Today I want to write about No Poo Hair care, which is something I probably should have done a while ago. I was tra la la-ing through blogs yesterday and I bumped into a lovely post from a beginner No Poo’er. Of course I read it and left some, hopefully, helpful commentary. This reminded me of when I first started No Poo. Rarely do you find an “update” or “x many years later” about the topic. Mostly it’s beginners starting off. So I am here to fix that!
I have been No Poo for about 4 years. I stopped using baking soda and vinegar 2 years in and only wash my hair with water.
BEFORE YOU READ:
1. I AM WHITE
2. I HAVE STRAIGHT THIN HAIR
Please be AWARE that if you are a different race or have a different texture of hair, you might want to look into some other writer’s thoughts on No Poo as well. Hair type matters. Basically, the method is the same, but you may want to look into tips specifically for your hair.
This is how I am going to set it up for you:
A. What is No Poo?
B. How to wash your hair in the No Poo Method
C. The Plan for Going No Poo (what I did and results)
A. What Is No Poo?
No Poo is basically the cession of the use of shampoo. Gradually, you wean your hair off of shampoo and use a different method. The typical method is baking soda and apple cider vinegar. Generally, you “wash” your hair with baking soda and then “condition” it with apple cider vinegar. And why would anyone do this? Well, you no longer have to buy shampoo or conditioner. So, less money spend, less bottles in the garbage. Also, there are claims of nasty evil chemicals in shampoo. Is there merit to that? I don’t know and I don’t worry about it. I don’t think they make shampoo with GMO Diet Coke and McDonalds, but who knows?
My personal thought is that my hair has evolved over bazillions of years and I doubt some CEOs at a shampoo company have a better idea what my hair needs than my own head and genetics. They want to sell shampoo. Duh. It really does do wonders for your hair. My hair was very thin and brittle (thanks, creative dye jobs) and now it is thicker (still on the thin side) and much, much stronger, it does not break as easily. Also in general I have less frizz, my hair dries much faster and sweat wicks off when I am at the gym so my head doesn’t stink like a foot. My hair combs better, stays styled better and in general, looks better consistently. Like 99.9% good hair days. I forgot what a bad hair day was. I no longer use any hot styling tools as they have become unnecessary.
B. How To Wash Your Hair in the No Poo Method
This is where I am going to get sincerely long winded. But I want you to know 100% the exact details of how to do this to set you up for success. Did I follow these rules to the letter? Not always, but if something started to go amiss, I could usually ferret out the reason. This stuff does not feel good in your eyes, so avoid that.
I am going to reenact this for you, but I am not going to actually use the products. I’m going to dump them in the toilet and see if they clean it. I’ve heard that works well, so why not?
Things You Will Need (NOT NEGOTIABLE!)
1. Baking Soda (here on out known as BS)
2. Apple Cider Vinegar (here on out known as ACV)
3. 2 Cups (I use coffee mugs)
4. Water and a Shower (ok, duh, sorry)
5. 10 Extra Minutes of Time
6. A GOOD Bristle Brush. I like Kent. They run up from $20.
Measure out about a teaspoon of BS into one cup and a tablespoon of ACV into the other. Add enough water to fill the cups. About 3/4 C. You might find you need more or less. No Poo is very much determined by your hair type. You have to experiment.
Either use your sink or your tub. I prefer my tub, because it’s easier to kneel in front of it for me. PREPARE A TOWEL! Kneel or stand over the tub/sink. Pour a quarter of the BS mixture onto the back of your head. Use your fingers to scrub. Take your time. We’ll wait. Repeat for the sides of your head and your forehead. Focus only on your scalp and scrub deep.
Rinse all of the BS out! Your hair should feel squeaky. Like that is the best I can come up with. Squeaky.
Dip the ends of your hair into the ACV cup, as deep as you can get them then pour the rest onto your head. Let it sit for a few second. Squeeze out the excess.
Take a shower, you filth pit! Avoid rinsing the ACV until the end. You will smell the ACV, but as soon as your hair dries it disappears. Rinse with cold water to close up the hair cuticle. (I did find a post contradicting this, however it also said that if you don’t wash your hair it could become inflamed and your oil glands produce the same amount of oil no matter what. I smell bull crap and quackery.)
Whether you No Poo or not, you should make sure to NOT USE FRICTION to dry your hair. Squeeze out the water, shake, squeeze. Blot up moisture with a towel. Wrap your hair into the towel and let it air dry. I usually leave it in the towel for ten to fifteen minutes and then I let it out to finish drying. I rarely blow dry, about once a year. Since my hair now dries straight, it is not necessary. Do not brush it until it is at least mostly dry.
When your hair is dry, brush it out with your bristle brush, I do on average 20 strokes but sometimes I will go off on a daydream and do 100 or more. Pull sections of your hair and brush from root to tip to distribute the oils.
Enjoy your amazing hair!
C. The Plan For No Poo
Ideally, you want to stop using all forms of shampoo, BS/ACV and just wash with water. It takes some time to get there. It took me two years and I have not washed my hair with anything but water. You probably aren’t interested in that quite yet. So let’s make a plan. I am going to call these “Phases” because each phase has no time limit and entirely depends on your personal preferences.
I am going to assume you shower every day, or nearly. When you shower, SCRUB YOUR SCALP. Give it a good rub down with your fingers for at least a minute.
Stop buying shampoo. Duh. Start washing your hair less often. When I started, I washed every other day and I cut it down to two days a week. Condition as normal.
Conditioner only washing. Wash your hair, again as little as you can get by with, but only with conditioner. It contains most of the same ingredients as your shampoo, I dare to assume. Go ahead, look at your bottle. Try to keep it at twice a week.
Ditch the commercial stuff. Hold off on washing until literally you can’t stand it. Ponytails and braids are your new best friends. Do the No Poo method when it gets bad. I did it once a week in the beginning, and then once every two weeks. It gets better, promise. You just have to be patient!
Keep trying to minimize the amount of times you use BS/ACV. Keep dragging it out as long as you can. Your head needs to adjust. Strange things might happen, be patient! When you get to once every three months, you can get ready to make the jump!
Water only. You can get there, I promise. Just keep trucking along. Read the troubleshooting for some more tips!
Dry, straw-like hair:
- Apply an oil, such as coconut or even olive oil to the ends of your hair. Put a very small amount in your hands, rub them together and lightly rub through your hair starting at the ends. I never bothered to wash it out, I would just wear my hair up until it faded out, like 2 days max.
- Make sure you are brushing from root to tip with a GOOD BRISTLE BRUSH. I can’t emphasize this enough. Invest in a GOOD one.
- Don’t forget to SCRUB your scalp. Move that oil.
- Cold water rinses always help
Very Greasy Hair/Scalp:
- Again, the brush thing. And the scrubbing thing.
- If it is really bad, take a 20 minute hot bath. I’ve found this works wonders. Scrub in the tub!
- I never had a problem with this. I would guess it would be due to not scrubbing or brushing.
How Do I Style:
- Stop using heated tools. Rag curls, waves, anything is possible. Just avoid the heat. My hair no longer holds a heated curl, I tried it for a party and it just did not happen. But rag curls work fine.
- Wispy ends: You won’t have them.
- Frizz: You won’t have it, or put a very little bit of oil in your hair.
- Dyeing: I stopped dyeing my hair. This was a personal choice. You have to decide for yourself. There are natural dyes out there if you would like.
- Wut do I tell my hair dresser? I don’t know, I don’t have one. I would BS/ACV prior and just tell them not to wash your hair. If they pout, remind them who is paying them.
- Dirty brushes: Wash weekly in dish soap and rinse well. Your brushes will get dirtier. Keep them clean
- My hair doesn’t smell pretty: I don’t know. It never bothered me that my hair doesn’t really smell. Well, it smells like hair. And bread. Probably because I bake a lot. You can add essential oils to your hair if you want. Just be careful. Maybe put a few drops into a small spray bottle with water and shake.
That’s about all I can think of! Give it a try if you want. Worst case scenario you go back to using shampoo. Best case? Never use the stuff again. If you have questions, please leave a comment!
*edit 4/29/2014 I have added a No Poo Number Two installment. If you like this post, you might want to check it out!