I’ve stopped ‘pooing…

That’s ‘poo as in short for shampoo. I haven’t used shampoo to cleanse my hair for the past 9+ months!

I know what you are thinking, “What the what?!”  But I’m truly pleased with how well this works.  It’s natural, it’s cheap and I would normally have the necessary ingredients on hand anyway.  I also like that I am not consuming as much packaging and not adding extra chemicals or detergents to our water system.  I have somewhat thick hair that is moderately curly and hangs just past my shoulders.  *Update* I just had all of my hair cut off today.  I originally started the draft for this post over a month ago.  My hair tends toward being frizzy while my scalp tends toward being oily.  In fact I have suffered from  seborrhoeic dermatitis on my scalp since I was a little kid.  I started using sulfate free shampoos and conditioners more than a year before I went no ‘poo.  That helped my seborrhea somewhat but I still had regular flare ups.  I did some research and found a lot of information about going no ‘poo and using the baking soda/apple cider vinegar method.  (I’ll include some good, educational links at the bottom of this post.)  Once I got through a brief adjustment period, the no ‘poo method had all but cured my seborrhea.  And I feel better about the ecology and economy of no ‘pooing.

No ‘Poo Ingredients (Not the bananas. Those were incidental, although I’ve heard they are a great natural conditioner. Hmm, may have to try that.)

I cleanse my hair about two times per week with a mixture of baking soda and water with a few drops of Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castille Liquid Soap in peppermint and a drop or two of tea tree oil.  (I also use Dr. Bronners peppermint and tea tree oil diluted with water as my everyday bodywash.  Dr. B’s is the BEST!  It lasts forever and the peppermint is so tingly and refreshing.)  After I cleanse, I condition my hair with a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water.  On off days I usually just rinse my hair and massage my scalp under the shower to distribute the natural scalp oils.  I find it’s also good to give my hair a good brushing from scalp to tip on days when I am not rinsing or cleansing to help distribute the natural oils.  This keeps my hair and scalp looking and feeling healthy.

The ratios of baking soda to water and AC vinegar to water depends on your hair type.  From what I’ve read, use more baking soda if you tend to have oily hair and use more AC vinegar if you tend to have dry hair.  I tend to have oily scalp but dry hair so I just play around with the ratios until I get it the way I like it.  I can definitely tell when I don’t use enough AC vinegar in my ratio.  My hair is smooth and shiny when I have about a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio of AC vinegar.  I use about 1:3 or 1:4 ratio of baking soda to water for the cleanse and add a few drops each of Dr. Bronners and tea tree oil.  I store both mixtures in small, refillable bottles and keep them in my shower.

The only drawback that I’ve found with the no ‘poo method is that I cannot use the the styling products that I used to use.  It’s been an adjustment to find the right products to use now.  You see, I now cannot use any products containing silicone.  Basically any haircare ingredient that ends with -one or -cone is a silicone.  Silicone is the wonderful elixer that makes hair shiny and reduces frizz.  It’s in most anti-frizz serums and in many if not most conditioners and styling products.  But the only way to get silicone out of hair is with surfactant-based, traditional shampoos.  With the no ‘poo method, the silicone products will just build up on the hair and make it appear dull, dry and unhealthy.  I’ve found two products that I like so far and I’d like to try others but I don’t want a collection of bottles and tubes hanging around my tiny bathroom.  So, until I run out of what I have or come across sample sizes of new products, I’m sticking with what works so far.  Namely, Yes to Carrots leave-in conditioner and Aveda Confixor liquid gel.  I use both after I cleanse or after I rinse.  On days where I don’t cleanse or rinse, I just use water and my hands to get my curls to behave.

Here are a few very informative blog posts about the No ‘Poo method:

Simple Mom

Crunchy Betty

Beautiful Somehow

What are some things (weird or otherwise) that you do in an effort to be more green, healthy or to save money?

4 responses

  1. Pingback: no ‘poo for 30 days. « mscatamaran

  2. Hi there! Your post caught my eye while doing no-poo research. My hair has been progressively thinning over the last 5 years — nothing that is obvious to most people, but i can tell, as I used to have super thick hair. I have been to doctors and dermatologists, but frankly, they have all been useless. One told me I have seb dermatitis, and I think this is probably true – if i don’t wash my hair within 2-3 days, it gets itchy and uncomfortable. I recently switched to washing every other day, and now it gets itchy even quicker! So i realized, shampooing more just prompts my hair to get oily/ itchy faster. And this is with an “SLS-free” shampoo. I am very, very tempted to go Poo-free, but i wanted to ask you how your experience has been till now, 2 years down the road. Did you experience any more shedding/ thinning? Did the seb dermatitis improve with no-poo? I am just really scared that i will go no-poo and my hair will get even thinner, and i wont have the willpower to get through the ‘transitioning’ period. But I really don’t know what else to do, because my thinning continues…. I guess I have nothing to lose right?

    • Zee,
      One more thing. I’ve read some about how diet affects seb dermatitis and I believe that if I gave up dairy and possibly wheat that it might help. But honestly, I just don’t want to. I do notice that when I eat particularly bad junk food (like fast food, etc.) my seb symptoms flair up. Just some *food* for thought.

  3. Hi Zee! Wow, I haven’t posted on this blog in years but I’m so glad that you found the post to be helpful. After rereading my original post, I can’t believe that it’s been 2 years and 10 months since I stopped ‘pooing. I’ve cheated a few isolated times with poor results. My stylist/salon uses only sulfate free products so even when she shampoos/conditions my hair it’s not the end of the world.

    I have continued to use the no ‘poo method pretty much exactly as I described in the blog post and I can’t say that it’s cured my seborrhea symptoms but it has certainly lessened them. I still need to stay on a consistent schedule with 2x weekly cleansing. I’ve found another leave-in conditioner/styling product that really works for my hair in combo with the BC and ACV cleansing method. It’s this: http://www.target.com/p/sheamoisture-coconut-hibiscus-curl-style-milk-8-fl-oz/-/A-12239779

    I’m afraid that I can’t offer much insight on thinning hair as I don’t have that issue. But I do notice that when I suffer from seborrhea flair ups, my normal hair loss seems to be amplified.

    As far as the transitioning period, I did what’s called CO method for a while before doing no ‘poo and I think that really lessened my transition issues. CO is Conditioner Only. You use conditioner to cleans and moisturize the hair and scalp and rise it well. You will need to do this about as often as you normally wash your hair and gradually transition to just 2x/wk and then switch to no ‘poo.

    I hope all of this helps. Lots of luck and let me know how it goes!

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