Is No 'Poo Right for You?
What Exactly is No 'Poo?
No 'Poo simply means no shampoo. You ditch the traditional shampoo and conditioner in favor of baking soda and apple cider vinegar (ACV). Baking soda takes the place of shampoo by lifting the hair cuticle and cleaning excess oil and sebum. Afterwards the ACV acts as a conditioner, closing the cuticle and bringing hair back to its normal pH.
There's a basic recipe for no 'poo, but since no one's hair is exactly the same you may have to do some tweaking:
- Add one tablespoon of baking soda for every one cup of water.
- Add one tablespoon of ACV for every one cup of water.
Typically if your hair is more oily and greasy you'll add more baking soda. If your hair is more on the dry side, use less baking soda and add more ACV.
Picking the Right ACV
I have found that it doesn't matter what brand of baking soda you use since they all typically act the same but that's not true for ACV. You can try different brands but the best kind of ACV for this is one that contains the "mother".
The "mother" is the strands of enzymes, proteins, and friendly bacteria floating at the bottom of the bottle. They are antimicrobial and can kill some types of bacteria which is beneficial for scalp health. I would recommend trying Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar.
Essential oils can really add to the effectiveness of no 'poo. There's three oils that will be especially beneficial for your hair and scalp.
Tea Tree Oil: for dry and itchy scalps, great if you have dandruff.
Rosemary Oil: for greasy and oily hair, can help stimulate hair growth.
Lavender Oil: helps control hair loss and soothes an itchy scalp.
There are 18 ways you can use Dr. Bronner's soap and one of them is hair care. If baking soda isn't working for you give this soap a try.
Dr. Bronner's will clean your hair very well but it can leave your hair tangly with a film on your hair. It is important to use the ACV rinse with this as well. The acidic nature of ACV will get rid of the residue left over from the soap. Use their dilution sheet and then tweak as needed.
While it's a natural and inexpensive method for cleaning your hair, it's not without its problems. While some people rave about it, there have been others showing how washing this way has damaged their hair.The main problem being with the baking soda.
When you use baking soda it raises and lowers the hair cuticle in the same way coloring, perming, and relaxing your hair does. Doing this regularly will damage your hair's acid mantle since baking soda, by itself, is very alkaline and unfortunately ACV will not immediately restore your hair's pH. Castile soap, like Dr. Bronner's, is also alkaline.
When I first started 'no poo I actually got a small boost in hair growth. The more I used it though, the more my hair started to split. Not just at the ends but all through the hair shaft. I switched to Dr. Bronner's for a bit afterwards and found it to be a gentler alternative to the baking soda. I still do the no 'poo method but only once a month now. I use it to clarify my hair and in that capacity it works great.
Your experience may be different from mine and others. There are plenty of people who have never experienced any problems with the no 'poo method and they have been doing it for a long time.