42 Responses to “Reflections On the Grand Experiment: By a Crunchy Betty”


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  1. Anonymous

    I’m crying!!  Happy tears :-)

    You took my little words and made them so beautiful.  Thank you for all that you are.  xxoo

    • Thank you VERY much for the poignant post. :) It speaks the truth, volumes of it, and it really should be hammered into everyone’s skulls. No one cares how someone cares for their hair! Always, always do what works best for you. You’re right – only we can say who we are, not the beauty industry, nor their marketing schemes, or buzzwords. WE decide what is beautiful to us!

  2. LisaLise

    Excellent, well said, and inspiring. Thanks Kylie for your lovely thoughts and thanks Leslie for putting a well deserved spotlight on them.

  3. Pam

    I don’t think it could have been said any better!  It’s a message we all really need to take to heart.  It chaps me that the beauty industry has so much influence over our perception of what is beauty is.  I think it’s time we start taking a stand against the industry’s standard of what is beautiful.  It’s not healthy.  It’s not realistic.  I love hearing the heart and words of women like Kylie who are beginning to fight back for real beauty.  Count me in!

  4. Yup.  I’ve been realizing these truths more and more over the last few months.  My struggle has been with poor skin.  Our culture teaches us to expect quick fixes (and have plenty of chemical-laden ways to do this) but now that I’m focused on healing my body naturally I’ve had to let go of my hope that I’ll be better quickly.  I’ve had to retrain myself to listen to my body – whew, that’s not easy!  I’ve had to forget about everyone else’s great skin and just move forward on my own path of wellness.  I think this is going to take a lot of time but my mind is finally in the right place – thank goodness!

  5. Liz

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one to try and try and try different recipes for hair. I just can seem to quite get it right … but that hasn’t stopped me from trying. And I REFUSE to go back to the chemicals of the store bought ones ~ even the supposedly “natural” and “organic” ones. {I’m too cheap!} Also, I love the enthusiasm of the journey. Again, glad to know I’m not the only one!!  :)

  6. Lissa

    This gets right to the heart of why I do crunchy. Very well said, Kylieonwheels. I have a post-it reading “Warning: objects in mirror may be distorted by societal standards of beauty” and your “I am who I say I am” is going right between it and the Shakespeare one about not being stupid.

    You go, girl!

  7. Cassie Nichols

    This is a great message Kylie, and exactly why I stay crunchy. When I started going no ‘poo last September, I didn’t think it was going to be about anything but my hair. Suddenly I use castille oil soap, have a neti pot, love myself body and soul – going crunchy is a gateway to loving myself and taking better care of all of me. Thank you for your wonderful reflections!

    • Beignet

      This! OMG! I thought it would be just hair. It turned into skin, house cleaning, eating local, more organic produce, and two meatless meals a week instead of one or none. While people on the outside often think I’ve lost it, I feel better about the way I treat myself and the planet. Plus I can sort of stick it to the man (beauty industry being the biggest I feel compelled to stick it to) which I love. And it has given me the courage to tell little girls in line at the store that those models she’s looking at on magazine covers are airbrushed. Awesome post!

  8. That is freakin beautiful. And inspiring. It reminds me of why I dig my heels in and live my life in a natural and balance way.

  9. “I am who I say I am, and not who the beauty industry says I’m not.  I am a reflection of how well I treat my body and soul.” –KylieonwheelsThat’s going in my collection of favorite quotes. And Ima tweetin’ it as soon as I post this comment. ; )  Thank you, Kylie and Leslie, for your strength and encouragement.

  10. Crunchy_Mama

    Lovely Kylie! 

    I was thinking something similar yesterday when I was freaking out about my hot oil treatment disaster. I thought “why can’t this work for me? It works for everyone else”! I got a grip eventually and realized that while I had let go of my obsession with beauty industry standards, I hadn’t quite let go of my instinct to compete with other women. I’m not other women, I am me. If hot oil treatments get me a gross mess of oily hair, and not soft flowing locks that Fabio would envy, then so be it! My hair was actually very nice without the fancy schmancy stuff, I just forgot. Being Crunchy goes beyond what products we do and do not use. Its about accepting ourselves (and our hair) for who we are and treating ourselves well. 

    Thanks for this post Kylie, it is a wonderful reminder!

  11. Alison I Buckley

    Beautifully said, and agreed! Recently I was thinking how I started going no-poo in Buenos Aires in November of 2010 because I figured no one knew me there! Over a year later, and I am so much healthier — the allergies that I always had are gone and I am rarely sick — it has taken time to get into a groove and figure out what works for my skin/body/hair, but so well worth it.  

    There is a great parody of airbrushed makeup by Adobe on YouTube — check it out if you get a chance, it is hilarious and gets at the root of many issues.

    Love who you are, baby — there is only one you.

  12. Kate S.

    Well said and well written. Your words definitely resonated with me.

    I’ve long since given up imagining magazine advertisements depict women with real hair. I don’t bother looking anymore. I wish more women would do the same.

  13. KarinSDCA

    Beautifully written!
    I was thinking similar thoughts when I typed on the same blog post about how I love my hair just the way it is. I am grateful you, Kylie, took the time to share your complete thoughts. My new favorite quote: I am not lucky, I am committed. I get the “you are so lucky” comment soooo often. Luck has nothing to do with it, in my opinion. I usually say I feel very blessed and move on. I like this better. Commitment is what it takes in many cases.
    Love to all!

  14. Anonymous

    Wow, guys, some really beautiful comments here.  Honestly, I feel so chuffed today :)  I even had the guts to show this to my work colleagues, despite my old fears that they would think I was such a weirdo.  That was a big step for me!

    I wanted to make the point that a lot of the time when I have these little flashes of clarity, it is only because I’ve been in despair myself.  It’s not like I wake up in the morning and kiss the sky, thinking how lucky I am and how much I love my self.  It’s quite likely that I have been feeling the same stuff we all go through – wishing I was different – more this and less that.  I have to stop myself and say ‘hey woman!  knock it off!!’ :)  When I’m listening to my body, everything seems to harmonise in my mind, and it feels GOOD.  I just wish I could share that feeling with everyone, and that’s when the above starts to flow :)

    big hugs!

  15. Eddie~Grace

    Thank you Kylie.  Thank you!

  16. Gelato

    Hi Kylie, Congratulations on this post! It is most deserved. Know that you are NOT weird, but wise beyond your years. I see in you a beautiful person inside and out. Your words are magical and I certainly read them from your dazzling soul. You have a gift for expressing yourself. Have you thought about a book? Thank you for personally lifting me up since I have been a member of this blog. Your heart is huge! Mwah . . .

  17. Krysta N.

    Wonderful message that I think every woman (or man, for that matter) should try to be open to! I was so surprised by how much started changing once I started changing myself. One day I decide to try washing my face with honey, then the next I’m making my own deodorant, laundry soap, bread, eating organic when possible and slathering oatmeal on my face every morning…my family thinks it is a little weird – but they also think it is cool that I’m figuring all of this stuff out (through lovely sites like this, of course). I feel so much better when I make healthy, conscious decisions – both physically and spiritually. I’ve learned to be ok without make-up (which anyone that knew me in high school would probably keel over if they found out) and that my formerly oily hair doesn’t need to be washed every day. Washing with baking soda didn’t work for me, but I’ve found natural shampoo bars (applevalley natural soap) that do and my husband loves using them as well. Life is all about learning and growing and getting back up when we inevitably fall down. I’m loving this journey that is taking me closer to just being “me” instead of an objectified shadow of myself hidden behind the unrealistic ideals of our commercial society. Thanks Crunchy Betty – and thank you Kylie for your words of wisdom. :)

  18. Kylie, what power and beauty in your words! I love when you wrote: “There is no bottled solution to your hair” – there’s no miracle bottled solution to anything! (hmm, except maybe coconut oil! ;) ) We can just doing our best to act out of love. Love for ourselves, love for the earth, love for all being! Choose love!!

  19. So very wise and wonderful Kylie! I remember last week reading your (then) comment and thinking, “Wow, I wish Kylie had a blog so I could read more of her writing!”… no lie, I’ll be your first subscriber! I hope you’ll at least consider writing a blog or maybe guest-blogging here more often. I always love what you have to say and it ties in so well with the Crunchy Betty philosophy. I’m bookmarking this post so I can revisit it whenever I start to question my path. Did I say inspirational? You are… very.

    • Anonymous

      Wow I only just saw this reply Stephanie, you are such a sweetheart!  What lovely things you have said.  It means a lot to me that you appreciate my writing.  Communication is something that I sometimes struggle with in person – I’m such a passionate person but sometimes I feel very misunderstood in our world.  So to know that despite all that, some people can still draw inspiration from me, is a very comforting and uplifting feeling.  Thanks so much!

      (I’m all teary again haha)


  20. Susan Fine

    I love this.  I’ll be linking to it in tomorrow’s 75% Hippie post.  It’s absolutely beautiful and I give kudos to both you and Kylie.  What have I learned through more conscious living?  It is so true that it doesn’t matter what good things you are doing if you are eating preservative, nitrate/nitrite, chemical filled garbage.  You will not feel your best.  I’m on an amazing journey with food to lose 330 pounds.  The past four years have led to the knowledge that I can do this, I am doing this, and I feel fantastic!  Eat fresh, eat as raw as you can (Yes, I still eat cooked food), and eat as local as you can.  If I can do it, you can do it too!  We’re phasing out chemicals in other parts of our lives as well and it’s only getting better!




  21. Anonymous

    Susan that is a great story and you are making an amazing effort.  I’m so impressed.  When you find the good vibes that come with real health, you just want to tell everyone about it!  It’s hard to do without sounding preachy.  I’m looking forward to reading more from you too.

  22. Audrey Pecott


  23. Tressa

    So inspiring! I myself have woken up to how amazing it feels to ditch societies standards and just be ME. I am going totally natural and it is amazing how much more beautiful I feel from the inside out!

    • kylieonwheels

      Thanks Tressa, and congratulations :)  

      I just came back to read over this post again – it’s a good one to read when I need reminding that I’m ok just as I am.

  24. Ashleychamalian

    Thankyou this is so encouraging! i was so close to giving up but i am stubborn about going the natural way just like you. So i buckled down and boiled water the way your supposed to because i left my home of happy soft water and am living in the most calcium concentrated area of england. so i will not give up. now im going to “wash” my hair.

  25. TheBrownGirl

    Wow. I reeling after reading this post. Really. I have been transitioning my small family to an all natural and organic and “Made in China” free existence over the past 6 months. My friends and family think I am just another crunchy granola hippy but… I’m 37 and we need to treat our bodies better.

    I’m not worried about being thin or beautiful. I worried about being healthy and saving my pennies for a rainy day. I don’t want to worry about chemicals falling into my dogs water dish when I spray my counters and I want my new baby to be able to safely splash in said water dish.

    I truly believe in K. I. S. S. Keep It Simple Sister! Straightforward, healthy and available is what we all need for all the reasons you spelled out, Kylie! Bravo, sister, Bra-vo!

  26. fatcat2skinnykitty

    Beautiful beautiful post! I shared it on my fb page for my readers. I began with clean eating and no processed foods, no sugar, flour, or wheat. Once my diet what chem free I starting looking at all of the products around me and saw nothing but chemically laden poisons. I’ve done a whole inventory on my life and have made a complete overhaul. Thanks for sharing her words.

  27. hannahbanana

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  28. Fina

    Before WWI, my mother just used castille bar soap, and a bit of vinegar water to rinse the soap scum out. I love this blog, but what’s with the adamant not wanting to wash this part of your body? You don’t really wash the hair, you wash the scalp under the hair. Let the water just rinse through the hair to remove dust particles. Make your own homemade soap with healing oils, and go ahead and scrub a dub dub. It will not kill your soulfulness.

    • Fina

      Ok, so I just read what the no poo means, and honestly for those of you who are doing this, or trying this you need to read this. I had a friend living in England back in the 1980’s that believed this, and went for 1.5 years not washing his hair, or using oils and such to do so. Believing we were over-washing our scalps, and that’s why they get dirty to begin with. This fad has already been done, and from what I understand it failed miserably. He looked, and smelled disgusting! By the beginning of the 2nd year, he folded and started washing his hair again, but not before his GF left him. I don’t think it was just because of this, but I suspect it added to the list of overall complaints from her.
      People don’t try this. The OCM for the face may be a great idea, but I read even the Romans used more than just oil on their scalps. Hair is like a net, and unlike your skin the dust and grime that sticks to the scalp needs more than oils to effectively really remove them. My friend’s hair never looked clean, nor smelled really clean, and definitely wasn’t more beautiful. Now I know some of you will insist that yours is, but there was a reason soap washing went international after it was discovered. For the majority of people, this no ‘poo thingy is just simply unhygienic. At least, not as hygienic as modern cleansing methods have evolved to.

      My sources: First hand experience as an eyewitness. Sorry.

      • Fina, I think you’re misunderstanding no-poo a little. It’s not the idea of not washing your hair EVER, it’s just not using what we think of as commercial “shampoo”, with harsh chemical surfactants like sodium laureth sulfate. Exactly how you want to go no poo is up to you, it can be baking soda and a vinegar rinse like some, or natural soap (like your mom… I do this too), and a vinegar rinse, or co-washing (washing with conditioner). It certainly does NOT mean letting your hair get greasy and disgusting. Hope this clears things up.

  29. Fina

    BTW – the rest of this article was absolutely beautiful. We are not what the industry says. We are beautiful each and every one of us.

  30. Wonderfully uplifting, inspiring and enthusing words! Hats off to this lady! I am currently converting myself over to the natural way of living as best possible. I’m loving every moment of exploration and becoming more in tune with the requirements of my body. Honestly beginning to feel a better understanding of the interconnectedness of our bodies and starting to work on the basis of ‘If I wouldn’t eat it, I won’t put it on me face… or any other part of my body for that matter!’… exeptionally Crunchy! It’s lovely to hear of someone else’s experiences and that others are strong and authentic enough to overcome the unrealistic expectations created by media. Natural will always be more beautiful, inside and out. Xxx

  31. shelagh

    i love this!! thank you <3

  32. Eleanor

    Great article! I so appreciate it because I have oily hair, and I work out daily which means a lot of sweat. But I’m sticking this out with hats and ponytails, etc. I’m also learning it’s a process of finding what works for me. So I appreciate encouraging and honest anecdotes to remind me to keep up the clean living I’m attempting to engage in.

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