Monday, August 23, 2010

Going "No 'Poo"

Before you get any other ideas, when I say "no poo" I'm using the term that refers to washing your hair without using shampoo= no 'poo!  Why would I want to do that?  Well, you can understand why if you read in Dr. Mercola's newsletter talking about some of the chemicals in shampoo, have you seen this article?

I have been thinking about going "no 'poo" for a while now, but what really gave me the bravery to try was this video blog posted at Keeper of the Home.  Part of my hesitancy stems from the fact that for a long time now I have had to use a very specific shampoo for my hair: one that addresses greasy roots and dry fly away ends.  This shampoo was working fine for me, but when I ran out of it, I thought it was time to be brave & try going more natural.

Actually, I was afraid to go all "no 'poo" to begin with, so I thought I'd transition first to a shampoo bar (also called solid shampoo).  It's like a bar of soap, but it's supposed to be for your hair.  I bought one on Ebay; however, I was disappointed from the beginning with it.  It was called "rosemary mint" but it only smelled like regular old soap.  (Maybe this Ebay seller was just selling old stuff, knock offs, I don't know.)  As I used it my disappointment only increased.  It felt like I had soap build up on my hair.  Greasy, yucky feeling.  Here's another blogger who went no 'poo & used a shampoo bar too, but she had a good experience with it.  I had heard of a "transition phase" as your hair gets used to not being stripped by shampoo all the time, so I kept pushing through.  Every third or fourth wash I would use regular shampoo just to cut the build up back down.

Finally, I got down to it & made my baking soda mixture.  Using the 1:7 ratio talked about by Keeper of the Home, I mixed 2 cups water with 1/4 cup baking soda.  (Note: since this time I have done more internet research I have found out the usual ratio is 1 Tablespoon baking soda per cup of water, so 2 cups water would only need 2 Tablespoons [1/8 cup] baking soda.).  I also mixed in some rosemary sprigs (hopefully to help with dry scalp).
I was going to use this repurposed spray bottle, but it had a strong odor that would not go away, so I ended up using an empty lemon juice bottle (has a small opening so the mixture doesn't pour out all at once).  I kept the mixture in the shower, would shake it up, and use it to wash my hair (yes, it is cold on my head- but because it comes out slow it's not too bad).

The first time I used it I was amazed!  My hair felt so clean- no more soapy greasy build up!  I usually wash every other day, so two days later I used it again and I thought to myself, "Wow, what was I so afraid of?  Clean hair?!"  After going through the yucky hair days with the solid shampoo, this was awesome.  On the third day after this wash my hair still did not feel greasy, but I thought I should wash it anyways.  That time what I got was a very dry, itchy, flaky, scalp.  Lesson learned: do not wash your hair until it actually "needs" it.

I also learned another lesson: rinse very thoroughly.  One day I was not careful to rinse thoroughly & ended up finding dusty soda residue in my hair- yuck.  Now fast forward another month or so.  I have been using the baking soda mixture for the most part, and only wash my hair about every 3 days.  Sometimes my roots are greasy and my ends are fly-away, but I use a straightening iron on my hair & that helps to even things out.  I'm still dealing with a dry itchy scalp quite often though (maybe it has something to do with my high ratio of baking soda?).  It's time to make another batch & I decide this time I will boil the mixture.  I want to do this so the baking soda will actually dissolve into the water, and also because I have hard water & I've heard this may help.

It has a little different feel on my hair but still works.  However, I'm tired of the itchy dry scalp.  I did some internet searching and decided to add some pure tea tree oil, which I just did a few days ago.  The good news: my scalp is a lot less itchy.  The bad news: it makes my roots more oily (so I'm washing more often) but a very thorough rinse seems to help that some.

This is all still an experiment in process.  I'm curious now to try a mixture with a smaller amount of baking soda to see how my hair will respond.  I'm also curious how it will work in Rwanda (with the extra sweat & dust my hair will be exposed to).  I'm writing this a few days before we leave for Rwanda, but posting will happen after we get there.  That way the blog stays active even whilst I am unpacking & getting situated in our new home!

How about you?  Have you gone 'no poo or thought about it?  Any tips for me?

This post is a part of Fight Back Fridays.


  1. I just recently started no-pooing too! I also am in the experimental process, but it's good to read about someone else's experience. Good luck with it and I hope everything goes great in Rwanda. How awesome!

  2. I switched to no poo at the beginning of the year. I am so happy with it! My hair has always been oily at the scalp but frizzy and flyaway everywhere else. No poo leaves me with no frizz and the oil is almost non existent. Since I switched to no poo I washed with regular shampoo once (after working in the windy yard with compost blowing everywhere) and my hair was awful for weeks after that. Back to frizzy and flyaway and just bleck. I only 'wash' twice a week (I tried to cut that down to once a week but then it starts to look greasy)and it really seems to work well for me. I worried that during the heat of summer I'd need more than the baking soda and vinegar (plus a little tea tree) but I haven't.

    I hope you all are well. I have thought of you often and pray that your trip and settling in is going good.

  3. @Stephanie- thanks!
    @Millie- thanks for sharing & you are sweet to think of & pray for us. We just got internet access set up at our home & I hope to be able to do my first "from Rwanda" post later this week :)

  4. I switched to an organic shampoo that seems fairly similar to a castile soap. There was definitely a transition phase, but eventually I really liked it. It's quite pricey though, so I picked up some actual castile soap to try. I'm less pleased with that one, but I'm actually using it straight from the bottle, and I think you're supposed to dilute first. :-D

    Here's a tip- try rubbing coconut oil on your scalp before you shower. Maybe a half hour ahead? It's supposed to help with dandruff (and it does), but it also did a nice job of moisturizing and didn't leave a greasy build up. I did have to wash my hair twice in a row to get it all out, but it's really made a difference in my scalp!

    I may be trying your method when I run out of my current shampoo. I have to wash more, though, because where I work there's a lot of silicone and latex in the air, and it gets in my hair. Latex doesn't come out easily.

  5. @Word Vixen: thanks for the tip on the coconut oil- my scalp would probably love it- I <3 coconut oil! :)

  6. No poo is great, but there can be a transition period. I was doing pretty well & then fell off the wagon…lol. I’m back to no poo now & now my hair is a lot shorter so I wonder if I’ll need as much baking soda as before. All I do is put the soda in my hand add some water make a paste & rub that in all over I then rinse with water & then rinse one table spoor of vinegar, in a cup of water with some perfume oil & dump that over & then I don’t rinse. Works pretty good for me.


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