No Poo

Image from Arm & Hammer

Sounds gross, I know. But for those of you who have never heard of this movement, it basically means ditching your shampoo and only washing your hair with baking soda and water. If you think it can’t be done, think again.

Previously, I talked about the harsh chemicals in shampoos, the environmental impact of shampooing, and the fact that we have been groomed (pun intended) by the beauty industry to overwash our hair. If you are interested in breaking this cycle, I’ll be offering tips, recipes, and resources this week to help you do so. To begin, I thought I’d start with perhaps the most extreme method (for some), which is also, incidentally, the easiest.

The no-poo method typically requires 1 tablespoon of baking soda mixed with water. Some people prefer to make a paste out of these ingredients, while others use a cup of warm water and let the baking soda dissolve. Either way, both mixtures can be worked into the hair during your shower. Let it sit while you soap up your body, then rinse. Viola. Clean hair.

It can be an adjustment for many, as there is no lather. Lather doesn’t equal cleanliness, but we have been conditioned to associate the two. However, try this method just once, and you will see how deeply cleansing it really is.

Many people worry about getting really oily hair after transitioning to no-poo. I won’t sugar coat it for you – this may happen. Typically, it only lasts for a few days up to two weeks. Take the opportunity to wear hats and scarves. Your hair WILL balance out again. That I can assure you. You just have to hang on long enough.

This method isn’t for everyone. Some people develop scalp irritation from the strong alkaline properties of baking soda. This can mostly be avoided by using a vinegar rinse on the hair after you rinse out the baking soda. (I will post on that tomorrow.) If you do try this method, and find your scalp irritated despite the vinegar rinse, I’ll also be posting on homemade shampoo in a couple days. If nothing else, this is a fabulous method for a “clarifying” shampoo once a week or once a month. It gets rid of all the buildup from shampoos, dirt, oil, etc.

As for me, I am not a “no-pooer.” (Yeah, I know – could that name get any sillier?) I call the method I use “so-so-no-poo.” I primarily use a homemade shampoo. Every fourth or fifth shampoo, I use baking soda. This has worked extremely well for me.

You can read more about no-poo by Googling it – there is a huge “underground” movement of no-pooers who will be able to offer you tons of resources. If you are really interested in going no-poo, remember that you can change it to make it work for you. Change the ratio of baking soda to water, change how often you wash your hair. Going off commercial shampoo is always an experimental process, and I promise, a rewarding one.

Give it a try this week, just once, as a clarifying treatment. It’s a good way to open your eyes to the world of alternative, eco-friendly hair care.

Stay tuned for the vinegar rinse. And if you aren’t ready to ditch shampoo entirely, don’t worry – you’ll love the upcoming DIY shampoo.

Happy hair washing!

For more resources, check out Fake Plastic Fish, the No Impact Project, and One Green Generation. You’ll be inspired.

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5 thoughts on “No Poo

  1. Thanks for linking to Fake Plastic Fish. We haven’t used regular shampoo in over a year and a half, and we’ll probably never go back to the expense and chemicals of traditional shampoo. My husband uses the same no ‘poo method I do (2 tbsp baking soda/1 c water + acv/water rinse) and is thrilled to save them money.

    • Hi Beth!

      I’m so thrilled you stopped by. Your blog has changed how I think about plastic in a way I can’t describe. I’ve been in an anti-plastic war for a while now, thanks to you! I talk about you a lot lately, in my other blog, A Green Spell. Thanks for all you do, and keep it up – you’re an inspiration!

  2. Very tempting, as I am trying to review and reframe my personal care products. However, my boyfriend is, shall we say, an infrequent shampooer and I have to say, after a few days his scalp takes on a bit of a funk. Maybe if he did the baking soda thing that wouldn’t happen, but it kind of puts me off the no-poo idea because I run every day and sweat up a storm especially in summer. Trying to take that leap of faith…

    • Hi Anne,

      Thanks for visiting! I totally understand the trepidation about trying a new routine – it did take me a while to figure it all out. But with a willingness to experiment, you will find something that works for you.

      The no-poo honestly makes me feel as clean as regular shampoo. I really love it.

      As far as washing less, though, I know that is more difficult for athletes. I walk and do yoga every day, but rarely work up a dripping sweat. If I did, I would feel the need to wash my hair a bit more often.

      Keep me posted on your experiments – I’d love to hear.

  3. Pingback: DIY Shampoo « 5 Seed

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