Going No 'Poo

Until about a week ago, I ‘pooed in the shower at least every other day. But now, I think I may have decided to stop ‘pooing altogether.
That’s right folk, I’m going no ‘poo. Wish me luck.
**By ‘poo, you go know I am referring to shampoo, right? Because if you didn’t, um… ew.**

I’ve been doing all kinds of weird crunchy things with my health and beauty routine lately: making homemade deodorant, washing my face with honey, making translucent powder from eggshells… It was only a matter of time before I started fiddling with my haircare products. I’m going to do a little experiment – no shampoo for an entire month.
I hear that we don’t really need shampoo to have clean, healthy hair. In fact, frequent shampooing may actually be counter productive. The theory is that shampoo is drying to your scalp. Your scalp gets grouchy about being stripped of it’s precious oils and responds by opening the oil floodgates. You respond by washing your hair more frequently – and so it goes.
It’s a vicious cycle, and one that reportedly takes a little bit of time to break. If you see me in person over the next month or so and my hair looks like… well, poo, please be kind. It takes courage to break the cycle.

In the last seven days I have not used shampoo at all, but I have washed my hair.
Here’s how:

Goodbye Shampoo, Hello Baking Soda (and apple cider vinegar)

To wash, add about 1 teaspoon of baking soda to 1 cup of warm water and mix it well. (I use a pop-top sports bottle to ease application.) Squeeze it onto your hair in the shower and rub it in well, focusing on the scalp. Rinse very well. Hair will feel somewhat slippery.

If I remember my chemistry correctly, baking soda is alkaline. I understand that this can be drying to the hair. We need something to bring the PH back into balance and act as a conditioner. Apple cider vinegar to the rescue!
Mix 2-3 tablespoons of ACV in a cup of warm water. If you like, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Massage through hair, concentrating on the ends. Rinse well. Any lingering vinegar odor will disappear when hair dries.

So how’s it going?
Here’s my pre-no-’poo hair:
before no poo
Sorry about the weird profile shot. I had Newt snap it for a project we were working on.

Here’s what my hair looks like after seven days without shampooing:
No 'poo - Day 7

I have read that one of the no ‘poo adjustments some people go through is dry ends. I have not noticed that for my hair.
Another adjustment is excess oiliness. Yup, that’s me. Though it’s not as bad (yet) as I had anticipated.
I am used to shampooing my hair every other day. For this experiment, I’m trying to stretch things out and wash with baking soda every third day. I washed my hair today. It feels silky and smooth. Yesterday, it was pretty oily. I may have to go every other day for awhile. As my hair adjusts I may be able to cut back to once a week.
Other observations:
Cons- My hair is noticeably lighter. I have colored my hair darker in the past. Perhaps the baking soda is stripping it out? I don’t’ have plans to color my hair again soon, but I’ll have to keep this in mind if I do.
I did get one tiny pimple on my forehead at the hairline, but it cleared up quickly.
Pros- Holy shine, Batman! My hair is very shiny and bouncy. I also notice more body and even a few waves.
Less tangles. I’m not really prone to what my mother used to refer to as “rat’s nests” but my hair is quite long and does tangle a little. Especially if I have been outside in the wind. Today I spent all afternoon in a breezy pasture but was still able to run my fingers through my hair and easily pull out the few knots. It’s feels smooth, not dry.
So far, things are going better than I had expected.

Anyone interested in joining my no ‘poo experiment? Here are a more few articles you may be interested in:

MSNBC: Ditching shampoo a dirty little beauty secret
Lorraine Massey: 7 tips for going ‘no poo’ (especially good info for curls)
Simple Mom: How to Clean Your Hair Without Shampoo

Confidential aside to Walt: I’ve seen you looking at me with fear in your eyes. I hereby pledge to continue shaving my underarms every day and my legs at least three times a week, to shower every single day and to never use patchouli for any reason whatsoever.
And also to never go with a hippie to a second location. (10 nerd points if you recognize that quote.)

Do you no ‘poo? How’s it working out for you?

8 Responses to “Going No 'Poo”

  1. LE says:

    Being such a loyal blog follower of yours, I’ll see how things go for you first.
    “I’m not going first; You go first!” That quote, I’m sure we’ve all heard (at least if we werrre around in the 70′s)!

  2. Jeanne G. says:

    I love no-’poo! I now wash my hair with baking soda and rinse with ACV only once a week. I rinse with just water (and scrub my bangs a little bit) every day in the shower. I have done a mostly-natural conditioning treatment (conditioner, aloe vera gel, and honey) once, I think I’m going to make it a monthly routine. The one adverse thing I have found is my hair tangles terribly when I get it wet if I’m not careful–I have to make sure to brush it really well before and not move it around much when it’s wet. I even blogged about it here http://wp.me/plGeP-5Q

    • simply heidi says:

      Jeanne – thanks for commenting. It’s great to hear other’s success stories. I’d love your aloe/honey “formula”, if you don’t mind sharing. I’m heading over to read your post now.

  3. Jeanne G. says:

    Heidi – It’s not exactly my formula, I got it from the Long Hair Community website – I think they call it Snowymoon’s Moisturizing Treatment over there. Basically, it was 1 part honey, 2 parts conditioner, 2 parts aloe vera gel. You’re supposed to use the clear kind of aloe gel, but I had the green stuff, and I figured if it did anything adverse, I could fix it. You put this in the microwave for a few seconds (I don’t remember how long and I can’t get to TLHC because I’m at work). Work it in to damp hair, wrap with plastic, then a towel, and let it hang out for a while. I did 30 minutes. Then you rinse it out with warm water. It made my hair so soft. And it smelled good, which is the one thing I really miss from my conditioner-only washing days. I have hair down to the middle of my back and I haven’t used shampoo regularly for about a year and a half.

  4. Elisabeth says:

    This is really fascinating. I never thought there was a way out of shampooing. You’re right… as you said it can be really scary when you first start out. I think that would be my first inhibition. It’s a great idea if it works and it does seem to be working for you. I usually buy shampoo that doesn’t have all the junk in it but it’s expensive – and to think I don’t need anything but ACV and baking soda.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s working great for me. It took a little fiddling to get things just right: I add a few drops of tea-tree oil to my baking soda solution and I now use a 1:1 ratio of ACV, but on the ends only. (I pit my hair in a ponytail and just ACV condition it.) It’s been 4 months and going well.
      It’s mind blowing when you first hear about it, right? I had to mull it over for several months before taking the leap. If you decide to try it out, I’d love to hear how it works for you!

  5. Heather :) :) :) says:

    I’m defnitely interested in trying this. I”m not worried about the transition period when I’m out in public, except maybe for church…but whatever, i think this sound like a really healthy option for my skin/hair ;) :) I found your blog via another blog that was featured on a Homestead Barn HOp…pphew :) :) :) Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

  6. pauline charman says:

    What about when you swim, does the same principles apply. Am willing to have a go as I have found out that all the chemicals in shampoo etc can cause irritations. I know to well. thanks for your encouragment.

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