In part 1 of this post, I discussed the reasons why I decided to join the ‘no-poo’ movement and kick commercial shampoos, conditioners and hair products out of my life. In this post, I will go over some of the things I have tried, what’s worked and what hasn’t. So, for anyone else interested in possibly joining me in giving this a try, read on.
Washing your hair is going to be a whole new experience if you go ‘no poo’ and it’s a process. There is a detox period of anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks where your hair will look pretty gross. Wait it out. Do it in the winter, hats, whatever you need to do. Your hair will adjust but it will take time. It’s been pumping out oil to counteract what you’ve been doing to it for years. When suddenly you stop torturing your hair, it’s going to take a little bit for it to figure that out. Also, you aren’t going to be washing your hair every day anymore, or twice a day. This means you. I now wash my hair every 3 to 4 days. What?? Gross!! No, really. Hair doesn’t need to be washed every day because you aren’t really getting it dirty (unless you’re doing something extra: working on cars, dumpster diving, construction, rolling in the mud whatever) The ”dirt” that you are trying so hard to get rid of is actually oil and your hair needs it to be healthy. Once you get settled into a new hair routine, you will see that you can go for longer periods of time without washing your hair. I’ve read about some people who don’t wash their hair at all (but I’m not down with that as a goal)
The first thing probably any person who is new to the ‘no-poo’ experience tries out is baking soda and apple cider vinegar (or BS/ACV as it is referred to a lot) This is probably the most popular method of going no-poo. To use, it’s pretty simple: take 1 tablespoon of baking soda to 16 oz. of water, mix and pour into hair. Work it around and rinse. Then, take 3 tablespoons (more or less, the mix will be up to each person) of apple cider vinegar (available at any grocery store) to 16 oz. water and pour into hair. Work it in, leave a minute or two and rinse very thoroughly. Yes, this smells like vinegar. It won’t after it dries. The baking soda does the cleaning and the apple cider vinegar acts like a conditioner, making the hair soft and shiny. I still use an occasional ACV rinse to clarify my hair of any buildup from my ‘shampoo.’
My thoughts on BS/ACV method: the baking soda does clean but after a while I noticed my hair start to dry out/become more brittle. My lifelong issue with my hair is dryness to the extreme; that straw feeling and I go way back. So I got online to read some more and discovered there were others who gave up the BS method due to this reason. So, on to the next try.
The next thing I tried was (believe it or not) light rye flour. Yes, flour. It has almost exactly the same ph level as human hair; it is gentle and won’t strip or damage hair. It worked quite well and aside from mixing up rye flour into paste in the bathroom, I had no complaints about how much my hair liked it. Although, two very important points: 1. make sure it’s light rye flour, not stone ground or you will be rinsing husks out of your hair for an hour. Don’t ask me how I know this. 2. Make sure you rinse thoroughly. When you are done rinsing, you are not done rinsing. Rinse some more. Otherwise, you might end up with a stiff piece of hair that has ryemeal stuck to it. Don’t ask me how I know this.
The next thing I had researched that I wanted to try was coconut milk and aloe but I ended up trying African Black Soap instead, because I ran across it at Meijer. I had read about this and there were rave reviews about it. Turns out that it wasn’t the real deal though.
Apparently the real African Black Soap is a dark brown, not actually black like what i bought. Ha, sucker. African Black Soap is made from plantain among other natural things. But the one I bought smells amazing so I let it hang out in my bathroom, making it smell nice. So, that idea was a bust. (I did try the fake-o in my hair; it got it clean but it left way too much residue, not ph balanced for hair at all) If I ever get some of the real deal, I’ll update this post. This, by the way, is the real deal.
The next thing I got was something else I had read about (I should just stop reading) called Bentonite Clay. I tried that in my hair and it was fine as far as cleansing but it dried my hair out a lot. However, it makes an amazing mud mask for the face and I highly recommend it for that. It also has medicinal qualities, so I keep it around the house.
On the clay discussions, I was seeing that people were recommending Rhassoul clay rather than Bentonite clay for hair so I found it at my local health food store. It said Moroccan red clay (which is what Rhassoul clay is sometimes called) but it turns out it was Ilite clay. Urrrg. But I had it, so I figured I may as well give it a try. My hair LOVED the Red Clay. To date, that is what has worked the best for my hair. Great at absorbing extra oil as well as exfoliating my scalp. Of course, it looks like I’ve been sacrificing animals in the bathtub, so it’s a trade-off. In related news, I found the actual Rhassoul clay on sale at Mountain Rose Herbs, which is like THE go-to place for herbs, clays and things to keep them in. So once I had the real deal, I tried it and liked it as well. It didn’t smell as good, but it didn’t look like I was massacring anything either. I used the Ilite and Rhassoul clays for the longest amount of time.
After a while, though, lazy old me thought, there has to be a better way than standing here, mixing clay and water while trying not to make a mess and heyyy I really need to wash the bathtub now…So, back to reading I go. It was then that I discovered companies were making (in some cases had been making since long before I was born) shampoo bars. Yes, bars. Like a bar of soap, but it’s really shampoo. Hmm.
So, I’m going to wrap this up here, as I thought this would be part 2 of 2, not part 2 of 3 but I seem to have developed diarrhea of the fingers (enjoy that thought in your head) so I’ll leave this here and part 3 will tell about the joys and sorrows of shampoo bars.
Until the next time, when I have the time to cough this all up. *Ahem.