Wednesday, September 14, 2011

No Pooing -- it's a family affair

This is probably the least expensive product I've ever written about for Review It Wednesday. As a matter of fact, it's pretty darn cheap. So if you're looking to save some bucks, read on.

It's also one of the most environmentally-friendly things I do. So if you're looking for to green up your life a bit more, read on.

Of course, it's possible the title of this post intrigued you. So if that's the case, I invite you to read on ... with an open mind.

My husband, my daughters and I are at various stages in our No Pooing journey. I started it about 3 or 4 months ago, followed by my husband, then Bethany, then Jess.  What does it mean? It means we are shampoo-free and loving it!

This morning ... after no pooing yesterday

I, literally, have not shampooed my hair in months. And my hair has never looked or felt better! My daughter's hair is looking rather lovely, too.

Bethany could do an ad for hair products, but she's not using any!
Photo by Kristie Miller

Look how lovely Jess's hair looks!
Photo by Kristie Miller

So ... if we're not shampooing, what exactly are we doing? We're No Pooing, a process that has been around for quite a few years now, although I couldn't pin down a starting point, or the person to attribute the 'No Pooing' phrase to. I did find info dating back to 2004 about the method.

Why the personal boycott on shampoo? For some of the same reasons I no longer use laundry detergent, fabric softener or traditional cleaning products -- it's healthier, both for me and for the environment. Not to mention the economic factor. Let's face it -- good shampoos and conditioners are expensive.

Commercial hair products are loaded with chemicals that have been linked to a whole slew of health issues, including cancer. Granted, there are organic products out there that are safe to use. While they may not hurt you, they certainly do hurt the wallet!

How do you keep your hair clean, if you're not using shampoo?

Excellent question! It's simple. I mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda in a cup of warm water and then apply the solution to my hair (after mixing well with my finger). You can do this in a small squirt bottle, which gives you the ability to target different sections of your scalp, or you can do it my way. I just pour a little bit at a time along my scalp and rub it in.

But there are no suds!

Nope, no suds. Which is a good thing, actually. Sudsing agents added to shampoos are totally unnecessary and just add to the excess gunk in shampoo. You don't need it.

After you rinse your hair, you'll immediately notice how soft it is. And squeaky clean.

You might have to adjust the amount of baking soda you use based on how fine or coarse, short or long your hair is. My husband cut back to 1/2 tablespoon for his fine hair.

The second part of my No Pooing success is in the rinse. I add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of water and pour it over my hair. Then I rinse it out and I'm all done. Every week or two, I mix 1/2 cup of ACV in 2 cups of water and pour it over my head without rinsing it out. I've actually been doing that for a long time now ... way before I had even heard of no pooing.

Some people opt to skip the vinegar rinse and others only apply the vinegar solution to the ends of their hair, avoiding the crown of their head completely.

Here are a couple of warnings:
  • Avoid getting the ACV in your eyes! Let me tell you ... it burns!
  • Do not use the vinegar while washing with goat's milk soap. If you do, you'll experience what I did one morning ... a shower stall that smelled like someone had just thrown up all over me. Not pleasant!
The results from No Pooing will vary. My daughter, Bethany, has coarser hair than me and the ACV smell lingers on her hair. With my hair, there is no residual odor. She switched to distilled white vinegar as a result, which is certainly an option (and a cheaper one, at that!). Now she's back to ACV, but just uses less (she was using 2 - 3 tablespoons per cup of water).

If you have frizzy hair, you'll notice the frizzies are gone. No need for extra product to tame them! As a matter of fact, I no longer use any products in my hair whatsoever. And it's full of body and healthier than it's ever been. Oh wait, there is one chemical product I admit to still using ... hair dye. I'm not quite ready to give up on that yet. Just because I'm a grandma, doesn't mean I have to look like one, does it?

One more benefit of No Pooing is that it eliminates dandruff and scalp flaking. I'm thrilled about that! The idea that I don't have to use anti-dandruff chemically-loaded shampoo anymore, is worth celebrating!

Another thing you need to know is that it takes awhile for your hair and scalp to adjust to this new method of cleansing. Sometimes, it may be up to 3 - 4 weeks before you start reaping the benefits, at least appearance-wise. You'll find your hair is greasier than usual. That is normal! Eventually, that will go away.

Why does your scalp need to adjust?

When you shampoo, you strip your hair of natural oils. Your scalp senses this, so it starts to overproduce more oil. So you shampoo again and the cycle continues ... for years and years and years. When you stop shampooing, your scalp needs an adjustment period. That's what's happening in those first few weeks. Adjustment.

But once you navigate through those weeks, you'll discover less and less oil in your hair and you'll end up washing your hair less as well. I wash mine every 3 to 4 days. Seriously.

That's about it. I could go on and on about the harmful ingredients in most shampoos and conditioners, but you probably know all of that already. If you want to read more about No Pooing and someone else's experience, head over to the Uniquely Normal Mom blog where I first learned about this amazing hair washing system. She's been doing this for over 2 years and has the answers for questions you might have.

Wishing you clean and squeaky hair,



  1. I'm going to start tonight. Thanks for sharing! I might look like a greaser on Friday night!

  2. Thanks so much for the shout out, GG! Glad to hear things are going so well for you - although I shouldn't be surprised, No Poo rocks! :)


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