Going no ‘poo (no shampoo) is the best thing I have ever done for my hair. It really has created shinier, healthier, faster-growing locks without the toxins or price tag that most store-bought shampoos offered me.
So what’s the catch? Well, I already told you: I don’t get to use shampoo. But don’t get too grossed out. I still wash my hair, but no longer with shampoo. Actually, I apply mud. And it’s something I only do once a week. Isn’t that absurd?
Keep reading because by the conclusion of this article, you might be tempted to give it a shot as well.
WHAT IS NO ‘POO?
No ‘poo is a form of hair cleansing without shampoo. There are several different DIY recipes and ingredients that can be used, but the most popular method that I know of involves using baking soda to cleanse the hair, followed by a vinegar rinse to condition.
No Poo With Baking Soda
I am not a big fan of the baking soda approach as it proved to be much too harsh for my hair. The pH of baking soda is extremely high (basic) at 8.3, and the scalp really likes to be maintained around 4.5-5.5. Color treated hair, especially, needs a more acidic approach and thrives off of a pH closer to 4. After using baking soda for some weeks, I found that my previously bleached locks were feeling quite like hay, and literally coming out in (small) chunks when I brushed it.
I have instead settled on a bentonite clay based version that has proven to be rather nourishing, conditioning, and also much easier to apply! And in case you are wondering, yes, bentonite clay also has a pH around 8, but I dilute it, mix it with raw honey (4.5) and apple cider vinegar (pH balancing), meaning that it is much closer to where I want my shampoo (or no ‘poo) to be.
HOW NO ‘POO IS DIFFERENT
If you have ever tried a no ‘poo method before, you will probably know that it feels nothing like traditional shampoos during the application process, and they leave your hair feeling nothing like shampoo does. This can be pretty disappointing for a DIY-er who just wanted a cheap & natural version of the store-bought product. Before chalking no ‘poo up to a major Pinterest fail though, you’ll want to note that…
No ‘poo is NOT just a natural substitute for shampoo. In fact, it has a completely different purpose in mind. No ‘poo completely changes the way your hair works:
- Shampoo strips hair of its natural oils so it won’t look greasy (which in turn causes the scalp to overproduce oils in order to compensate which, ironically, leads to greasy hair). No ‘poo, instead, regulates the production of these natural oils, resulting in benefits to hair health and style.
- Shampoo coats hair with silicons to make it appear smooth. No ‘poo utilizes natural scalp oils to smooth hair, moisturize it, and stimulate growth and health.
So, now that we understand no ‘poo is not just a bad attempt at a homemade beauty product but rather a unique method in its own right, I give to you…
When did the “No Poo” movement begin?
So, when did the No Poo campaign begin? Although there is no definite beginning, shampoo as we know it today was commercialized in the 1930s with the introduction of Drene, the first synthetic hair-washing product. People who like to use more natural items on their bodies stopped using it as it became a mainstay in modern life years later, opting for softer cleaning alternatives instead.
Is the No-Poo Method Effective for Dandruff?
When you realize you have dandruff, your first thought is generally to go to the store and get some anti-dandruff shampoo. However, this isn’t always the wisest course of action. Instead, you can utilize natural products as part of the No Poo technique. Baking soda, to be precise. This can be used as a light exfoliator to remove flakes, but it is also reported to have anti-fungal qualities. This could assist with dandruff caused by Malassezia, a type of fungus.
8 REASONS TO GO NO ‘POO
1. Scalp oil becomes a friend rather than a foe.
Scalp oil is one of those things (like sweating, sneezing, excreting, gagging) that serves a very important function and works in synergy with other parts of our body for overall health. When we simply to try to defeat or eliminate it, our bodies kick into action, bringing in other armed forces. Think starvation: if you don’t eat enough food your body will get thrown into starvation mode, utilizing fat stores for survival. Going no ‘poo befriends the oils and teams up with the ways our bodies work by creating balance instead of fighting against it.
2. You’ll only have to wash once a week (or every few days, depending on the frequency you choose).
Ok, seriously, this is a HUGE benefit in my eyes. It’s not that I don’t have time for a 3-5 minute shower every day, but I definitely do not have time to deal with my poofy-bird’s-nest-hair after it encounters water or steam every day. By re-training our scalps to produce only as much oil as needed, washing daily or even every two days becomes unnecessary. Some people choose to no ‘poo every three days, but most report going longer as oil production will continue to level out. As of now, my best hair day every week is 5 days post wash.
3. It is way cheaper.
No ‘poo ingredients are certainly affordable, yielding a lower price-per-wash than the average shampoo you’d find at Target. But there’s more: since less frequent washing takes place, you’ll really see savings when calculating price-per-month or by time period.
4. You’ll be avoiding harmful chemicals and toxins.
I often spend a lot of time on this point, but I’ll lay low today. This article makes some good points about common chemicals found in shampoo, and searching for your particular brand on this site can show the specific toxins and risks associated with yours.
5. It provides more style with less style time.
Have you ever had your hair styled for a formal event? Often the stylist will instruct you to come in with “day-old” hair, knowing that natural oils can be very handy for providing body and hold. I no longer use heat or styling products on my hair at all, and am able to create style with simply brushing (something I never could have imagined a year ago).
6. You’ll experience less frizz.
Many people report a reduction in hair frizz after going no ‘poo. I can definitely relate to this claim! My once-poofy hair has transformed into a relatively smooth and tame mane while still maintaining lots of body.
7. Your hair will grow faster.
I first experienced this while spending a month in Panama as a teenager. We were only given access to weekly showers, and when I returned home my hair had grown notably. Fast forward 15 years, and again I am seeing the same results with weekly washing.
8. It comes with shock-factor.
I have to admit a part of me enjoys seeing peoples’ faces when they find out how (and how infrequently) I wash my hair. It adds a bit of spice into conversations that might otherwise revolve around potty training or meal planning, and c’mon – we all need a little spice in our lives.