My Experience With The No-Poo Method of Hair Washing
Lemon Juice and Cocoa Butter Make A Big Difference!
Using The No Poo Method For Dry, Color-Treated Hair
There've been lots of articles recently about the No Poo Method, a way of washing your hair without shampoo or conditioner. Generally speaking, when using the No Poo Method you use a mixture of baking soda and water to wash your hair and a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water to rinse your hair. Many descriptions that I have read call for mixing the baking soda and water into a paste and scrubbing it into your scalp. When I first tried the No Poo Method , I found that this mixture of baking soda and water was too strong and too harsh. Additionally, I found that the apple cider vinegar and water was too drying. Here are some variations I have come up with to adapt the No Poo Method for dry and Color-Treated hair.
Lemon Juice Is Gentle and Sweet Smelling!
Add a sliver of cocoa butter about the size of a quarter...
Create gentle, diluted solutions.
Instead of creating a paste with baking soda and water, I now mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda with 2 quarts of warm water. Actually, I begin with boiling water. Place the baking soda in an unbreakable container. Mine is an enameled metal bowl. Slowly pour the boiling water over the baking soda. Add just a little bit of water at first because the mixture will bubble vigorously initially, and you don't want it to bubble over the sides of your container. Once all the water is poured over the baking soda, stir it gently, cover lightly and set aside.
In another unbreakable container, combine 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and a thin sliver of cocoa butter with 2 quarts of boiling water. Again, pour the water in slowly stirring gently to melt the cocoa butter. Cover lightly and set aside.
Both of these mixtures should cool slowly until they are a comfortable temperature to pour over your head. The reason for using boiled water is that it is somehow gentler on your hair and leaves it less frizzy. While your mixtures are cooling, you can make preparations for your bath or shower. By the time you're ready to bathe, your mixtures should be just about the right temperature for use.
Be very gentle with your hair - don't scrub!
I always take a bath to wash my hair, and here is how I do it. Before bathing, I brush my hair to remove any tangles. When I first get into the tub, I lie back in the water and rinse my hair gently scrubbing only my scalp with my fingertips. I am careful not to tangle my hair.
When I'm ready, I sit up and pour the baking soda mixture through my hair and leave it for 5 minutes. During this time, I can take care of other bathing tasks such as scrubbing my body and shaving my legs.
When I'm just about ready to get out of the tub, I lie back and rinse my hair again. Bear in mind that I use all natural products to bathe, so the bathwater is not full of soap, shaving lotion and other chemical laden substances. Just before getting out of the tub, I give my hair a final rinse with the lemon juice and cocoa butter mixture. I start by soaking the ends of my hair in the bowl first, then I pour the mixture over my head.
Handle wet hair very carefully!
When I get out of the tub, I wrap my hair in a towel and simply let it blot out the excess moisture. When I'm finished drying my body and applying moisturizers and whatnot, I unwrap my hair and fluff the bangs lightly with my fingers. Otherwise, I do nothing to my hair. I allow it to air dry naturally. When it is completely dry, I brush it lightly.
With this gentle, all natural treatment, my dry Color-Treated hair has improved significantly in condition. As an added side effect, the slight acne I once experienced on the back of my neck and upper back has disappeared since I am not using artificial, chemical laden hair products.
Additionally, when I used apple cider vinegar as the rinse in the past, I would catch a whiff of it occasionally even after my hair was dry. With the lemon juice and cocoa butter I do not experience this.
Copyright:SuzanneBennett:August 2, 2012
Coconut oil is a great pre-conditioner!
Tea makes a nice scented rinse!
Updates and new ideas!
I've been using the no-poo method for several months now, and I've made a few changes. Now, instead of using a sliver of cocoa butter in the final rinse, I condition my hair with coconut oil on the day I plan to wash it. I just rub about a half a teaspoon between my palms and apply it all over my hair in the morning. I wear my hair in a bun or braid so that it just looks smooth and controlled that day as opposed to oily!
On the final rinse, I steep a bag of Stash Licorice Spice tea in the hot water with the lemon juice. I started doing this as a way to scent the water. I happened to have a full box of this tea on hand and don't much like it, so I decided to give it a try! The result is a little scent and my hair dries faster and is silkier. I suppose you could try a number of different kinds of teas for this. I remember reading that black tea is good to use for dark hair and chamomile makes a nice rinse for blond hair.
3 Years Later!
OK, I've been using the no-poo method for three years now and I'm very happy with it. I've simplified it a great deal. Here's what I do:
Mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda with a quart of very warm water. Pour this through the hair and scrub the scalp lightly. Let the mixture sit on the hair for about 5 minutes then rinse thoroughly.
Mix 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar or white vinegar or lemon juice with a quart of lukewarm or cool water. Pour through the hair and leave on. You can add about 15 drops of oil of lavender if you want for the scent and the anti-fungal properties.
After washing, I wrap my hair in a towel and go to bed. Next morning I have "beachy curls" and wear my hair down. I usually wear my hair down or with a headband for the first 2 or 3 days after washing. Then I switch to a French braid or a bun.
I just wash my hair about once a week, and it doesn't need it any more often than that. On the day that I plan to wash it, I use about 3 drops of castor oil as a hair dressing and put my hair in a bun. This conditions it nicely.
It goes without saying, I've saved a small fortune using this method, and my hair is longer now than it has ever been and in better condition. I definitely recommend this form of hair care to everyone!
Six Years Later!
Well, I initially wrote this article in 2012, and as you can see, I've updated it every few years as I have aged, my hair has changed, and I have done more experimenting. When I first started using the no-poo method of hair washing, I had been coloring my hair for well over 20 years. Since that time, I have allowed my hair to go completely and naturally gray, so it needs different care than it did initially.
As you can see by the edits, I have found that adjustments were needed over the years. For example, with naturally gray hair, I found that both lemon juice and apple cider vinegar caused brassines. White vinegar whitens and brightens my hair. Since I no longer color it, my hair is naturally in much better shape than it was at the outset, so I no longer need cocoa butter to soften and defrizz it.
Here's what I do now with naturally gray hair.
I add a heaping tablespoonful of baking soda and about a half teaspoon of a liquid castile soap (e.g. Dr. Bronner's) to a quart of warm water. I pour it through my hair, massage it in and let it sit for a few minutes while I soap up in the shower. Next I rinse it out with warm water while massaging my scalp.
I add a quarter cup of white vinegar and 3 drops of castor oil to a quart of warm water and pour that through my hair. I let it sit for a few moments and then rinse it out with cool water. I immediately comb through my hair with a very wide toothed comb.
Once out of the shower, I wrap my hair in a towel to blot away the excess water. After I've dried off otherwise, I remove the towel, tousle my hair and go about my business.
Having used the no-poo method of hair washing for nearly ten years now, I can say with confidence that it is a great way to get your hair into its best condition. My hair is softer, more manageable and curlier now than it has ever been.
SB: November 10, 2021