I confess. I quit shampooing a year ago.

Yes, I too have gone No-Poo. No-Poo is the growing movement (it even has a Wiki page!) of people going shampoo-free by using two simple household items to clean hair, Baking soda and Apple Cider Vinegar. The Baking Soda de-greases the hair, the Apple Cider Vinegar sanitizes and smooths the hair. This is all you need!

A summary of the reasons to consider going No-Poo

  • Shampoo strips the hair, causing the body to produce more oil to compensate, which then creates the need to shampoo. It is a vicious cycle.
  • Shampoo strips the hair, requiring the need for conditioner to replenish smoothness
  • Shampoo is expensive
  • Shampoo contains toxic ingredients
  •  The body does not naturally need “shampoo”. Shampoo is a product that has been marketed to us. Over time we have come to believe that we need this product and now that we need to use it daily. Rinse and repeat. The more we use it, the more we need it, turning us into good little consumers.

For years I had read about people going No-Poo and really agreed with the philosophy in principle, but felt that in practice it would not work for me personally. I have extremely oily skin and without daily shampooing my hair was disgusting. Many of my friends had normal hair and they could easily go a day or two without washing. No-Poo seemed like a good option for these people, but didn’t seem like something that could work for a little oil grenade like myself.

Over time I came to the conclusion that I really, really didn’t want to be exposing myself to the toxic and cancer-causing chemicals that shampoo contains. I SEARCHED through product after product, reading ingredients on maybe 50 or more products and realized that I simple couldn’t find a shampoo that did not contain toxic chemicals. Not even the natural and organic branded shampoo you find in natural food store are truly chemical-free, do not be fooled. I read enough testimonials about No-Poo that I decided to just give it a try, knowing that the process would be horrific at first.

By all reports the first month is terrible as the body is regulating itself to a more natural state. During this time the scalp over-produces oil to compensate for the stripping it is used to. After about a month the scalp is no longer in crisis from all of the chemicals and gets back into balance. This was true to some extent. I guess I was prepped for the worst because I found that the process was really not as bad as I had anticipated. Yes, the hair got oily and I wore my hair pinned up a lot that first month. After about 6 weeks it popped back and I found that I was using baking soda more often than I needed, resulting in dried out hair. I backed off on my treatments and the hair has come nicely into balance.

Prognosis: I don’t see myself ever going back to shampoo. My once oily hair can go days without degreasing. The added benefit has been my previously oily skin is now MUCH LESS oily and I have fewer break outs. I don’t find occasion to style my hair very often, but for you, dear readers, I have dolled up the ‘do for the pictures in this post. I now us baking soda once a week or so, only on the scalp and do so when my hair feels like it needs it, not on a schedule. I use Apple Cider Vinegar right after the baking soda and on in between days every other day or so to keep it clean and smooth.

No-Poo Recipe

Supplies

  • Baking Soda
  • Apple Cider Vinegar (I uses organic Bragg brand)

 Directions

Everyone approaches their process a little different, it seems. This is what I do, which is not necessarily the right way or the only way to do it.

Baking soda Wash: Once a week or so (more often in the first month)

  1. 1 cup of hot water 
  2. 1/2 Tbsp of Baking Soda

Dissolve baking soda in water. Pour onto scalp (not ends) and massage in. I leave for 30 seconds or so before rinsing.

Apple Cider Vinegar: 2-3 times per week and always after baking soda wash

  1. 1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  2. 1 cup of hot water

Dissolve apple cider vinegar in water and apply to hair, scalp and ends. Rinse.

 

Troubleshooting

  • If your hair smells like vinegar after you are using too much vinegar. Cut back on your concentration of vinegar to water. If you have very long or thick hair and feel you need more vinegar just do 2 cups of water with 2 Tbsp of vinegar to keep the concentration the same.
  • If you hair feels greasy do a baking soda wash
  • If your hair feels dry use Apple Cider Vinegar
  • If your ends feel super dry you can apply some coconut oil to the ends the night before the baking soda wash to moisten it. Keeping your hair trimmed regularly will help this.
  • Don’t feel the need to follow a schedule. Base your routine on how your hair feels and not the day of the week.

 

Related Articles:

I first read about No-Poo from one of my favorite travel bloggers, Cherie at Technomadia, who had gone No-Poo years before while living in a small travel trailer with limited water.

There are tons of great posts on the subject, here are a few links:

Care2.com No ‘Poo: Get Great Looking Hair with Just Baking Soda and Vinegar

WholeSweetHome.com: Shampoo to No Poo How I Made the Painless and Successful Transition

MistyMoncur: No Poo Recipes