Thursday, August 28, 2008


I have stopped shampooing. Yes you read right I no longer shampoo or condition my hair, well not conventionally at least. I still wash and add moisture to my hair but not in a conventional way. It's fondly called "no 'pooing". I save tons of money and have much nicer manageable hair. It takes me less time to shower and I waste less water.

How did it all start . . . well I have been trying various types of "natural" and/or "organic" shampoos and conditioners over the years and I never really found something I could stick with. I wanted a shampoo without Sodium Lauryl Sulfates and the like. I didn't want these because they tend to make your hair a bit more frizzy and believe me I do not need more of that. There is also the whole nasty chemical idea, particularly this little blurb.

In the Journal of the American College of Toxicology notes that this ingredient has a "degenerative effect on the cell membranes because of its protein denaturing properties." The journal adds, "high levels of skin penetration may occur at even low use concentration."

Doesn't that sound fun. I also try to steer clear of parabens for similar reason, the whole chemical reason, not the frizz reason. Basically sulfates are what make your shampoo lather. There is no real reason for it it is just something we have become accustomed to and I had a hard time with that at first as well.

About 6 months ago I got sick and tired of finding supposed natural or organic shampoos so I went to target and went with Aussie brand. It works and it's not too bad and on the label it said bio-degradable. Now there are all sorts of flaws with that statement but that's not for this post, but that is what I went with. The shampoo has sulfates but there were no parabens in either product. They were also $6 each and quite large so it did cut down on the amount of plastic a bit and I wasn't shampooing daily so they would have lasted me a year or more for sure.

I was not happy with my hair and I have not been for quite a while but its pretty much always been like this. So it's just something I live with and I thought I had to live with. Well thanks to Crunchy Chicken I now have a new routine. It all started with her post about Coconut Oil and then her subsequent post on shampoo. From the shampoo post I researched No Poo'ing and quickly tried it and I am pretty sure I will never go back to conventional products. The link she provides on no poo'ing in her post (how to go no poo) is where I got my start and the basic recipe I use as well, it is a great step by step illustrated guide and a great place to start.

A bit of background info, I have very thick very coarse very long hair. My hair is at about hip length and quite dry because it is so long and therefore OLD hair. I use to not be able to brush it except for right after my shower and with the aid of some de-tangler/leave in. I was using an Aussie leave in spray. It worked ok but spray for my beyond thick hair was ridiculous but all the creams were filled with nasty stuff I was not willing to use, not that Aussie was not full of nasty stuff, it was just less. If I did brush it when it was dry I would end up with a huge fro even thought it is so long. I liked my hair best when it was at least 3 days dirty but still then I could not really brush it without then having to put it up or in braids or just hide it somehow. I was shampooing my hair three times a week at most and more often it was just once or twice a week and I did not even get it wet or anything between that time. I did try condition only for a bit but I didn't really like that either. Just plain ol' dirty hair was preferable to me. Honestly my hair and my scalp would start to smell, but just to me and my husband, I think. No one else every said anything but I don't hang around people that much.

So when I discovered No Poo I read all about if for about a day and jumped right in. Here is my current routine, I wash my hair about every three or four days. To do so I make a hair wash and a hair rinse. The hair wash is 1/2 tablespoon of baking soda in one cup of water and the rinse is 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar in one cup of water. I get my hair wet and then apply the wash to my scalp and massage scalp. I run my hands down my hair but don't specifically try and get any wash on my actual hair below my ears. I then rinse my hair and do the same thing with the rinse mixture and then rinse hair out again. Then my hair goes up and out of the way and I shower as usual. When I get out of shower I brush hair and let air dry. When it is dry, sometimes the next day or whenever I get to it I work in a few teaspoons of coconut oil and use it as a leave in. I only apply it to hair from about ears down. Concentrating on hair below my shoulders and especially the dryer than crap ends. Depending on how long I go between washes I sometimes apply coconut oil a few day later. I also brush my hair every morning and night and anytime in between. I use to dread brushing my hair but I no longer do. It works great for me and I do not see myself going back to traditional hair routine anytime soon.

A few things, there is a transition period where you may become a giant greaseball as your scalp regulates itself to its new routine. I had this period, it was 2 or three days. Some people have a much longer one and if you tend to have greasy hair then it will be hard on you I am sure and you will probably want to quit quite often. But if you can make it through you will probably be happy. Also at first I had to get rid of the nasty soap scum build up that was on my scalp, I always knew it was there but I didn't know what it was or why it was there. I learned it was there because I have hard water. So to help break this down for the first two weeks the first thing I did was to rinse my hair with a 50/50 mix of water and white vinegar. It worked and I no longer need to use it. I may have to every once in a while I have been told by other no poo'ers but I have not used it in the last almost two months. When I make my wash and rinse I use cold/cool water from the shower that has not warmed up yet. This is especially helpful for me so I can feel the cold water on my scalp and make sure it is actually penetrating my hair. At first I used old measuring cups but the wide opening was not the best for in shower use. I now use old glass bottles from a tea drink my husband buys. It is especially helpful because I can put they ingredients in and put the lid on and shake to mix well. The smaller opening also regulates the flow better and I can get the wash/rinse where it needs to be better than a big open container.

There are all sorts of ways to go no poo and the baking soda/vinegar was the way I choose and am very happy with. The best place I can send you for information is a LiveJournal community, The No Poo' Method. They discuss all sorts of ways to go no poo and different things you can use and even their favorite conventional products if you are not ready to go completely no poo'. Many use tea rinses instead of vinegar, largely because of the smell but if used properly there is no lingering smell what so ever, and believe me because my husband hates the smell of vinegar and he actually has recently been telling my how clean my hair smells! That is a testament to the greatness of this method, mudnessa no longer smells!! AMAZING!!! Try it for yourself.

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