Friday, October 14, 2011

How to smell like a pickle

I've mentioned that I use a lot of apple cider vinegar in my hair and this is why. I make certain soaps that I use as shampoo. It's great for many reasons, but rinsing it out with just plain water is a bad idea. It's so squeaky clean I can't run my fingers through my hair and when it dries, it's like a handful of straw perched on my head. But when I pour some apple cider vinegar diluted in water over my hair it gets instantly softened and conditioned. I even use it whenever I use commercial shampoos.


I must include a word of caution here....(Good Story Alert)....Early in my herbal interest, I read that vinegar made a good final hair rinse. I took this literally. I washed my hair one morning and poured on a cupful of vinegar, towel-dried it and raced off to work. The vinegar was definitely smelly, but what's that when gorgeous hair is on the line? I arrived with my hair still damp and set to work with a co-worker. After several minutes, she wrinkled up her nose and said, "What's that smell?" So deep was I in my vinegary haze that I smelled nothing at that point. But when she said, "Smells like a pickle!" then, "...Or maybe salt and vinegar chips?" I came out of my fog.


I then had to employ the well-tested strategy I call Keep Moving. It's the sort of thing that you have to do when you've spilled coffee down your skirt or lose a button smack in the middle of your chest. The idea is to become enough of a blur to the people around you that they aren't able to see those undesirable details, or in this particular case, smell them. After awhile my hair finally dried and the smell went away. Many years later when I again attempted a vinegar rinse, I found that it is NOT necessary to use full strength and rinsing afterwards does not diminish its hair softening qualities at all.


Caution #2. Some time later (ok, about six months ago) I used my diluted vinegar rinse, dried my hair, then an hour or so later decided to get my hair trimmed. I went to Not So Great Cuts where they don't wash your hair, but just spray it down a bit. Well, she started spraying and the vinegar fragrance began wafting all over. My Keep Moving strategy was not an option, and playing dumb was just plain dumb, so I came right out and claimed the smell. My explanation bewildered her and she began recommending alternatives that she sold that "worked really well." Meh. Mine's more natural ....and way cheaper!


But I'm sidetracking myself. The lesson here is vinegar works fabulously, it really truly does. But dilute it and know that the scent goes away when it dries, but can return if gotten wet shortly after it dries.

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