Yes, you read right. I didn’t poo for 4 days last week. No, no not THAT kind of poo. I’m talking about no-poo, an alternative and all-natural way to wash your hair. As the nickname suggests, there is no shampoo involved. Hence, no-poo.
If you’re thinking this is a hippie thing to do, you are mistaken. No-poo isn’t about rebelling against artificial ingredients (wait a second….what’s actually in there?). It’s about doing something that’s healthier for your hair. And all it entails are three things: water, baking soda and vinegar. That’s it. Here’s what my hair looked like after my first time doing no-poo:
I learned the following:
- Shampoo is a detergent. And like all detergents, they strip away the natural oils your hair produces to keep itself supple.
- When your hair is stripped of its natural oils, it amps up the oil production to overcompensate for that loss. That results in oilier hair in a matter of days. In my case, it’s the next morning.
- That extra production of oil will cause you to, you guessed it, shampoo again. The shampoo industry knows this. Ever heard of Lather. Rinse. Repeat?
The only thing I worried about was the transition period. Since your hair has been overcompensating for the loss of natural oils for so long, you’re basically shocking it into adjusting the oil production. That will result in a wacky transition period (see also: oily hair). I figured, my hair is oily every morning. Why not?
So, after reading about her experience and her FAQs on No-Poo, I took the plunge. I already had all the materials I needed since I constantly use baking soda to remove set-in oil stains.
I prepared the baking soda/shampooing solution (2 tbsp baking soda to 1 cup of water) and poured it into an empty ketchup squeeze bottle. I prepared the vinegar/conditioning solution (2 tbsp to 1/4 cup of water).
As I squeezed the baking soda and water mixture on my hair, it just felt wet. The lack of lather is a weird feeling. I let it sit on my scalp for one minute and massaged it in.
The slippery feeling I read about didn’t kick in until I stood directly under the showerhead. Then something strange happened. My hair felt clean in a way I never have felt before. SQUEAKY clean. Like it literally squeaked like a car wiper against a dry windshield. My scalp felt great. My scalp goes through cycles of feeling itchy until I switch to a different shampoo. After a while it gets used to the new shampoo and I have to switch again. The baking soda was soothing and took the itch away.
Then it came time to “condition” with the vinegar rinse. The vinegar didn’t smell bad at all. I could hardly smell it. (I used white distilled vinegar). As soon as I dried my hair, there was no residual vinegar smell. Then, I dried my hair.
My Thoughts After No-Pooing
This was a little weird. My hair didn’t smell like shampoo but it was SUPER clean. I’ve heard you can use essential oils for fragrance, but I was just trying this out and I didn’t have any at home.
My scalp was SO clean. Best of all, while I normally have gobs of hair come out in the shower, I saw a reduction of 70% of hair loss in the shower. I was lucky to see more than 10 strands.
I had lots of volume, as you can see from that picture above. However, the second day with no-poo was rough. My hair didn’t smell bad, but it was definitely producing a lot of natural oil as it was used to. I’ve read that you have to try to go as long as possible between the no-poo hair washing. As a person who shampoos on the daily, I couldn’t wait 3 days. On day 3 I used the no-poo baking soda solution again. Again, nice and clean, but my ends felt like straw.
On day 4 I knew it wasn’t for me. What I was experiencing (dry ends, oily hair) were all NORMAL EXPERIENCES during the no-poo transition. Personally, I just couldn’t continue with it. I’m impatient. Really impatient. So I went back to my regular shampoo and conditioner.
However, since baking soda removes build-up, going back to my normal routine was like trying out a new shampoo. My hair continued having lots more volume!
So, will I return to no-poo? It’s too soon to say. However, I will most definitely use no-poo as a CHEAP alternative to clarifying shampoo. And, if I find myself in Amanda’s situation overseas where shampoo is $14 a bottle, you betcha I’ll make the switch. Until then, I’ll continue the age old mantra. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.