Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The no 'poo update

Some of you may remember that I took the plunge a few months ago and decided to ditch my shampoo. Yup, that's right, I haven't shampooed my hair in THREE months. To find out why I could possibly think this is a good idea, check out this article.

I stuck to my baking soda and apple cider vinegar routine for a few weeks before I hit rock bottom. My scalp was itching like it was dry, but my hair was greasy! I found a recipe online for a leave in conditioner with olive oil, banana and eggs that left specks of banana in my hair for days and left my hair smelling like a trash can. I was this close to quitting.

In a last ditch effort, I decided to substitute the ACV with lemon juice to see if that would help. It didn't help the itchy scalp, but I DID like not smelling like french fries.

About a week later, I started noticing a difference in my hair. I've settled into a routine now that has my hair looking great and feeling healthy. Here's what works for me:
Before I shower, I squeeze half a lemon into a plastic cup. I keep a big box of baking soda under my bathroom sink and dump about a 1/4 cup (I have long hair!) into another plastic cup.

1. Wet hair
2. Dump a teaspoon of baking soda into your hand and make a paste with water.
3. Scrub scalp and hair systematically; repeat until baking soda is gone.
4. Rinse thoroughly.
5. Add water to lemon juice.
6. Carefully pour lemon juice and water mixture into your hair.
7. Let it sit for a minute or two. Rinse.

Done! I'm telling you, my hair feels so silky smooth afterwards. As for the smell, there is none. When your hair smells all fruity and flowery when you get done shampooing your hair, that's because it's leaving something in your hair, causing nasty build-up. This routine truly cleans your hair, leaving absolutely no smell behind at all.

At a maximum, I only wash twice a week. I know for some of you that's going to send shivers down your spine, but it seriously doesn't need it. Today is a wash day and it doesn't even feel, look or smell greasy. If I really feel the need to wash it on an off day, I'll just do a lemon juice rinse.

Do I have any no 'poo readers? I'd love to hear what routine you use!


  1. That sounds fantastic, my hair has so much buildup in it from all the leave in products I'm using to combat the humidity, I'm going to try this tomorrow, thanks!!! you are inspiring me!!

  2. Lemon juice, eh? That sounds interesting. Think I can use the "real lemon" juice from a bottle??
    Right now I'm using Ivory soap (the bar kind) to wash my hair and rinsing with water-diluted ACV. I was frizzing out pretty badly, tho, and got to wondering if I was getting all of the Ivory out of my hair, so am now alternating with regular shampoo and conditioner. Not something I want to do.
    Glad you've found something you're happy with! How long have you been using this lemon method? Do you ever need a deep conditioning? (I'm hoping lemon juice doesn't dry your hair out as much as ACV)

  3. Hmm, I am intrigued. I use baking soda for everything from an exfoliant, to toothpaste, to cleaning product. Now that you have worked out the kinks in your shampooing, I may have to try. I have a couple questions.
    1. Does the lemon juice lighten your hair? I don't want that to happen.
    2. Do you think your hair was greasy/scalp dry in the early stages because you didn't have the right mix or because your scalp was adjusting?

  4. Bunny - Let me know how it goes! Actually, I've been using baking soda in my hair for years. Every month or so I'd give it a good scrub to combat build-up. So even if you don't want to go all out, you could still benefit from the baking soda!

    Kalinda - Hmmmm, I'm not sure. I guess it would work. Certainly would be easier than squeezing a lemon everytime I wash my hair! As for drying out - lemon is definitely better than ACV! I've been using it for about two months now and I don't feel like I need any conditioner. I give my hair a good brush every night before bed and I think that helps distribute the oils throughout my hair.

    Joy - As far as I can tell, the lemon hasn't lightened my hair...and my hair is really dark. I think as long as you rinse really well, it shouldn't be a problem. As for my early problems, I think my scalp was just adjusting. I also think I was washing too often and baking soda and ACV can dry out your hair if you use them too much. I think I've found the pefect balance now!

  5. I attempted no poo a while back and gave up during the grease phase. I got my hair cut and that was the end of it, but Id really like to give it another try!
    Im going to try the lemon juice instead of the vinegar. Im not a fan of any kind of vinegar anywhere near my face LOL
    Thanks for the update and you have inspired me to give it another go.

  6. Your post is giving me motivation to try the no poo again. I tried it once last year and gave up when my hair wa SSOOO greasy! I never thought to try w/ lemon - so may try again and use that instead of ACV. Since it didnt work out, I've been trying to buy more "natural" shampoos (have tried a shampoo bar too) but I feel like my hair just isnt as soft as w/ traditional shampoos. So I may need one more try w/ no poo : )

  7. I never shampoo my hair. With hair curly like mine, it is actually better not to shampoo. I only use conditioner. It defines the curls and cleans your hair.

    But this is a cool idea! Probably won't ever do it cuz I love my lavender conditioner, but great post!

  8. I've been very tempted to try this. One day...maybe...I'll be brave enough.

  9. I have rarely used normal shampoo in the past few years. I have curly hair too and it's so much better. Mostly I use Suave naturals conditioner to "wash" and I use Jessicurl conditioner. I also do a "honey rinse" sometimes. One good way to combat the "itchies" is a mix of conditioner and brown sugar. You scrub it into the itchy places and then rinse. Works pretty well.

  10. Hey - I nominated you for an Honest Scrap award. Play along if you want, but don't feel obligated. Check out my site for the details!

  11. I am a rapid 'poo user...which sounds gross when I put it that way but it is true! AND I wash my hair every day...sometimes twice because I am such a walking grease mop. For real!

    Just stopping by from MBC...

  12. I'm going to try this today!! My hair is super long (a few inches above my waist) and I have to wash it all the time. I would love to only do it once a week, but by day 2 it is so greasy I have to wash it... Thanks for a great post!!!

  13. I've also been trying to think of a way to ditch my conventional shampoo/cond. Especially after I heard about all the bad stuff that's even present in baby shampoo. I'm going to try this out, but in the meantime I'll keep an eye out for a natural shampoo that's already bottled! Have you heard of the Ecostore? Someone just posted about it on another blog but I haven't had a chance to check it out yet...

  14. I've never heard of the no 'poo wash. It seems interesting. I'll have to try it. I like that I only need to wash my hair 2x/week. Probably will start after the holidays. And BTW happy 4th!

  15. Kudos to you, Molly! I believe that the end result would be fabulous, but I don't know if I'll ever screw up the courage to go through the transitional process. Did you wear a hat all the time? How did you handle going out of the house?

  16. Just a little update, Molly- I'm on day 4 and could still conceivably go out in public!! It doesn't look greasy at all and it doesn't smell like anything. I am really, really excited about this! Thanks again!!!

  17. Mindy - I practically wore a ponytail every day. Thankfully, it didn't look as awful as it felt, but I was extremely self-concious.

    Mary - Yeah! I'm so glad it's going well! Keep me updated!

  18. Just stumbled across your blog. I love this 'no poo wash' definitely going to give it a whirl. Wonderful blog as well, so nice to find other crunchy mommies;-)

  19. Hi I found your blog link on babycenter. Very cool.

    Anyway I started no poo when I was 3 months into my pregnancy and quit at 8 months. I tried so hard to make it work but my hair just never did ungrease. I loved the concept of no chemicals in my hair and its so weird how just baking soda and acv made your hair have no odors. I recently switched back to poo but its all organic with no harmful chemicals. This last few weeks of my pregnancy I've been so tired and I've been so frustrated with my greasy hair so I switched :( I feel like such a quitter.

  20. I quit using shampoo on my hair about a year ago after reading the book Curly Girl. It is lovely not to have to buy shampoo anymore.

    I also use a little bit of baking soda to clean my scalp and then I rinse with a little vinegar mixed into a jug of water. Works really well. I laughed with another friend who also quit using shampoo to be sure we tell people that we no longer 'shampoo' our hair, not to say we no longer 'wash' our hair (as was our first inclination). You get some funny looks when you say you don't wash your hair. ;-) I also found that getting through the first 2-3 weeks was the toughest but luckily the Curly Girl book had warned me about this transition time and I knew it would soon end.

  21. I started using baking soda to wash my hair - it does clean beautifully but it does lighten the hair. Using lemon as a last rinse does give hair a natural shine. If the hair is feeling dry or the scalp is itchy - applying oil to the hair before washing is a wonderfully conditioning treatment. adding some essential oils like lavender, tea tree (can help with lice too!)is great, can help with dandruff as well. However I have not been able to figure out how to wash the oil off without using shampoo. In India, we use a herbal shampoo - boil some soap nuts with some other herbs - used to work really well when I was younger and had the time to prepare these things and apply them.