For many women their hair is part of their identity. Finding the right shampoo or hairdresser is equivalent to finding Mr. Right; once you find something that works you want to stick with it.
So when my wonderful friend Mara suggested I stray from my routine and go “no poo,” I was a bit hesitant. I love the smell of shampoo and I didn’t want my hair to smell bad, be dirty, or lose it’s luscious softness.
But then I learned that shampoo (even natural or organic shampoos) have a ton of chemicals. Worse yet I began to read about how your skin ABSORBS these chemicals into your blood stream. YIKES! I reluctantly decided it was time to give this “no poo” technique a try.
I had heard the horror stories: “my hair became so matted I couldn’t brush it,” “I had to cut off my hair it was so damaged,” “my hair looks awful!” They terrified me, but I was determined to try it for myself since Mara raved about the results. She claimed she didn’t need to wash her hair as much and it gave her a sense of freedom. She used baking soda as a shampoo and apple cider vinegar as a conditioner. Mara has gorgeous curls and my hair is slightly wavy, so I had doubts about having the same result as her.
At first my hair was REALLY dry and I was starting to worry I had made a serious mistake. After two weeks I began to get the ratios correct and my hair was starting to look and feel great again. A month in I had a very unfortunate cococnut oil mishap:
I used coconut oil as a conditioner. It felt like it wasn’t rinsing out (even after 10 minutes of scrubbing) because it wasn’t! My hair dried in these gross greasy clumps. No big deal right? Well that night I got called for an interview for the following morning, alright, now there was a problem. I mean my hair was so greasy it looked like it hadn’t been washed in months. I woke up early so I could wash it again before the interview. No change. So I tied it in a tight bun and tried not to let it bother me. When I got to the interview I looked in a mirror and realized my hair was still glistening and not in a good way. Needless to say I didn’t get the job and it took a week to fully wash it out. DO NOT use coconut oil on its own as a conditioner.
Apple cider vinegar is the best natural conditioner. I use a few drops of essential oil afterward to give myself that delicious shampoo smell
Recipes For Going “No Poo”
- Shampoo: dilute 1 TBS baking soda with 6 oz water*
- Conditioner: 2 TBS apple cider vinegar, let sit on hair for 1 minute, rinse
- Post Conditioner: 2-3 drops essential oil (like lavender), drop in palm of hand and spread over hair, let sit for 1-2 minute, rinse
*The baking soda will not feel like shampoo, it will have the consistency of water. Use a shampoo bottle or water bottle to mix the baking soda with water and dispense onto hair. Start with the crown of your head at the roots, using your fingertips to massage into scalp. Then work the sides of your head. Follow with the back, being careful not to put too much on your locks as it will dry them out. Rinse.
Going “no poo” is cheap, natural, and good for the environment. After the first 1-2 months you will likely realize your hair has never felt as soft, that you can go longer between hair washes, and that your hair can hold hairstyles better. The horror stories are usually from people that have quit before they were a month in.