Two Months of No-Poo: The Good, The Great and The Greasy

For those of you who are wondering how the “no-poo” experiment has been going, let me apologize for the gripping suspense. I have been extraordinarily busy with the following:

  • painting 20-foot walls
  • managing a kitchen floor renovation
  • taking the kids to Disney
  • hosting house guests
  • writing articles
  • investigating Woodchuck’s gluten intolerance further and finally receiving a celiac diagnosis
  • painting 20-foot walls a different color
  • redecorating our living room
  • and, in the spirit of full disclosure, binge-watching The Property Brothers with my husband (which may or may not have prompted the painting and the tiling and the decorating)

Throughout this busy-ness, I have also been consistently washing my hair with baking soda and conditioning with apple cider vinegar, and

I am very happy with the results!

Exhibit A: Before my experiment; still using conventional shampoo and conditioner.

IMG_2117 (2)

Exhibit B: Two months after starting with baking soda shampoo and apple cider vinegar conditioner.

I did encounter some no-poo problems that tempted me to quit, and I want to address them so that you, too, may address them and stick with it.

1 Washing your hair without lather is a little unsatisfying.

Indeed, massaging your head with baking soda or apple cider vinegar will yield virtually no noticeable evidence that any washing is going on, and this takes some getting used to. For me, knowing that I’m putting really healthy stuff on my head makes it worth it. And soon enough, washing without lather becomes the new normal.

2 It’s a huge hassle to always be mixing your shampoo & conditioner formula. IMG_2999

Imagine: you have one foot in the shower before you realize you’ve run out of shampoo or conditioner and you have to run back to the kitchen to play naked alchemist. Luckily, the solution is simple: get two really big bottles AND keep a container of baking soda and apple cider vinegar in your shower. That way, when you run out of formula, you can mi more right there in the shower. I’ve marked my shampoo and conditioner bottles where the baking soda and apple cider vinegar should be filled to and I fill the rest up with shower water. No more naked alchemy in the kitchen! That’s a good thing, right?

IMG_2353 (2)3 My hair is greasy/brittle.

For the first few weeks after giving up conventional shampoo, the sebaceous glands in your scalp will go a little berserk. Be patient, and expect a rocky first month, says everything I’ve read. Once your oil production settles into a natural and healthy rhythm, then you can judge the effectiveness of your formula and make little tweaks to keep the hair from getting too greasy or too dry. Note: I did not experience this roller-coaster of oil production; my hair looked dandy from the get-go. Except for that one time.

4 My hair doesn’t smell pretty anymore.

That pretty smell was most likely artificial fragrance chock full of chemicals. Washing with baking soda and conditioning with apple cider vinegar leaves your hair smelling like pretty much nothing, which is pretty in and of itself. But to give your hair a lovely natural fragrance, try adding to your conditioner 5-10 drops of essential oils like lavender, tea tree, rosemary, peppermint; a squirt of lemon; a tablespoon of honey; or a tablespoon of raw coconut oil.

5 Getting my hair wet in between washes reactivates the apple cider vinegar smell and leaves it looking greasy.

This is true. The first time I took a shower and wet my hair but didn’t wash it, it looked pretty bad and it smelled the way it looked. Either wash your hair more often, shower less often, or don’t get your hair wet when you’re not planning on washing it.

In conclusion: No-poo has worked well for me and I’m going to stick with it.

Have you tried substituting your conventional shampoo/conditioner with DIY natural ones? Have you come up against any quit-worthy problems?

Next up in the six-month natural beauty regimen: jojoba oil for a facial moisturizer, coconut oil for a body moisturizer, and castile soap for a body cleanser. Stay tuned…

2 Responses to Two Months of No-Poo: The Good, The Great and The Greasy

  1. Jane April 14, 2015 at 4:54 pm #

    You might want to do a little more research. Some of my favorite bloggers have recently gotten off of the no-poo wagon because it has a horrible pH for your hair. The ACV isn’t enough to balance it out. In the long term, you might be doing a lot of damage to your hair, unfortunately.

    • Lane April 22, 2015 at 11:23 am #

      I appreciate the note. Unfortunately, the only research that’s available is basically other people’s anecdotal evidence and opinions. And something tells me NIH won’t fund a study on “no-poo.” So yes, embarking on this experiment is basically playing mad scientist on yourself in the effort to find a more natural way to stay clean and healthy. Seems like for those who find baking soda too drying to use on a regular basis (and by regular, I mean maybe once or twice a week), maybe using it once every month or two as a “clarifying” shampoo works well. And definitely always rinse with ACV.

      The only other promising alternative I found to baking soda is maybe HONEY. I’ll look into it more and probably try it out on myself and report back. Anyone else ever tried honey as a shampoo?

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