So everyone has heard about the "no poo" craze and it all makes sound sense (although personally I hate that term cause it sounds like you're not getting enough fiber). Commercial shampoos are full of harmful chemicals that strip the natural oil from your hair and create the need for us to keep shampooing, not to mention the cost to you and the environment with all those chemicals going down the waterways and plastic bottles being discarded! The list of reasons to go "poo" free goes on...
People always used some form of cleansing of their hair but commercial liquid shampoo wasn't really available before the 1930s and people washed their hair with soap once a month!!! Clearly we've gone down a terrible consumer driven path somewhere if we are shampooing every second day! Anyway as a big advocate of DIY and natural holistic remedies I thought I would give this a go. I had a friend (male) who just stopped washing his hair and said his hair was fabulous after 2 weeks. It looked good to me too, I never would've known!
So full disclosure, about 4 months ago I tried it the way he tried it (just nothing and occasional rinsing with water in the shower) and after 6ish weeks I still had greasy hair and I a little discouraged. I have fairly thick wavy hair so from what I had read and been told I had imagined by week 4 that my hair would have re-calibrated and I would have luscious Brave style hair (apart from not being a redhead) so I did what you're not meant to do, I gave up :(
In fairness most people I've read the comments of give up after a few days or a week but having thick wavy hair I only wash my hair twice a week to begin with.
So I think I know where I went wrong... All the experiences I'm reading about used some form of cleansing, just not shampoo. I used nothing.
I have read that most people have success with the baking soda rinse/apple cider vinegar rinse combo but if you scroll down the comments of these blogs you'll find that many people also did not have success with that combo...even worse, they claim it ruined their hair. Something to do with baking soda not being the same PH as your scalp and ripping your hair apart. Call me vain, but that alone scared me into looking for alternatives.
I found a honey "shampoo"/apple cider vinegar rinse combo that worked for Lauren on Empowered Sustenance, so I thought I would try that. Obviously switching the honey for agave...having a similar PH level. My friend in Japan, Faith, is also trying it with her own herbal concoction which I will steal from her at some point. Faith also looked into buying the JR Liggett Shampoo Bar but a closer inspection of the ingredients shows it's just natural soap. In fact, almost the exact same ingredients I use in my own homemade soaps...any excuse for a plug ;)
So here it is...my shampoo free adventure...take two!
Started; 14th September, 2014
Me after my last shampoo.
Was having an ok hair day...for once!
18th September, 2014
So it's been 4 days...
My hair is slightly greasy and I'm wearing it up a lot at work...mainly buns.
It doesn't smell but I'm paranoid it does. Slight amount of small dandruff flakes showing (and sticking to the grease!!!!) but it's because I developed scalp psoriasis after moving to Utah, USA from Sydney, Australia ...I think a combination of hard water and lack of humidity. Seriously it's so dry here I feel like I've gain 10 years if wrinkles in 1 year :(
Another reason I want to try this and really stick to it this time.
I'm hoping once I move somewhere more humid my skin and hair will renew and moisturize magically like sea monkeys!
20th September, 2014
Today I washed my hair for the first time since I went shampoo free. I used a "Honey" Shampoo and ACV rinse recommended on Empowered Sustenance.
Once mixed well you can add a few drops of carrot oil which is supposed to be great for hair. I didn't use this as I didn't have any. The add a few drops of essential oil if desired. I used Rosemary Essential oil.
Pour over scalp and massage in before rinsing. Then use ACV.
ACV - 1-2Tbls Apple Cider Vinegar mixed into 1/2-1 cup water.
Dip ends of hair in solution, the pour over scalp and let sit in hair for a minute before rinsing out.
Once my hair dried it felt ok. It still was slightly waxy on top and dry at the bottom (Dryness could be the lasting effects of a recent Ombre job though). My hair feels much less greasy than it did before I washed it so that's nice. Before that I hadn't even got it wet. I have a feeling I'll be wearing it up a lot LOL
Before the "Honey" Shampoo/ACV routine
After the "Honey" Shampoo/ACV routine, dry hair
I wore my hair out today and it looked ok, I think. To me it looked a bit waxy at the top but I got a few compliments on it so hopefully no one else saw the grease.
24th September 2014
So it's been 10 days already! Yesterday I wore my hair out again and I think it looked fine but today I wore it in a bun cause I felt like it looked greasy. I went to wash it tonight and when I brushed it out (as is the routine of us wavy/curly haired lassies) I could really see how greasy it was at the top so I tried to brush the oil down a bit. I ordered one of those pine wooden brushes too which is supposed to be the shizzit when it comes to "poo" free hair. So I washed it tonight with the agave shampoo and used a little bit of lime essential oil and rinsed with the ACV. Feels a little bit heavy on top and dry on the ends but then it felt like that last time too so I think it takes a few days before it feels normal again.
26th September 2014
12 days in, still feeling a bit greasy despite washing is 2 days ago so I'm wearing it up for a while - I might try using the baking soda solution next time just to change it up a bit!
28th September 2014
Two weeks! Yesterday my hair was feeling very greasy so instead of washing it I had a relaxing bath with Epsom salts, baking soda and tea tree oil and soaked my head in it.
My hair feels a little less greasy but still a little greasy today. Here's some pics before I soaked it...
1st October 2014
17 days - it's feeling a bit greasy so I think I'm going to try washing it with my handmade soap tomorrow - it has the same ingredients as JR Liggett Shampoo Bar anyway!
3rd October 2014
19 days poo free. Last night I washed my hair with my homemade soap and then added some rosehip oil to the ends after towel drying. It actually dried looking nice but then I slept on the curls and now they look drab! It looks a bit unbrushed but that's because if I brush it I get frizz.
My bamboo brush finally arrived - very exciting!
12th October, 2014
28 days poo free - that's kind of a month right?
So far so good, it's still a bit greasy and I want to give in but I'm determined to get to at least 3 months. I ideally would like to get to 6 months but if there is really no change after 3 months then I might ditch it.
Having said that, I don't think I would go back to commercial shampoo. I think I would still make my own, and still fully intend to make some shampoo bars.
I washed twice since my last entry, once with the "honey" shampoo and once with one my homemade cedar wood soaps. Still using the vinegar solution to rinse.
I felt like after the cedar wood that my psoriasis was much better - I used some cedar wood essential oil on the psoriasis on my ear and it's been healing fast. It was a recommendation from a friend who uses a lot of doTerra oils.
I think it looks a bit oily but doesn't feel it. Feels more waxy and heavy.
19th October 2014
It's been over a month and my "transition period" is still transitioning. Who are these people who had a two week transition period? Do they have thin straight hair compared to my thick wavy hair? I want to know cause I want to give up :(
Today I'm trying something a bit nuts (well nuts to me!) My friend saw something on using rolled oats as a dry shampoo and then avocado as a moisturizing hair masque. I'll keep you updated. My hair has been greasy but I've also not washed it with anything in over a week...out of lack of time/laziness. I wear my hair up at work mostly anyway so it hasn't been an issue.
OK Update on the oatmeal - wasn't for me LOL. It definitely got some of the oil out but it was super messy (I picture anyone walking into my bathroom seeming me naked, crouched down in the bath tub rubbing oatmeal into my hair frantically like a primate). The dry oatmeal got stuck all through my hair and me being the super smart person I am thought, I'll just wash it out. Do not wash it out - comb it out. Once the oatmeal gets wet it's even harder to get out. Reminds me of when I was 11 and my friend and I had heard that egg was good for our hair so used it like shampoo and ended up with scrambled eggs in our hair.
To add insult to injury I didn't have a ripe avocado so I used banana (1 ripe banana mashed up with 1 tsp of agave - wrap hair up in cling wrap and leave for 10 mins before rinsing).
I've gone back to reading some more blogs on people's "no poo" experiences. A few people have talked about using Shampoo Bars instead of the baking soda (which is great cause I made some shampoo bars today and they should be in use within 3 weeks!). Another method that seemed to work for others is co-washing which is just using conditioner on the ends of your hair and rinsing - completely bypassing the whole shampoo step. I've noticed that for the people who went "poo free" through the baking soda method they reported loving it at first but then towards the end found their hair became brittle and unmanageable again. I can't help thinking that maybe the baking soda thing is great for the transitioning period but maybe long term that no washing at all is the answer or maybe just using a natural shampoo bar. I've also just read that you're supposed to used distilled water if you have hard water (which we do) so oops...I'll be off to buy some of that! Deep conditioning with aloe vera gel was mentioned too which is definitely something I would try!
I'm very close to trying the baking soda method - it has definitely worked for some people so giving it a go once might not hurt. Feeling desperate!
My hair felt surprisingly good after I did the baking soda thing. The ends did feel a bit dry but at least it didn't feel waxy or greasy anymore and I felt like I would wear my hair out! I know miracle!
9th November 2014
My shampoo bars were finally ready so I tried one and I love the result. It feels like I shampooed it without the shampoo part! My hair felt a little bit dry after (I used the vinegar rinse as conditioner) but not a sign of grease.
11th November 2014
A few days after the shampoo bar and my hair still felt great and I could wear it down.
It was about day 5 after using the shampoo bar that my hair started to grease up a bit but I'm determined to try and only use it once a week.
19th November 2014
I'm at the end of my shampoo free adventure. And that's not to say I'm giving up...on the contrary...I'm a convert! I made my own shampoo bar that was able to be used from early November and have only had to wash it once a week. I'd like to go longer but at the moment it's getting a little greasy by the 5th day after washing. My husband and friends have been using it too and they are also converted! I don't need conditioner or vinegar anymore because my natural oils are there. I have very thick wavy hair so not need a conditioner of any kind is something I never thought I'd be able to do! So two months after going shampoo free I'm happy and not greasy! I wish I'd done the shampoo bar thing before everything else honestly, it would have been a much faster transition period. My shampoo bar is available here on Etsy but there are loads of them on the market.
Here are a few blogs/online articles I read about going Poo Free (the comments on how other people went is very informative too!);
The Hair Pin
Pursuit of Hippieness
Code Red Hat (this one had some great tips - I especially love how she talked about the BS solution needing to be slippery and it may need to be adjusted depending on how hard or soft your water is.)
UPDATE - January 28th 2015
So I did cut off off the mangy blonde parts of my hair because now that it's so healthy and shiny I want to grow it out in it's natural color! I'm still just using my shampoo bar every 7-10 days and that is ALL. Loving how quickly it lathers up in my hair now that it's shorter! So 4.5 months later and I'm still very happy no using shampoo, in fact when the kids shampoo runs out they'll be using the shampoo bar too. And another thing I've noticed with the kids hair (aged 6 & 8), even if I leave it weeks with out shampooing it never gets greasy and still looks amazing. I think that should be proof enough that we don't need shampoo!
New Update - April 11th, 2015
7 months after I started not using shampoo I'm still going strong. I'm using the homemade shampoo bar around once a week which suits me!
Update! - September 2015
Over a year later and I'm still shampoo free and still using my shampoo bar only, no conditioners or products. I usually wash my hair every 10-14 days now which is so easy, it hardly ever gets greasy!
UPDATE - May 2017
Two and a half years after first using my shampoo bar I'm still using it and loving it, in fact it became my best selling soap item! My hair has grown fairly long and is healthy and shiny - although randomly lost it's natural wave when I was pregnant! All I use still is the shampoo bar and some argan oil in the ends.
My hair was getting pretty long so and I was getting some regrowth from pregnancy (more on the post baby experience here)so I decided to chop it off and donate it to charity. Living having 100% natural hair for the first time in many many years!now, no dye! I'm still washing my hair around once a week and sometimes putting some Moroccan oil in the ends but that's the extent of my hair care regime!
The hair dresser I went to even used vegan product and gave me some samples!
Made a DIY Beach Hair Spray and then finished with the Pureology Smooth Perfection to define and get rid of frizz.
UPDATE - September 2017
Over 3 years shampoo free now and still loving it. Using my shampoo bar probably around once a week and using Maple Holistics argan oil in the ends the day I shampoo and whenever it gets frizzy (which is does in 90% Florida weather, trust me!).
Click here for free Maple Holistic samples!