No Poo!

I’ve taken the plunge into No Poo land!  Last night was day 1. Prepare just as meandering a post as usual!

“No Poo” means No shampoo, and (sometimes) None of the poo that’s in shampoo!

Most of my motivation came from not liking the money I have to spend on “good” shampoo/conditioners.  I’m picky about the health and feel of my hair. Store brands just don’t cut it, leaving my hair dull, dry, and feeling rough.  My favorite brands were Kenra and Joico.  Pricey stuff (although not the most expensive I know!)

Here’s the skinny, as I understand it anyway.  Shampoos have detergent in them, detergent that we don’t really need to be putting in our hair.  Why are you supposed to use conditioner? Because the detergents strip away all the oil and good stuff from our hair.  If you have hair longer than an inch or so, and you’ve ever forgotten or skipped the conditioner you’ve probably noticed that your hair turns out pretty dry, and sometimes brittle/crunchy.

This is because many shampoos have sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), which is mostly used to create that “lather” we’re all used to.  But because of how SLS works, it’s also pretty good at stripping away too much oil.  Oil that your hair needs.  If your hair didn’t need it, they wouldn’t make conditioner to replace what was taken away!

The common immediate reaction to No Poo is “Eww! Gross!”

Not so fast!  For one, anyone who takes a No Poo approach to their hair care regimen has probably put more thought into their hair health and making this decision then you do when you’re deciding which new brand/scent you want to buy.

For two, just because someone is No Poo, doesn’t mean they don’t clean their hair!   For some people, that is the ultimate goal, to not ever wash their hair.  But I don’t think that many people can get there. It takes a long period of adjustment and gross hair to get to that, if you can ever get to that point.  I’ve read about some people who have gone 8+ months and their hair still isn’t out of the ‘icky’ phase.

What I’m doing is not that! I actually used some of that Sulfate Free Shampoo for about a month, in hopes that it might cut down some of the transition time, but more on that later. I also already only washed my hair ever 3-4 days.

The process:

I’m going with a Baking Soda (BS) and White Vinegar (WV) approach.  It’s very simple.

  • You mix 1-2 tablespoons of Baking Soda in 8-16 oz of water (1 teaspoon/1 cup ratio), same with the vinegar.
  • You pour the BS mixture in your hair and work it around.  It won’t lather, nor should it feel gritty.  If it does, add more water, in the future perhaps use less BS.
  • After you rinse, you use the WV mix, rinse again.

Once your hair is dry the vinegar smell goes away.   I may switch to Apple cider vinegar though, just for a nicer smell while I’m doing the washing, ha!

Now there is still a transition period, but with regular BS/Vinegar washing, it shouldn’t last long, A week or two maybe, for some people it’s up to a month.  I think it largely depends on your own oil production.

I’ve heard this is less likely to work if you have hard water.  I have no idea if I have hard water or not, so for now I’m pre-mixing with filtered water.  (And from now on, I will remember that taking ice-cold water from the fridge into the shower with me to dump on my head is not an awesome experience!)

Part of the transition is also working out the build up from previous products, so a clarifying shampoo to jump-start might be helpful, especially if you typically use a lot of products in your hair.

And speaking of products! Another No-No!  BS won’t be able to combat the heavy stuff left behind by most styling products (no fizz, smoothing, etc) However, the consensus seems to be that going No Poo eliminates the need for such things, especially if frizz is a concern.

Some people say “But my hair is TOO oily to not use shampoo!”  Which is highly unlikely.  Shampoo strips the oil out of your hair and scalp, so because there’s not enough, your body makes more.  Supply and demand.  Most people with super oily hair actually have their shampoo to blame, it’s causing the over production.

That’s about all my thoughts for now.  I will be updating about my progress.  I did not think to take any “before” pictures.  But this is 24 hours after the first BS/WV wash. For now I will stick with my usual washing schedule, but may increase frequency of washing if I hit a rough patch in the transition to see if that helps.  My hair feels normal, looks fine, feels clean (not greasy).  It does feel (and behave) like it’s a bit more weighted down than usual.

My hair is shoulder length, wavy/straight and very thick.Image