Thursday, June 23, 2011

2 years of No Poo: Questions & Pictures

I shocked the world when one year ago I announced on this blog that I've been No Poo for one year!  I know, I know, the human body is unbelievable.  ;)

You can read about my one year and 'coming out' first No Poo-iversary here.

In that post I explain and highlight some of the details of being No Poo.  It took a lot of courage to say that I was No Poo, but now it's second nature.  I literally know tens of people who are now No Poo!

In short, I don't wash my hair in the conventional manner.

Why?  Well, your hair produces oil naturally, and shampoo strips your hair of these oils.  No big deal, except the oil on your scalp is a supply and demand thing.  When you wash your hair, you remove the oils, and therefore your body begins to compensate by producing oils again.  That's why the next day your hair is greasy again.  I only 'wash' my hair via the No Poo method about once a week, and it really doesn't get that greasy.

You can drastically slow this process, save money on hair products, avoid toxic products in hair products, avoid plastic waste, save time and still have clean hair.

A close up picture of my No Poo hair.  Unedited, straight out of bed, not brushed, 4 days after my last No Poo wash.

Since posting that, I get asked questions via e-mail, groups I'm in, Facebook messages and in person.  That post on No Poo is one of my most read posts and many people find my blog through Google searches like 'no poo beginners' or 'how to go No Poo'.  I have many friends who have secretly gone No Poo (don't worry, your secret is safe with me) and it's fun to see this method gaining in popularity.

I've decided to answer some of the most common questions I get about starting No Poo.  Again, not an expert, just my experience over two years of being No Poo.

1. What do you do when you get your hair cut and/or colored and the stylist wants to wash it?

I just let them wash it.  If I've gotten highlights or color it needs to be washed out and I'm not about to ask for some baking soda. ;)  My hair does end up a little greasier and going through a very small transition stage, but it's nothing for a fresh touch on my hair.

2. Will the vinegars affect my hair color?

I have not noticed any effect on the color of my hair by either the baking soda or the vinegar.

3. I want to do a deep condition.  What should I do?

Many people use coconut oil, but don't expect that to come out easily.  Some also use raw honey and of course, the old egg yolk method.  I haven't felt any need to deep condition my hair at all though.

4. How often should I wash my hair?

If you are first starting, try to go four days. The longer you go, the quicker your transition stage will go.  I washed too much in the beginning and was really self conscious, but it only delayed the transition phase.  Now, I wash about once a week, give or take.  While I'm showering, I may do a water only wash, but most of the time, I just wash my body. 

5. How can I extend the time between washing?

I have two tricks - a boar's hair brush and water only rinses.  The boar's hair brush is probably the most useful.  It not only collects dust and dirt, but it helps remove some of the oil near your scalp and spread it to the ends of your hair, moisturizing the ends of your hair!  If you are a No Poo'er, I highly recommend this!

6. What additional products can/should I use?

That's up to you.  I use some product for special occasions, but I'm pretty minimal maintenance with my hair in general.  Many people ask how I get my hair to do what it does, and to that I say, I shower, maybe will pick through it, then let it dry.  If I'm longing for the perfumed scent of shampoo or conditioner, I will put some high quality Ylang Ylang essential oil in a spray bottle, mix with water and spritz my hair.  Since going No Poo my natural curls have been enhanced!

Unedited photo of my No Poo hair.  This was probably 2 days after my last No Poo wash.  I don't think I have any product in my hair either.  Photo by: Susie R.

7. I want to start No Poo.  What do I do?

You can go cold turkey, which will be a little traumatic, but is the fast track to No Poo.  Or you can transition slowly by diluting your shampoo, alternate every few days with shampoo or No Poo, or do a No Poo wash every few days.

8. But you don't understand, I have SUPER greasy hair, so it won't work for me, will it?

This is probably the number one comment that I get.  While my hair is completely different than yours or the next person, I do know that with the majority of people that I have known that have tried No Poo, have way less oily hair than ever before.  Your transition stage may be more difficult, I don't know for sure, but I can guarantee that you will wash less.  Maybe not every 7 days or so, but maybe every 5.  The point is, you won't know until you try it! :) 

9. What age can you start No Poo?

My daughter 11-month old India has never had a drop of soap anywhere on her body besides tiny bits of diluted Dr. Bronner's.

According to a 2007 study, the average child is exposed to 61 different chemicals daily. It's a long known fact that most of the children's products that you buy at your local store, like Johnson & Johnson and even Aveeno products, have high toxicity ratings.  You can check the toxicity rating for any personal care item on the Cosmetic Database.  It's sad when even our childrens' items are full of sulfates, carcinogens and parabens.  Not good stuff.  There are great products out there for cheap, like Dr. Bronner's, so I'm sure I'll be using that as India gets more mobile and dirty.  A friend of mine has three boys who love to get dirty when they go out to play.  They are all No Poo and have been for years and they're all doing just fine! :)

10. Will you ever use shampoo again?

I might, but I might not.  I figure that I've got a great thing going now, I think it's be really hard to transition back to washing and drying my long hair every other day.  I like the time I have!

I hope this answered some of your questions about No Poo.  If you have any more, please feel free to ask me, and I'll see if I can help at all.

Now, who's going No Poo?


Milena Soc said...

Your hair is so beautiful :)

Long before I heard about "no poo" I tried going weeks between shampooing. The only way I treated my hair was by washing with water. And my guess is I never passed transition because my hair was always a bit greasy looking. It also tangled easily and was difficult to brush. Now I'm using a castile soap as shampoo, but it feels kind of rough on my hair.

Do you have a post about the recipe you use using baking soda? :)

Vanessa said...

Awesome Gen! You answered so many of the questions I was wondering about. Great, great post!

Amanda said...

I will start by saying this is my first time reading you sent over from Natural Parents Network on fb and I love you!

I am very intrigued with No Poo, I will admit I am one of those greasy girls. I only was my hair 2 to 3 times a week in general bc that is about how often I am getting around to taking a shower. Terrible I know but usually only ever leave the house on the weekends for church. Anyways, do you just stop using poo and go straight to using baking soda or do you just use water in the beginning. I will admit I am afraid of the greasiness.

Thank you so much for all of your helpful info.

Patti @ Jazzy Mama said...

I'm a no-poo girl! I've been on the baking soda and vinegar for 6 months. It was a LLOONNGG transition for me as I was constantly using too much baking soda and 'burning' my scalp. Now I'm still trying to balance how often I need to use vinegar.

And I was nervous about getting highlights, but now you've answered that question so I will go ahead and do it!

I wrote about my experience recently here:

Meggie said...

wow, really interesting! :)

Uniquely Normal Mom said...

Milena, I have no idea how long a water-only transition takes, but kudos to you or anyone else who even attempts it! :) I use 1 TB baking soda to 1 cup of water. My hair is pretty long, so I normally use about 2 TB. It's the same ratio for the vinegar to water mix as well. :)

Thanks, Vanessa!

I'm so glad you stopped by, Amanda! :) I hear you on only getting out of the house for church! How you phase into No Poo is up to you. Maybe try diluting shampoo for a wash. Wait until day 4, then do No Poo. Then wait 5 days, and use diluted shampoo, etc, etc. I don't now, but that may be something that works.

I'm going to pop on over and read about your experience, Patti! I No Poo'ed too often in the beginning as well. OUCH about burning your scalp! :(

Sarah Gray said...

I've did no poo for a year before starting to dread my hair-it was wonderful! :) Now that my hair is dreading I use Dr. Bronners and it actually helps my hair dread by drying it out a bit. Yay for less harmful chemicals!

Sarah Gray said...

I've did no poo for a year before starting to dread my hair-it was wonderful! :) Now that my hair is dreading I use Dr. Bronners and it actually helps my hair dread by drying it out a bit. Yay for less harmful chemicals!

Hscomer said...

I have been No Poo for 4 months and LOVE it! I have started my 3 girls on No Poo and it is great!! I did have a transition period and had to play with the baking soda to water ratio for my hair type. I also only use the AVR as needed normally after using a styling product for a special occasion! Great to find others who No Poo!!!

wind said...

can't wait to try the no poo method.  question though...i work out almost daily.  what do you suggest for frequency of no-pooing?

Karis said...

I'm SO glad I found your blog! I've been no poo for a little over 3 weeks now, and I need help.... I have naturally oily scalp and really dry hair, using shampoo and conditioner seemed to make that problem worse which is why I was intrigued by no poo because I heard it makes hair shinier and less greasy. I haven't really noticed any difference in my hair. I normally wash it every other day, having to wear it up most of the time because of my painfully lifeless greasy roots. I use the 1 tbsp to 1 cup ratio of baking soda and vinegar to wash& condition and it just feels so straw-like, frizzy, and no change in oily-ness. I can barely run my hands over it after washing. Ive heard some say brush, and others say dont, but my hair is starting to form its own dreadlocks on the underside, which is a problem I didnt have before. Do I just need to stick it out longer? Why doesnt my hair feel moisturized? Please help!

Emma Cunningham said...

 Definitely brush. You need to spread the oils from your scalp down to the ends of your hair. Rubbing a few drops of oil (I use avocado oil, but even olive oil or castor oil will work great) into your ends will help too.

Rum Helka said...

Help!  I went cold turkey no-poo a couple of months ago  (20th Jan last shampoo, couple of baking soda washes following that and since then just water) and my hair is STILL tacky, greasy looking and lank.  Does anyone know how long a water-only no-poo transition lasts?  I don't want to give up but I'm not sure if it's ever going to work!

Starrynight514 said...

I've heard it can take at least 6 months before you can go days without washing, it all depends on how often you wash, going longer in between quickens the process but it means you have to deal with being greasy. Ive been at it for a couple months too, looking forward to when it balances out. Good luck!

Not5pennies said...

I went no poo a week or so ago. I started out with washing my hair everyday for 5 days with baking soda , and ACV. After my hair adjusted to that I went cold turkey, and rinsed my hair with just water. It took my hair 4 days to get noticeably oily. I got a boar bristle brush to help distribute the oils. But even though my hair is oily, it looks better each day. I plan on going seven days (at least) in between washing my hair, and I'm only on day 5 or so. So I guess I'll keep on truckin' and get through it. (: By the way, stories like yours is why I keep on going.

Jessierae79 said...

I did no poo for 2 weeks.  I only used baking soda for a week ro so but it made my scalp itch horribly.  So I just used water and ACV and then just gave up.  Do you have any suggestions about something I can use in place of baking soda?

Anna Mac said...

I've been considering going No Poo since I read your first post on it, and even tried for two (yes, two) days over Christmas break.  Now that I have graduated from nursing school, I have decided to take the plunge!  I am on day four of going cold turkey, and I am one of those "extra greasy" girls, but I'm excited to see what my hair might do in the upcoming weeks!

Kelseylprice said...

Don't use baking soda everyday. its really is only a once and a while deal. my hair is kinda dry, so i'm not doing it at all. i just scrub it really well in hot water when i shower, then rub a pea sized amount of coconut oil and a drop of essential oil through it (i do this like every third or fourth day) and call it a day. sometimes i'll use a acv rinse.  if you used baking soda everyday you'd have no skin left by friday. it can also seriously damage your roots if overused. good luck!

Vobrein6822 said...

i have been using it for 7 months because my boyfriend has been using it for a year and half. my hair has NEVER been healthier. i have very curly hair and it was dry bc i colored. now it is shiny, softtt, and i get compliments, as does my bf. there was alil transistion period but just stick with it! i also find using a little leave in conditioner a natural one can help in the beginning!

Sandarino16 said...

Hello there! I've been using all natural bar shampoo's for going on three weeks now. Good luck!

Olivia Campbell said...

 add tea tree oil to your baking soda mix. just a drop or two will do the trick

Not5pennies said...

It's been about 7 weeks since I've started no poo. I wash on sundays, so every 7 days I wash with baking soda and apple cider vinegar. MY problem is that my hair is oily but WAY better than it was before. But now it seems to be stuck in this phase of oil... I'm not sure what to do but all I can do is really wait and see if it gets better. If not then I'll have to wash every 4 days or so haha

lavishly said...

I have been toying with going poo less for a while but everything I read on it has come from women with oily hair. I have opposite, my hair is super dry! I also dyed it recently, so its taken a beating. My hair is pretty thick. Its curly but at times the curls turn to frizzy waves. Should I go poo less if my hair is in this shape? Any tips would help.

Guest said...

You should wait a few months more. If it is really bothering you, going to the beach and get the ocean salt water on your hair really does wonders. At least for me if I find my hair getting kind of like what you described. If you can't go to the beach, try buying some sea salt and making your own mixture with just water and rinse your hair out with that. Hope I helped & Good Luck!

Lydia said...

I'm in High School, and I want to startdoing  this. I figure that the sooner the better. But the problem is that im in high school. You know how judgmental high schooler are, and i don't really want to face my peer group with that gross in-between greasy hair. Should I wait until winter break, or just get it done with?

Hanh Tran said...

It takes a LONG time.  Try this in the summer.   Allowing your hair to be greasy for one extra day before washing no matter how long it's been, but never shorter.  The goal is to do it without baking soda and vinegar (these never work for me).

When you go about 2 months of sebum buildup on the scalp, I suggest doing an egg yolk wash only once with at most 2 yolk, better with one.  The buildup was completely gone and never came back.  My scalp never had a problem anymore but my hair still had oil.

Yolk actually caused me to go "backwards" and I become more greasy than normal.  I heard it's better to use egg white instead.  I am doing water only and without towel-drying, to teach my hair not to produce oil.  In about a month, I'll cleanse myself with egg whites next time and avoid getting it in my scalp.

Stuebsjs said...

I am a HUGE sweater when I work out! How will this affect only washing my hair once a week?!

MauiSmith said...

I went "no poo" for about 4 months with seemily good results. (My transition period was about 3-4 weeks) Then for halloween last week I did some "hair chalking" high lights and it dried out my hair majorly. I knew this was going to happen because I read about hair chalking before I did it. Well I felt like my baking soda/water mixture wasnt going to cut it so I dug out some shampoo and conditioner from the back of my bathroom cabinet and reverted to my old ways just once.
Well I woke up the next morning and my husband and I couldnt believe how amazing my hair felt. Apparently my hair had slowly gotten drier amd drier feeling and only one conventional shampoo and conditioning brought it back to it's former luxurious glory. I cant seem to force myself to go back to the bs/water mixture now! I bought some natural shampoo at whole foods the other day (only 4 ingredients and all natural) but I really liked the idea of only using the baking soda mixture.
P.s. I have naturally curly, mid length hair and live in a humid climate (hawaii). My hair also tends towards more oily than dry in its natural state.
Anyone else fall off the wagon (for whatever reason) and not want to go back?

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Uniquely Normal Mom said...

 Hey there, not sure if you've figured out a solution for yourself, but most likely, a water only rinse would be sufficient.  :)

Blooms And Bugs said...

Because of eczema, we had to keep our daughter free  of all bath and hair products...and I mean all except for Aveeno baby Eczema Cream, which was the only thing that seemed to help. She hasn't had any shampoo...since maybe when she was 6 months ( she is 3 years now). I just rinse her well with water and scrub with my hand while she is bathing. She seems alright to me.

Miriam Adi Manning said...

Help! I'm so confused. Some people are saying they went cold turkey and a few weeks/months later of just water rinses their hair suddenly became lovely and soft and clean, so THEN they started BC and AVC. Others are saying they water-washed a week until it got greasy, then introduced BS/AVC once a week from the beginning. I started with BS/ACV straight away every few days (I was waiting to go cold turkey until after I had a big event a month later). Now I've been cold turkey with only water washes for ONE week so far, my hair is quite greasy and waxy (I usually have very greasy hair) and I can't decide whether to start weekly BS washes again NOW or to wait a few weeks or months with only water washes. What do I do?!

Uniquely Normal Mom said...

If you're not feeling comfortable with your hair, I'd start the BS washes. If you feel OK with your hair, then try to stretch it out as long as possible. It's a tough decision to make! I couldn't handle my hair getting too greasy, so that's why I opted for the BS/ACV washes every few days and then stretched the time between washes. Hope that helps!

Anonymous said...

I'm in my second week. My hair is super greasy at the roots and dry at the ends. Am I doing something wrong or is this normal?

My hair basically feels the same before and after the baking soda/vinegar routine. Shouldn't it feel cleaner after?

I was told 1tbsp baking soda in a cup of water and 2tbsp white vinegar (for greasy hair) in a cup of water. How much should I use each time I do my hair? Can the baking soda sit between showers without losing effectiveness?


sarah harris said...

ok so i need some help. i went no poo this last weekend and last night i did an olive oil overnight treatment like i used to once a month but before i was using shampoo that got the oil out of my hair, baking soda and vinegar didnt cut it. i dont want to start over but right now my hair looks like John Travolta's in Grease... any home natural remedies anyone can think of to help this little situation or should i just start over since im only on day 4? 

Kristyn said...

I just started NoPoo. 2 days and no washing after my initial BS/ACV wash. I'm kind of conflicted as to what to do now that I'm back to swimming for an hour in the pool with the harsh chemicals. I feel like I should get them out of my hair but then I'd be washing every other day. Any suggestions?

Lisafeyen said...

I've been giving this a try for the past 2 months or so.  Once I ran across your blog I started stretching out the days between my bs/acv washes from every 2-3 days to 4-5 days.  can you tell me more about your hair on days 3 & 4.  I think my scalp is still transitioning, by day 3-4 it is starting to get pretty greasy, and has to be washed. I have a boar bristle brush but it seems to make my hair look even greasier...should i just keep pushing through?

Dudu Awate said...

The only real no-poo method is to wash your hair only with water. The transition period is definitely longer but it works. The thing is you may spend more time brushing you hair than the time u used before to wash it with regular shampoo. So to summarize, you don't gain time by using this method but yes, you get free of all the chemicals. In the end, shampoo is nothing but a capitalist invention (like 90% of the thing we use on a regular basis). Do the revolution, go no-poo :P

Naomi said...

I have a problem - I'm doing this No-Poo'ing method for a year or so, and I'm still not satisfied. I have a wavy-curly dry and thin hair (it used to be pretty thick, but now it's thinner because of moisture products I used as a teen - now I'm 28). Don't know what to do... Do you have any ideas for me?

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Vicky W said...

I'm going to try going no 'poo and I'm honestly pretty scared because I'm one of those people that has fine, oily hair. (By about 7pm, my hair is starting to feel greasy after washing that morning.) Wish me luck!

Caitlin said...

I'm going no 'poo. And I've decided to go cold turkey. I have read that you should you clarifying shampoo and deep condition it before starting. What are your thoughts on that? Also. I have a dr. Bronners would I go about using that?
Also, should I just wait until it's dirty to do my first no' poo "wash"? Or just start it off whenever?

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Karen Hayes said...

I just tried the no poo method for the first time. My hair is typically dry and a bit course. I'm hoping this helps soften it eventually..

Miranda said...

How long is the transitioning process usually? I started this method about a week ago and love the results, I have thick wavy/straight hair and its made my hair look and feel smoother, softer and pretty. It tends to get greasy after about 3 days, I'm starting a new school this September so I don't want to be going many days without washing, I don't want to be the new girl who goes to school with greasy hair. So I was thinking maybe every two days rinsing my hair with water and two days later use baking soda and vinager, will this make the process faster so I will be able to go longer without washing? Sorry if I'm being confusing and I know you have a lot of other people to answer questions to, but if you have any tips I would be all ears, Thanks :)

Haley Jackson said...

Any substitutes for the vinegar? I have tried this method before and it made my shower smell like vinegar and it was terrible!

Anonymous said...

You may have used way too much ACV. The smell will disappear once your hair dries.

You can find substitutes. Just look on Google or Pinterest.

Geeta and Lovin said...

Can I use dry shampoo in between washes?

Geeta and Lovin said...

Also when do you use the Apple cider vinegar mixture and when do you use the baking soda mixture

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