High Heels and Training Wheels: The No Poo Method



The No Poo Method

(Update at the end of the post)
No, I'm not talking about your bowels. In fact, if you have "no poo", you've got some real problems; I'm no doctor but I imagine you should probably get that checked out. ;) What I'm talking about today is SHAMpoo, or a lack thereof. This post is all about saying goodbye to your shampoo forever. Wait! It's a real thing, I promise! Today is the day that will change your life... Seriously, it will!

I know you're thinking "Ew! You don't wash your hair?!" But I do wash my hair! Just not with shampoo. There's a lot of logic to this, I promise you. I didn't just decide one day that I was going to quit bathing. I still shower normally and my hair is just as clean as it ever was....but I'm not having to damage it with harsh chemicals to get it that way! After one time of trying No Poo, I never looked back. It's that good. It is SO much better for your hair and SO much more cost effective, too!


Your hair now:

Most of you are thinking "My hair is way too greasy to stop using shampoo." but stop right there! It's actually because of your shampoo that your hair is greasy! No really, hear me out on this. Your hair produces natural oils. Your hair needs a certain amount of these natural oils to be healthy. If you're washing your hair with shampoo, that shampoo is stripping your hair of all of those healthy, natural oils. Your hair then produces those oils in double time in an attempt to replace what you keep stripping. The more you strip, the more it produces. So basically, the more you wash your hair (with shampoo), the more you need to. Is it making some sense now? And take a guess at why we all use conditioner. Your shampoo is robbing your hair of it's natural oils and the moisture it needs so we all use conditioner to try to put some of it back into our hair.

 I imagine your hair washing cycle is something like mine was: You wash and condition your hair and when it dries it's a giant frizzy mess. That's because no amount of conditioner can make up for what you're taking out. Your hair frizzes because it's reaching up to find moisture in the air. Bet you didn't know that did you? Then in less than 24 hours, it's oily as can be and is just dying to be washed again. This is because conditioner is just an imitation of the healthy oils we keep stripping. It's not replacing your oils at all, it's just putting a temporary band aid on it. But those conditioners can be much too heavy and build up on your hair, leaving it lank and limp, adding to that oil spill on your scalp. 

You try battling the symptoms with mousses, hairsprays, and serums; but that's just adding to your problem with more product. Aerosol hairsprays have alcohol in them. Most of us would shudder at the thought of putting alcohol in our hair but that's exactly what we're doing; further worsening our problem. Now, don't beat yourself up about it! We all use hairspray! But we all put these things in our hair, never once questioning what's lurking in them and how they're affecting our hair's health. We go back and forth between these 2 extremes, dry to oily and back again, not realizing we're causing our own problems. The No Poo Method regulates those dry-to-oily extremes and keeps your hair looking healthy the way it was meant to be. And did I mention I'm only washing my hair every 6-7 days? Just envision that! Once a week is all it takes!

How No Poo can help:

Although you aren't lathering up with shampoo, the No Poo method still removes all product build up and elements that might find their way into your hair like smoke, dust etc. Your hair is as clean as a shampoo wash but without the damage and all of those nasty chemicals. You've been trained to think you must "lather, rinse, repeat" but you don't need that! Think about who's telling you that; your shampoo bottle! Of course that's what they want you to do, they want you to keep buying their product! Coming out of the shower after No Poo, my hair looks healthy and conditioned with no frizz and it stays this way for days. I said DAYS! No need for "repeat". Are you sold now? I thought so!
All you need is baking soda, vinegar and water. That's it. No funny concoctions.
No Poo Method

How to use No Poo:

I use the baking soda straight up but I like to transfer it from that cardboard box to a water tight container so I can store it in the bathroom and it's not getting wet and clumping from the steam. With the apple cider vinegar, I mix 2 tbsp per cup of water in a spray bottle. My container and bottle aren't anything fancy, just something inexpensive like this:

  1. Wet your hair thoroughly.
  2. Put a tbsp of baking soda in your hand. (just eyeball it, it's not science) Your hand should already be wet and the baking soda should start to dissolve in your hand.
  3. Push the baking soda toward your fingertips; it should feel kind of slick to the touch. Massage it into your scalp, thoroughly working the baking soda into your roots. Make sure you keep the mixture at the roots where oil starts to build up, you don't need this throughout the length of your hair.
  4. Let this set in your hair for a minute or so. I like to wash my face or body while it sets. 
  5. The mixture should start to feel "slippery" on your hair. If it's not, try working it through with your fingertips a little more or letting it set for just a little longer. Once you get that "slippery" feeling, rinse. Thoroughly. Ever made a volcano? You do NOT want to mix the baking soda with the vinegar.
  6. After it is rinsed, spray in your apple cider vinegar. Focus on the length of your hair, you don't need this on your roots. (It will smell like you're dying Easter eggs while it's in your hair but there will be no smell at all once you rinse.)
  7. Rinse! Again, thoroughly.

The effects of No Poo:

There is a little trial and error in the beginning with this method. Everyone's hair is different and you will learn over time whether you need more or less baking soda/vinegar. If your hair feels a little dry, use less baking soda and more vinegar and vise versa. Just as your hair has become trained to produce more oils while washing with shampoo, it will have to become trained to producing less with this method. Which means there is a transition period. It's an unfortunate and unavoidable fact when starting No Poo and everyone has to go through it. For me, it was just 2 washes (10 days) but the time it will take for your hair to adapt is different for everyone. I transitioned with "low poo" for about a month before taking the plunge into No Poo and I feel that made all the difference in the time it took my hair to adapt. (If you would like to see a post on "low poo" let me know!) This transition period is definitely something you want to take into account when making the switch. For instance, I wouldn't begin No Poo if you know you've got a wedding or special occasion coming up in the immediate future.

I think it would also be good to let you know that I frequently dye my hair. We're talking every 4 weeks on the nose because I have some awful greys up in here, girl. After 4 weeks, I have a good inch of regrowth and my greys are proudly blowing in the breeze; so I color my hair religiously. This sets back how quickly No Poo is repairing my hair, for sure. My path to that "hair uptopia" is a longer one because I dye it, but it can still be done. However, this has not caused my hair color to fade any quicker. In fact, my hair is shinier and my color appears more vibrant. So fear not if you color your hair, this method will not hurt your gorgeous color! If you don't dye your hair, however, your results will be even better so I suggest avoiding it if you can.

This is my hair after only 5 weeks of No Poo. I still have plenty of split ends but that's because I haven't had my hair cut in 3 years (yeah, you read that right). That's a whole other post for another day. It also has a lot of competition since I am continuously putting hair coloring chemicals in it. However, it looks worlds better than it did, I just didn't have the foresight to take a 'before' picture. AND it keeps getting better and better as time goes on. It also cut out my need for any mousse/gel/hairspray or frizz serum. Those curls have no product in them whatsoever. Another way to save money.. Ch-ching!

I know this seems contrary to everything you've been told your entire life and there is always lots of questions to be asked before diving into something new like this. Please, please ask away. I will be happy to help you through your shampoo withdrawals. I'll be like your shampoo's anonymous sponsor. Yep, your own personal No 'Poo helpline! Good luck and happy (no) pooing, everyone!

If you read anything, read this last bit:
I think it crucial to add this last bit of advice: No Poo is not an exact science! Yes, science is involved in why this works for your hair, but what I mean by that is, how and when you use it is not an exact formula. You want to keep as many of the bad chemicals out of your hair as you can, that's true; but people tend to want to draw a line in the sand. Yes, we want to limit traditional shampoo and conditioners, hair dyes and styling products, but even I myself use dye and hairspray on occasion. That's not to say that you can't still use No Poo if you want to continue to use these other products. Even using just some aspects of No Poo is better than not using it all; you can limit your products without giving them up. I think people tend to imagine this big ban on hair products and expect exact specifications for this method. 

For No Poo to work, you really have to enter into it with an open mind. Listen to your hair and what it wants. There aren't any "rules" here but most people treat it like there are and I think that's why there are so many questions and why many people end up throwing in the towel or writing it off. There is a specific way I use No Poo that works for me; I can share that with you but you will almost definitely have to tweak that to match it to yourself and your personal needs. The way I began No Poo is not the way I continue to do it today. I had to take the information given to me and play around with it. Remember this when going into No Poo. 

Don't take my 'recipe' to the letter and decide "This didn't work for me. I'm done with No Poo." and don't take my advice as gospel; it's advice. If you dye your hair, tweak it. If you have curly hair, tweak it. If you have blonde hair, short hair, dry hair, fine hair; tweak it. If you understand this, you will have a much greater chance at No Poo being successful for you. I will continue to add future posts to answer more specific questions you have and give you more advice on specific aspects but my best and continuous advice is: keep an open mind!

PLEASE check out my post on your most frequently asked questions and concerns (my No Poo FAQ postbefore asking a question in the comments. 
I say this because you might find that your question has already been answered. Unfortunately, I can't always answer questions as quickly as I'd like or with as much detail as you'd like; checking these posts can get you a timely answer and give you more information than I can deliver in the comments. I want to help make No Poo as easy as it can be so I will continue to work on updated posts as more questions come in:

Q: "Will vinegar make my hair stink? Can I add another scent to it?"
A: How the smell of vinegar effects your hair

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: "I dye my hair, can I still use No Poo?"
A: How I fit hair color into my No Poo routine

**UPDATE 4/2/14**
I have now switched to a new method of No Poo and am no longer using the baking soda/vinegar. To find out what I'm using now, how it's working out, and which one you should be using, check out my No Poo Part 2 post!
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