Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Waste Not Wednesday: The Great No-'Poo Experiment

Well, folks, I've done it.  Completely.  Like, I've gone through the whole-icky-transition-phase of this no-'poo thing, and well:  I've converted.

But that's the end of my tale.  Let's start at the very beginning (a very good place to... okay!  okay!  No musicals!):

I was interested to the no-'poo (that's no-shampoo) method of washing hair when I got Simple Mom's book, Organized Simplicity.  I was intrigued, but not convinced.  But as I worked my way through the book, having great successes with the oil facial-cleanser, baking soda/coconut oil toothpaste, and borax dishwashing soap, I thought: hey, why not give it a whirl?  (I now know why people don't just "give it a whirl" when it comes to no-'poo-ing it, but I'll get to that later.)

First thing's first:

Homemade No-'Poo
(instead of shampoo)

1 tbsp baking soda
1 cup (warm) water

Mix the baking soda with the water in a squeezable container.  When showering, work the mix into your hair by starting at the scalp, massaging in circular motions.  After six weeks, if your hair is still dry, use less baking soda in the mixture, and do not wash your hair every day.  Eventually one to three times a week will be plenty.

Homemade Clarifier
(instead of conditioner)

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup (warm) water

Mix the APV and the water in a squeezable container.  After using the baking soda mix, work the APV mix into the ends of the hair.  Let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse.  It's best not to use every day; one to three times a week will be fine.

(Really??  That's all it takes to clean my hair??)

The first time I tried this method was about three or four weeks postpartum.  I figured I wasn't getting out much anyways, so if it was a huge failure, no one would have to be subjected to my hair (aside from my housemates and husband).  To my surprise, my hair was clean.  It was soft... and clean.  But it seemed flat and dry.  Instead of sticking with it, I thought I'd give it a mediocre review and move on with life.

But then I started reading more and more success stories with the no-'poo method, and I found myself wanting to find out what my natural state of hair would look like (considering I've put it through years of dying and hair-drying, I thought it was the least I could do for it).  I was also sold on the ill-effects of shampoo, as it strips our hair and skin of its natural serum.  In addition, I've just been way wary these days of buying anything mainstream (seriously, you just never know what sort of (child?  slave?) labor you're supporting), and I thought I'd try something cheaper than fancy green-friendly shampoos from the natural market.

Take Two happened a few weeks ago.  I tried the every/other approach first:  one day washing with the no-'poo method, the next day washing with regular shampoo, etc.  Pretty much immediately, I found my hair to be SUPER-DUPER-INTOLERABLY dry after using my regular shampoo.  So my hair decided for me:  I had to do this thing all-out, or nothing.  And since my hair was already getting used to not using shampoo, I went with all-out.

It should be mentioned that I already have a schedule where I only wash my hair every other day.  I think that helps in this method, because you really can't wash with baking soda and vinegar every day.  Your hair doesn't need it, because you're no longer stripping your hair of its awesomeness (technical term).  So when you do this method, wash every other day, and slowly taper off until you're only washing one to three times a week (I haven't gotten to this place yet; I still wash my hair about four times/weekly).  You can, however, simply rinse your hair every day.  I've done this, and it's pretty amazing how it (sometimes) looks like you've actually washed your hair by simply rinsing.  

The bad bit about this whole thing is that many people (*raises hand*) experience a transition or detox phase, in which your hair is just incredibly oily.  The thing is that your hair is over-producing serum because the shampoo keeps stripping your hair of its natural oils, so when you switch over, it takes a little while for your hair to stop over-producing.  I gotta say that I probably only made it through that week or two by putting my hair in pig tails and um... well, staying at home.  It wasn't fun.  You have to really push through.  My friend, Christina, over at Ecottached gives some tips for getting through the transition phase.

Now?  I'm really liking my hair.  It's not as dry as it used to be, and it still can be styled with volume.  Plus, if I don't blow-dry my hair, it gets really wavy.  So, with no further ado, drumroll please......

4.5 out of 5 stars
(0.5 taken off for transition phase; 
you might take off more if you have a day job)

Have you tried the no-'poo method?  What was your experience?
Would you ever try this method, or do you think it's a little too "out there?"

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  1. I've heard about this before but I'm glad you posted in detail! I'm going to try it! My only concern is about conditioner--I typically use a lot because I have very thick hair with lots of curl, so it gets super tangly.

  2. Been doing it since April and won't go back! My hair has never been healthier


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