The No-Shampoo Experiment

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I've been thinking about it for a while now: I am going to stop washing my hair with shampoo.

I have read a lot about the "no poo" method for hair, where you stop using traditional shampoo and conditioner and instead "wash" with baking soda and "condition" with apple cider vinegar. Some people stop using shampoo and conditioner because they believe the chemicals in the products are damaging to hair. Others do it because they believe the chemicals in shampoo are toxic. Still another group goes "no poo" to save money on haircare.


Baking Soda

Image: jessica mullen via Flickr

 

As I read about this process over the years, I saw a lot of people complain that it doesn't work unless you have fairly curly hair. Since my hair is pretty much stick straight, I had assumed it would not work for me. Recently, my friend Rebecca (who I consider my medicine woman, due to her herbal and natural living wisdom) tried it. She has hair that is straight, just like mine. Her hair looks great! You can't tell at all. She said that sometimes it takes up to 3 months for the hair to regulate, but that's OK with me. Her point is that we can always just start washing with shampoo again any time we feel like it.

It's been about a week now since I've shampooed my hair. Formerly, I was shampooing every-other-day. There have been some ups and downs as I tackle the learning curve to reach the right amounts of each solution. Day 1 I think I used too much baking soda and it got super crunchy in the back. My husband said it looked completely normal but the crunchiness drove me a little crazy. Day 2 I used less baking soda and a ton of vinegar, and that seem to balance it out more but it still felt dry. One of the days I just rinsed my hair with the vinegar and skipped the baking soda altogether, but I think that allowed my hair to get too greasy. A commenter on my blog mentioned that when her hair gets too greasy, she uses the baking soda dry. I might try that as well.

The ratio for the baking soda wash was fairly consistent across the sites and blog posts I could find about "no poo". I've been washing with 1 tbsp baking soda mixed with 1 cup of water. The ratios for the apple cider vinegar conditioning solution were all over the board, though. Depending on where you look, you could get ratios of 1 tbsp to 1/4 cup vinegar to 1 cup water. Some places suggest adding other ingredients like tea tree oil, but I got overwhelmed and decided to stick to just apple cider vinegar and water. I started with 1 tbsp per cup of water, but I've found that 1/4 cup works much better for me.

So far, my hair looks and smells normal. I can tell that some days it feels "crunchier" than others, and a few days I've felt it was too frizzy or greasy for my preference. I'm attributing these snafus to my hair adjusting and to my experimentation with different ratios of solutions.

I'll try and keep updating, maybe by the week!
How about you - have you tried going "no poo"?

 

1/7/2012 Update: I'm still doing "no poo" a week later & I've learned some things about "no poo" for color treated hair and getting a haircut.

2/5/2012 Update: The end of "no poo" - I made it 41 days and started to suffer from scalp issues. Quitting "no poo".

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Jenny Bradford is a WAHM living right next to Dallas, TX who blogs at Conscientious Confusion (a blog about living consciously) and works in social media part-time.

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