What is it like ditching shampoo and conditioner and opting for a totally outrageous method of baking soda and vinegar? Would you put your hair and your sanity through such an experiment to see if it really works? I spent 8 months of my life (most of it in 2015) trying out this “no poo” experiment and since then have went back to shampoo but in a new way.
When I started to go organic with my life, I also started looking into alternatives for the rest of my life which included my home environment and body care. I started making my own lotion, turned to vinegar and essential oils for cleaning the house and one day I stumbled upon a blog whose patron was apart of this “no-poo” thing. At first I thought it odd and tried it but I did it wrong. I spritz my hair with apple cider vinegar instead of rinsing it. So my hair smelled all day! I went back to that blog entry and reread it and realized I was supposed to rinse my hair with it. So I tried it again.
The exact washing method I used was to make a watery solution of baking soda and water so I could pour it down my long thick hair. I would use approximately 1 cup in a 1:2 ratio. I’d wash that into my hair just like I would shampoo and then rinse it out. Rinsing always took longer than it did with shampoo because it always felt like I still had a little bit of baking soda left if I didn’t rinse it long enough. Then I’d follow up with an apple cider vinegar rinse. This was diluted with water in a 1:4 ratio. I made this ahead of time and put it in a plastic bottle. Again, I’d work the solution into my hair as if I were using conditioner. I let it sit while I washed up and then rinsed that out as well. I washed my hair approximately 2 days a week.
The Virtue of Patience
It didn’t happen overnight and in fact took about a month for my hair to get out of the tangled, distorted mess it was in. It was difficult to even put a comb through it because my hair was so rough and messy but I had to try my best to tame it and then throw it in a bun. After 1 month my hair started to tame out. It felt thicker and seemed to stay cleaner and softer longer. I have naturally wavy hair so when I added a little coconut oil, my hair would look luxurious with soft curls. I felt great because it seemed like my experiment worked and it felt like I was not only doing a good thing for myself but also for my family even though they didn’t go on this strange ride. But I always wondered…
When I brushed or washed my daughters’ hair I’d always wonder if my hair would ever be as beautiful as theirs. Their hair is perfect and looks beautiful all the time while mine bore age and abuse from coloring, styling, and hair products through the years. Worse yet, I have fine hair at the front of my scalp and during the no-poo challenge, they frizzed and stood up even more. So I tried taming my hair frizz as best I could with coconut oil but often times had to use hair spray or gel to really tame it down.
Why go back to Poo?
I did the no-poo challenge for 8 months and at first I thought I could do it forever but there were things about my hair that I didn’t like and they were more prevalent while doing the challenge. The most significant thing I hated was my front head frizz which became more difficult to tame while on this challenge. While I did enjoy thicker hair that was easier to style with just a little bit of coconut oil, I didn’t like that sometimes my scalp just didn’t feel clean. This would happen on hot days more than any other. Have you ever had that “skin crawling” feeling? Yeah, that would happen to my scalp on hot days.
I decided to go back to poo after 8 months and since then have been using shampoo for 2 months now. My hair doesn’t feel as thick or as soft as it did but at least it feels clean. I use a conditioning shampoo on my hair now so I don’t have to spend more time on it in the shower. My frizzy forehead isn’t as frizzy anymore but it’s still not what I want (maybe one of those things I just have to live with). I still keep to washing twice a week because I believe you shouldn’t wash your hair so much. In fact, I wash my daughters’ hair approx. 1 – 2 times a week depending on the weather and what they’ve been doing during the day.
Even though I said goodbye to my no-poo days, I learned things about my hair that I wouldn’t have known otherwise and it’s helped shape my haircare practices today. It’s helped me appreciate my own hair to want to minimize hair products as much as possible. It’s also made me appreciate the hair of my children and motivates me to keep their hair looking as beautiful as the day they were born: perfect!