High Heels and Training Wheels: No Poo FAQ

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9.21.2013

No Poo FAQ



Ok, so when I wrote my post about "No Poo Method", I had no idea it would blow up the way it did. I had just found this awesome thing, loved it, and wanted to share it. I never thought it would be my most read post with thousands of hits a day! It's crazy (and awesome) how many people are interested in it!
But with a lot of interest comes a lot of questions. People are interested in the No Poo Method but it's a pretty big thing to jump into. After a lifetime of using shampoo, getting rid of it can be intimidating and naturally everyone wants to know all about it before they make the switch.
 I've tried to answer everyone's questions in the comments they leave but I know not everyone gets a chance to read those and I want to try to clear up all these questions and concerns for everyone who wants to know. I mean, I would want to know. If I'm going to be pouring vinegar all over my head, you better give me a really good reason why I should! So I'm going to answer all of my most frequently asked 'No Poo' questions and address concerns I hear most.





In the days between washing, I still get my hair wet. Personally, I think the water seems to help evenly disperse the sebum (natural oils) throughout my hair between washes and controls build up. Some people don't suggest this, they say it can cause unnecessary "stress" to your hair but it works better for me and I like my results better with it. Basically there's not a "right" or "wrong" answer to this question. Like most aspects of No Poo, it's just about personal choice and what works best for you. If you're still in your transition period, I definitely think it helps with the oil buildup in between washes.




Yes. In fact, a lot of people premix their baking soda with water and store the mixture in a squeeze bottle. When they're ready to wash, they just squirt the mixture directly on their roots and rinse as normal. I have not tried this method so I can't say which is better or easier but other no 'pooers' swear by it. Again, it's personal choice.




I had this trouble with this in the beginning too. There's really a lot of trial and error with the ratio of baking soda to vinegar and the frequency to use it with each person and it takes time to figure it out. There are guidelines but there is no true "recipe". Once I got through the transition period and my hair was used to not having shampoo, I started washing less frequently and playing around with the amounts. If you "wash" too frequently, your hair can get rough and tangly. I'm washing about once a week now (4 months in). I also started to take care to really rinse the baking soda out a lot better too and to make sure I was keeping it at the roots and not letting it get too far down the hair shaft. Also using too much ACV can cause this as well. Too much can give you somewhat of a "waxy" feeling and that can really contribute to tangles as well. Once I figured out what worked for me, the "tanglyness" relieved itself. It's all really a balancing act. Just keep altering your ratios and timing and you will find your niche. 

In the meantime, I used a detangler (regular kids Johnson & Johnson's) when I got out of the shower and brushed through it with a wide toothed comb to get it all throughout my hair. You could also do a honey rinse. Premixing 1 tsp of honey to 3 tbsp of water and giving it a quick rinse can act like a deep conditioner. This rinse is great because it's completely natural and won't run the risk of adding more buildup to your hair. If you're transitioning with "low poo" however, my Coconut Oil Hair Mask can do wonders.



Yes, the baking soda is just as efficient at breaking up products and removing other elements from your hair. With that said, the need for other products has greatly decreased since I've started No Poo. My curls hold on their own, without gels, and since my hair isn't being weighed down with conditioner, I no longer need a volumizing mousse either. Other than the occasional spritz of hairspray for an updo, my hair is completely product free these days.


This can happen for a number of reasons and depends on quite a few factors. 
  • If you're just beginning No Poo, there is a transition period. It's an unfortunate truth but it is what it is. This period is different for everyone. Your hair is used to producing oil in double time from it being stripped by regular shampoo. Your hair will need time to adjust and regulate the oil output. You will have to tough it out with some dry shampoo (I use corn starch) until your hair gets the memo and produces oils at a regular pace.
  • If you've been using No Poo for a while, you may just need to up the ante with the baking soda. Everyone is different and has different hair types. I say that constantly but it plays such a huge roll in No Poo! It could be you need more baking soda when you wash or it could mean you need to leave it in longer.
  • For anyone using no poo, you have remember the importance of the "slippery feeling". You should be working the baking soda through your hair and leaving it in long enough that it feels slippery before you rinse. By "slippery", I mean it is no longer gritty and has dissolved into your hair. If it doesn't feel slippery it isn't breaking up the excess oil and products/elements in your hair. i.e. you aren't getting clean. Also, a natural bristle brush (like a boar brush) is really good to have because it helps pull the oils from your scalp through the length of your hair.
  • Bonus: On in-between days, in addition to plain water rinses in the shower, I will sometimes sprinkle a small amount of corn starch directly on my dry hair (add unsweetened cocoa powder if you're a brunette to eliminate that white cast), focusing on the scalp where oil is starting to build up. You just let it set for a few minutes to absorb the oil, then brush through it and style as normal. It's essentially the same as a store bought dry shampoo but I don't have to use any product in my hair that will create build up or mess with my washing schedule.



Again, this can be for a number of reasons. Usually this means you are using too much baking soda or you aren't keeping it at your roots. It could also mean you are washing too frequently. If your hair is feeling dry and you don't have excess oils in your hair, just rinse with water. You don't have to use baking soda every X amount of days because every Tom, Dick and Harry is. Once you're through your transition period, you should really only be washing once a week max. But again, what works for someone else may not work for you. You just have to find your sweet spot.

With that said, if you're not overdoing your baking soda and you're still left with with dry hair, it may not be No Poo. Using a natural alternative, like No Poo, you are no longer burdening your hair with all of that gross build-up and all those silicones that your conditioner has coated your hair with. Your hair might have felt soft and silky while using traditional products but that's not your hair you were feeling, that was a film of silicone. It's faking you out! So if you find that your hair feels dry or even brittle, that's not No Poo, that's what your hair has felt like all along! Once you get that gunk off, you can see just how much damage has been done to your hair. Crazy, huh? Don't panic though! Now that your hair has been stripped bare, it might not feel great at first but now it can start to retain moisture and begin to repair. Now that that barrier has been removed, your hair can absorb and hold onto it's natural oils....just give it time to do so. Your hair didn't get damaged overnight and it won't repair overnight either.





I hate the smell of the vinegar too. Does anyone like that smell? I feel like I'm dying Easter eggs in the shower! But the smell is completely alleviated once I rinse so I just deal with it. However, others who just cannot stomach the smell have used citric acid. Supposedly it is really easy to find in the canning aisle at any grocery. I have not tried it myself so I can't speak for it's effectiveness but if the smell of the ACV is too much for you, others say it works just as well. It might be a good solution for you.




Ok, this isn't directly related to the No Poo Method. I noticed (before and after starting No Poo) that if I spent a couple days between washes, I was losing more hair in the shower. This is because your hair loses, on average, 100 strands per day. I know, right? How are we not all bald?? But losing a healthy amount of hair everyday is normal. Most times you don't even notice. When you wash your hair everyday, like with normal shampoo, the strands come out little-by-little in your daily shower. But with the spacing of washes in the No Poo method, you aren't removing those loose strands like you were in your old daily wash routine. The lose hairs add up and seem to come out by the armloads when you're only washing occasionally. I think brushing your hair directly before getting in the shower helps get most of those lose strands so you're not overloaded in the shower. Don't worry though, you're not really losing any more than usual. Hair loss is normal, it just appears overwhelming when it all lets lose at once






Yes, the PH levels of baking soda are different than that of normal human hair. So is the PH of water. You gonna stop using that too? No. This is why No Poo has a "method". If you are using it correctly, there will be no damage to your hair. Those who say “no-’poo damages hair” are most likely not using it correctly. Most store bought shampoos and conditioners aren't even PH-balanced. Washing too much with a regular shampoo can be damaging too (even more so), it's all about working to your hair's natural state and what it needs. If you play around with the amounts and frequency to wash, you will find that gorgeous, healthy hair utopia we're going on about. If you find your "sweet spot", you won't have any damage.



This goes hand-in-hand with the first concern. When using the two together in the right way, your hair will be perfectly healthy. I have been using No Poo for about 4 months and I'm still making tweaks to my routine but my hair is just getting better and better over time. There are women who have been using this method for over 5 years and have some of the most gorgeous hair I have ever seen. There is potential damage but there's that same potential with anything if not used correctly. The vinegar and baking soda weren't just chosen as shampoo alternatives out of the blue. The PH of baking soda is higher than your hair and it's the vinegar that brings it back down. Using them together isn't harmful, it's a must!



I, myself, color my hair every 4 weeks on the nose. It's not so much a expression of my personality as it's more a necessity. I don't want to look older than my grandmother with all the grey hair I've got goin' on over here. In the beginning, I worried that this method would strip my color, especially since I use a red color and red is the hardest color to maintain. But since I have made it through my transition period, my hair color actually appears more vibrant and shiny than it ever did before. Do not count yourself out because you don't have "normal" hair. Had I refused to try the method because of this, I wouldn't have the healthy hair I have today.



This concern is easy for me to clear up for one simple reason: I am only washing my hair once a week  (if that)! I know if you're still using traditional shampoos and conditioner, you're washing it everyday...or if you're lucky, every other day. I get to wash my hair once and not have to think about it again for another week. I don't have to worry about those too dry/too oily extremes anymore. It doesn't take any more time in the shower, I've been able to get rid of all styling products and my hair is so much more manageable. I won't lie, the transition period is unpleasant. But if you can man your way through, everything is easy from there on out.



So my best advice and bottom line is: do what works for you! I love no poo, as do so many others, but (I'll say it yet again) not everything works the same way for everyone. We throw out our advice and experiences to guide you but only you know what works for YOU. Try to be open minded and try to play around with it. I do think everyone should at least try give it a go because it's amazing and your hair will absolutely thank you and if that No Poo utopia is something you want, stick with it, tweak it and play around with it until you can get it right. If you stick it out and put in the effort, you will be rewarded.


 If you've tried all the advice however, and you've gone through the transition period, and you've tried all of the necessary adjustments, and you're still just not happy with it, it's absolutely ok to move onto something else. If you feel this isn't working for you, that isn't to say you are a failure or you can't still have healthy hair; there are still ways to do that! Low Poo can be a great option that is closer to what you've been used to. You can absolutely keep your hair happy and healthy with other alternatives, much like No Poo, just by using the right hair-friendly products. You can maintain the same schedule and have the same gorgeous results. I definitely suggest doing some research; there are so many options out there!


I would never try to convince someone that they were wrong for not sticking out something they weren't happy with. Just don't let your concerns or lack of No Poo knowledge be what's stopping you! That's what I'm here for! If you have questions or concerns, just ask! Most No Pooers are more than happy to help anyone who is interested. We all want to see you come over to the dark side! Mwahaha No seriously though, the 'No Pooers' have grown a community and we're all here to welcome you in! If Low Poo is something you're more interested in and you would like a more detailed post on that, just let me know! Good luck and happy No 'Pooing!
Check out my other No Poo posts for more answers to your most-asked questions:

Q: "Will vinegar make my hair stink? Can I add another scent to it?"
A: How the smell of vinegar effects your hair and what you can do about it
Q: "How can I continue my daily work outs with No Poo's strict wash schedule?"
A: Maintaining your No Poo hair on sweaty days
Q: "What do I do about swimming? How do I get this chlorine out of my hair?"
A: The Battle: No Poo vs. Chlorine
Q: "Are there other ways to use No Poo besides baking soda and vinegar?"
A: No Poo Part 2
Q: "I dye my hair, can I still use No Poo?"
A: How I fit hair color into my No Poo routine


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6 comments :

  1. Thanks for sharing all your advice on this. I'm getting ready to try this again. I tried in summer but with doing crossfit outside and swimming the timing just wasn't right. Crossing my fingers for round 2.

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  2. Well, I'm much more lazy than you are so I don't have to worry about sweat! haha But there's a great post on no poo over at Almost Exactly specifically about how you can use this method if you work out or deal with a sweaty scalp. It's really good info if you're worried about trying to keep your hair clean and stay active. And good luck! I hope round 2 works out for you and if you have any questions, I'm always here! :)

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  3. Oh, it makes your hair so much healthier all around! It avoids build up conditioners leave, it keeps unhealthy chemicals out of your hair and it gets your hair back to it's natural state. Meaning your natural oils not being stripped and replaced with an artificial chemical moisturizer. My first No Poo post talks all about the benefits, tell you how to use it, and explains it in more detail. It's a must read if you're thinking about giving it a try! I've been using it for 4 months and I'm now only washing my hair once a week (sometimes longer), I don't have to deal with overly dry OR oily hair and it's so much shinier and softer. The health of my hair has GREATLY improved! I hope that didn't sound too "car salesmany" haha I really just love it and I love to share it with people! I hope you give it a try and if you have any questions, I'm always here! :)

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  4. Definitely going to look into this some more! Sounds awesome. My hair is ridiculously oily and I've tried a bajillion different things to help it, but nothing works! This is totally worth a try. And how much do you suggest the boar bristle brush? I've always thought that could be a big factor, but was never sure.

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  5. When you color your hair how do you wash the color out? Do you still use the 'no-poo' method or shampoo? How does it work? :)

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  6. When I color my hair, I use what comes in the box. I rinse my color and follow it with the conditioner packet that comes with the box. ACV can condition your hair from natural oil loss but the chemicals in hair dye just removes too much for you to not use the special conditioner. However, this doesn't mess with my washing schedule at all. I count dying my hair as a "wash" and then wash again when I'm next scheduled to. I really wouldn't color my hair if I didn't have to but you can still 'No Poo' if you do :)

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