chronicles of no-poo


Two weeks ago I, a wash/dry/style-hair-daily, mane-obsessed Leo, went no-poo. That is, I ditched my beloved Kevin Murphy shampoo and conditioner (and leave-in conditioner, and volumizer, and hair oil, and hair spray) and started using  bicarb soda and apple vinegar. Straight-up. No joke.

The purported benefits of no-poo is that it regulates your oil production as it doesn’t strip your hair like regular shampoo and conditioner. This stripping encourages oil production and your hair gets oily and needs washing more frequently, and so on, in a vicious circle.

This experiment was prompted by the fact that now my hair has grown out past my shoulders I don’t want to wash/dry/style it every day. However, the roots were getting a bit too oily to pull that off in a professional office environment and I don’t like wearing my hair up at work. It was also getting to feel a little overloaded with product even after it was just washed. I had stumbled across a few blogs on no-poo in the course of my web surfing-addiction for all things natural, vegan, and a little crazy so thought I’d jump on the band-wagon… better late than never right?

I don’t want to get too much into the ‘how you do it’ stuff and just thought I’d provide an overview of my experience to help with your research if you’re interested in trying it out – I found (and still find) the whole thing very confusing and contradictory so figured the more info the better. That being said, however, buy two spray bottles to spray it on (highly recommended), and started out with 1tbls bicarb soda to 1 cup water for shampoo and 1 tbls apple cider vinegar (ACV) to 1 cup water for conditioner but think I need to increase this – some recommend as much as 1/2 cup vinegar to 1 cup water.  You can google ‘no-poo videos’ and find loads of different opinions and techniques.

And so, the chronicles…

Day 1

The results of the first time was amazing! My hair was so soft and clean-feeling. Washed it in the evening and let it dry naturally. My natural waves (usually a bit haphazard with the weight of regular shampoo and conditioner) were forming wonderfully and everything was hunky-dory. It survived a night of sleep and I floated around the office with a ‘look at my hair’ shimmy all day… although to no comment. Ego bruised.

Day 2

Let it go a second day without washing. Looked ok in the morning but by the afternoon the oil production had started. This is natural as your body starts to adjust – I’ve read it can take anywhere from 4-6 weeks until things start to settle down… who has that kind of time (or patience) I ask?? I had intentions not to wash it too often but caved in the evening – I have a reputation to maintain at work after all!

Day 3

Hair starting to feel a little brittle at the ends – sad face. I had read that the bicarb soda can have this effect on some people but was determined to stick with it as per the 4-6 week time window mentioned above.

Day 4

Oily! It was Friday though and I didn’t have any meetings planned so thought I could get away with it. But as per Murphy and his stupid (accurate) laws, I ran into a very senior leader who is always impeccable dressed in the elevator looking like I just walked off the beach… and not in a good way :S

Day 5

Washed in the morning, let it dry naturally while studying. Roots loving the cleanliness. Ends still undecided. Might need to increase ACV ratios…

Day 6

Pulled it back as was spending the day travelling to Puero Rico for a week vacation at the beach, woop woop! What better place to carry on a no-poo experiment.

Day 7 – 13

At the beach every day, staying in tree houses with cold showers. Hair loved the salt water and cold rinses, and being allowed to dry naturally. Washing with bicarb soda ‘shampoo’ every 2-3 days helped produce some self-proclaimed, awesome beach hair. Compliments. Happy ego ;) Didn’t take the ACV though as thought it might leak. Used coconut oil in the ends a few days as was smearing it all over me anyway, which seemed to provide some nourishment.

Day 14

Last day of vacation, staying in a luxury resort. Novelty of beach hair wearing thin in such a fancy environment (especially without the ACV) so succumbed to the hotel shampoo and conditioner – although in doing so, discovered a very nice vegan line of toiletries if you’re interested… Clear By Jean-Jacques. I love the body soap so bought a few home with me!

Day 15

Arrived home at 7:30am after about an hour of sleep in the last 24, caught in the car during a seven hour drive from Baltimore to Boston after a missed flight connection. Bags were lost in the drama so no bicarb soda in reach so used traditional means in order to turn myself around for a day in the office in an hour. Hair lovely and shiny after the mini-detox with bicarb, but ends still dry.

Day 16

Second day post-poo and roots are oily but ends are feeling happier, although probably hanging out for a trim next week.

Think I’m back on the no-poo tomorrow morning. Going to up my ACV ratio though so see if that helps with the dry ends. Need to keep experimenting…

Day 17-18

So I went back to no-poo on day 17 and hair was happy – I used the same 1 tbls baking soda but tried 1/3 cup ACV and 1 cup water and ensured I only put it in the ends which worked much better for me. Today (day 18), the ends were fine but roots a little flat for my liking, guess I’m re-adjusting from the ‘poo’ usage, so wore it up… still going to stick at it for a few more weeks…

Would love to hear from others!


17 Comments on “chronicles of no-poo

  1. I’ve been no-poo for several months now and I love it. I could go a week without washing my hair before it looks greasy. I wash it probably every 3-4 days just because I want to change the way I style it. I mix it up between the soda and a bar of herbs and oils. I use about 2 Tbsp of ACV to 1 cup water. Maybe put some almond oil on your ends after shower.

  2. i’ve done mine too….i just wash it with water each time i shower.
    i’m not sure how long i’ve been doing it for, as i was using diluted shampoo at the end of the bottle for a while, before i just used water, and goodness knows when it turned from shampoo and water to just water. its been a few months at least though.

    i can’t really tell much difference, and neither can anyone else….it still can change condition each day, but just as it could when using shampoo. i may be incorrect, but i think possibly the condition of my hair can be affected by my eating etc.

    my son used no shampoo from birth….and had gorgeous hair straight away, with no need to wash every day like i had…. then someone against my wishes started using shampoo. it kinda almost ruined his hair, it went all dry and dull. massive difference. after a month or more of her stopping, its starting to get back to his normal lovely state, thank goodness :)

    and i still have to wash my hair…but i just do it in water. and it doesn’t get as greasy each day as when i used shampoo. when i used shampoo i had to wash it every day or it would look really greasy. now, the day after it still looks ok….

    i might use herb infusions occasionally, but normally just water.

  3. I have been doing this for about 4 months and once I got over the initial stages of oiliness, I LOVE it! I have curly hair that is always slightly damaged, it seems healthier and thicker which I love. One thing I noticed is that when I go to get my hair done and my stylist washes it with shampoo it takes a couple days to get back to not producing so much oil, so I pretty much avoid shampoo at all costs since it disrupts the rhythm :) I would say give it a few more weeks and using dry shampoo in between washes has helped me. I also started washing every other day then every three days and now I’m pretty settled on every four or five days. Good luck!

  4. Done it for a couple months now. I love not spending money on shampoos/conditioners. I have found that the ACV is essential for me. The longer my hair the better it takes to this treatment, otherwise it’s a bit poofy. If you haven’t had a hair cut since you started no-poo, that might also help. Get rid of the dead ends.

  5. I did no poo for about five weeks, and my hair was always sticky after washing. Super dry and brittle at the same time.

    I then ended up co-washing, with just conditioner (silicone free, and all natural) and my hair was left much softer than normal.

    I now use all natural, sulfate free shampoo, but wash my hair every 4-7 days and use dry shampoo when it starts to get greasy.

  6. I am so glad you decided to post this because i heard of it a couple of years ago but did ot understand it and recently i have been so sick of shampoos and conditioners. So i just tried the no poo method this morning and my hair came out feeling so much better and cleaner. I just used 1 1/2 tablespoon of baking soda with 2 cups of water, left it for a minute and then washed it out. I proceeded to rinse twice of 1 tablespoon of coconut vinegar in 2 cups of water. I waited about a minute or so before I washed each rinse out.

  7. The only problem I have with apple cider vinegar is that it has a funny sour feet smell. Does your hair also smell that way or does the smell go out?

    • Hi Shirley!
      I find I need to rinse the ACV out for a long time to make sure it doesn’t smell but it does come out…

      • Thank you I needed to know that. I will give it a try.

      • There is a certain smell from the ACV, but I honestly don’t smell it once my hair is dry. Especially after the first day.

      • Hi I wear my hair very short and I need to wash it everyday to maintain a curly look. So that is way I asked if the smell goes out. It will be disturbing if you go about with a smelly head.

  8. Wow, what an awesome concept. I’m going to try it because my hair is so oily also… Thank you for asking/answering the question about the ACV smell… Suzie Leader, you mentioned using coconut vinegar… does that have a less pungent smell?

  9. I’ve been no ‘pooing for 7 months, and for the most part me and my hair really love it. There is lots of playing with ratios and dilutions trying to find the right concentration for me. My ends are also the worst part for me. I might try upping the ACV now that you mentioned that helps. My hair is much thicker when no ‘pooing, and I wash about every 3 days even after 7 months on. I’ve also considered using coconut oil as a conditioning treatment every week or so. That might help. For anyone concerned about the vinegar smell or missing yummy smelling hair products, I suggest getting a little bottle of good quality essential oil in a scent you love and adding a drop to the ACV mixture. :)

  10. I have been no poo for a month now and am just starting to exit the transition phase. It sure was bad for a while, though. I almost gave up. I want to share with you a deep conditioning treatment that really helped my dry ends. Take an egg yolk and half a cup of organic plain yogurt and leave it on your hair after scrubbing it in water for about 15 minutes or so. I am in love with this treatment. I am now going to do this faithfully twice a month. You won’t believe how soft and shiny your hair is after that.

  11. Forgot to mention, I got that conditioning treatment from another blog. Don’t know if I can link to other blogs here, but her name is Alexis (AlmostExactly) and she has a lot more great tips for all the no pooers out there.

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