No ‘Poo: Why, How, and My Experience

 A lot of people were interested in my Facebook mention of the “No ‘Poo” method (ditching shampoo), so I thought I’d come over here and describe my experience in detail. I haven’t touched my hair with shampoo or conditioner in nine days. The pictures in this post were taken last night (day 8 of no shampoo).

After seeing these pictures posted to Facebook, a few of my friends have decided to take the plunge with me and give this a try. This does not mean I do not wash my hair! The typical shampoo-less regimen goes something like this:
1.) One tablespoon of baking soda, plus one cup of warm water. Shake to mix well, and massage into scalp. Most apply this just like shampoo, after wetting the hair in the shower. If you feel the mixture is not soaking in enough, you may choose to try applying it to your hair while it’s still dry, and then rinsing in the shower. (As my hair is thick, I like this method. Be sure to massage it in either way.)
2.) One tablespoon apple cider vinegar, plus one cup water. Shake, apply to hair, focusing on ends. This is your conditioner and de-tangler.

Both of these mixes last me several washes. Some people use lemon juice instead of vinegar. At this point, I’ve gotten bored and created a “conditioner” of white tea, a tablespoon of lemon juice, and a squirt of honey. I like it a lot. Chamomile tea will lighten your hair, and black tea will darken it. If you want to, you can play with the chemistry of the mixes, or keep it basic. But most people use the vinegar and, no, your hair will not smell like vinegar. I promise!

I’ve always washed my hair every day… otherwise it becomes an oily mess. With the exception of one day, I’ve continued that routine as my scalp adjusts. Shampoo strips your scalp of natural oils to replace them with synthetic ones, so the more you use shampoo, the more natural oil your scalp thinks it needs to produce (since it’s constantly absent).

When we take away shampoo, it generally takes a couple weeks before the scalp figures out that it doesn’t need to produce so much, so those giving up shampoo will experience more oil than usual for a week or two… sometimes longer. Lucky for me, I stay at home, and it doesn’t matter too much if my hair looks ridiculous but if you decide to ditch the chemicals and let your scalp start relaxing, you might invest in some hats and scrunchies for those first couple weeks.

The baking soda should counteract much of the oiliness, so I’d say there’s no need to feel disgusting. Wash every day, and as your oil production slows down, begin to spread wash times further apart. Many who’ve used this method for a while only need to wash their hair once or twice a week, since they don’t have all the extra oil collecting grime on top of their head. Sounds good to me! Of course, there are other great reasons to give this a try: a few less chemicals being absorbed by the body, the lessened environmental impact, the beautiful hair we’ll be rewarded with, and can you say “cheap!” The texture of my hair is fine, but it is extremely thick (there’s a ton of it), so it is often heavy and limp. It feels about 30 pounds lighter already. I am happy with my progress so far!
I will update on my blog as I get further into this journey.

Is this something you’d consider? Have you already begun? Do you have questions/concerns?  
Let’s talk in the comments below!

23 thoughts on “No ‘Poo: Why, How, and My Experience

  1. Today is day 9… planned on washing my hair with the baking soda, etc. again today, but I looked in the mirror and realized that my hair looks and feels better today than it did yesterday!  Hooray!

  2. Day 10 w/o shampoo: here is a picture. I went ahead and washed my hair with the baking soda mix (I triple the baking soda for my thick hair), and my special formula rinse. It didn’t look greasy or dirty, but I can’t wrap my mind around skipping two days. I cannot explain to you how soft my hair feels. It’s softer than my 2-yr-old’s by a long shot. Pardon my grumpy expression… I was focusing on getting a good picture of my hair, not my face. :)

  3. A delicious-smelling, vinegar-free no ‘poo rinse recipe:

    1 cup pomegranate tea
    1 teaspoon honey
    1 tablespoon lemon juice

    Squirt in honey while tea steeps (I estimate honey amount).
    Remove tea bag or leaves, and stir in lemon juice.
    Make sure rinse is cool before using!
    Tip: keep in fridge or by cold bathroom window… the cold rinse closes up your follicles. :)

    You can of course use any flavor of tea. Chamomile is said to lighten the hair, and black tea will of course darken it. I am using good ‘ol white tea, because it’s what I had sitting around. Lemon juice will not balance the ph of your scalp as well as vinegar, so you may want to swap those, but I like the lemon juice just fine. The smell of warm honey and tea in the shower is intoxicating… enjoy!

  4. Here is the picture I took of my hair this morning. It’s been 23 days since shampoo or conditioner have touched my hair, and I feel like I’m really adjusting now. I’ve gone back to using the simple ACV (apple cider vinegar) + water rinse instead of my fancy tea and lemon juice concoction. In the beginning, I experienced a waxy, almost sticky buildup in the ends of my hair… to the point that my brush would stick even in dry, detangled hair. It seems like what solved this was more of the ACV on the areas that were suffering from the stickiness. I squirt extra of the mixture on those areas, really massage it in, and give it about 30 seconds before I rinse it out. It also seems like it is lessening with time, so I think I could probably back off on the ACV if I wanted, but why? It makes my hair so SHINY! :) I’m very, VERY happy with this method so far.

  5. A closeup of my hair this morning. It’s been 30 days since shampoo or conditioner touched my hair! The only real struggle I’m having is finding the right amount of the mixes to work into my hair each time I wash, but I know I’ll work out a system in time. This might not be a struggle for those who aren’t using their feet… lol. Regardless, my hair is slowly becoming less oily and far more shiny. I am enjoying the process and am excited to see just how healthy my hair looks in the end.

  6. I tried lemon juice (granted, it was mixed with a little vinegar) for a while and it split my ends so bad I ended up getting my hair cut. Is this what you’re still using? If so, how are your ends holding up?

  7. I ended up going back to plain ol’ ACV… but I used it for a while and I just got my hair cut and my stylist said my hair looked healthy. I wonder if it was the mixture of ACV with lemon? But I know you have had luck with ACV, so if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! ;)

  8. Carijo says:

    When you do the first step with baking soda do you also apply to ends or just focus on scalp? And visa versa on the second step?

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