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Thread: The Official NW/SO Thread

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    Member Bedhead's Avatar
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    Default The Official NW/SO Thread

    Welcome all to the all new NW/SO (No Water / Sebum Only) thread!

    It's here we discuss cleaning our hair using mechanical cleansing methods, or using other methods that don't involve wetting our hair with water. We rely on the sebum to act as a natural anti-bacterial / anti-fungal layer that also repels water and protects our scalp and hair from harsh chemicals.

    The basis for NW/SO is SMP, which stands for Scritch, Massage, and Preen. These techniques are used to mechanically clean and protect our scalps and hair.

    Scritching is the process of gently scraping your scalp to remove excess sebum and dead skin cells from the scalp, using either your finger nails, or a comb. This is not to be confused with scratching. There is no digging into the scalp or hair follicles, simply a gentle scraping until you feel you're done.

    Massage is just as it sounds. Massaging the head and hair. gently pressing into the grooves of your scalp. You can even use a similar technique used when washing your hair with shampoo, and move your scalp and hair around to stimulate blood flow, warming the scalp and sebum to help in the dispersal of the sebum.

    Preening is the removal of excess sebum and spreading of it down the length of the hair, like birds do with their feathers. It is done by dividing hair into one inch or smaller sections and, beginning at the roots, holding the hair and rubbing it between the thumb and fingers, sometimes using your nails to help, while moving the hand lower down the shaft of the hair; it's somewhat like milking the length of hair. This will both smooth the hair and spread the sebum down the length of the hair. The goal is to cover the entire length with sebum. We all find our own technique.

    Tools used by NW/SO practitioners to help with scritching and preening, and cleaning the hair or dust and excess sebum:
    • Hands and fingers
    • Wooden wide toothed combs
    • Horn or resin combs
    • Lice combs
    • BBB
    • Cloths


    The Transition Period is a length if time it takes for your scalp to adapt to its natural state of being. Using shampoo and conditioner will repeatedly strip your scalp and hair of its natural sebum and so your scalp will respond with needing to produce more and more sebum. With the NW/SO method, the sebum is not removed, so the scalp will slow down on its production of sebum. Until this time, though, the scalp will continue to produce too much sebum, as is it is conditioned to, and your hair will appear quite sebum-rich. From the start to the moment when the sebum production slows down is what we call the "transition period".

    Typically, the transition period lasts anywhere from 10 to 14 weeks, usually about 12. During this time a typical NW/SO practitioner will SMP twice a day, with it taking about 45 minutes each time. Once the transition period is over, some people need to continue with twice a day for a while, but the amount of time needed to to SMP get cut down once the sebum has covered the entire shaft. Eventually, people will begin being able to SMP just once a day, or maybe even once every second day.

    Things that affect sebum production, skin cell issues, and smell issue are things like diet, stress level, pollution, allergies, exercise and of course, genetics and hair type. Our scalp basically yells at us for not treating ourselves well. It does not hold back! Treat yourself well and NW/SO will work for you!

    The Secondary Transition Period will last for the following year and a half. At this point, there will be a subtle shift, where you'll notice a texture change, more lift and softness to the hair, maybe even a change in smell. SMPing can be stretched out even further, if you so desire. You'll need to find your own body's balance, given your biology, diet, and environment.

    Washing/Rinsing the hair with Water depends on the person. Some will rinse or wash every month to 3 months, some with the change of the season, or the moon cycles. Some do not rinse at all, other than moments of getting caught in the rain. Again, each person will decide what works best for them.

    Sweat seems to be something that comes up often when people are considering NW/SO, and all I can say is sweat seems to cleanse and condition my hair. I wait until it dries and do a little preening and I'm off!

    The mental and emotional challenge of beginning NW/SO can be difficult. The media and society have taught you shampoo and conditioned hair is the only hair that is clean. It has taught you that having stripped hair is what clean hair looks like. It has taught you that the only shine your hair should have is from a product you put in your hair. And you've been taught sebum equals dirty and smelly. So going through the transition phase is not easy. You will feel self-conscious, wondering if you smell, or if people can tell you haven't washed your hair. That's what we're here for. We will support you and answer any questions you might have regarding your process.

    By the time you get through this, you perspective of what healthy hair is will be the silky, soft, shiny hair you see in the mirror everyday!
    NW/SO since January 20, 2012 ... ... ... ...


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    Member Bedhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Official NW/SO Thread

    Whew! If anyone has anything else to add, please feel free!
    NW/SO since January 20, 2012 ... ... ... ...


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    Default Re: The Official NW/SO Thread

    Um I guess this sounds gross, but does anyone get a whitish waxy substance under their fingernails when they scritch? Is that normal? I would ask for photos, but I don’t think anyone else would want to see that >.<
    Pixie->TBL(current)->FTL(goal)

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    Default Re: The Official NW/SO Thread

    Hi Beeboo123!

    Yes, that's normal. That is the excess sebum and dead skin cells you're removing. This is why we need to scritch.
    NW/SO since January 20, 2012 ... ... ... ...


  5. #5

    Default Re: The Official NW/SO Thread

    I had that Beeboo-
    It eventually went away
    I considered it mostly product residue which took several weeks to remove completely.

    BH-
    That is the most on point description of what’s going on here that I’ve ever seen or contemplated.
    Beautiful job.
    I’ll chime in as I think of stuff

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    Member Bedhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Official NW/SO Thread

    Aww! Thanks hun!
    NW/SO since January 20, 2012 ... ... ... ...


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    Default Re: The Official NW/SO Thread

    One more question: how do you start? Do you stretch washes longer and longer, until you stop completely? Or do you quit washing cold turkey? And if you do, do you do one last clarifying wash, or do you condition as per normal? Would love to hear how everyone here transitioned into NW.
    Pixie->TBL(current)->FTL(goal)

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    Member Bedhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Official NW/SO Thread

    I just went cold turkey, and struggled, and others here made me realise I needed to do a clarifying wash to get all the product out, so my system would react to it anymore. It helped a lot! I highly recommend clarifying before starting.

    As far as how you decide to do it, it's up to you. I had already stretched out my washes with WO, so going cold turkey wasn't as big a deal as someone who hadn't done that. I think proo just gradually stretched out her washes (she can tell you more about that).

    For that last clarifying wash, I found putting a dab of a light oil only on the very ends when still wet helped, since the hair will first freak out a bit and the ends can go dry.

    Good luck!
    NW/SO since January 20, 2012 ... ... ... ...


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    Default Re: The Official NW/SO Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by proo View Post
    BH-
    That is the most on point description of what’s going on here that I’ve ever seen or contemplated.
    Beautiful job.
    I’ll chime in as I think of stuff
    I was thinking the same! That's a great intro post.

    Beeboo123, I went cold turkey as well. My washes were fairly stretched out anyhow (a week or more), and I generally used a 2-in-1. I never went back and did a proper clarifying wash, but with how much static I used to have, and with only scrubbing my scalp (though it all ran down the length during rinsing), I can't imagine there was actually much product interfering. I don't seem to produce much sebum, though, so that might've been the bigger reason why the lack of clarifying wasn't an issue.

    Darn hair dressers and their misplaced bra straps... Looks like it'll be longer between hair cuts this time, with an extra 6 inches to regrow!
    <APL ~APL~BSL~MBL~WL~HL~TBL~Classic~ FTL ~ Knee???

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    Default Re: The Official NW/SO Thread

    Excellent job, Bedhead!

    I'd been doing WO for a while. Then winter and cold weather came. I didn't want to get my hair wet in this chilly old house, so I didn't. I combed and brushed and brushed and combed. ....

    So then I was NW/SO.
    Opting out of Friend Requests, thank you very much!

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