Yep, that’s right. I ditched shampoo and conditioner over a year ago.
You may or may not have heard about the ‘no poo hair care method but it basically means giving up chemicals and washing your hair with natural products. Like anything, there are pros and cons so I’m going to cover them here as well as my own Hair Care Journey!
Grab a cuppa, this might be a long one!
I had done EVERYTHING to my hair. It has been bleached, dyed, dreadlocked (not intentionally), cut, undercut, backcombed, hair sprayed… the list goes on.
BUT I got to the stage a couple of years ago where my hair was greasy at the roots, dry at the tips, tangled from constant backcombing and I was having to wash it every day. It was flat, lank and too slippery to do anything with.
Just so you’re aware, my hair dream is to be able to get up and go without any styling, products or time spent on my hair and this was not happening in any shape or form; not even close! (I also realise that this is a lot to ask, but I was willing to try).
So I hunted far an wide on the interwebz and came across the “no ‘poo” movement.
What is “no ‘poo”?
It means washing your hair with only natural substances and no shampoo or conditioner. These include: water, baking soda, rye flour and raw honey.
I read endless amounts of blogs and articles and found that the main points are:
- Shampoo strips your hair of natural oils, resulting in your body over producing the oils to make up for it and therefore making your hair greasy. The more you use shampoo the more frequently you’ll NEED to use it. This means a vicious circle of ever increasing greasy hair and a load of profit for the hair/beauty industry. YUCK to both of these.
The History: Shampoo was invented in the 1930s and people washed their hair at the most once a week. Obviously this has increased due to the oil stripping nature it inflicts upon your hair.
Also as shampoo steals the oils, there is then a need for conditioner. Try using only shampoo and your hair will be dry and sad within a week (or so I found).
- Not using shampoo and conditioner doesn’t mean you don’t have to use dye, hair spray or any other product BUT it will work better if you go totally cold turkey. I don’t use ANYTHING else on my hair, not even a hair dryer. Maybe sometimes a hair dryer… But only on a low heat.
- When you first give up the ‘poo, there will be an icky transition period that could last for a few days to a couple of months. This will depend on your hair type and previous hair routine. In this time it could be extra greasy, have dry periods or be all over the place but if you stick with it, it’s so worth it!
- Everyone’s hair is different so you have to work out which method and how often works best for you.
Ok, so what can you use to wash your hair?
Here are of the options that I experimented with:
Raw honey: I used this right at the beginning so my hair was very greasy. I tried it again after about 3 weeks and it still made it greasy so I decided this wasn’t for me at this time.
I used a tablespoon of honey in a cup of filtered water and heated it to melt the honey. It’s very runny and wasn’t the easiest to distribute through my hair.
Although, after a while I found this worked really well just on the ends of my hair. It made them really soft and healthy.
BUT, I recently became vegan so once this current bottle of honey is used up I won’t be buying anymore!
Baking soda: The most common method I found was baking soda and apple cider vinegar. Mixing baking soda with water so it dissolves and scrub it into your scalp, rinse and the same with apple cider vinegar. If your hair is greasy use more baking soda and only put the vinegar on the ends. If it’s dry, use more vinegar.
After researching I found that baking soda can damage your hair if you use it too much and too often. I used just a little bit in the first couple of weeks (without vinegar) but as my hair has been bleached and dyed, I didn’t want to risk further damage. So I gave up the baking soda!
Rye flour: I love rye flour! It works for my hair; it makes it shiny and obedient with LOADS of volume.
I used a couple of tablespoons of flour mixed with filtered water so it’s a similar consistency to normal shampoo. I use it in a little squeezy bottle so it’s easy to distribute it and massage it all over my head.
After rinsing and towel drying I use a tiny bit of coconut oil in the ends. This provides extra vitamins and moisture for dry, damaged hair. Don’t use too much though, as that will result in a greasy mess for a few days!
I used this method for the first few months and then my hair started to change again.
Water: You might not think it, but water works! Wet your hair and really scrub and massage your scalp. You MUST scrub, it gets the oils distributed and cleans the hair follicles. I use hot water first and then a cold water rinse afterwards.
After a year and a half, my hair has settled and water does the trick. I wash it once or twice a week, and after towel drying I put coconut oil into the ends to keep them moisture-happy.
While these methods did/didn’t work for me, feel free to try them for yourself. Everyone’s hair is different so find your own method. My hair has been particularly battered by products and I think this is why it took quite a while to settle and went through so many changes!
Right, now it’s time for my Hair Journey!
Week 1: A horrible greasy mess is what I had! I had to wear my hair up and with a head scarf tied round. Try to just wash your hair with water at this point; it will get the worst out the way as quick as possible. If it’s unbearable use a tiny amount of baking soda mixed with filtered water.
Also, plan this stage ideally when you have no fun events/parties/holidays as you probably won’t enjoy leaving the house haha!
This photo doesn’t really do it justice…
Week 2: This week I still wore my hair up but had my fringe down (my fringe already had more volume). It was starting to get less greasy at this point. Wherever there’s more hair, the more greasy it will be. So the edges were ok, the top and back were the worst parts.
Week 3: At around 3 weeks I used a bit too much coconut oil and tried using honey again so backtracked a bit. After it got over that, I started to see real improvement. I noticed at this stage that my hair got much lighter and super wavy!
Week 4: I turned a corner this week! I used rye flour for the first time and my hair loved it. It made it soft and shiny but with SO much volume! The top/back bit is still a bit greasy but other than that it was so big and wavy!
Week 5: I settled into a routine by this time. I washed every other day with water, remembering to really scrub into the scalp. Once a week I washed with rye flour. If it got greasy at all I use a little bit of oat flour massaged into the roots.
Overall my hair was softer and shiny but BIG. I tried everything previously to get my hair as big as possible, and it always ended up flat and lank by the end of the day. I also couldn’t ever get a comb through it because I had backcombed and tangled it so much. After 5 weeks it was tangle free and much more manageable. Also I noticed that if I woke up with my hair all over the place, after brushing it it would do exactly as it was told.
After 4 months: It was so wiggly and I could wake up and BOOM my hair was done after a quick brush through.
After 18 months:
Now most of the dye/bleach has grown out, it’s more silky with soft waves. I cut my fringe into this style, brushed it through and took this photo. There was no blow drying, hair spraying, styling or photo editing in anyway. I currently wash it once or twice a week with hot and then cold water. I use coconut oil on the ends to add moisture and keep it in tiptop condition. I still trim the ends every few weeks as they will still split if left for too long.
Here’s some tips to remember if you try going no ‘poo:
- It takes time! But stick it out, because it’s so worth it!
- Use a bristle brush as this helps to distribute the oils to the ends of the hair.
- A little bit of oat flour massaged into the roots helps on greasy days!
I would advise everyone to try this. It works SO well if you give it a chance, it’s cheaper and more convenient than conventional hair products. It’s easy on the planet too!
If you want any advise or have any questions, please ask in the comments or via social media.