No-Poo Adventures: Treating My Hair to a Chemical-Free Existence

Sooooo… I learned about this no-poo method from a friend in the US.  My US friends are hippies.  They love all things “green” and organic, and are all into healthy living.  I’m not that crazy, but I am looking for ways to cut back my overhead cost.  So she sends me this link and my curiosity is promptly piqued.

Before living here in Australia, I lived in a tropical hell-hole very close to the equator, where there are only two seasons- hot and hotter.  So you can imagine how sweaty people can get.  I took a bath and washed my hair twice a day, and I still didn’t feel clean enough.  With that kind of hygiene habit, I hit Australia and was rewarded with dry, lifeless, flaky, dull hair that made me look like a fat scarecrow.  Most of my research pointed to either purchasing an expensive hair product or not washing my hair everyday, which just made my skin crawl.  The thought of not shampooing everyday was just nasty.

But I was getting desperate.  I looked at least ten years older than I really am, adding to the sad fact that I am at least 10kgs heavier than I want to be.  If I can’t be skinny any time soon, at least I can have great hair, yes?

And so the No-Poo method promises (quoted from the above link):

  • More Body
  • Easier to Style Hair
  • Less Oily Hair
  • Less Frizz and Fly-Aways (Great for curly hair ladies)
  • Added Shine
  • SAFE for Dyed Hair
  • GREAT for Grey Hair (commercial shampoos can cause grey hair to yellow – boo!)
  • FEWER hair washings, as your scalp will no longer be over producing oils
  • NO chemicals on your hair, scalp or washing down the drain (BONUS!)
  • MORE money in your pocket, cuz let’s face it, baking soda and vinegar cost pennies per wash (DOUBLE BONUS!)
  • NEW hair growth (for some people)

Immediately, I was sold.  I chose the baking soda and squirt bottle method, with apple cider vinegar spray rinse.  Most of the blogs I read suggested the following measurements:

  • 1 tbs baking soda to 1 cup water
  • 2 tbs white vinegar to 1 cup water for normal to oily hair
  • 2 tbs apple cider vinegar to 1 cup water for normal to dry hair

But I changed mine to 1 tbs baking soda to half cup of water, as I knew that my hair would become hay-like.  With my mixture, the water felt a little slippery.  My hair felt like hay while being washed with the BS mixture.  As stressed in all the blogs I have read, I rinsed thoroughly and deliberately, scrubbing my scalp with the pads of my fingers for good measure.

After rinsing off the BS mixture, I sprayed on my ACV mixture to the tips of my hair, taking care not to get it on the roots as I was forewarned of how greasy it will become.  I combed the mixture through, just to be sure I got ACV on everything.

As it was summer here in Australia when I began, I had the luxury of fan-drying it.  I’ve never been a fan of hair dryers, really.  So I avoid it as much as I can.  Again, not being a hippy, just don’t like to add cost to my sky-high electric bill.  Lo and behold, no one could tell that I did not use shampoo.  Obviously, my hair didn’t smell like strawberries anymore (which is probably the only thing I miss about shampooing), but it didn’t stink as I was expecting.  It had absolutely no smell.  We walked around the city all day after that, and when I got home, my hair looked exactly as it did when I finished drying it.

I needed to wash by Thursday (I started on a Sunday) because that was when the natural oils came and coated my roots.  Between those days, my mane was untouched by neither water nor chemicals.  I kept worrying about the smell, thank goodness I don’t have a real life, where I am required to give that high society kiss kiss on both cheeks (or even one cheek) upon seeing a friend or acquaintance.

Since then, I’ve only had a need to wash my hair every 3-4 days (a whopping total of twice a week).  I was told that there are at least two weeks of adjustment period where the no-poo hair looks like poo.  This was, I read, the hair’s way of detoxifying itself.

This is the shot of my roots on my 19th day.  Eeewwness.  Can you tell how greasy it is?

photo 2

So my hair was not anything like what the above list of benefits had promised.  But I noticed that it began to become softer and lighter.  Not only lighter in color, but is starting to become bouncy.  There is also volume, which I have been wanting for a while now.  I even bought a teasing comb a few days before no-pooing for the first time, just so I can have a little volume.  Also, my flakes have gone!

Also, I learned from reading more blogs that you can actually lengthen the days between washing with the BS mixture by washing with water only.  This blog gave me that idea-, and I decided to have a go.  That came as a pleasant surprise to me.  So minutes after taking the above photo of my greasy roots, I went in the shower and turned it up to as hot as I can manage and scrubbed my scalp until I became very sleepy.  I fan dried it again with a wide-tooth comb and it was such a lovely feeling to feel your hair so soft like never before.

And so this is the shot of my scalp on my 20th day, the morning after I washed with hot water only.

water only water only 2

Well?  What do you think?  No grease, and it didn’t have that oily scalp smell.  And below is the shot of the back of my hair.


Ta-daaaa!  As if I just shampooed.

Reading more than one blog about this no-poo method was a little disheartening because I read a lot of negative comments.  Their hair still looked greasy.  The hair still was like straw.  Blah blah blah.  I guess I’m lucky that I found the proportions of ingredients that work on me.  On my 20th day of no-pooing, it’s looking very promising.

So if you, dear reader, are going to go no-poo as well, I recommend washing your hair with very warm to hot water (the hottest your scalp can stand) between BS mixture washing to extend the period without washing, thus allowing your hair to produce natural oils.  Also, very important, I have to stress that you should brush your hair with 100% boar bristle brush.  Boar bristles have a way of spreading the natural oils down the shaft that your hair produces.  I’ve always been a fan of boar bristles.  So I have two.

This one is from a beauty supply store in the neighbourhood, not too expensive, but effective.

photo 1






This one below I found in Queen Victoria Market for ‘$20.  It’s a round brush, so it’s perfect for blow drying also.  Personally, I prefer this one because the longer man-made bristles massage my scalp.

photo 2

Do let me know about your adventure!  I’d love to hear it.  And if there’s anything you do to keep your hair smelling fresh, leaving a pleasant scent when you flip your hair or turn your head, I am dying to find out!


DIY Donatella