn’t use all 5oz. and my ends weren’t wet with the mixture (as HTHG says, your ends aren’t usually in need of a clean). I got ‘Shampoo’ all over my roots and the top half of my hair. I slicked it all back to look like Mystique from X-Men.
I left it for 5 minutes, got in the shower and with my paddle brush, gently brushed out the ‘Shampoo’ under the running water. I spent about 10 minutes brushing, until I was happy that everything was gone, and then I sprayed the ‘Conditioner’ vinegar mix (with a few added drops of orange essential oil, so it smelled delicious) all over my hair. Again, I didn’t quite use all of it, but I did spray it all over my hair. I turned the water temperature down and rinsed the ‘Conditioner’ out with a few brushes. This didn’t take anywhere near as long as the bicarb mix, I suppose because it’s purely liquid.
My hair dried (eventually, took a lot longer than with a normal wash) and smelled and looked incredible. I couldn’t believe my hair was actually clean and looking good with some bicarb and vinegar.
Some pointers!
  • I bought 2 matching cheap spray bottles (69p each!) for the applications. The vinegar one still works great, but possibly because of the gritty nature of the bicarb mix, the other bottle stopped spraying altogether on my second wash. Until I replace it, I’m using an old, clean shampoo bottle but the application isn’t as neat and my head gets a bit soaked.
  • My bathroom smelled like a chip shop for a while afterwards, with the salt and vinegar hair going on. I quite enjoy this. The orange essential oil made the vinegar mix smell so good on my hair and when my hair is dry it smells fresh, not chemically and makes me think of post-sea swim hair.
  • Even during my first wash, in the shower, my hair felt fuller, thicker and more voluminous.
  • Hair takes longer to dry and, when damp, doesn’t brush through as smoothly as with a regular conditioner. However, when my hair is dry, it brushes like normal, tangle free.
  • My hair sits just above the top of my bra, and I found 5oz. of water to be a little too much liquid. Maybe start from there and adjust accordingly.
On Wash 2, I used less water so as not to waste any bicarb, vinegar or oil. I didn’t spend as long brushing out the bicarb mix and my hair felt heavier for it later. I think I still had some residue in my hair so my hair didn’t feel as light or as fresh. It was only a slight difference, but noticeable to me.
On Wash 3, I spent more time brushing the bicarb out. A day after wash 3 I noticed my hair was greasier than normal (than a regular wash or a Shamphree wash). The second day after Wash 3 my hair was insanely greasy! It wasn’t the usual greasy hair though. In a way, it was nice. It felt far more natural and almost like the oil was lighter. I followed HTHG’s advice and brushed my hair to get the oils down to my dry ends. I did this at a few points during the day and I was tempted to leave my hair unwashed on the third day after Wash 3, just put it up and let it do what it had to do. But I caved.
Wash 4 was my least favourite because my hair had gotten so greasy, I just wasn’t sure if Shamphree was working out for me. I did some research before my wash, to see if I should try a different ratio, or application etc. HTHG’s site mentioned that very oily roots are common when you first change to Shamphreeing your hair and recommended just to ride it out. So I haven’t changed my recipe or method just yet. I’m going to give it about a month before I do that, just to let my hair get used to this standard method and recipe.
After Wash 4 I noticed my hair didn’t feel as clean as the first time. It seemed like I hadn’t cleared all the oil from my greasy roots. But actually, today is the day after Wash 4 and my hair doesn’t feel greasy (yet), it feels fresh and clean and not flyaway. I also used some coconut oil on my ends last night, slept with them greased up and then washed them this morning with hot water and the vinegar spray. My over bleached hair feels lovely right now.
One more thing. I’ve been off work this week, so I’ve enjoyed having time for my experiment. I will definitely continue, even when I’m back at work, although I’ll probably rely on my dry shampoo again when I have a regular schedule. It can take longer in the shower, since you have to brush the bicarb mix out. I haven’t been blow drying or straightening my hair as much, because I’m off work and I know I don’t have to and it’s just nice to give your hair a rest. But generally, I think I’ll be able to manage this routine fine with my normal life.

Altogether, I’ve noticed interesting things and changes with my hair and I’m happy and excited to continue, see what comes next!
I’ll be back with my equipment list…

shamphree: the prep

Part one of documenting my Shamphree experience. I wrote this a few months ago, before I had tried it….

“My friend Jill and I are really cheap. Like, really, really cheap. I’m in the process of saving for my trip to South America and Jill did the same thing last year for her trip to the same place. We’ve both experienced intensive money saving and frugal living. Regardless of what you have planned, everyone can do with saving money and usually the key is trying something a little different! Also it helps if you shun convention and have no shame (which suits me fine).

Living on the cheap, budgeting and home made frugality are really popular right now. There’s nothing as satisfying as a hobby that saves you money! We both get excited at the prospect of a previously unheard tip, a cheapo blog or a marathon of SuperScrimpers on TV. I wanted to document a few of things I employ to save money, things which seemed hard work before I’d tried them, but now I couldn’t live without. I also wanted to keep track of some of things I’ve never tried, but wanted to.

So here’s the first…. going Shamphree.

I haven’t yet tried this, but I read about it from How To Hair Girl. She’s a hairdresser who blogs tips and style advice. She’s started shunning conventional shampoo and conditioner for something cheaper, more natural and kinder to the world. It’s a concept that instantly grabbed my attention…. homemade, cheap, possibly gives you incredible hair. So today I’m off out to get my bits. Here are the things you’ll need…

Baking Soda (or more commonly, Bicarbonate of Soda in the UK)
Apple Cider vinegar (available from health food shops), or else lemon juice or regular vinegar
Spray bottle (x 2)
Paddle Brush
Boar Bristle Brush
Essential Oils, whichever you like
Funnel (for adding ingredients to your spray bottle)

Just click here for the full list and further links to Shamphree information from How To Hair Girl.

I have 2 weeks off from work as a long overdue holiday, so the perfect opportunity to try out some intriguing frugal trials. If I have a clogged up, bicarbonate of soda scalp for two days nobody will notice but my housemates and Oliver. Perfect.

I will endeavour to keep track of my progress, the ups and downs of my Shamphfree experience. If you’re curious, try out this quick video showing the method involved from How To Hair Girl herself!

PS. I have taken all this information from How To Hair Girl, and her blog. I totally recommend her as the Queen of this stuff, there is so much information on her blog and I encourage you to visit HERE.

what made my work day

Today was full of eye rolling, ‘this is really where I work’ kind of moments. This is not only a cliche but a complete waste of a day in my life.

I’ve received 2 emails that said, simply, “find attached”. Efficient, sparing me excess text, saving time. Except both emails were lone, without attachments of any kind. Is this irony or incompetence, or both?

I sat through a 90 minute training session with a participant who thought he and the trainer were in a one on one session. A one on one session the trainer did not want to be in. There were 8 of us in the room, but this guy had no idea. He interrupted, disagreed and interjected at every possible opportunity. And every impossible opportunity. I groaned at, sighed at, rudely objected to, ignored and dispised him.

I worked 4 hours overtime. On the phone, explaining to people why their broadband doesn’t work. Tedious, but human at least.

I spent around 2 of those googling Stuart Heritage, trying to decide if I fancy him. I found a Youtube video and decided yes, I definitely do. Sexy voice. Although he’s no longer live blogging The Bake Off, as he did for the Celebrity specials in January. Dissapointing. He’s like a more handsome, less misantrhopic Charlie Brooker. That wit.

And finally, I rewatched the first episode of Breaking Bad with the intention of watching at least the first series before I leave. Perhaps the whole lot if I can manage it. I’m sick of not being part of the Breaking Bad hysteria. It’s boring.  This is how people felt when Game Of Thrones started again.

shamphree from the start

I documented my Shamphree journey from the start over at the ugly starter blog. Now I’ve moved here, I’d like to bring my Shamphree journal with me. When I first started Shamphreeing I hounded the internet for people’s stories, experiments and accounts of the challenges they’d faced. There aren’t too many. How To Hair Girl leads the way with her incredible advice, FAQs, recipes and tips.

I’m going to post a bunch of stuff from the old blog which covers the first few weeks of my experience, just in case somebody else finds it helpful. I’ll use the Category and Tag “Shamphree” for them all.


I don’t suppose this fits with the usual undeniable pop I usually assign to this category. Even so, it’s a melodic builder of a pop song and I keep returning to it this week. So it makes the cut.

more from july

Here’s more pictures from my Mum and Auntie’s time in Manchester. We had breakfasts in Chorlton and lunches in Manchester, saving dinner for Bar San Juan on Beech Road. The best tapas, wine and service going.

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