“No shampoo!?” I hear you say.
Yes, and I have had 2 years of no shampoo! This is what I have discovered can be an excellent option for anyone’s hair if the opportunity presents itself. Education in what we use can be a marvelous thing.
My first experiment without shampoo
(1) My first move into the “no poo” movement (as I much later found it called) was over 10 years ago. A bad mistake is the start of my point number 1. Do a good deal of research before moving into any new venture. Don’t take what you first read and run with it.
I have been on medication for quite awhile and work on having the least amount of other chemicals in my life that I can. This medication gives me a dry scalp, (as well as dry skin) so I’m very aware that my body is under a bit of harassment from “modern medicine”.
The advice that seemed everywhere on the internet was to wash your hair with bicarbonate of soda. Next was to rinse with water. Our shower was rainwater – so that was one good thing. Next was to follow with a vinegar rinse. I’m not too crash hot with too much vinegar though.
What was the result of 6 months of doing this? My hair became rather like straw. At least — compared to what it was normally. I ditched it and went back to “the bottle”. Commercial shampoo.
Doing some “lo poo” and “no poo” research
(2) I once again felt the need to ditch shampoo. This time, however, I gathered together a lot more information. About water types, hair types, transitioning – and what to expect (mostly). Plus substituting Lo poo (shampoo with a lot fewer chemicals such as parabens, sulfates, silicons and such.) Nasty!
I also found a very active No Poo and Low Poo Hair Care Group Forum on Facebook. The group is very helpful and has a hive of information.
Another question to settle are things like How porous is your hair? which can give you a lot of input on what type of ingredients will work with your hair. After all not all hair is “created equal”!
Going through a transition time
(3) This time I was prepared in that my hair would go through a transition time. That I might have an “ugg” time while my hair was throwing off at what I had previously used. Even my good shampoo wasn’t that good or so it seemed my hair was “screaming at me”. Well, it seemed to be that. Especially while I was trying to come to grips with this struggling hair. This hair that seemed more often than not “greasy” at worst and “waxy” at best.
My hair was thick and quite heavy. I had it at shoulder length. While I was “transitioning” I tied it up often and used a scarf if I had to go out. I had found it still had some unpredictability in the initial stages but I’d say the first 1 to 2 months for me were the worst. I found that others had shorter or longer periods of time with this. Well, I suppose you have to think about how many years we have been putting shampoo on our heads. Our hair is saying “Now what??”
With medication which affects hormones (even without having hormone problems) your hair can be great one minute and “not quite so” the next. So it’s to look out for your hair and what it’s telling you. To me, it’s rather like a barometer! So I’d say be observant of your hair – what you put into your body and what you use outside of it.
The natural products I use on my hair
(4) From my reading, I gathered that finding what works is not only experimental but that changing your product depending on the condition of your hair is a good thing to do.
Here are some of the items I now use:
- Aloe Vera (I use from the plant – but others use juice. I cut a nice slab and grip into the gel with my fingernails and use that. I first remembered reading about the North American Indians using it to wash their hair)
- Raw honey – diluted in warm water. I love Leah’s Easy DIY Moisturizing Aloe and Honey No poo Recipe
- Egg (Use yolk only if you are worried about getting the white “cooked” in your hair. Use lukewarm water if you don’t want this to happen. I’m lazy and use the whole egg and go for lukewarm water. I also am looking for alternatives. Both Rye Flour & Chickpea flour are on my horizon to give a try. Like egg you have to watch how much protein you put in your hair)
- Rainwater & Tapwater (Rainwater is a luxury and what I like to use mostly as hard water has issues and can be a cause of waxy hair build up) The best to use to dry your hair after using water is shown on a live video per Susan Murray -The Cancer Rebel on Facebook. She recommends tee shirt material or microfibre cloths. From back to front 100 times each for average hair. I prefer tee shirts.
- Clear Henna (This has no color – even though consisting of berries. But do rinse in the shower as it is messy. My hair is beautiful for over a month after. My hair loves the Henna!)
- Baking soda (good quality – not from your supermarket shelf) and use it rarely rather than often since it is a higher alkaline than shampoo apparently.
- Lemon juice – fresh squeezed and diluted in warm water.
The “extras” which I found good to do for my hair
(5) There are a number of things to include besides shampooing in this new regime of looking after your hair when you go with no shampoo.
- Your hair has a natural oil (affected by commercial shampoos) called “sebum”. Brush your hair regularly to distribute this naturally throughout the length of the hair shaft. A Boar Bristle Brush is recommended. My hair is very thick and I found this did not work for me so I use a cylinder nylon brush which works. But a mix of a Boar Bristle with nylon is recommended for thicker hair. The oil (sebum) is best when distributed to the ends of your hair so that the oil is not just at the roots. I use my fingers to do this also. A wide tooth comb made of either wood or bamboo is said to be the only types of combs that distribute the oil best. For the whole method of Massaging, Scritching and Preening see the video here
- Rinses: I use Rosemary – steeped in boiling hot rainwater for 1/2 a day. (I’m naturally a brunette so this suits), Apple Cider Vinegar. (I also have it on the agenda to try tea or Epsom salt rinses)
- Oil Treatment: You can have this in overnight. Olive oil, Coconut oil, Argun oil, Grapeseed oil dependent on your hair. Me?! I need heat with these oils since my hair is moisture resistant being low porosity (See above How porous is your hair?) So it’s a heat dryer or wrapped in a towel for 30 minutes to draw body heat.
- And other Treatments such as Applesauce mask, (to delete build-up) Clay masks – Bentonite (which is said to detox) and Rhassoul Clay as a hair mask also (which also includes many uses just not hair.). I will keep you updated on the Rhassoul as it is on my shopping list.
Reminders of the advantages of “no shampoo”
(6) When it would seem easy to reach for the shampoo bottle I remind myself of this.
- It is not only a good green habit for me but also for the environment.
- I also now only need wash my hair once per week and not two or three.
- I can have washed for that time in the week where it consists of using only water. To me, my hair routine is very “budget-friendly”.
- I think that one of the best advantages was the health of my hair.
- My hair also grows much faster.
With “no poo” what works for one may not work for another
(7) I have come to see that if one product does not work for me I change it for another. Then again if at another time that is not working for just that circumstance I change it. So as in life as with others choosing what works for them.
I say give it up and try something different even if what worked for me is not working for you. Don’t suffer through the “itty, bitty, yucky” bits – try something different and be happy doing it!
I’m sure there is more to learn – but Happy hair everyone!
Catch you later!