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Are you a no-pooer? People who do not shampoo.

Updated on May 13, 2013

Although I'm not a no-pooer, I use only baby shampoo. (And I do not blow dry at night.) Supposingly the chemicals in baby shampoo should be less harsh than the adult shampoos -- but not by much. A "no-pooer" is one who does not use shampoo.

This is not yet a word in the dictionary, but if NBC News is using the word "no-pooer", then it is good enough for me. In its article titled Ditching shampoo a dirty little beauty secret, NBC News writes ...

"In recent years, "no poo" has become something of an underground beauty trend (despite being saddled with an unfortunate moniker) that's split into two camps: beauty mavens who believe they've found hair care's dirty little secret, and environmentally minded folks who want to use fewer plastic products and products with fewer chemicals."

There are various variants of no-pooing. Some use only hot water. Some use only baking soda. Some use baking soda and vinegar. Some use their own home-made "shampoo". Some are intermittent "no-pooer" who does use shampoo occasionally. And the reasons for not using "poo" can be just as varied, ranging from environmental concerns, to better health of the hair, to avoiding chemicals.

Although Europeans are more lax about the need to shampoo everyday, the thought of one day without shampoo can be quite traumatic to some.

The Breaking In Period

Usually when one first undertake "no pooing", there is a few weeks of "adjustment" where the hair is a greasy mess. This is because when we regularly shampoo, our scalp produce more oil in order to compensate for the oil lost in the hair due to the shampooing. It takes a few weeks before the body realizes that when we do not shampoo there is enough oil in the hair that it need not make as much. That is the theory at least. Some say that as soon as one gets past this hurdle of a few weeks, than all will be well again with the hair. This is known as the "breaking in" period.

What is in your Shampoo?

Another reason some people do "no poo" is to avoid the harmful chemicals that are in the shampoo. This is especially true for those who are chemically sensitive. Also true are for those who are gluten sensitive, since there is gluten in many shampoos.

Have you checked the ingredients label in your shampoo? Most likely it contains a list of chemicals that we are not familiar with or with how harmful they are.

One such chemical that is often found in shampoos and other cosmetic products is sodium lauryl sulfate. Dr. Mercola writes about the dangers of this chemical in his article even though we do not eat it. However, he says that putting things on the skin may even be worst than eating. When we eat things, our digestive system filters and breaks things down. When we put things on the skin, it can get absorbed into the bloodstream and there is no such filter.

This argument might be overstated. We have to keep in mind that the skin is not designed to take in materials, whereas the digestive system is. Also the shampoo is only on our skin for a short time and is rinsed off.

Anyways... The amount of exposure is small and certainly a few exposure is harmless. But the real danger might only occur after the years of daily exposures that accumulates over a decade. Environmental toxins is one of the possible contributing factors to autoimmune conditions. So anyone with autoimmune conditions should be more careful able chemicals in beauty care products.

Alternatives to Shampoo

That is why Sarah "The Paleo Mom", who has an autoimmune disease, does not use shampoo. As mentioned in her post here, she just uses water. And every 3 to 4 weeks, she cleans with baking soda and conditions with lemon juice.

For the Love of Food blog shows you how to wash your hair with baking soda and vinegar.

Some Better Shampoo

Other more progressive brands are trying their best to get rid of the more harmful of the chemicals out of their products. As reported by Time Magazine in August 2012...

"J&J will phase out ingredients like formaldehyde and 1,4 dioxane — the former, which is released over time by preservatives in products, was declared a carcinogen by the U.S. government last year; the latter, a byproduct of a process that makes other ingredients gentler for the skin, has been linked to cancer in animals. J&J will also remove phthalates, which are endocrine-disrupting chemicals, along with preservatives called parabens, fragrance ingredients, and triclosan."

You may also want to look into Dr. Ron's Natural Chemical-Free Shampoos & Conditioners. They are blended with coconut and olive oils and herbal extracts, nutrients, and essential oils.

This is the baby shampoo that I use

Stories from no-poo'ers

To read about the experiences of other no-poo'ers, here are some ...

For me, I just can not do "no-poo". I must shampoo since I perspire easily and hair gets too greasy (especially after exercise). And warm water just won't cut it. Although I have not tried it with baking soda.

You know how most shampoos have instructions similar to ...

  1. Shampoo
  2. Rinse
  3. Repeat

Guess what? I often will skip step 3. *gasp*


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    • BlissfulWriter profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      In addition, one might find it interesting why I do not blow dry my hair at night:

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      It takes less than 30 seconds on your skin/scalp for your body to take in chemicals! Also, most people wash their hair while standing up in the shower so the chemicals are not concentrated to the head. js.

    • BlissfulWriter profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Thanks for the sharing your experience with that.

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 

      5 years ago from Hudson, FL

      I just started no 'pooing about a week ago. Usually I struggle with a dry, itchy scalp, but I haven't had that problem since I started. Also, my hair usually falls out a lot (I have very thick hair) but the shedding has subsided since I started no 'poo. I use baking soda and apple cider vinegar, and a tiny bit of olive oil to stop the frizzies. So far, so good!


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