On Going No ‘Poo

Yesterday marked 6 months since I bid farewell to shampoo & conditioner. I had no idea what to expect when I stepped in the shower with a mix of water and baking soda on November 6th. I had friends who had made the transition successfully, and online reviews all seemed very promising. I figured: what have I got to loose? If the result is extremely crappy to the point of unrepresentable-ness, I’ll just step back in…

But it was fine! Sure, there is a transition period, which can hit anytime around 2 weeks to a month, and can last from a few days to a few weeks. I guess it depends on your previous hair washing routine: if you were one to wash your hair every day or even twice a day with both shampoo & conditioner, to then style it with hair products, then transition might be longer. If, like me, you washed every 2-3 days and never used any styling products on it, then it might be shorter. I couldn’t exactly pin-point when my transition was… I think around 2-3 weeks, it felt slicker in-between washes – but not dirty. Just, you know… a bit more blah.

And it’s not hard either! When you read up on it, it can feel overwhelming, with all the different ratio, testimonies of having to adapt mixes through the seasons, adding conditioner, using baking soda, vinegar, apple cider… But really, you just have to try one, and tweak it. What have you got to loose?  If it’s crappy, just step back in!! 😀 (although I would suggest trying it for a few washes!)

So what exactly is “no ‘poo”? Basically, it’s “no shampoo”. Meaning none of the store-bought hair cleaning products that get expensive and are full of chemicals, and are really just detergents aimed at stripping your scalp of it’s natural oils, making it prone to produce more, creating the need to wash more often, with more shampoo. I have oily hair. I’ve ALWAYS had oily hair. Sleek, really straight, oily hair. So it would seem counterproductive to use a method that actually lets my scalp produce it’s natural oils unhindered, right? Not so! After a few weeks adjustment, as my scalp adjusting to “hey… I don’t need to produce so much anymore!”, my hair actually became LESS oily than it ever was before. More manageable too. And I swear it feels thicker as well (and by that, I mean from BEFORE I got pregnant 🙂 ).

The basic formula for no ‘poo is 1 tbls of baking soda for 1 cup of water. I use half of that on my medium length hair (just below the shoulders), and it works great. I use a squirt bottle, which I fill up before every wash – I find it easier to prepare it as I need it, otherwise I tend to use more than I really need. And even though baking soda is less expensive than shampoo, I still like to save a buck more when I can 😀 You might need more or less depending on your hair length and style, or a slightly different ratio. But don’t be scared – just start with the basic 1 tbls per 1 cup of water, use that for about a month until you hit/pass transition, and then if you don’t 100% like the result, try out a few different formulas. You can’t really go wrong any which way anyway, except maybe a bit of baking soda buildup, but that’s an obvious consequence with an obvious remedy.

If you have hair that tangles very easily, you can add a conditioner from 1 tbls apple cider to 1 cup of water. But if you have oily hair, that might make it oilier too. I have very very fine hair, and used to ALWAYS need conditioner or else it was heck trying to comb it afterwards. I have never used the apple cider mix, and my hair is perfectly fine to comb after washes!

We also use this method with Miss A. Since we had started with using regular baby shampoo with her, she did go through a small transition as well, but now it works just fine! Her ratio is the same as mine, and we wash her hair every 3-4 days, like I do. The only word of caution when using this with young children: it’s not tear-free like other products on the market. 😉 But, with a bit of imagination and resourcefulness (spray bottles anyone?), it’s possible to not get it in their eyes!

Want more info? These articles are great starting points:
* How to Clean Your Hair Without Shampoo, from Simplemom.net
* Shampoo Free, from babyslime on LiveJournal – very good in-depth article.
* Shampoo Free?, on KellyMom.net
* A friend’s saga of going No’ Poo, including with her now 2 yrs daughter

I think my next step will be to wean out my face cleaning products. I heard honey was very good, and oil too – I know, oil! And I have oily skin. But the argument makes sense and hey – I can always rewash my face if the result is disastrous. 😉