I went no-poo and my hair says thank you.8:00 AM
I would still be washing the fast accumulating grease off my hair daily if it weren't for a casual girl talk session and a bit of curiosity.
It all started when a friend of mine told me an another couple of friends how she has been allergic to soaps and shampoo and found herself having to stop using it.
We were all highly skeptical, after all, the idea of not washing your hair with shampoo goes against what every TV channels, magazines and more importantly the cosmetic industry want you to believe.
Like many of my friend my first reply to this "You don't need shampoo to clean your hair" statement was the good old, almost cliché:
But, my hair gets super oily and looks dirty after 24 hours of not using shampoo.
Sounds familiar? This very sentence has been uttered to all my friends present at that chit-chatting session. We were all slaves to the bottle, finding ourselves slathering and foaming our hair daily to banish the gunk. Gunk that kept coming back the next day.
It took me a few weeks to let my friend's statement sink in. I wasn't quite sure I should take the plunge. After all I have a life long history of grease, frizz and tangles with my hair. Ditching the bottles seemed a bit drastic if not completely nuts.
To make up my mind, I read. I read a lot: the testimonials of ladies who've done it, and the opinion of various experts.
And I figured out that I had absolutely nothing to loose trying. The worst that could happen after all was going back to using commercial shampoos.
According to everybody who've done it before me, it takes about 4-6 weeks for the hair to look its old self and feel great again once you kissed the poo goodbye.
With that knowledge in mind, I gave myself a month. A month during which I would ditch the bottle, and turn to natural alternatives to wash my hair. If after this month my hair still felt horrible with not even a hint of improvement, I would pull the plug on the experiment.
It's been nearly 7 weeks now, and I am never going back to shampoo.
The first thing you need to know if you plan on going no-poo is what alternatives to commercial and chemical shampoos you have at your disposal.
The most common is mixing baking soda (soda bi-carb) with water and wash your wet scalp with it. I found it to be the most efficient technique for my hair, but some of my friends didn't. What you absolutely need to be careful with this method, is to not do it too frequently. There should be a gap of at least 5-7 days between uses.
Another great natural shampoo is mud or natural clay. In India, you can turn to "Multani Mitti" aka Fuller's Earth. I got mine on Amazon. In the beginning, I used it every other hair treatment session to avoid using the baking soda method too frequently.
One of the method many of my friends swear by is the egg wash. For this method you need to whisk a full egg with a fork in a bowl, plomp it on your wet scalp and massage. Leave it for a few minutes and rinse off with cold water. It didn't work for me, but apprently it will absorb the excess oil nd leave your mane bouncy and soft.
Last but not least, rinsing your hair daily with water at the end of a long day of sweat, dust and pollution is ALWAYS a smart move. Water alone is all you need to remove most of the daily dirt off your scalp.
The proponent of no-poo all speak of their hair feeling wonderful, feeling thicker, growing faster and being more manageable. And before I share my own results with you, let me take you on my no-poo journey week by week.
What I started with
My hair is long (as in brushing my lower back long) and wavy (borderline on curly). The root oils very easily, and it was the reason why I was shampooing daily since puberty kicked in. The length are dry, and tangle very easily. Without conditioning my hair after a shampoo I end up with massive knots that border on dreadlocks. Those knots usually come back within a few hours of me getting them out.
This my dearies is what I started with. When I decided to ditch the shampoo I decided to keep the conditionner in my routine because of said situation
As expected, my hair got greasier than ever. This is something that ever person stopping commercial shampoo ends up going through. The reason being that shampoo strips the scalp of its natural oil and the body is tricked into thinking it has to produce more.
On day 2 the situation was so desperate I decided to do a baking soda wash, it was followed by an egg wash that didn't work 2 days later, and a clay wash another 2 days later. I still had to rub tissue paper to get the excess off in between...Yes it was THAT bad. And my scalp hurt from being weighted down from all this grease.
I started noticing a slight change, the oil would build up a tid bit less quickly. I still ended up having to do one baking soda and one clay wash during that week. The biggest change though is that I noticed that my hair would no longer knot and tangle into near dreadlocks during the day. I ditched the commercial conditioner at the end of that week not feeling the need for it anymore. DH also pointed out that my hair felt softer and better. It was reassuring to hear it because I still felt like my scalp was weighted down by a lot of gunk.
There was a significant enough slow down in the oil production, the top of my head felt and looked clean and bouncy for 4-5 days at a time. The hair at the back of my head still had a very waxy feeling. There has been absolutely zero nasty tangles to deal with that week, NONE, despite my not using conditioner. The quality of the tip has improved too, probably due to my brushing the hair a couple of times a day to spread the natural oils.
This probably has been the game changing week. I went an entire week without using any alternative shampoo. On day 7, I did a baking soda wash as the hair was starting to feel a bit weighted down but it didn't feel gunky, oily or greasy like it did the other weeks.
I went another week without anything but just water. The heat of Summer made me sweat a little, and my hair would look a bit sticky but it would rinse off under plain water just fine.
The sweating makes the hair look a bit flat, but not dirty looking. This is the time of the year I find myself having to pull my hair up to avoid looking like a wet mop. I rinse the hair twice a day but still am managing with one alternative shampoo treatment. My hair has the same texture from root to tip, without the use of any conditioner or oil.
What my hair looks and feels like now
As mentioned, the first thing my hair stopped doing was frizzing and tangling, this happened after a week of not using shampoo. This was the thing that kept me going in the beginning when going back on the bottle was ever so tempting. Not having to battle my wavy mane on a daily basis felt really good.
The second thing I noticed as the week went was that my hair had more volume. I attribute it to the fact that once the production of sebum is normalised, the hair is coated with just what it needs to be bouncy and full.
I also noticed that my natural waves/loose curls looked much better and were more defined and yet felt softer than ever before.
Overall, my hair has benefited greatly from my no-poo experience. I can't comment on the growing faster yet, or the claims of them growing thicker. I guess only time will tell if it bears any truth in my case.
One thing that did help me a lot during my greasy day is the brushing to spread the excess oil to the length. I still do it daily, and for it I recommend you invest in a good quality shinning brush. They are usually made of wild boar bristle. I have used that type of brush my whole life. I had to replace my old one last year and went for this one. It is a bit pricey (was cheaper when I bought it) but it was the closest to my old half broken brush and it works wonders at detangling AND giving shine to your hair.
If you are going no-poo, you'll save tons on hair products, so the least you can do is invest in a high quality brush. I kid you not, I would spend about 600 rupees a month on both shampoo and conditioner to tame my long hair. I have gone to only using a table spoon of baking soda a week...you do the math...
And with this lengthy blog post, I give the blogosphere and Internet yet another testimonial in favour of no-poo.
Are you tempted to join the club yet?