I’ve found myself being asked, somewhat frequently, about hair care. I am in no way an expert, but I have done a little bit of research and I’m assuming these previous posts (part I/part II) have had something to do with giving people the impression that I actually know what I am talking about ; )
So, I’ve decided to continue this little series to let you all know about a new method I’ve been trying out for the past 7 months or so…the “no poo” method. It took me a while, but I’ve figured out a way to make it work for me and I love it. I’m not saying that what I do will work for everyone, because that’s just ridiculous. But hopefully by sharing my adventure into no-shampoo-land with you, you will be able to find a formula that works for you too!
And for anyone looking for tips on growing longer, healthier hair – as always I recommend checking out the Long Hair Community forums! There are a lot of wonderful, intelligent individuals who have heaps of advice and useful information. I’ve linked to some of my favorite/most helpful LHC articles in previous posts 🙂
Now, let’s get down to the nitty gritty…
THE NO-POO METHOD.
Essentially, this method of hair care entails not using ‘regular’ shampoo and conditioner at all. Instead, you cleanse your hair with a mixture of baking soda and water, and use an apple cider vinegar rinse to condition. It does work, but it may take a bit of adjusting to get it right for you.
A word of caution: your hair WILL be greasier than normal when you first stop using shampoo. Your scalp is used to you stripping the oils away, and producing more in order to make up for it. It will take a little bit for it to adjust and regulate oil production! Be prepared for that.
Also, some people will use the no-poo method to work their way all the way up to what they call the “water only” method. You guessed it…they wash their hair with nothing but water. I’m not brave enough to try that one.
The first problem I encountered was using too much baking soda. I would scoop a handful out of the box, mix it with some water, and scrub it into my scalp (like a body scrub). This didn’t work very well, and I was always left with a TON of flaky baking soda bits on my scalp afterward (which looks like dandruff, btw. not cool). I’ve tried a few different variations, and this is what works best for me!
Rachel’s No-Poo Shampoo :
1/2 – 3/4C Baking Soda
1-2T Honey (any kind works…I like raw honey though)
Splash of Warm Water
3-5 drops Tea Tree Oil
To be honest, I don’t measure any of this, and each batch is slightly different. This doesn’t bother me and it works just fine, but I’ve approximated some measurements for reference.
Here’s my method: Fill a container of your choice with dry baking soda. Add the honey on top, and just a splash of warm water, and stir. The warm water will help dissolve and combine the baking soda and honey, and give you your desired consistency. Mine is usually a medium-thick paste – similar to regular shampoo/conditioner – this makes it easier to wash with in my opinion. You can always add more water, but if you add too much it takes a LOT of baking soda to re-absorb it. So it’s best to add water a small amount at a time. After it’s completely mixed, I stir in a few drops of tea tree oil, et voila! Shampoo! (fun fact: I also used this as face wash for quite a while, and body wash! It’s pretty good stuff!)
To Use: Simply wet your hair, and squeeze a fair amount into the palm of your hand or on top of your head. Scrub into your scalp (this feels awesome), and comb down toward the ends of your hair with your fingers (or an actual comb if you want). No need to pile your hair on top of your head and try to scrub the shampoo throughout all of it!! I’m still a firm believer in the what the Condition-Wash-Condition method teaches about only shampooing the scalp and top portion of the hair, and combing it through with your fingers rather than scrubbing your hair in a pile atop your head. This shampoo does not lather, so the pile-and-scrub method would be especially damaging and difficult. Read a little bit more about all of this mumbo-jumbo here, or do a quick google search on the Condition-Wash-Condition method 🙂
I have a plain plastic squeeze bottle that I use to mix and store my shampoo. Just a condiment bottle…you can find them at almost any grocery store, or kitchen supply store. I’ve cut the squeeze tip on mine to have a bigger opening. A travel-sized toiletry bottle would also work well, or an old shampoo bottle, or anything you can find! I actually used a small plastic food storage container for the longest time (this method is messy since you have to scoop the goop out with your hands and snap a lid back on…but it works! hahaha).
This shampoo will separate as it sits in your shower, but if you turn it upside-down a couple times you are good to go. I add the honey because I felt like using baking soda alone was super harsh on my hair, and honey attracts/adds a bit of moisture to the mixture (it’s a natural humectant!). It also has awesome antibacterial and healing properties, and it smells good. I added the tea tree oil because I was having dry scalp issues, and tea tree is a superb antibacterial and antifungal agent.
Oh yes, the dry scalp…let’s talk about that for a second, shall we??
The other major issue I’ve had with this method is dandruff, and occasionally an itchy scalp. Adding the honey and tea tree oil has definitely helped! I’ve also added lemon juice and aloe vera (the kind you squeeze straight from the leaf) before, as they both aid in scalp moisturization too. It’s worked wonders. The main culprit in my case is waiting too long to wash my hair. If I go too many days without giving my scalp a scrub, it will develop dandruff, and that is that. It’s best if I wash my hair 2-3 times a week.
I do love me some oil treatments, too! It’s like a mega dose of moisturization for your head and hair. You simply rub a bunch of oil into your scalp at night, slather the rest of your hair with it, put a towel over your pillow and sleep on it. You could also just leave it for 30 minutes or so if you’re not feeling the whole overnight thing. Your scalp and hair will feel AMAZING. I love using plain old olive oil for this, or a coconut oil. I have a blend that I’ve made with coconut, jojoba, and tea tree oil that I love. I’ll do this no more than once a week, and usually only 2-3 times a month, depending on how badly my hair needs it. The only downside: I cannot, for the life of me, get all of the oil out simply by using my baking soda shampoo. I dig in to a bit of my regular shampoo the morning after I’ve oil-treated my hair, just to keep my hair from being a greasy mess. If anyone knows of a better way to do this…let me know!
The final step in this whole thing, which I’ve never had a problem with, is an Apple Cider Vinegar rinse! ACV rinses balance the pH level of your hair – thus making it more shiny, subtly removing buildup or hair care products, etc. I LOVE THEM.
Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse
1T Apple Cider Vinegar
Mix together in a cup or container, and douse your entire head of hair with this liquid awesomeness. Be sure to rinse the scalp thoroughly with the vinegar mixture, to remove all remaining baking soda. Let sit for a minute or two, then rinse out with water. Tip: You can make this in larger quantities, the 1T:1C ratio is just so you have an idea of what the mixture should look like! I use a big water bottle with a squeeze-top to store mine. And I definitely use more than one cup each time.
You can adjust the amounts of vinegar in the rinse to your liking. If your hair feels too brittle and dried out, try less vinegar. If you hair feels no different afterwards, like the rinse was kind of worthless and there is no difference at all, bump up the vinegar. As long as you stay beneath a 1:1 ratio of water to vinegar, you’re safe.
Some people have issues with their hair feeling too brittle or dry if all they use is an ACV rinse, no conditioner. I’d say mess with your water to vinegar ratio a little bit, and try applying oil to your hair after you wash it. I will take a small amount of my coconut/jojoba/tea tree blend in my palms (a little goes a long way) and run them through my hair – concentrating on the ends. You can also do this with olive oil, or any other hair oil!
WHEW. That was a lot of information. If you made it all the way through, you are a champion!
I do have to say that I LOVE the way my hair feels now that I’ve stopped using chemicals on it. I’ve actually started using primarily natural/home made body care products, and I adore them. Especially the face washes I’ve tried! I used to use all of these crazy benzoyl peroxide products to try and control my breakouts, but since I’ve stopped my face feels SO nice. Much less painful overall, less severe breakouts, and even when there is a pretty bad one it looks less…gross. If that makes sense.
Don’t even get me started on how much I love my homemade deodorant 😉
ANYWAY, thanks for reading! I hope some of that information has been helpful! And as always, if you have any questions or if I’ve left anything out, let me know!
love – Rach