Sunday, August 11, 2013

No 'poo (shampoo that is) for 1 month!

Guess what  –  I haven’t shampoo’ed in over a month! And my hair feels so healthy! 

I first heard of this idea (known as no 'poo) from Amanda over at Living In Another Language. She’s written some great tips and FAQs about no ‘poo method, definitely check that out. Anyway, this idea was incredible to me. And since I’m pretty on-board with going green, I thought this would be an excellent project to try. 

So I'm about a month into my no ‘poo process and want to share my experience and some information I've gathered. Here we go!

What is this about? (you’re probably asking)…well, essentially it’s cutting out shampoo and using a simple wash and rinse which you can make at home using baking soda and vinegar.

What are the benefits of no ‘poo?
1.    Save some money. Shampoo is a pretty penny to spend. Especially living in a foreign country, shampoos aren't cheap. And I always like learning ways to save and be resourceful.

2.    Be chemical free. This method doesn't use any of those chemicals that are typically in shampoos (sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, and silicone to name a few). I don’t have any reason to use chemicals on my body, especially as some of the effects are unknown. Yea, I don’t trust it.

Fun appalling fact: The Environmental Working Group, based in Washington, DC, compared the ingredients in 42,000 personal care products against 50 toxicity and regulatory databases and found that most shampoos have at least one chemical that raises concern (although the hair care industry counters by claiming that the chemicals are safe in the concentrations used).

3.    Get into a natural cycle and support smart-consumerism. These two parts are really complimentary. The science of it: When hair is shampooed, the scalp is stripped of its natural oils and it works harder to create more oils. So, the more frequent shampoo use, the more oil the scalp produces. Getting into a natural cycle by cleaning hair less often will help to produce less oils. Whereas brands and marketing encourage daily washing for beautiful, healthy hair. People should be aware there are other options, from no ‘poo to low ‘poo to using natural shampoos with no chemicals.

What’s the no ‘poo recipe?
Basically, you will use the shampoo wash for the cleaning portion and get rid of oils and dirt. The vinegar rinse serves as a conditioner to leave your hair shiny. As long as you rinse well, you won’t keep the vinegar smell in your hair. The dry shampoo is to minimize oily hair between washes. This is really helpful for me. A few days after my shampoo wash I start seeing signs of oil. I just sprinkle some cornstarch on my roots, blend it in really well and brush through with a comb. And like magic the oil goes away!                  
*Shampoo wash  =  1 tbsp. baking soda  +  1 cup warm water +  stir until dissolved   *Shampoo rinse  =  2 tbsp. vinegar  +  1 cup warm water +  mix                                         *Dry shampoo =  cornstarch or cocoa powder (put in spice jar or refillable makeup stick)

How often do I wash?
I've been washing about every 5 days with baking soda. Much longer than that and my scalp starts to itch. In between washes I use the dry shampoo whenever I need to.

What’s the transition period?
There is a transition period where the scalp is adjusting to this new process and slowing down its oil production. At this time hair may be very oily or dry and irregular. This can last from a few days to a few weeks. Get past this and you’re golden!

What’s my hair like after 1 month?
My hair feels healthy and pretty much normal. It’s been a little rough transition phase because my hair still gets oily after a few days of washing.
Now I’m adapting my routine which is helping with the oil. I start by using higher amount of baking soda in the wash mixture (about 2 tbsp). Then when I’m washing I let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing out (so there’s more time for it to do it’s work).
It’s really a process and experimentation but I am happy with the results I've seen. I also feel really good about no ‘poo because I’m using natural things on my hair. When I get down my routine I know I’ll love it ever more.

Here's what my hair look like now, after 1 month of no 'poo (sorry for the bad photo quality!) Lookin' good, eh?

Any tips?
  • Experiment! Everyone’s body and hair is different. You may have to adjust your measurements and try some different techniques until it works you’re your hair type. I did and it’s made a big difference!
  • Wait out your transition period. It may be hard for the time being but could be very worth it.
  • Add an essential oil in your wash or rinse to give it a scent (I like lavender, but mint or orange would be good ones to try!)
  • Helpful troubleshooting reads over at Code Red Hat: Help for Oily HairHelp for Dry HairHelp for Itchy, Flaky, Dry Scalp
  • Check out the Facebook group for support and advice: No Poo (no shampoo) & Low Poo Hair Care Group Forum

So what do you think?! Would you give no 'poo a try? Leave a comment, question, or no 'poo experience!

Other resources:
Plethora of information @ Code Red Hat 
Very popular article @ Simple Mom
This article has a huge list of other yummy hair ingredients @ Road to 31

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  1. Interesting! So can you wash your hair (like just with water) in between? Or are you supposed to keep your hair dry?

  2. Yes, it's fine to rinse in between! It works well for some people to do water only (WO) everyday with ACV (apple cider vinegar). For me it doesn't seem to make a difference though. Glad you find it interesting :)

  3. you are so cool!! I would try that but my afro hair may need another recipe. I wash my hair only once a week... sometimes once every two weeks if i am really bad. But with my texture hair, it is not good to wash too often or else it will be too dry. I have the opposite problem. My hair does not get oily, but it does get dirty! thanks lisa!

  4. also i was looking forward to seeing lisa with green hair!! that would be sweet!

  5. Haha! I dunno about green but I had a pink hair phase :) Also, you could try vinegar or the 'aloe honey smoothie' to moisturize it! There's all kinds of fun things to try!