"In recent years, "no poo" has become something of an underground beauty trend... that's split into two camps: beauty mavens who believe they've found hair care's dirty little secret, and environmentally minded folks who want to use fewer plastic products and products with fewer chemicals." (Source: Today)I've recently discovered the 'no-poo' movement, in which people replace shampoo with a natural alternative like baking soda or clay or or nothing at all. It seems like a crazy idea to not use shampoo. It's something that we just accept as absolutely necessary, almost as much as toilet paper (which, by the way, I won't be giving up any time soon). But it's not necessary. I've avoided shampoo for the last week and my hair looks and feels much better than before, plus I'm no longer having product build-up problems that made me obsessive-compulsive about washing my hair every day. Thanks to Lucy and I, I found the solution.
Why go poo-free?
- Shampoo contains chemicals that strip your hair of healthy natural oils, replacing them with artificial oils that don't absorb into the skin very well and don't allow much release of your natural oils. This makes your hair weaker and requring more frequent washes.
- It can eliminate problems such as dandruff, itchy scalp and product build-up.
- It makes your hair look and feel better, if not at first, then after your head has gotten over its shampoo addiction and returns to a state of balance.
- Most shampoos contain mineral oil, which is what's left over when crude oil is turned to gasoline.
- Other common chemicals in shampoo may have additional unhealthy effects on your body. Since chemicals are absorbed by the skin, these enter your body, too. There's a (scary) list of them here.
- All you need to replace shampoo and conditioner is baking soda and apple cider vinegar (more on that below). Both are very cheap compared with some shampoos and conditioners.
- Cut down on frequent fancy bottle packaging and buy the things you need in bulk instead - usually with very minimal packaging.
- Avoid supporting the production of harmful plastics and chemicals.
I posted about animal testing in the cosmetics/personal care industry (and how unnecessary it is) last year.
- The use of chemicals in shampoo, such as those above, mean that these products will probably have to be tested on animals.
- Most shampoos and conditioners purchased are tested on animals. This makes it easier to avoid supporting these companies.
You can check the below links for alternative and trouble shooting ideas if this doesn't work for you. There's no 'right' way. This is just what I like.
- Baking soda
- Apple cider vinegar
- Two small plastic cups. One should be shallow enough for you to easily reach your fingers into the bottom. You could cut off the bottom of a plastic bottle due for recycling. I used a cup and bottle of Ellie's that weren't being used.
- A big everyday hairbrush that's comfortable to use
- A bottle of an essential oil like lavender or jojoba, depending on what remedy you want (check this link for ideas)
- Put about a heaped tablespoon of baking soda into the shallow cup.
- Turn the tap on as little as possible and put a tiny amount in the cup, and mix. I like using a thick paste (but it shouldn't be gritty), but some people like a more watery mixture. Include more water if you want.
- You can add a few drops of your essential oil to this mix, if you like.
- Put about a couple of table spoons of apple cider vinegar in the other cup, and fill it up with water.
- Head into the shower with your two cups.
- Spread some of the baking soda paste onto your fingers and rub into your roots. Keep going back to the cup until it's finished. I usually start with the areas around the hair line - front, sides, then back, and then do the middle by parting the hair horizontally at intervals.
- Leave it in for a minute and clean the rest of your fine self.
- To get rid of any existing product buildup (especially this first time) give your head a good massage. It also stimulates growth and natural oil production (no, this won't make your hair oily!). Use your fingertips and rub back and forth in short strokes, gently but firmly. Concentrate on the area around your parting, because that's where the roots mostly show.
- Rinse the mixture out of your hair.
- Use the other cup's contents on the lengths of your hair. (I promise the vinegar smell won't stick around forever.)
- Rinse it out.
- When your hair is dry, brush your hair. (Use a wide-toothed comb when wet if you need to). Brush it at least twice a day, regardless of when you wash it. This will distribute the natural oils along the length of your hair and make it nice and shiny.
How it's worked for me
I had given up on my hair a little, because in my teens I started getting a lot of product built up on my scalp. I didn't use much, if any, styling products, so it was the shampoo and conditioner. I stopped using conditioner. I didn't use a hairbrush because my hair didn't get knotty. I washed my hair every day because otherwise it got greasy and awful.
The first day I tried this my hair and head felt lighter, due to the lack of chemicals and product in my hair. It felt softer, too, and very clean. When I brushed my hair it had a really nice shine that wasn't there before.
I've been doing this for two weeks so far. I've been washing my hair mostly every two days. It gets a little flatter on the second day, but not oily like before. Once I left it three days and it looked a bit greasy by the third. This might stop happening in time, when my hair is used to the new routine.
If you try this, let me know how it goes!
No poo community on LiveJournal
Skin problems TV programme on ABC.net.au
Shampoo-free on Babyslime at Livejournal
No Shampoo Experiment
Why you should go no 'poo'
Shampoo-free: Healthy hair, naturally