No Poo Haircare

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My grandmother has a belief that “old person smell” is because old women don’t wash their hair. I’m not certain if that’s the case, but I don’t wash my hair at all, and I can assure you my hair doesn’t smell.  I don’t wash my children’s hair, and they just smell, well, like kids.

No Poo has become the hair stylist’s dirty little secret. What No Poo actually means is to stop using detergent and conditioners on one’s hair. The reason being, commercial shampoos and conditioners are chockablock full of nasty chemicals and frankly aren’t doing any one’s hair or body much good.

The other thing that detergents do, is strip the hair of it’s natural oils. Scalp oil works on a supply and demand basis, so if we’re continually stripping the scalp of oil, we continually have to replace the oil. Stop shampooing for a day – your hair will be a greasey mess (ugh!) Sounds like a commercially viable idea to me – create a product that we all aesthetically depend on.

So, being the type of mother who generally sticks it to convention, nearly two years ago I stopped shampooing my hair.

Before this I was a daily wash woman too ;-)

The first six weeks were horrendous – itchy, greasy scalp, flakes, you name it. I lived in a pony-tail and headband. Then something glorious happened. My hair started to regulate it’s oil supply.

What resulted was my lank curls came back, my hair became shiny, manageable and soft – and no, it didn’t smell.

So I stopped washing my boy’s hair. The eldest has a thick mop of blond waves, the middle boy has fine, straight blond hair, the baby has strawberry blond fine, baby hair. They all have beautiful, shiny, soft hair – it’s glorious, and I frequently get comments on how nice it looks.

There are several ways to do no-poo. Most people like to “wash” their hair with at least something. The absolute bare basics I’ve used are Apple Cider Vinegar and hot water. I also give my hair a good scalp massaging brush each night.

No Poo Apple Cider Vinegar Wash

  1. When you’re showering, combine 1 cup of water to 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar.
  2. Work it through your hair and give your scalp a good massage
  3. Rinse it out with warm water.

Don’t worry, you won’t smell of  vinegar.

No Poo eek it’s greasy Bicarb Soda Wash

If your hair is looking a little greasy (and I don’t recommend doing this in the first six weeks of No Poo) you can

  1. Combine 1 teaspoon of Bicarb Soda in 1 cup of water
  2. Work it through and give your scalp a really good massage
  3. Rinse well in warm water

Don’t do this more than once a fortnight, you will dry out your hair. I have only used a bicarb rinse once in the 18 months of doing no poo, simply because it is very drying and it does upset the oil distribution process.

Make sure you balance a bicarb wash with a vinegar rinse to restore the pH of your hair!

Conditioner Wash

Some people like to use hair conditioner to wash their hair. It helps the hair to smell like something other than hair, and can help tame fly aways. Personally, I don’t bother.

  1. Take a penny sized glob of hair conditioner
  2. Work through hair from the ends to the mid-lengths
  3. Rinse well

If you feel you need to add a little moisture to your hair, coconut oil and jojoba oil are absolutely fabulous. They make your hair feel really soft and shiny, and don’t weight it down with oil.

So that’s about as simple as no-poo gets. It’s environmentally fantastic, it’s healthy for you, your children and your garden, and it’s cheap!!

  • http://www.greensahm.com Stephanie – Green SAHM

    I do no poo also. My hair loves it, and I love how much I can save.

    • Anonymous

      Yay!

    • Anonymous

      It’s awesome isn’t it!

  • http://www.greensahm.com Stephanie – Green SAHM

    I do no poo also. My hair loves it, and I love how much I can save.

    • Anonymous

      Yay!

    • Anonymous

      It’s awesome isn’t it!

  • Anonymous

    Your hair looks fabulous! I think I’ll give it a go! I’m so wary of what’s in shampoo but have persisted because I hate greasy hair…but if what you’re saying is correct I just have to go through ‘hair withdrawals’ and then it will sort itself out. I’ve only ever washed my boys hair once a week (if that) with organic (all natural) shampoo and their hair has never been dry or greasy….so I guess they are the proof!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks!

      The shampoo withdrawal for me was hideous, but it’s much nicer now that it’s regulated itself.

      Good luck, and let us know how you go!!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks!!

      The hair withdrawal sucks – but once you get over it, as long as you don’t do what I did today and slather it with coconut oil, it won’t get greasey.

      If it does- there’s always the bi-carb rinse!

  • Anonymous

    Your hair looks fabulous! I think I’ll give it a go! I’m so wary of what’s in shampoo but have persisted because I hate greasy hair…but if what you’re saying is correct I just have to go through ‘hair withdrawals’ and then it will sort itself out. I’ve only ever washed my boys hair once a week (if that) with organic (all natural) shampoo and their hair has never been dry or greasy….so I guess they are the proof!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks!!

      The hair withdrawal sucks – but once you get over it, as long as you don’t do what I did today and slather it with coconut oil, it won’t get greasey.

      If it does- there’s always the bi-carb rinse!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RTWGQCCEKGIU5R64VIU2752SZA S Dueber

    I am very excited to kick my ‘poo to the curb. I only use it about once a month, but now I think I can just X it out completely; thanks for sharing!!

    • Anonymous

      You’re welcome! Look forward to seeing the results!

    • Anonymous

      Fantastic! Keep us posted to how you’re going!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RTWGQCCEKGIU5R64VIU2752SZA S Dueber

    I am very excited to kick my ‘poo to the curb. I only use it about once a month, but now I think I can just X it out completely; thanks for sharing!!

    • Anonymous

      You’re welcome! Look forward to seeing the results!

    • Anonymous

      Fantastic! Keep us posted to how you’re going!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RTWGQCCEKGIU5R64VIU2752SZA S Dueber

    I am excited to read about this! I only use my ‘poo about once a month, but after reading this, I think I’ll X it out completely! Thanks.

    • Anonymous

      Let us know how it works out!!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RTWGQCCEKGIU5R64VIU2752SZA S Dueber

    I am excited to read about this! I only use my ‘poo about once a month, but after reading this, I think I’ll X it out completely! Thanks.

    • Anonymous

      Let us know how it works out!!

  • http://www.thecorktree.org/ Courtney Cooke

    I’m considering doing this, but I have a few questions. My hair is really short, so I think it won’t be too awful at first, but I have highlights that I’m concerned about with the ACV. And I do really like the smell of lavender essential oil in my current biodegradeable products.

    But for my daughters, who don’t even smell clean when they DO wash their hair, I’m wondering what the best transition will be for them. Is it hard to do with swimming in the summer? I’m mostly just thinking out loud to talk myself into it, but any more feedback would be appreciated!

  • http://www.thecorktree.org/ Courtney Cooke

    I’m considering doing this, but I have a few questions. My hair is really short, so I think it won’t be too awful at first, but I have highlights that I’m concerned about with the ACV. And I do really like the smell of lavender essential oil in my current biodegradeable products.

    But for my daughters, who don’t even smell clean when they DO wash their hair, I’m wondering what the best transition will be for them. Is it hard to do with swimming in the summer? I’m mostly just thinking out loud to talk myself into it, but any more feedback would be appreciated!

  • http://www.naturalparentingtips.com Kiera Pedley

    Try it :)

    You could dilute the ACV down so it’s only slightly acidic.

  • http://www.naturalparentingtips.com Kiera Pedley

    Try it :)

    You could dilute the ACV down so it’s only slightly acidic.

  • Anonymous

    I stumbled on to this idea by accident from being too exhausted and too depressed to take much care of myself… after going through cycles of bathing once every 2 or 3 weeks and expecting that I would reek, or end up with a mass of not-so-natty dreads, I came to realize that my skin only needs to be washed once a week (with honey), and that maybe the statement that Queen Elizabeth the First made isn’t so ridiculous after all – that she would bathe once a month, “whether she needed it or not”.

    For a while, I’d wash with castile soap, but the vinegar and baking soda thing followed by jojoba oil has really been working for me. For a while, I kept waiting for my brutally honest husband, mother and best friend to say something about my hygiene, thinking maybe I just couldn’t smell myself… but the truth is, that when I do start to stink, I’m the first one to know. And the last time that happened was several months and many showers ago.

  • Anonymous

    I stumbled on to this idea by accident from being too exhausted and too depressed to take much care of myself… after going through cycles of bathing once every 2 or 3 weeks and expecting that I would reek, or end up with a mass of not-so-natty dreads, I came to realize that my skin only needs to be washed once a week (with honey), and that maybe the statement that Queen Elizabeth the First made isn’t so ridiculous after all – that she would bathe once a month, “whether she needed it or not”.

    For a while, I’d wash with castile soap, but the vinegar and baking soda thing followed by jojoba oil has really been working for me. For a while, I kept waiting for my brutally honest husband, mother and best friend to say something about my hygiene, thinking maybe I just couldn’t smell myself… but the truth is, that when I do start to stink, I’m the first one to know. And the last time that happened was several months and many showers ago.

  • http://profiles.google.com/nowlin.ryan Ryan Nowlin

    Great post. I’m currently in week three of my no poo experiment. It’s been great on my son’s hair, but mine has definitely seen better days. Fortunately its long enough to wear up all the time, so it doesn’t really bother me. I found you while researching how long the transition time takes. I had previously read posts saying it would take a couple of weeks for your hair to adjust, so I’m glad to hear that mine isn’t the only hair that takes longer to get used to the no poo.

    • http://www.KieraPedley.com Kiera Pedley

      Fantastic!

      It does take time to adjust – just take care of your scalp. If it’s getting itchy, a few drops of lavender oil massaged through are fantastic.

  • http://profiles.google.com/nowlin.ryan Ryan Nowlin

    Great post. I’m currently in week three of my no poo experiment. It’s been great on my son’s hair, but mine has definitely seen better days. Fortunately its long enough to wear up all the time, so it doesn’t really bother me. I found you while researching how long the transition time takes. I had previously read posts saying it would take a couple of weeks for your hair to adjust, so I’m glad to hear that mine isn’t the only hair that takes longer to get used to the no poo.

  • rachel mays

    Love this! I have been looking for a natural shampoo so when I found this I thought why not. So today was my 1st No Poo day and I was surprised at how SOFT (but still greasy- by night time I’m a greasy mess and I wash daily) and shinny my hair was. I think I’m gonna be very happy with the No Poo Haircare. My husband is even doing it! :) 

    • http://www.KieraPedley.com Kiera Pedley

      Thanks Rachel!
      My husband started no poo by accident… in that he didn’t wash his hair! It was actually this fact that reassured me that no Poo was going to be OK :)

  • rachel mays

    Love this! I have been looking for a natural shampoo so when I found this I thought why not. So today was my 1st No Poo day and I was surprised at how SOFT (but still greasy- by night time I’m a greasy mess and I wash daily) and shinny my hair was. I think I’m gonna be very happy with the No Poo Haircare. My husband is even doing it! :) 

    • http://www.KieraPedley.com Kiera Pedley

      Thanks Rachel!
      My husband started no poo by accident… in that he didn’t wash his hair! It was actually this fact that reassured me that no Poo was going to be OK :)

  • Anonymous

    Great idea. Thank you!
    I am in my first week of No Poo. How do you use the jojoba oil? Do you just massage the scalp while in the shower? Do you rinse it? Or you do it afterwords?
    Does it matter what kind of vinegar you use?

    Thank you 

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for that.
    I am in my first week of NO poo 
    What exactly do you do with the jojoba oil? Do you massage your scalp while in the shower? Do you rinse after? Or you do it afterwords?

    • http://www.KieraPedley.com Kiera Pedley

      I generally just use a few drops in the palm of my hand and work it through my hair. If you want to do a treatment, you can add a few tablespoonfuls and work it through, leave it overnight, then rinse with warm water in the morning.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for that.
    I am in my first week of NO poo 
    What exactly do you do with the jojoba oil? Do you massage your scalp while in the shower? Do you rinse after? Or you do it afterwords?

    • http://www.KieraPedley.com Kiera Pedley

      I generally just use a few drops in the palm of my hand and work it through my hair. If you want to do a treatment, you can add a few tablespoonfuls and work it through, leave it overnight, then rinse with warm water in the morning.

  • http://www.KieraPedley.com Kiera Pedley

    It doesn’t really matter – however, I’ve had best results with apple cider vinegar.

  • http://www.KieraPedley.com Kiera Pedley

    It doesn’t really matter – however, I’ve had best results with apple cider vinegar.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MWV4CFMGZTBQLLVKSOW5FNFKQ4 AllyB

    Question though… When starting out are you wetting your hair at all in the shower or keeping it dry?  Also, my hair is long pass the bra line and my scalp gets very oily the day after a shower. So I’m hoping I can do this too. 

    • http://www.KieraPedley.com Kiera Pedley

      When I first started doing no poo, my hair was nearly down to my waist, and my scalp did get oily.

      I found that by brushing it to distribute the oils helped, but it took a few weeks of manky scalp before it self regulated.

      I wet my hair once a week, as I found that wetting it every day exacerbated the problem.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MWV4CFMGZTBQLLVKSOW5FNFKQ4 AllyB

    Question though… When starting out are you wetting your hair at all in the shower or keeping it dry?  Also, my hair is long pass the bra line and my scalp gets very oily the day after a shower. So I’m hoping I can do this too. 

    • http://www.KieraPedley.com Kiera Pedley

      When I first started doing no poo, my hair was nearly down to my waist, and my scalp did get oily.

      I found that by brushing it to distribute the oils helped, but it took a few weeks of manky scalp before it self regulated.

      I wet my hair once a week, as I found that wetting it every day exacerbated the problem.

  • Lisa Shamaly

    I am on month 3 of No Poo – for me it was the first 3 weeks that were awful and then my hair regulated in week 4. I have thin fine hair so not sure if that makes any difference. But I love not having to worry about Shampoo, etc… I use baking soda about once a week and apple cider vinegar once or twice a week now. 

    I was skeptical but it can be done and it is liberating! No more chemicals in my hair!!! Thanks for the great post on this subject.

    • http://www.KieraPedley.com Kiera Pedley

      Fantastic!!

  • Lisa Shamaly

    I am on month 3 of No Poo – for me it was the first 3 weeks that were awful and then my hair regulated in week 4. I have thin fine hair so not sure if that makes any difference. But I love not having to worry about Shampoo, etc… I use baking soda about once a week and apple cider vinegar once or twice a week now. 

    I was skeptical but it can be done and it is liberating! No more chemicals in my hair!!! Thanks for the great post on this subject.

  • http://profiles.google.com/leah.porter Leah Porter

    I’ve been doing this for 5 weeks and my hair is very waxy and dull. In week 3 my hair was holding curl really well, but now it won’t. It just feels really heavy. I comb and brush it frequently to redistribute the oils. I haven’t used bicarb, but I used apple cider vinegar this week to try and brighten it up and it left it feeling really dry, but still waxy and dull. Any advice? I’m trying to make it to 6 weeks, but my hair is just so dull, I don’t know if I can keep going! Help!

    • http://www.KieraPedley.com Kiera Pedley

      Hi Leah,
      If your hair is dull and lacklustre – there are a couple of things that are springing to mind – the first place I’d be looking to is your diet. Are you recieving adequate nutrition, plenty of greens, few toxins, and lots of water?

      If you wanted to, you could try a quarter strength bi-carb rince (1/4 teaspoon in a cup of water, work through, rinse well)
      Then follow up with apple cider vinegar (this step is VERY important!! you need to balance your hair’s PH again)

      Maybe try forgoing brushing for a day or so too, so as not to over-stimulate the scalp.

      Hair is a perfect relfection of what’s going on inside, so if it’s dull – maybe your diet is lacking somewhere. It can also be due to stress.

      It would be worthwhile getting that checked out by a naturopath or your chosen health care provider.

      • http://profiles.google.com/leah.porter Leah Porter

        Thanks for your insight! I eat extremely clean – no preservatives, processed foods, etc. Tons of veg and water and my primary care provider is a naturopath. I think living in the desert may be the culprit – blowing dirt and blistering heat (lots of sweat). I did the quarter strength bi-card rinse and vinegar you suggested and it worked really well. I also haven’t been brushing it as often. My hair seems to be happier. I suspect that living where I do, I may have to do this at least once a month, I’ll just wait and see. 

        Thanks again!

  • http://profiles.google.com/leah.porter Leah Porter

    I’ve been doing this for 5 weeks and my hair is very waxy and dull. In week 3 my hair was holding curl really well, but now it won’t. It just feels really heavy. I comb and brush it frequently to redistribute the oils. I haven’t used bicarb, but I used apple cider vinegar this week to try and brighten it up and it left it feeling really dry, but still waxy and dull. Any advice? I’m trying to make it to 6 weeks, but my hair is just so dull, I don’t know if I can keep going! Help!

    • http://www.KieraPedley.com Kiera Pedley

      Hi Leah,
      If your hair is dull and lacklustre – there are a couple of things that are springing to mind – the first place I’d be looking to is your diet. Are you recieving adequate nutrition, plenty of greens, few toxins, and lots of water?

      If you wanted to, you could try a quarter strength bi-carb rince (1/4 teaspoon in a cup of water, work through, rinse well)
      Then follow up with apple cider vinegar (this step is VERY important!! you need to balance your hair’s PH again)

      Maybe try forgoing brushing for a day or so too, so as not to over-stimulate the scalp.

      Hair is a perfect relfection of what’s going on inside, so if it’s dull – maybe your diet is lacking somewhere. It can also be due to stress.

      It would be worthwhile getting that checked out by a naturopath or your chosen health care provider.

      • http://profiles.google.com/leah.porter Leah Porter

        Thanks for your insight! I eat extremely clean – no preservatives, processed foods, etc. Tons of veg and water and my primary care provider is a naturopath. I think living in the desert may be the culprit – blowing dirt and blistering heat (lots of sweat). I did the quarter strength bi-card rinse and vinegar you suggested and it worked really well. I also haven’t been brushing it as often. My hair seems to be happier. I suspect that living where I do, I may have to do this at least once a month, I’ll just wait and see. 

        Thanks again!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KSRMYCHOX5EZC2H5NICQVX5QRE alexis

    I love reading about expirienced no poo-ers as I just went through my first no poo week. My hair is awful– greasy and wet feeling, though it looks decent. How long did it take for you to feel better? 

    • http://www.KieraPedley.com Kiera Pedley

      It took about 6 weeks for my hair to regulate!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KSRMYCHOX5EZC2H5NICQVX5QRE alexis

    I love reading about expirienced no poo-ers as I just went through my first no poo week. My hair is awful– greasy and wet feeling, though it looks decent. How long did it take for you to feel better? 

    • http://www.KieraPedley.com Kiera Pedley

      It took about 6 weeks for my hair to regulate!

  • Vanessa Brazilva

    Hi,
    I’ve been thinking about going no poo as well but I’m a little confused about the baking soda/vinegar. Do I only use that during the transition phase? Or, after my natural oils have been regulated, do I stop the baking soda/vinegar and just “wash” with water? Any advice would be helpful!

    • http://www.KieraPedley.com Kiera Pedley

      Hi Vanessa,
      I generally continue to “wash” my hair once a fortnight or once a week if it’s a bit manky. Usually I just use vinegar, but occasionally if I’ve had a bit of stress, or my diet hasn’t been great, it’ll need the bicarb too.

  • Vanessa Brazilva

    Hi,
    I’ve been thinking about going no poo as well but I’m a little confused about the baking soda/vinegar. Do I only use that during the transition phase? Or, after my natural oils have been regulated, do I stop the baking soda/vinegar and just “wash” with water? Any advice would be helpful!

    • http://www.KieraPedley.com Kiera Pedley

      Hi Vanessa,
      I generally continue to “wash” my hair once a fortnight or once a week if it’s a bit manky. Usually I just use vinegar, but occasionally if I’ve had a bit of stress, or my diet hasn’t been great, it’ll need the bicarb too.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_U27DXZ7DHTHHHMTAZPRMNPP37E mar

    So, I did condition only for 8-9 months, and loved it.  My hair wouldn’t get oily or smell at all for 5-7 days.  All of a sudden about 2 months ago, my hair started to get oily after 1-2 days, so I went back to shampoo (organic, sulfate free) for a couple of washes, and am trying to go condition only again, but my hair is getting oily every 1-2 days.  What should I do, I am so bummed.  Why is this happening?  Any help and suggestions are appreciated :)!

    • http://www.KieraPedley.com Kiera Pedley

      Mar,
      it sounds like your hair is regulating itself. If it’s not too curly, try giving it a good brush to distribute the oil from roots to tips.

      It’ll probably get oiler to begin with, then start to regulate.

      You could also try the bi-carb soda rinse as described in the article – and make sure you balance it with apple cider vinegar as a rinse.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_U27DXZ7DHTHHHMTAZPRMNPP37E mar

    So, I did condition only for 8-9 months, and loved it.  My hair wouldn’t get oily or smell at all for 5-7 days.  All of a sudden about 2 months ago, my hair started to get oily after 1-2 days, so I went back to shampoo (organic, sulfate free) for a couple of washes, and am trying to go condition only again, but my hair is getting oily every 1-2 days.  What should I do, I am so bummed.  Why is this happening?  Any help and suggestions are appreciated :)!

    • http://www.KieraPedley.com Kiera Pedley

      Mar,
      it sounds like your hair is regulating itself. If it’s not too curly, try giving it a good brush to distribute the oil from roots to tips.

      It’ll probably get oiler to begin with, then start to regulate.

      You could also try the bi-carb soda rinse as described in the article – and make sure you balance it with apple cider vinegar as a rinse.