It’s been a long time since I mentioned the no-shampoo thing (I just can’t bring myself to call it no-poo), because I’ve adjusted very well. The initial adjustment was tough, but that was largely because of the learning curve and my horrible hard water. Maybe somebody out there can learn from my experience and have an easier time of it.
There are a few pros and cons, but overall I think my hair and scalp are much happier and healthier. Saving some money is a nice perk, too.
To prepare my soda water, I boil 2 quarts of water. Then I turn off the heat and slowly stir in 1/3-1/2 cup baking soda. Once it cools, I pour into a large empty dishsoap bottle. This makes it easy to open and close, and easy to apply. I keep this right in the shower, like a bottle of shampoo. 2 quarts is enough for at least 8 uses, even with my long thick hair. For those with less hair, it would go much further.
Try just stirring together baking soda and water first. If you don’t have freakishly hard water, you probably won’t need to boil yours like I do. But if you find that your baking soda just sits like grit on your head instead of dissolving while the natural oils stay in your hair, try boiling. The soda water should feel slippery rather than gritty, and the oil should just rinse away.
My “conditioner” is just diluted apple cider vinegar in a second dishsoap bottle. I don’t measure. I just pour ~1/2 cup in the bottom of a 1/2 gallon bottle and add water to fill.
White vinegar works too but apple cider vinegar seems to be milder and has a more slippery feel to it, so it leaves my hair feeling more conditioned.
Most of the time I put my hair up when I shower. About every 3 days, I decide my scalp is getting oily or dirty enough to benefit from washing. On these days, I use soda water to wet it down. I don’t know why, but I find it works much better if I don’t wet my hair first with plain water. Although my hair is long and thick, it only takes ~1 cup to thoroughly wet my scalp.
I don’t worry about the rest of my hair – that doesn’t really get dirty, and does gets plenty clean in the process. I just wet down my scalp and scrub gently to work in the soda water. I have a tendency toward dandruff in certain areas so I pay special attention to those areas.
After washing with soda water and rinsing with plain water, I squirt about 1 cup of this throughout my hair and gently work it in. It should feel slightly slippery. One more rinse and I’m done. I’ve learned not to worry about lingering vinegar smell. It dissipates as my hair dry.
PROS AND CONS
My hair used to be so oily that even 24 hours between shampoos was a little gross. I had dandruff nearly all the time, only barely hidden by frequent shampooing and trials with dandruff shampoos. At first I tried to go a week between washings. That was simply too much, and made the transition harder than it needed to be. Now I wash about twice/week. For the first time since I was little, after 3 or 4 days my hair just looks shinier than usual rather than having an oil slick on top of my head.
I have found that the occasional flakiness I get now can be brushed away. I think this is more of a natural shedding than the unhealthy scalp I had before.
My hair has a subtly different feel now, and I like it. It’s a bit heavier and more substantial. It feels thicker and is more obedient, even though I use absolutely no styling products. This always reminds me of the old saying, “I just washed my hair and can’t do a thing with it!” Now I know what they meant. My hair used to be so soft and slippery that I couldn’t keep it in a clip – it just fell right through. Now it’s soft but has some body to it. It also looks shiny and healthy, with none of the flyaway-frizzies that I used to get when I skipped conditioner. Weather affects it very little. No static, no frizzies, no flathead. Just normal happy hair.
One thing I don’t like is that the natural oils make my scalp attract dust and lint. I have to brush more often to keep it clean, and my brush gets a white greasy residue and has to be cleaned frequently. Yes, kinda gross, but I just remind myself that this is the natural oil designed to protect my hair from the elements. Frequent brushing helps distribute this oil to keep your head of hair sleek and shiny.
At first I missed the fragrance of shampoo and conditioner, but I quickly realized that I can add my own fragrances by applying a dab of perfume oil or a spray of cologne to my hair brush. The funny thing is, once I realized this I stopped missing it. Just knowing that could seemed to stop me from feeling “deprived.” I rarely remember to do it now.
I’m not one to jump in with every trend that comes along, and I thought this one sounded crazy when I first heard it. Now I have to admit there’s something satisfying about not being dependent upon commercial shampoo. It feels like the way hair is meant to be treated. Once I quit stripping my hair daily, it became hard to think about going back.
Have you jumped on the no-shampoo bandwagon?