The Truth About Going "No Poo"

So you might've heard of the "No Shampoo Challenge" or of people going "No Poo" basically you just don't use shampoo. Now before you go dismissing the idea, bear in mind that alternatives are used. About 10 weeks ago I decided to give the "No Poo" movement a shot. It wasn't because I wanted to use all natural products or because I wanted to save the environment (although that's always good!) it was purely an experiment to see whether I could actually do it. 

So I did all the research and came to the conclusion that there was no apparent way to avoid going through an incredibly greasy stage (turns out it wasn't that bad!). I also discovered that one of the most popular shampoo alternatives is baking soda and apple cider vinegar. It might sound like an odd combination but there's actually some science behind it. The baking soda is basic and the apple cider vinegar is acidic so they balance each other out. Something else that's commonly used as a substitute is eggs, quite often just the yolks. It's used as it's suppose to break down and remove any oils.

In theory everything should work out perfectly, I mean trust the science, right? Almost three months ago when I started the experiment I thought, I'll give it a try, stick it out for a while then make a decision on whether to continue. It kinda sounded like a fail proof plan and, even now, I can say it's worked out pretty well. 

As usual I've skipped the planning stage to this post :) but I figure now would probably be as good a time as any to say what type of hair I have. The reason this is worth taking into consideration if you're thinking about cutting shampoo out of your life, is because it works differently for everyone. Depending on your hair type you might need more or less baking soda or you may be able to get away with going longer without washes. Anyway my hair's thick, long-ish and really straight.

When I first dived into this venture the ultimatum was to get to the stage where I could just wash my hair with water i.e. rinse it. However 10 weeks on and I'm not sure that I'll even bother trying to get my hair to that stage. Back when I was still using shampoo I only washed my hair once or twice a week. I'd sort of got my hair to the point where it'd be fine with a bit of dry shampoo in between my wash days and everything was great. I definitely tribute this to why my hair didn't take that long to adjust to the baking soda and ACV. When I started the adjustment I washed my hair once a week. By about the fourth week I thought I could go a bit longer so just rinsed my hair after a week and washed it after two weeks. Lets just say I was wearing my hair in a french braid pretty much every day that second week and definitely won't be that daring again any time soon. 

At first I applied a mix of roughly two tablespoons of baking soda to 70 ml of water. Then I divided my hair into really small sections, put the baking soda mix on a section, massaged, then moved onto the next section. After I'd given my hair a good rinse I sprayed a mixture of ACV and water (roughly 1 part ACV to 7 parts water) all over my hair, focusing on the ends. Then I leave it in for a few minutes and rinse. 

To start off with the baking soda made my hair feel really rubbery but then, once my hair was dry it went back to normal. However, with continued use my hair's started to feel quite dry. To combat that I tried applying coconut oil but more about that later. I'm definitely using less baking soda now than when I started out but I think I still need to reduce the amount. 

After the first couple of baking soda rinses I decided it was way too time consuming. The whole process of dividing the hair then scrubbing each section just wasn't for me. So I decided to start just doing my whole head in one go. I had to scrub for longer than I'd had to do one individual section but it made the whole process undeniably quicker. 

Another thing I tried washing my hair with was eggs. I've heard in the past that they supposedly make your hair shiny and soft. So I set about whisking an egg, distributing it over my head, waiting for 10 minutes and then rinsing only to be thoroughly disappointed. Maybe it's just my hair type but the eggs just didn't work.

Onto more recent occurrences my hair's been feeling really dry, so going along with my "just wing it" attitude I decided to try massaging some coconut oil into my hair from root to tip. I read up about it a little bit and the general consensus seemed to be that the best way to get it out was egg yolks. Now, had I felt like baking something with egg whites that day I probably would have tried this. But, I didn't feel like baking nor did I want to waste any egg whites so I decided to continue to "wing it" crossing my fingers with hope that baking soda would rid my hair of the oil.  Probably one of the worst mistakes I've made throughout this process. The coconut oil was an absolute pain to get out, I even had to break out a dime sized amount of the shampoo that had, by this stage, collected a thick layer of dust from sitting at the back of the cabinet. Bottom line is I really wouldn't recommend putting coconut oil in unless you've got yourself some egg yolks on hand because, take it from me, baking soda won't work!!

I'm not sure 100% sure if this is a result of the venture or if it's just something I've become more aware of, but I've definitely noticed a lot more split ends in my hair. For the past 10 weeks I haven't used any heat on my hair so I'm really not sure where the split ends came from. 

Now I've reached that stage I was talking about before. The one at which I've given the "No Poo" method a chance and now need to decide whether it's something I want to keep on doing. I honestly can't say that the results have been that incredibly amazing. There's been a lot of trial and error, a lot of overly braided hairstyles and a lot of effort. To be honest, it's almost more been more work than it's worth. It has however been a really good experience and, the more I think about it, the more I think I'll continue. Who knows, maybe one day I'll get to that goal of just being able to rinse my hair. 

So there's all the information, my experience and advice. Even if the idea of going "No Poo" really doesn't sound appealing I challenge you to stick it out. Set yourself a goal of say- six weeks, the make the call whether to continue. After all, what's the worst that can happen?