I’ll start with some FAQs:
- What’s “no poo”? “No poo” is a method of cleaning hair without using commercial shampoo.
- Why would someone go “no poo”? The human body naturally produces oil, including for the scalp and hair. Frequent washing and use of commercial shampoo (which almost always contains harsh chemicals) strips your scalp its natural oils. This then causes your scalp to produce more oils to compensate. But then your hair gets greasy really quickly because your scalp is overproducing oils, so you have to wash your hair again soon. Furthermore, since the natural oils from your scalp never reach the ends of your hair (because you just keep washing it), you also have to use conditioner to soften and protect it. Soon, you’re stuck in a vicious cycle of constantly washing and conditioning your hair with commercial products, that you don’t realize there’s a simpler, more natural, and less damaging way to treat your hair. Yep, and that’s “no poo.” Oh, and did I mention, you also save money and generate less waste to pollute the earth?
- What do you do to wash your hair then? Some people use just straight up water, but the most common treatment is baking soda and apple cider vinegar. To wash your hair, mix a tablespoon of baking soda with water and massage it into your scalp and hair (make sure to get the roots!). Thoroughly rinse afterward. The baking soda works as a clarifier by removing excess debris and oil from your scalp and hair. Next, to condition your hair (since the baking soda is basic, you have to bring your head back to pH balance by using something acidic) by mixing a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with a cup of water and massage it into the ends your hair. Rinse thoroughly. Don’t worry, your hair won’t smell like apple cider vinegar when it dries; it’ll just smell like good old natural hair. Oh, also, I read that apple cider vinegar is a natural dye fixative, so even if you have dyed hair, “no poo” still works!
- Does “no poo” actually work? What’s the catch? I’ve been doing it for about four and a half months, and yes, it works! My hair feels soft, clean, and above all, really healthy. My hair has now reached a point where it only needs to be washed every four days (I usually shower once in between and put my hair up) and I’m gradually using less baking soda and apple cider vinegar. I’m hoping that one day, I can use just straight up water. WARNING THOUGH. And here’s the catch: there’s an incredibly gross transition period when you’re switching to “no poo.” Mine lasted about a month before my hair started ungreasing. Most people say their transition periods last about two weeks though (mine may have lasted longer because I came to Ecuador just two weeks after starting “no poo”). It depends on the type of water you have access to too (e.g. the U.S. has excellent water, inland Ecuador has OK water, and the Ecuador coast has very hard water). It also takes a while for your scalp and hair to fully adjust to your new hair cleaning routine. It took me up until now, four and a half months later, to declare that “no poo” really works! Like I said, I loooooveeee my hair now! And I’m never switching back to that chemical garbage.
- Should I go “no poo” too? You should give it a try! What’s there to lose?
Here’s my experience in photos! Times are approximated…
^ Week 3: Getting ready to board the plane to Ecuador with some nasty, greasy hair!
^ Week 4: My hair isn’t as greasy as before. Awesome, things are looking up!
Week 6: Still kinda greasy, but getting a lot better right? At this point, I was starting to figure out the formula of baking soda and apple cider vinegar that fit me (i.e. less baking soda, and using apple cider vinegar only on the ends of my hair)
^ 9 weeks: my hair has mostly ungreased. It just looks kinda flat and unhappy.
^ Week 11: my hair went through relapse because I went to the Ecuadorian coast where the water is really hard, which really roughs up your hair. I got dandruff for two few weeks, but it got better once I used good water again.
^ Week 13: My hair recovered from the coastal trip and now looks pretty fantastic! No more grease! Whoo!
And now, it’s about week 15 and my hair looks FABULOUS!!!!!!!!!!! Check it out yo.
Seriously, I love love love my hair! It looks and feels so good! Give “no poo” a try! You won’t regret it! 🙂
I was inspired by these two women who blogged their “no poo” experiences! They have some really good advice and tips. Check ’em out: 1) http://fulfilledhomemaking.com/no-poo-shampoo/ and 2) http://almostexactlyblog.wordpress.com/2013/04/24/extra-thoughts-on-going-no-poo/