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Sunday, November 18, 2012

No 'Poo

No, this has nothing to do with bodily functions. The term stands for "no shampoo". I learned about this method through a blogger friend of mine, and it intrigued me. Apparently, you can wash your hair with nothing but baking soda and water, and condition it with nothing but apple cider vinegar and water. We all know how many uses baking soda has besides a simple baking ingredient, but I had no idea that it could wash your hair.

I'm not at all shocked that this exists, though. After all, I make my own laundry soap, and it works rather well. (1 cup borax, 1 cup washing soda, 2 tbs oxy clean, 1 bar of soap. Grind and serve about 2 tbs per full load.) I started doing that back when I thought my hives might be caused by my laundry soap (that's another show! *wink*). Anyway, as far as I can tell, it works just as well as the store bought stuff I used to buy.

But I digress. I am completely taken back; shocked, amazed, astounded by this no 'poo thing. I've done a half-assed version of it for a week now and I am impressed almost beyond words. And what I mean by "half-assed" is that I was too afraid to try the ACV conditioner. My hair is thick and curly and gets impossible tangles without the use of conditioner so I was afraid to take that step. However, I am using a simple recipe I found online of 1 tbs baking soda to 1 cup water in a squeeze bottle as my shampoo. And just as the other blogs I've read claimed, it allows you to go longer between hair washings. How is this? Well, regular shampoo (and I was apparently using once of the worst kinds: Pantene) strips the shaft of all the oil that your hair produces. Then, you must condition some of it back in, otherwise your hair is a nasty, gnarled dry mess. But, why strip out all the oil? One must think in terms that the oil is a good thing, it's there for a reason; not that it's some nasty buildup that needs to be all washed away. When you wash your hair harshly with chemicals that strip all the oil out of your hair, it goes into overdrive to create more oil. By day 2 of no washing, it's already horrible. The baking soda method washes your hair very gently, and when everything is said and done and your hair is dry, there is still some oil left in the shaft. Not a lot, mind you, but enough. Because your hair follicles don't go crazy trying to re-coat your hair with oil at record speed, you can go longer between washings. And I've proven this for myself by my routine. I'll tell you a little secret. I take my showers at night before I go to bed, and I routinely take one every Thursday night. But, occasionally when I have a nothing-to-do weekend, which is very frequently, I won't take another shower until Sunday afternoon. Gross? Maybe. Normally, my Sunday afternoon my hair is a greasy mess. But today? It wasn't nearly as bad. After a week of washing with baking soda (every other night I might add), I can already feel the lack of excess oil being produced by my follicles.

But the million dollar question is: how much oil is left in your hair? I'll equate this to something you might know about. [Let me tell you right now, if you're a beauty queen that can't stand your hair being even the slightest bit oily (and I don't mean greasy) then this is not for you. But you have to remember that oil is not a bad thing, here.]

I like the feeling of slippery conditioner in my hair. I believe that as long as I can feel it, then I know it's in there and doing its job. Some conditioners (although this is probably more relative to the shampoo brand I use now that I think about it) you can feel, and some, when you put it in your hair, it "disappears". You feel as if your scrubbing nothing around on your head. I hate that. I realize now that my hair, after being stripped of all its oil, was soaking up that conditioner like a sponge and that's why I couldn't feel it in there. Ever since I started using baking soda as my shampoo, I still use the same Fructis conditioner I had before, but suddenly, instead of not being able to feel it in my hair, my hair is slippery. Why? Because some oil is still there, and my hair doesn't need to soak up nearly as much as I use (or had used. I usually go through a bottle of conditioner twice as fast as a shampoo bottle).

My hair looks and feels no different than before, after it's dry. It's still soft, still silky and smooth (especially when straight) and clean. I can't stress that enough. It is being washed, and it is clean. But it can also last longer between washings, and the natural oil it produces helps protect the shaft from breakage and sun damage etc. Plus, I'm not spending  money on expensive shampoos, and an as an added bonus, not flushing nearly as many nasty chemicals down the drain and into our rivers and lakes. It's good all around.

I urge my readers to try this. You can go whole hog and do the ACV as well for your conditioner if you choose, however I've read warnings that your hair takes several weeks to adjust to the fact that oil isn't being stripped away, and it may still over-produce for a while. If you can handle that as your hair adjusts, great. Otherwise, my hybrid method is a great alternative. My hair seems to have adjusted almost immediately. If I added ACV to my routine at this point, my hair probably wouldn't even have to go through that phase.

Here are a couple of articles to get you started!

No ‘Poo: Get Beautiful Hair with Just Baking Soda & Vinegar

Who’s up for “no-pooing?”

Let me know what y'all think!

1 comment:

  1. Ugh, this is so encouraging! It feels like I am taking forever to get through my last few bottles, and I just can't bear to throw them out. My hair is so long, that's it's gotten to the point where I'm using soso much conditioner. My drain actually can't handle it! I have a very slow drain as it is, and my conditioner tends to pool up on the grate. Ew! So I can't wait to try the ACL. I am going to miss the smell goods that come with shampoo. I'm thinking of getting some essential oils, I read that those are good in the conditioner.