Tuesday, June 7, 2011

No Poo, The Reveal

Look ma, no poo!
I'm going to stop counting how long it's been since I last used shampoo. I also have forgotten how many weeks it's been since I used baking soda & water solution to clean my hair. When I stopped using that, I had a few days of lanky, somewhat itchy & oily-feeling hair, but massaging my scalp & rinsing really well in the shower took care of it. Makes me wonder if I should have skipped the baking-soda-&-water-routine-for-six-weeks part & just gone cold turkey. In any case, I'm done: my hair has adjusted to not being stripped of its natural oils on a daily basis. It's shiny, happy & feels just like it did when I used shampoo & conditioner. Except for a couple of notable differences: my scalp doesn't get itchy as often & I have very little dandruff now.

Over the years I tried a lot of different anti-dandruff shampoos that had selenium or coal tar or other weird things in them & claimed to solve the flaky problem. Knowing a little more about what those unpronounceable ingredients are & what impact they have on human heath & the environment, I'm a bit worried about my exposure in the past. Not to say that only anti-dandruff shampoos have icky ingredients: 'normal' shampoos have tons too. The David Suzuki Foundation has published a list of chemicals (commonly found in things like shampoo) to avoid here. If you're interested in more details, they also provide a background document with more detail on these nasties than I feel like getting into here.

I encourage you to read the ingredients list on your shampoo & compare it to the 'Dirty Dozen' on Suzuki's website. If that scares you, or the amount of money you're spending on haircare products makes you wince, then think about going no poo!


  1. I have been reading about going shampoo free (can't bear to call it no-poo, I change too many poopy diapers here to associate it with my hair!). I'm considering it, but how long do you get the greasy look/feel for? I'm not fond of that stage!
    Or do you think I could start shampooing less frequently, and slowly wean off shampoo?

  2. I'm not entirely sure if you could wean yourself off shampoo because it dries out your hair & scalp each time. I think you'd sort of be starting from scratch every time you shampooed.

    Maybe try what I did for a couple of weeks. Put a tablespoon of baking soda into a cup & add some water, swish to mix, then pour that into a squirt bottle (peri bottles are conveniently-sized). Fill up with warm water in the shower. Squirt that on your head & massage it into the scalp & hair. (You might need two bottles worth, but I found one to be enough for my length/thickness of hair.)

    Rinse & leave it at that, or follow with an apple cider vinegar rinse: a tablespoon of ACV in a cup of warm water. The ACV conditions your hair, as the baking soda can be drying.

    I only did the ACV rinse a couple of times & used the baking soda twice a week, just rinsing my hair in between. I thought my hair might be able to go longer & longer between baking soda washes, but it never seemed to until I just quit & waited it out. I don't know if the baking soda helped wean me off the shampoo or if I might have just had the same results going 'cold turkey' off using anything.

    As for the 'transition stage', it was only a couple of days that I had to wear a hat. It's hard to say if it would be the same for you--I'm sure everyone's hair is a bit different.


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