in light of many things: the california drought, trying to cut down on all the chemicals we use on the daily, saving money, being the san-francisco-native-hippy that i am and add a dash of laziness (not having to wash, blow-dry and flatiron my hair everyday), i decided to jump on the no-poo train.
NO-POO’ing: WHAT IS IT?
if you haven’t heard of this, no-poo basically just means, no shampooing. you still clean your hair, but you just don’t use shampoo! with a little internet searching, i found three basic & different ways people do this:
- you simply rinse the hair with just water. yep, just water. nothing else.
- rinse the hair with water, and then just condition (with a regular hair conditioner, or a diluted apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinse).
- do a baking soda rinse (diluted, this step takes place of shampooing) and then a diluted apple cider vinegar rinse (to condition).
all of them sound a little weird (and the just water thing just sounds too good to be true).. but definitely worth a try!
HOW I STARTED
at the end of january, i was able to spend a few days on the beach in mexico – and when you’re in such a hot, humid and tropical climate, there really isn’t any use to styling your hair or putting makeup on, for that matter. your hair gets flat, and your makeup melts off.. so by the time i got back from vacation, i had gone almost 4 days without washing.. and figured, i’m already almost to a week, why not do the full dingo and not wash for a month?
1/2015, FIRST STOP: NO-POO’ing WITH JUST WATER
in an effort to eliminate all hair product, i simply rinsed and blow dried my hair. i thought it would be awesome to eventually get to a point where i didn’t need any product to keep my hair clean, and thought that i didn’t want to ruin my baseline with experimenting with even the baking soda + ACV trick. my fine hair did eventually get a bit limp within a few days of arriving back to SF (away from the beaches of sayulita), so i remedied this by pinning my bangs back, and tying my hair in a ponytail. some days my hair looked greasier than others, some days it looked great, like it was freshly shampooed (and i could wear my bangs, and hair, down – but maybe the back of my head looked a little greasy, or wet)! i couldn’t figure out exactly what causes were associated with what effects, but i eventually got tired of my hair looking like it was just drying from a shower or tied up – i missed wearing my hair down on the regular.
to sum it up, just using water, my hair didn’t look so bad. definitely not as bad as i would have expected, but definitely not as clean as freshly-shampooed hair, or super greasy gross hair. if it did look ‘greasy,’ it just looked like it was damp, still drying from a shower.
2/2015, SECOND STOP: NO-POO’ing WITH BAKING SODA + APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
enter sS’er LH, who came in for a treatment with nat. nat was telling her that i was doing the no-poo thing, and LH had been doing it for a few months already, so when she came out of the treatment room, she was kind enough to share her recipe with me!
LH simply said that she uses about 1TB of baking soda and apple cider vinegar (separately, into 2 bottles) to 12 ounces of water each. she had some dandruff/flaky scalp issues, so she instead diluted the apple cider vinegar with green tea and added a few drops of tea tree oil with much success!
so, i took some empty bottles home and BS/ACV’ed it up. and the results were, great. actually, more awesome than i expected – for the day, anyway. the next day, my hair seemed greasier than when i was only using just water. blah.
after instagramming this, and chatting a bit with LH, it seems i still have a bit more acclimating to do, and playing with ratios to find the right combo for me. so, i will trudge on experimenting to see if i can really get down to no-poo’ing only once every 7-10 days (!). LH said it took her 6 weeks, and i suppose i am at about 2.5 weeks into BS/ACV’ing, but 4.5 weeks from last shampoo’ing my hair if you count the ‘just-water’ing’ (!).
and for the record, at no point did my hair smell like salad dressing, or generally smelled bad (from what my fellow sS coworkers + beau had to say!).
oh the things we do for beauty.. and the planet’s oceans!
3/2015: STILL ACCLIMATING, and maybe (getting) over it
ok. so in trying to stretch out the days between BS/ACV’ing, my scalp and hair has been oily in between no-poo’s. i can deal with that but…i am noticing that i am starting to break out from not washing too; probably from the natural oils just building up. i found a few pimples on my scalp (sorry, gross, i know. but the truth).
to remedy this, i’ve started no-poo’ing every 2-3 days, instead of waiting 5-7 days in between. i am also (maybe) noticing that the length of my hair is not as shiny and healthy looking as i remember it. coulda been the lighting that day, it could also have to do with the fact that i haven’t had my haircut in almost 3 months. to be fair, i used to blow-dry and flat-iron my hair everyday, but have been doing that only after i no-poo, since i’m tying my hair back so much during the acclimation stage. also, i never had this problem when i was washing with shikai body wash every day. at this point, i’m really hoping this acclimation period finishes quickly!
THE RECIPE THAT SEEMS TO WORK, FOR NOW. + my thoughts.
i’ve found the best no-poo’ing recipe for me includes:
1. diluting about a tablespoon of baking soda into about 12oz of warm water and working that into my scalp, making sure to ‘scrub’ all over the scalp thoroughly, while feeling a little scrubby texture from the soda while working it in.
2. after rinsing thoroughly, i’ll know my hair will be washed-feeling (meaning, not oily at all) if my hair feels a bit ‘squeaky clean’ immediately after rinsing the soda out. i found that if i didn’t use enough soda in the dilution, my hair would still be greasy post no-poo.
3. then, i condition. i’m still experimenting with the apple cider vinegar rinse and using sS’s hair conditioner post ‘wash’, but haven’t figured out a recipe that keeps my hair from turning into an oil slick longer than 3 days.
at this point, i’m thinking maybe no-poo’ing isn’t for me. maybe because my hair is so fine, and even with ‘no-poo regulated’ scalp oil production, that could just be too much for my fine hair, but would be ok for someone with courser, thicker hair?
the ingredients themselves (baking soda & acv) are acne-safe, but the oil-production that doesn’t get washed away seems to clog up and break me out. perhaps my personal no-poo limit is only 3 days; 2 days with my hair and bangs down, and the third day with my hair all tied/pinned back.
still. a work. in progress.
CALL FOR HELP. HINTS? TIPS? ADVICE?
i’ll continue to keep you all updated, but in the meanwhile, any of you out there no-poo’ing already? any tips or frustrations you went through? did you stick with it, or eventually go back to regular shampoo? how long was your acclimation period? does your hair dry out and break off if you no-poo with BS/ACV everyday (like i’m tempted to do)?
ps – i don’t have any photos to post, because i found it difficult to capture the oiliness of my hair. on days i thought my hair was it’s oiliest, it looked normal in the photos i took with my iphone. but i will try to take more photos to see if it’s more visible during the BS/ACV acclimation period. better yet, just come into the clinic and check out my hair in real life 🙂