“No Poo” is a trend that’s been on the rise recently. More and more people are skipping conventional shampoo in favor of a more natural alternative. Why? Basically, your hair contains natural oils that keep it conditioned and healthy. This is why many hairdressers recommend that you wash it every other day — because shampoo can strip away these natural oils that are working so hard to keep your scalp healthy.
This is where “No Poo” comes in. Instead of using chemical-laden shampoo and conditioner, this method suggests washing your hair with a mixture of baking soda and water, then conditioning with apple cider vinegar in order to reduce damage and regulate natural oil production. Naturally, I was interested.
I’ve always struggled with my hair. For years I fought against its naturally curly texture, and have been dying it since the 7th grade. Now, anything that involves less maintenance, I’m down for.
Most “No Poo” blogs say that there’s an adjustment period your hair undergoes once you stop using shampoo. Because you have to retrain its natural oil glands, the excess oil your scalp has been creating in order to combat the damage done by shampoo is bound to build up.
The average period your hair will spend in this weird, greasy state is anywhere from two to six weeks, depending on how often you washed it previously, along with texture and overall thickness.
Apologies for my goofy-ass face, but here’s a starting point. After four months abroad and no haircuts, my hair was feeling pretty rough.
I hopped in the shower excited to try this new concoction. I brought in 2 cups, one with 1 tbsp of baking soda mixed with one cup of water and the other with 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar mixed into one cup of water. I learned a couple things pretty quickly: your hair isn’t going to lather up the same way it would with shampoo, and most importantly, don’t mix your baking soda with freezing cold water before dumping it on your head.
Brushing my hair after the shower was a struggle. It didn’t have the same conditioned feeling that you’d normally get, but once it dried the baking soda did the job of getting rid of that greasy look.
I wore my hair in a top knot for four days in a row and was fairly certain if I didn’t run a brush through it every couple of days, it could form dreads. I’ve learned that it’s really important to wash all the apple cider vinegar out or else you’ll keep that greasy feeling.
I keep getting asked if my hair smells and the answer is, no, it doesn’t. The apple cider vinegar mixture smells in the shower, but once it’s rinsed out, my hair pretty much smells like, well, hair.
I have to confess, I didn’t wash my hair very frequently before starting this “No Poo” adventure so my results may differ from someone who’s transitioning from washing every day.
I’ve started to notice that my hair takes longer to blow dry, it almost feels as if this natural oils from my scalp are working to protect it against the heat damage. The ends of my hair have improved, becoming more manageable and losing the “scraggly” look they always get if I go longer than two months without a trim.
Week four was by far the easiest. My hair has gotten over the awkward greasy phase and I can really see a difference in texture. It’s gotten longer and the natural curl that I had beaten out with a flat iron is starting to come back. I did learn that you can’t put coconut oil in your hair because the baking soda mixture isn’t strong enough to wash it out and you’ll spend half an hour in the shower scrubbing at your scalp (learn from my mistakes).
There you have it folks, four weeks of “No Poo.” This is with a haircut in between so it doesn’t really do justice to how much my hair has grown. While putting in the effort to make up a DIY shampoo mixture is a bit of a pain, I wouldn’t say it’s more effort than it’s worth. After a month and a half of no shampoo, I can honestly say I’m not going back (but the top knot still remains).