6 Months “no poo!”
This past January I decided to stop using shampoo to wash my hair, often referred to as the “no poo” method, and now, six months later, my hair is the healthiest it has ever been in my life!
However, I have had quite the journey to healthy, clean hair, and the process was accompanied by confusion, a couple weeks with some awfully dirty hair, and knowledge learned about three months into the switch that would have made everything much simpler from the beginning.
So, this post will provide you with the story of my transition and all the tips I can offer on the “no poo” method in the hopes that other people will have a much easier time than I did!
First, why did I decide to stop using shampoo?
I made the decision to stop using shampoo because my scalp and hair were not healthy even though I was using an organic, all-natural, gluten free, and vegan shampoo. My hair was dry, frizzy, and lack-luster, and my scalp was also dry, had dandruff, frequently infected hairs, and sore spots. For years I thought these problems were from the high usage of hairsprays and hair gels during my teens as a ballet dancer; however, after not using these products for over five years, I still had the same unhealthy hair and scalp. After studying this topic for awhile, I realized that using shampoo, even the “healthy” kind, was causing my hair and scalp to be stripped of all moisture and oil, which protects the hair and keeps the scalp healthy, and this was likely the root of any other problems I was also experiencing with my hair.
After coming across this information, I enthusiastically decided,
“I will just stop using shampoo! How hard can it be?”
The first two weeks were easy, and I did not notice anything different with my hair. In fact, it was amazing to not have to spend ten minutes or more washing my hair twice a week like I had been doing for several years! Then, my hair started to get really dirty, and it was highly unpleasant. I knew from my initial studying before I made the decision to stop using shampoo that my hair would go through a time of producing more oil than it needed in order to make up for the lack of oil, but after a week of my hair feeling yucky, I knew I needed to find a solution. Throughout the day, my hair looked and felt oily and drab, and when my hair got wet in the shower, it felt sticky and as it was coated with a thin layer of plastic.
My excitement for my “no poo” decision had certainly waned. Even though my husband, Jake, told me that my hair looked better than I thought it did, it seemed to me like my hair looked awful. It definitely felt awful.
After the week of trying to deal with the dirty hair and hoping that it was only a phase of my hair adjusting to the lack of shampoo, I discovered a multitude of various opinions about how to go “no poo” and many people who talked about how difficult stopping using shampoo could be because their hair became super oily and, well, gross.
I completely understood. That was me.
I read about people using dry shampoo, rye flour, apple cider vinegar, baking soda, eggs, honey, and some people even used a combination of several of those ingredients! Did these crazy solutions make you think of this “I Love Lucy” episode like I did?
Now, I was confused because the “no poo” method had gone from ridiculously simple to crazy complicated, time consuming, and hard. Additionally, I was disappointed because I had loved how easy the first two weeks had been when I first stopped using shampoo.
At my wit’s end because my hair felt so yucky, I had almost decided to use shampoo again and just try to use it as little as possible. Then, I came across information regarding soft and hard water when trying to do the “no poo” method!
Hard water vs. soft water
Soft water and hard water have completely different solutions when combined with the “no poo” method, but both soft and hard water coat the hair with the concentrations of minerals in the water. Basically, soft water has a lot of sodium, and hard water has a lot of calcium and magnesium. Regarding the “no poo” method, hard water is definitely the worst of the two because the calcium and magnesium are so highly concentrated in the water that they literally coat the hair. For example, when dishes are run in the dishwasher and spots remain on the dishes, that is hard water mineralization, and the hard water mineralization does the same to hair!
Where I live the tap water is incredibly hard. In fact, the water is so hard that it leaves a mineral build up in our sinks, tubs, on the faucets, and on the dishes! It is no wonder that my hair felt so dirty!
Thank goodness there is actually a way to combat hard water: apple cider vinegar!
Apple cider vinegar is a actually a moisturizer, and when poured over the hair, it strips all the mineral coating off the hair, leaving it shiny, smooth, bouncy, and clean because the natural oils protect the hair and keep it clean! The only downside to apple cider vinegar is the smell, which is a bit like fish and chips. However, a couple drops of essential oils cover the apple cider vinegar smell! My favorite essential oil combination is two drops each of rosemary, peppermint, and sage essential oils.
If you have decided to go “no poo” and have hard water, try using an apple cider vinegar rinse whenever your hair begins to feel dirty! I use a pint jar, add about an inch of apple cider vinegar and the essential oils, and fill the remainder of the jar with water when I am ready to rinse my hair at the end of my shower.
Because I do not have soft water, I have not had the opportunity to give baking soda a try, but I imagine it would work just as well as the apple cider vinegar! The principle is the same: remove the mineral coating from the hair so that the natural oils can keep the hair clean.
How I keep my hair clean!
Currently, the only way I “wash” my hair is using the essential oil and apple cider vinegar rinse whenever my hair feels dirty, which is about once every three weeks and this time increases after every rinse!
I would love to see your thoughts on this post, especially if you also have gone “no poo” or if you are interested in giving it a try!
I would be happy to help in any way I can, so please comment or ask any questions! In addition, if you were inspired to put a picture on Instagram because of this post, tag me at #shalomhomestead!
Best wishes and shalom, friends!