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The No 'Poo Revolution
The No 'Poo Method
Perfect hair is seemingly everywhere: movie, tv, commercials and ads. You might have tried dozens of products, only to have your hair end up more lifeless, less shiny, and even more unmanageable. Would you be shocked to learn that many people with enviable hair don't even use shampoo? Crazy, I know, but this new wave of eschewing hair products can bring about the hair of your dreams!
My Personal Tale
I used to have terribly unmanageable hair.
To most, it seemed fine, thick and shiny, usually wrestled into a ponytail or else cut pixie short. My hair would look good for about half an hour, then strays would begin to fall, followed by those strays frizzing up into nonsense. It never held a curl, it never wanted to do anything fun, or cute, or updated.
I washed it daily, because it was oily at the roots constantly, but the ends always felt like straw. So, to make up for that, I had to use heavy conditioners that coated my ends to they would lay flat. I had cowlicks, and my hair never grew very fast. I spent hundreds of dollars trying to find the “perfect cure” for my hair dilemmas, a panacea for my follicles. I felt like i was just pouring money down the shower drain, and my hair never got better.
I heard rumored tales of women going days without washing their hair, only to have it fall in glorious health about their frames. Talk of abandoning shampoo was terrifying, but somehow made sense to me. Humans had gone hundreds of years without shampoo and conditioners, so why couldn't modern ones?
Why do something different?
Well, hair care products use a lot of things in order to make hair appear pretty.
Silicates, sulfates, detergents, and plastic derivatives are all common ingredients, as well as parabens and fragrance.
For those with sensitive skin, these ingredients can cause skin irritations, contact dermatitis, allergic reactions, or even disrupt hormone production! And while sensitive skin is more quickly affected, even those of us with strong, hearty skin can be at risk of absorbing these chemicals and toxins into our bloodstreams, thus leading to future health concerns.
What is No 'Poo?
No poo is literally cleaning one's hair without using shampoo, in any form. No shampoo bars, cleansing conditioners, hair powders, nada. Instead, this method focused on using baking soda, clay, or something similar to cleanse the hair, and vinegar to rinse it clean and condition.
Some people find "low 'poo" to be a good transition step. This basically means using very little of a natural shampoo, or something more like a cleansing conditioner, instead of a traditional shampoo. This works for many men and women all around the world, but for myself, it left my hair feeling limp and in limbo.
Baking soda regulates the pH of hair, leaving it at a point where it is not quite alkaline but not quite acidic either. A natural exfoliant, baking soda can remove any buildup from your lovely follicles, while cleansing the scalp of hair products and excess oil.
Bentonite Clay is another ingredient that many no pooers swear by. It lifts impurities and excess oils from the hair and scalp without overly drying. However, it can get clumpy and messy, making it harder for some to work with.
Vinegar, either white or apple cider, removes any residue left by the baking soda, and conditions the follicles to be soft, supple, and shiny. My grandmother used to swear by vinegar for hair, heating up a pan of it to pour over our freshly washed hair, the night before church. It always gave us the glossiest hair in the congregation, so it makes sense to me in my adult life to revisit the idea. For this method, no heating is required.
A Word on Vinegars
I use apple cider vinegar on my hair, and I prefer to use an organic brand that comes with the “mother” intact. I know others who swear by white vinegar, so try both and see what you prefer.
If you are sensitive to the smell of vinegar, you can add a few drops of essential oils to the vinegar mixture before application, such as rosemary or lavender. This can be a great choice if you are suffering from other hair/scalp related issues (dandruff, dry scalp, oiliness), as you can pick an essential oil to help you along. Research what oils would work best for your issues, and add just a couple of drops to your vinegar rinse.
How to No 'Poo
First, gather your supplies. While you can use a cup, I am a great fan of using a pointed squeeze bottle for my baking soda. I mix about ¼ cup of baking soda with 1.5 cups of water in the squeeze bottle, and shake until the soda dissolves into the water. It should be cloudy.
For the vinegar, I use a small plastic bottle. About ¼ cup as well, mixed with 1 -2 cups of warm water, right before rinsing.
The steps are as follows:
1. Wet hair thoroughly. Work hands through hair like you are already foaming in shampoo, but keep using just warm water.
2. Apply baking soda and water mixture to hair, focusing on the roots. And not just the front! Make sure you get the roots throughout your hair, including the sides and back.
3. Let the baking soda sit while you bathe the rest of yourself. The baking soda will be absorbing oil and nastiness, so let it do its things, about 2-5 minutes.
4. Rinse thoroughly with water. Your hair will feel oddly thick, almost clumpy. That is fine! You are doing it right!
This is where the vinegar comes in:
5. Take your vinegar mixture and apply to hair, concentrating on the ends. You can then let it sit, or immediately rinse, and rinse thoroughly!! You can also put your vinegar rinse into a spray bottle, liberally misting the hair before rinsing clean with water. (Excess vinegar in the hair may produce a pickle-ish smell, so rinse well!)
Dry hair normally, and see the loveliness unfold. For my own hair type, I do this method about 2-3 times a week, with vinegar rinses in between washings. My hair has grown thicker, glossier, and much more manageable. My strays are minimized, and my scalp is in great condition. On a mild weather week, I can go 3 or 4 days between full washings, without feeling like an oil slick.
How often do you wash your hair?
I strongly encourage you to try this out, for a week, a month, a year. See how much money you save on beauty and body products, and see how healthy your hair becomes. It has been over a year since I went no 'poo, and I have not regretted it once.
My hair is healthy, I have saved money, and I feel great about my decisions.
Join the No Poo Revolution!