To Poo or Not to Poo

Late April 2021, Việt Nam witnessed the beginning of the fourth wave of SARS-CoV-2 after a few months without any community case. Soon enough, students are told to not come to their schools' campus. This happens when I was an intern at USTH ICTLab, so I was advised to work remotely as well. I asked for this at the start of the internship but my supervisor was rather reluctant, since there was multiple interns working together and communication in person might be most effective. Working from home was beneficial to me in a few important ways:

  1. I had a three-monitor setup at home and a more comfortable space.

  2. I could have be more flexible working hours at home.

  3. I did not have to bike back and forth to the lab (which is 4 km away) twice a day[1], which could be exhausting in the hot summer.

Thanks to the last point, I also sweat a lot less and as I no longer had to maintain a public appearance, I decided to give #nopoo a try. I had been aware of such practice for quite a few years, but had never thought of actually implementing it until I saw Johnny Harris' vlog, which I can only describe as intriguing. TL;DW the journalist maintained that generally shampoos washed away his scalp's natural oil, and in combination with other hair products made the scalp itchy and unhealthy. His solution was to drop the use of all products completely and so far it had been working for him.[2]

Well, my head was itchy sometimes (still itchy at the time of writing), alors, pour la patrie, les sciences et la gloire, let's do it!

Day One

I was going full no poo, no soap, no baking soda, no vinegar, just water, raw water. Everything was going as expected, my hair was not as fluffy as usual after washing, but it was easier to get in shape. I didn't really style my hair. Not as a fashion statement, I was (still am!) just rather lazy. Usually this wasn't an issue, unless when my hair was long, it tent to cover my forehead, ears and eyes, which was arguably an uncomfortable experience. Having the hair stay in place was indeed a blessing!

Day Two

My hair started to feel thicker and running hands through it no longer felt simulating. On the bright side it looked fabulous and did not itch.

Day Four

My hair and scalp began to feel greasy. I guess it was because I did not wash it thoroughly that day. With just water one would need to take more effort scrubbing the hair and especially the scalps to return them to a comfortable state. Plus my mentality got worse so my perceived experience could be exaggeratedly negative.

Day Five

I worked out and paid more attention to the hair washing process. It felt noticeably better.

Day Six

The brief revival of my mental health did not last very long:[3] later that day I was completely autopiloting and accidentally poo'ed myself. It felt fluffy again but I was disappointed that things did not go as planned.

Day Seven

I decided to cut my hair. I had been doing so for a decade when I wrote this, but I got neither better nor faster at it, so it only happens twice or thrice a year. Of course I had to poo myself after to get rid of all the tiny pieces.

Day Eleven

Fast forward a few days it started to feel greasy again, but this time the hair was shorter so it was less of an issue. I began to apply saline to the hair after washing and somehow it helped a lot in improving the situation. Saline was also my solution for face acne in my teenage year (along with finger nails and pillowcase hygiene).

Day Fifteen

At this point the experience had become more stable. My scalp still itched occasionally but seemly less often than when I was poo'ing more regularly. The hair stayed in shape with merely any effort (I didn't even use a comb).

Overall, the difference is barely noticeable otherwise but I think I will be continuing holding my poo for another while, probably in long term. Do not let my experience speak for you, however, try it yourself if you are interested, but keep observing the effect objectively.

[1] I usually had lunch at home with my parents.
[2] Emphases his.[4]
[3] I later discovered that this was due to the lack of sunlight.
[4] He stressed that this might not be the case for everyone.[5]
[5] OK, I get it, footnotes are distracting.

Tags: lyf exp Nguyễn Gia Phong, 2021-05-23


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