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April photo challenge, Day 18: hair or Going "No 'Poo"

OK, I know going "no 'poo" sounds disgusting.  If you've never heard of it, it means you don't use shampoo.

My sister first told me about it in November and I thought it sounded really weird.  I'm quite fussy about my hair.  I don't spend a lot of time on it, preferring a wash and air dry style.  But I can't stand having greasy hair and I wash my hair every day.

But I was intrigued so I did some reading on no 'poo.  I discovered that, first of all, shampoos are made of chemicals and they send your hair on a wild cycle of over-compensation.  The shampoo works so well to de-grease your hair, that your head stimulates even more oil to bring a natural balance of oil back to your head. Your head starts saying, "Oh no!  You're too dry!  Produce more oil!" So it becomes a vicious cycle.  Not to mention that the use of chemicals on your body probably isn't really a good thing.

I also discovered that for some people no 'poo means they only clean their hair with water.  I wasn't sure I'd be willing to go that extreme.  

Others, however, wash their hair with about 1 tablespoon of baking soda dissolved in 8 ounces of water.  You pour that on your head and massage it in, then let it stay in your hair for a bit.  Rinse it out and you will feel how squeaky clean your hair is.  Most websites recommend a follow-up rinse with Apple Cider Vinegar.

I also read that it usually takes your hair at least a month to adjust to not being controlled by shampoo, gel, mousse, hair spray, or whatever else you put in your hair (I did all those, but not all on the same day).  So you can expect to look bad for about a month.  Pony tails are great during this time and I live in an area where scarves are culturally appropriate and scarves cover a lot on bad hair days!

My hair this morning, while still wet.  I've also discovered I have a cowlick on my forehead!  Which is nice because I've been wearing my bangs down, but it keeps them from lying directly on my forehead.
So, I decided to try it.  I've been no 'poo now since the beginning of February.  My routine is to use the baking soda rinse followed by vinegar twice a week.  The other days I just rinse with vinegar or don't wash my hair at all.  So, Monday, I do baking soda and vinegar; Tuesday, no wash; Wednesday, rinse with vinegar; Thursday, baking soda and vinegar; Friday, rinse with vinegar; Saturday, no wash; Sunday, no wash (I wear a scarf to church so why wash?! :) ).

I did change this around a bit when I was going to the pool two to three times a week.  I did not wash my hair those days until after swimming and then I used the baking soda followed by vinegar method to make sure I had all the chlorine out.  I didn't want my hair getting that green cast!

All the web sites recommend apple cider vinegar, but I can't get apple cider vinegar in Niger so I use plain white vinegar and that seems to work well.  We have pretty soft water which is also an advantage.

The result?  I have a lot more curl and I don't need to use any styling products to keep my hair in place.  Once in a while it gets a greasy or waxy feel, but the baking soda wash seems to get rid of that.  I don't think it looks greasy at all, though.

Since being in England I haven't been quite as happy with the results. For one thing, maybe it was just the stores I went to, but I couldn't find apple cider vinegar or plain white vinegar, so I bought malt vinegar.  I'm not sure the difference in all these vinegars, but I have a feeling malt vinegar isn't the best to wash your hair with.  I've discovered that if I use more of the Malt vinegar it seems to make it better.  I also think that the water is harder here than I'm used to, so my hair is probably going through an adjustment again.  Also, it takes my hair a really long time to dry here in England and I wish I had a hair dryer to see if that makes a difference.

I also got my hair cut shorter recently, so you know how it goes with a new hair cut.  It seems to take awhile for it to do what it's supposed to do.  I'm finding I can't really skip washing my hair as much because it looks really flat on one side from sleeping on it.  When it was a bit longer I could put it up in a ponytail.

So, that's my no 'poo experiment and I don't think I'll be going back to shampoo.  Plus which, it saves a lot of money to buy soda and vinegar instead of pricey, imported shampoos.  I guess soda and vinegar are imported, too, but they aren't nearly as expensive as shampoo.


Beka said…
So can you keep the water/ baking soda mix in a bottle in your shower? i've thought about trying this too... wonder if i should give it a go before we leave, except we have WAY too much shampoo to use up...
have you tried the OCM face cleaning method? i really like that, too! and, can usually find apple cider vinegar at marina, fwiw.
Hannatu said…
Beka, yes you can premix the soda and water, just make sure you shake the bottle before every use. Thanks for the vinegar tip, Richelle. And what is OCM?

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