In my quest to create the healthiest home possible, I searched around for the least toxic shampoo I could find. That’s when I stumbled upon “No Poo.”
Yes, this is a real thing: No Poo, as in “No Shampoo.” None. Nada.
There’s even a non-profit organization that runs a blog where you can share your No Poo experiences, and a No Poo wiki and a forum to answer all your questions about how to clean your hair without shampoo.
So why would anyone want to do that?
Several reasons, including the formaldehyde, parabens, phthalates, and other unpronounceable toxic chemicals that are added to every commercial shampoo preparation.
And that fact that we keep pouring those chemicals down the drain into our water system, where they end up in wastewater treatment plants that don’t filter them out – so they get dumped out into lakes, rivers, and eventually, the ocean. And into our food supply.
And as a bonus, going with No Poo – you can save a lot of moolah.
Just invest in a box of baking soda, some apple cider vinegar, and a couple mason jars with stainless steel, bamboo wood or plastic lids (so they don’t rust). Or go totally native and try the “water only” method, the cheapest of all.
After browsing through the No Poo website, I decided to try the standard No Poo recipe, which is baking soda dissolved in water, followed by a water-apple cider vinegar rinse. Other No Poo users sometimes add coconut oil, raw honey, herbs, or essential oils for variety.
Both baking soda and vinegar are well-known, harmless ingredients. Your Mom probably kept an open box of baking soda in the fridge, because it’s known for absorbing odors. It also helps dirt and grease dissolve in water. (WARNING: Don’t mix the baking soda and vinegar together in a closed container – it will foam up and may explode!)
Apparently No Poo is a very free-form concept with no hard-and-fast rules. You just use whatever works, though it may take a few weeks for your hair to get used to the new routine.
My N=1 experiment with No Poo
My first baking soda and apple cider vinegar No Poo took place on Monday, May 7. I mixed up two jars, one with about ¼ cup of baking soda dissolved in about 2 cups of water. In the other I poured about ½ cup of apple cider vinegar and topped it off with 1 ½ cups of water.
After wetting my hair in the shower, I poured about ½ cup of the baking powder solution over my head and pretended to lather it in. I say pretended, because there was no lather involved. But I gave my scalp a good scrubbing and rinsed well.
Next, I poured maybe ½ cup of the vinegar solution over my hair, working it in. It definitely softened it up, but even after a lot of rinsing, my hair still felt a bit greasy.
A couple hours later, sitting next to a friend, I detected a slight vinegary scent, and worried that my friend would smell it, too – but I was too chicken to ask.
In addition to the No Poo, I have followed the website advice to use a true boar bristle hair brush daily to help spread the natural oils through my hair.
Thirteen days into the experiment: My No Poo results
Besides the faint aroma of vinegar, I also noticed that my hair in general seems much oilier, which has led me to wash it more frequently using the same baking soda/vinegar rinse protocol. Today as I re-read some of the comments and information on the No Poo forum, I found this:
“When trying it, however, don’t get too discouraged if your hair feels a bit oily in the beginning. You have to retrain your hair’s oil glands that excess sebum is no longer needed, and this can take anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks depending on how often you shampooed previously and what products you used.”
I also read that you aren’t supposed to use the baking soda/vinegar more than twice a week – I guess because it tends to dry out the hair too much. But, you can always rinse it with plain water as often as necessary.
For now, I plan to try baking soda/vinegar twice a week, but add an extra plain water wash once or twice a week, as well.
Have you tried No Poo? Leave a comment below to let me know how it went!
Copyright 2018 by Holly Martin