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This post was originally published in January 2011. It has been revised and republished! Check out my results here.
No Poo. Nope, we're not talking about digestion. We're talking about Shampoo. Which, when broken down, turns in to several very unsavory words: Sham and Poo.
I'm pretty convinced that my shower routine over the first twenty-(blah) years of my life was just that – a sham.
When I discovered Wheat Protein (aka, GLUTEN) in my conditioner, I was…curious. What about gluten was worth stuffing in to a hair care routine? Seemed to just be another processed product, not unlike processed food. So, I circled the globe (virtually) in an attempt to find a better option for shampoo. I found the fabulous Gluten Free Savonnerie, which caters to those with allergies to conventional products.
I loved their goodies, but I thought I could go even more natural than that. Plus, with having So. Much. Hair. I really needed to try to keep things affordable and save the lathery, luxurious stuff for special occasions.
I'd heard rumblings about something called the No Poo method for some time, where you simply use baking soda diluted in water to “cleanse” your hair and diluted apple cider vinegar to “condition.” I'd never been brave enough to try it. But suddenly, I looked down to find I was wearing a pair of rock-solid Big Girl Pants. What better time in my life is there to detoxify my beauty routine? I was going to do it.
The idea behind “No Poo” is to go 100%, completely hippie natural. To STOP letting commercial shampoo “confuse” your hair by stripping oil, replacing oil, and telling your hair it will call when it won't.
Surprisingly, after a rough introductory period (headbands. Ponytails. More headbands.) my hair is doing extremely well. See my results page for more, plus a photo.
While your proportions of baking soda to water and dilute apple cider vinegar will vary, here's what I do for my super-long hair:
- 1 Tbs. baking soda diluted in 1-2 cups of warm water (mixed in the shower). Shake mixture in a mason jar, pour over head, gently work into hair and rinse.
- 1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar diluted in 1-2 cups of warm water (mixed in the shower). Shake mixture in a mason jar to blend, pour over head and IMMEDIATELY rinse.
- See “why isn't no poo working for you?” to troubleshoot.
For this cheap, super simple routine, Baking Soda clarifies and removes build-up and Apple Cider Vinegar restores your scalp’s natural pH balance.
Remember, however, that the goal with this routine is to NOT have to wash every day. Just like you don't use clarifying shampoo daily, you don't want to use a powerful cleanser like baking soda every single day. It's just more firepower than is necessary. I worked my way to about 3 times per week, and it's all I need.
Once my scalp regained its ability to regulate its own oil production (a week or two) I had a much happier head. Now, I keep a huge mason jar full of baking soda in the shower and use it to exfoliate, de-stink, and gently wash my hair.
I worked this into my regimen slowly, alternating every few days with shampoo & conditioner from the Gluten-Free Savonnerie, until my scalp adjusted.
I've also taken to wearing my Birkenstocks and Phish T-shirt in the shower, but I've been told that's a natural part of the hippie transformation and nothing to worry about.
The suck factor? ACV stinks. The smell will evaporate on its own as your hair dries, but I add a single drop of essential oil to my diluted vinegar (SHAKE WELL) to cover up the acrid smell from the get-go. I'm a bit biased, but the essential oils from Young Living seem to be the best by far.
Share your crap-free skin tips with me in the comments! If you're hungry for more natural skincare secrets, I also share over 200 pages of clear skin secrets in my Purely Primal Skincare Guide. While I try to answer comments, if you've got a more in-depth issue, you might consider checking it out!
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