The beginning of November 2016 was when I last washed my hair. I didn’t stop showering, I didn’t stop cleaning myself. I just stopped using shampoo and conditioner: the no-poo method.
In today’s modern world the thought of not using shampoo and conditioner nearly sounds as crazy as not washing your hands, or not eating! Not too long ago, I definitely would have been one of those people appalled by anyone not sticking to these manufactured rules of “beauty”. Shampoo was a mandatory step in personal hygiene and that was that.
So, when I first came across the ” no-poo” method (no shampoo) I was very confused! “Why wouldn’t you wash your hair?” I asked. But thankfully at this stage I had already begun to learn about the harmful chemicals in our beauty and body products, the slimy tactics of the big corporations, and the God awful practices of animal testing and using animal derived ingredients. Any society-imposed mandatory “beautifying” step that could be made more natural or eliminated from my life – I was on board!
Not shampooing was a step too far though! Took me about 2 years to finally get around to researching it properly and applying the method.
WHY GO NO-POO?
- It’s more natural. Women didn’t use modern day shampoo until, well, the modern day! The last 100 years or so, and, even later in lesser-developed countries. My own Granny states that she never used shampoo when she was younger – just the bar of soap! So why do we think it’s so necessary? Why rely on it as if it’s food for our hair? – it’s not.
- Better for the environment. The mere act of producing the amount of shampoo we use in this world has a serious impact on the environment. It requires natural resources and the emissions of greenhouse gases. Then, when we wash the shampoo down the drain, the chemicals are pumped right back into the environment, whether it’s into the sea or rivers.
- Constant shampoo use strips our hair of any natural oils produced by the follicles. This natural oil is there for a reason. It’s there to moisturise and nourish our hair. When we use shampoo we strip this from our hair leaving it dry and in need of conditioner – convenient for those selling conditioner! This constant shampooing and conditioning causes our scalps to over produce the natural oil and thus we have greasy hair. Which needs shampooing – convenient again! Going no-poo trains your hair to get out of this shampoo/conditioner dependent cycle, and start producing a normal amount of natural oils again.
- It’s cheaper. When I used to buy shampoo and conditioner regularly I was out a fortune. I avoided the cheap, conventional brands because I felt like I needed something of a better quality. My hair was very curly and frizzy and I never knew how to tame it. I tried brand after brand after brand. And I went through conditioner by the bucket load! That’s a lot of money!
- Less clutter. One of my favourite aspects of the no-poo method is that it eliminates all those ugly plastic bottles from my shower! The less plastic we purchase the better! In my quest to be as minimal as possible I am discovering that I can just stop buying certain products – it’s brilliant!
HOW TO GO NO-POO
- Understand that everyone’s hair is different and might need a different natural shampoo alternative. These can range from bran flour, baking soda and apple cider vinegar, castile soap (such as Dr. Bronners), lemon juice, or just water only. For a comprehensive guide on going no-poo read this website.
- Be prepared to have greasy hair at the start! Especially if you are a daily washer as your scalp with have already been trained to over-produce oil. The transition period is said to last from anywhere between 2 weeks and 6 months. It is worth it though.
- Massage your scalp as much as you can, and if you have a lot of oil in the scalp area, try to pull it down through your hair to the tips as if it were a hot oil treatment. This is especially good if you have naturally curly hair.
- Be aware that your results may differ depending on whether your shower water is hard or soft. This makes a big difference. Soft is far better for no-poo, so good that you could just use the water only method. If you live in a hard water area you may need to use apple cider vinegar to rinse at the end of your shower. In this video I talk about the differences that I experienced in a soft water area and hard water area.
- Don’t aggressively dry your hair with a towel, pat it dry with an old cotton t-shirt instead.
- In terms of product, if you have long curly hair, I would recommend a natural hair oil like Lani. In this video I show you how I use it (this was long before no-poo though as you will see from the AMOUNT OF FRIZZ!!!!!). I don’t know why you’d need a product if you have straight hair as you generally wouldn’t have frizzy hair anyway.
WHAT NO-POO METHOD DO I USE?
- Before showering I brush my hair with a bamboo brush. I brush out all my curls from roots to tips. I massage my scalp well with my fingers and pull any oils down as far as I can to the tips of my hair. If my hair isn’t that oily I will use Lani hair oil on the ends of my hair (if I do the Lani step I always wait 10-15 minutes before showering so the oils absorb).
- In the shower I massage my hair again under the hot water and again try to run my fingers through my hair from root to tips. I use a bamboo comb in the shower to make sure there are no knots.
- Before getting out of the shower I spray my hair with some diluted Bragg’s apple cider vinegar. I have a spray bottle that I put maybe 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water approximately? I’m not entirely sure – make sure to research this if you’re going to try it to make sure you get the proper measurements for your hair type. I make sure to get the vinegar rinse in through all of my hair and comb it out again with the bamboo comb. I don’t wash it out with water because the water where I live is so hard and just counteracts the vinegar.
- When I am finished in the shower I squeeze any excess water from my hair and wrap it in a cotton t-shirt.
- After a while, or if I want to go out of the house, I will add some more Lani hair oil to the ends of my hair.
- I don’t use a hair dryer – but only because I’m lazy. Feel free to!
- I don’t style my hair either. If I wanted to straighten or curl my hair I would probably blow dry my hair and brush out all the curls before starting.
- If I need to go for a hair cut I would let the hairdresser wash and dry it. I haven’t had to do this yet but I’m sure one wash every few month won’t do too much damage.
BENEFITS I’VE FOUND FROM GOING NO-POO
- As someone who has struggled with frizz all her life – no-poo is the best frizz-taming method I’ve ever found. Never in my life have I been able to just step out of the shower and know that when my hair dries, it will be bouncy and full of shiny curls, without having added any conditioner, mousse or curl cream!
- I save money from not buying shampoo, conditioner or hair products.
- Less clutter: I am on a minimalism journey at the moment, trying to simplify my life and have less physical and mental clutter around, so not having to buy/store/dispose of 2 plastic bottles every month is a God send!
- My shower is cleaner. You know that brownish scum that gathers on the shower basin/floor thing – I don’t get that anymore. Which leads me to believe that it comes from all the suds from washing your hair with shampoo! My shower is also tidier as I mentioned above.
- My hair feels thicker, healthier, and more moisturised. These are all very important for curly-haired people!
- More definition in my curls.
I hope you found this blog post helpful. All I wanted to share was my experience doing the no-poo method, and hopefully inspire you to reconsider your shampoo habit! If you don’t want to stop using shampoo, you could try one that’s kinder to the environment. Like shampoo bars (see places like Lush). The fundamental message here is that we do NOT need to buy the bottles of shampoo that line chemists and supermarkets. They’re bad for the environment, bad for our hair, and bad for the animals.