Sunday, December 02, 2012

go no 'poo

It's rather amusing to say this.  Also amusing to tell someone I haven't shampooed my hair since May.  But it's true (with the exception of a hair dresser when I was getting a hair cut ... my Czech just isn't up to explaining that one yet.;) 

I use a baking soda routine on my hair, and I love it.  First, Why? 

  • It's a "created need" of our consumerist society.  That alone makes me want to 'stick it to the man' and quit using shampoo.  TV ads started to convince us that if we shampooed with their products daily, we would look beautiful.  Women went from washing their hair once a month to daily over the course of the 20th Century.  See this NPR article.
  • Buying shampoo means you are using more plastic, and contributing generally to production and distribution of something that you don't need. (Since shampoo is full of chemicals, I can't imagine that its production is particularly healthy.)  
  • Shampoo costs money.  I haven't actually done the math yet for how much I spend on my baking soda treatment though. I oughta verify this.  
  • Shampoo is full of chemicals...perhaps chemicals we don't want seeping into our bodies.  
  • Shampoo strips your hair of healthy oils that are meant to keep it soft and strong.  So then you have to add other products to your hair to make it shiny, strong, voluminous...all a ploy to get you to spend your money.  Blech.  
  • There's several articles about how shampooing less is good for you.  It's wearing on your hair.  I just personally decided to go all the way and quit entirely. 
I am much happier with my hair since going 'poo free, because I feel like it has more natural volume now.  Before when I shampooed, one day it was greasy because it needed to be shampooed and the other day it was flat and bland because I had just shampooed it.  When it was flat, I wanted to add mousse or some sticky-goo to help give it volume... Now I rarely add any other product because it has its own natural volume.   

And now, How? 
I followed the routine on  this blog post and this follow-up blog post, which is even more convincing since she shares that she's been 'poo free for months, and still likes it. She also answers a bunch of FAQs. Read that if you're interest, but here are a few more pointers I think you oughta have to help you be successful: 
  • My hair is short, very straight, fine, and tending toward oily.  Perhaps these details will help others like me.  But I think we're all so different, so our methods will be a different as the number of shampoo products out there. 
  • I use the recipe of 1T baking soda in 1 cup water.  Same ratio for the apple cider vinegar conditioner.  I use an old shampoo bottle, and I when it's time for a new batch I put the baking soda in it, and then add the water when I'm in the shower. That way I have 1 day with warm water on my head ;) The other days it's kinda cold pouring water over your head, but I got used to it.  
  • You have to use a lot of the solution -- much more than you would if you were applying shampoo.  Go more liberal than you think you need.  You might have to do that whole "rinse, repeat" business.  
  • I get my hair wet, and then pour the b.soda solution over my head until I feel it running down my scalp. Then I massage with the tips of my fingers, scrubbing it into the scalp.  This part is key - getting it into the scalp, because this is where the nasty "hair" smell comes from, and where the oil is hanging out.  Then I let it sit while I wash my face.  Then I rub again, and if it doesn't feel like my hair is getting "unknotty" I had more solution and let it sit while I wash the rest of me.  Then I rub again and finally rinse it out.  Just make sure you feel like you can use a lot at the beginning, because you'll need a lot to cut through the oil that your head is vigorously producing at the beginning.  Lots of solution, lots of waiting, lots of scrubbing.  
  • The key for me at the beginning was LOTS.  After about 1 week of this, my hair was getting so greasy, just worse and worse, and I thought I was going to have to quit, and then I determined I wouldn't and one day I just kept pouring the stuff on, waiting, and scrubbing it until it felt better.  That was the turning point for me.  
  • Usually, but not always, I do the vinegar routine.  I pour the solution over my head and flatten it out with my fingers.  (I have short hair, so this is the only way to get it to the ends of my hair; if your hair is longer, you only need it on the ends of your hair.)  I often comb my hair then to help get the vinegar all over.  Vinegar helps your hair shine and it detangles. It smells when it's wet, but by the time your hair is dry you definitely can't smell it anymore. 
  • It takes time for your hair to get used to this. Your scalp is used to producing all these oils that shampoo used to strip away. After a while, it will realize that it doesn't need so much oil.   Mine took 2 weeks at least before I left like I was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.   But push through: it feels like a long time in the midst of it, but it is worth it.  
  • While I was getting use to this, I had to do it every day.  This lasted at least a month, maybe 2. Finally my hair calmed down, and by the summer time I could even go 3 days between washing.   


Courtney said...

I thought this was going to be a post about potty training.

Anonymous said...

I'm a friend of Carol's :) Question! Do you think White Vinegar could work in place of Apple Cider Vinegar? We can't get Apple Cider Vinegar in China ;)

kate said...

Hi! I've actually wondered that too, so I just did a little google research. From what I gather, different vinegars are made from the same process (fermentation), but from different sources, so they have different benefits. Because of what it's made from, apple cider vinegar has specific health benefits.

Check out this link (the last paragraph specifically mentions hair):,ai.html#.Uy80tPldXmg

I imagine that white vinegar might also help some with shining & detangling, just because of its acidity. You might try rice vinegar too, which I'm guessing you can find there. I don't think there's any harm in trying the other kinds of vinegar - they just may or may not be as helpful as apple cider vinegar is.

Hope you find a good solution! I'm curious to know if you have success!

Stacy said...

I'm excited about this!! Also heard about it through Carol. I have a severe allergy to some of the common preservatives in shampoos and conditioners and have been having a hard time finding anything that doesn't have them! Thanks so much for posting about this!