How to Go “No Poo” – You Tell Me Because I’m Clueless!

How to Go No Poo

Thanks to my friend Jenny at Conscientious Confusion I have decided to take the “No Poo” pledge for 2012!  My hair is actually quite healthy and I’m not overly dependent on hair care products.  I hate mousse, gels, and other products that promise to make your hair bouncy or full or sleek.  I embraced the fact that my hair will always be straight and will never hold a curl or bounce for more than 5 minutes.  When I add all of those other products to my hair it just weighs it down and makes it look frumpy and dirty.  I’ve never paid much attention to my shampoo and conditioners either.  For the past year I have been using TRESemme Naturals and I’ve never even researched the ingredients to find out just how ‘natural’ they really are.  The worst thing that I do to my hair is color it 3-4 times a year.  I’m a highlight and color junkie and I love to cover up the grey (shhh…you’d never know by looking at me how old I am so I won’t let my hair give it away).  Regardless of my current hair care routine I’ve always been intrigued by “No Poo.”

What is “No Poo”?  It’s a method of giving up traditional shampoos and using natural products such as baking soda and apple cider vinegar to regulate the chemistry of your hair without harsh chemicals.  Those who go “No Poo” swear by how healthy their hair is after a few short weeks.  I’ve only just began researching all of the different ‘recipes’ but the basic concept is:

Baking Soda = Shampo

Apple Cider Vinegar = Conditioner

The trick is finding the right combination of the two that will work for your hair style and type.  I’ve tried this for 3 days and I’m at a loss.  I guess I’m actually going to have to research all the different recipes and combinations because I can’t figure this one out on my own.

Day 1:  I dissolved a tablespoon of baking soda in about 1 cup of warm water (in a peri bottle I had left unopened from childbirth).  When I was showering I squeezed the solution onto my hair trying to pay attention to the roots.  Rinse.  My hair was actually quite dirty the first day I tried this so I was really nervous that I wouldn’t get it clean.  I followed this with a solution of 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar in about 1 cup of warm water (in an old shampoo bottle) and squeezed that out over my “no poo’d” hair.  Rinse.  Dry and Style.  Results:  Ugh, my hair feels dingy and dirty.  It was actually quite soft at the ends but the roots felt dirty.  Maybe I used too much vinegar.

Day 2:  After day 1 I really felt defeated already (even though people told me to be patient) and washed with regular shampoo and conditioner to get it back to normal.

Day 3-4:  I got lazy and kept up this same routine with regular shampoo and conditioner.

Day 5:  Ok, I’ve finally decided to try “No Poo” again!  Today I decided to add slightly more baking soda to the solution and to skip the apple cider vinegar all together.  Rinse.  Dry.  Style.  My hair felt squeaky clean in the shower and was more difficult to comb than usual.  I could tell that I didn’t use conditioner (which I use 100% of the time just for the soft feel and to untangle my tresses).  I dried as normal but could see that I was going to be a hot mess!  My hair is incredibly dry and the ends are frizzy.  It feels really clean at the roots but the ends are overly dry.  I guess I did need the vinegar after all.

After a little more research tonight I’m going to wait a day or two to wash until my hair has restored some of the moisture naturally that the baking soda removed.  Then I’m going to create a paste (versus a solution) with the baking soda and only apply to the roots.  Finally I’m going to use slightly less vinegar and only apply it to the ends of my hair where they get dry the quickest.

Will you join me as I continue my experiment?  Will you share with me your tips and personal experiences?  Join the conversation in the comments section below or on Facebook.  Have you made any green resolutions for 2012?  Join me by taking the Pledge to Go Green in 2012 and pledge to make one small change each month.    

More about my hair:  I have naturally straight hair with very little body.  I typically use a hair straightener to get the style just perfect. That’s about it!

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  1. says

    OK, about to do a new post on this (Monday) but I found out from my friends at the Aveda Institute yesterday that the baking soda is going to make our color-treated hair more porous (hence the dryness issue – I’m having it too). They recommended to me that we only use baking soda once a week at the most. I am just rinsing my hair now and using the apple cider vinegar. I also use my homemade dry shampoo on the roots if they look greasy. More info on Monday on Conscientious Confusion!
    Jenny B recently posted..Cloth diaper Thurs: Thirsties DuoMy Profile

  2. CourtneyB says

    I have tried no poo on my daughter, who is 2 and has curly hair quite the opposite of mine. I only wash it a few times a week (like every 3 days or so) and I find that putting the vinegar in a spray bottle works well to distribute evenly and lightly. I also had to come up with a leave in conditioner because her curls need SUPER incredibly large ammounts of moisture…. so I took another spray bottle and filled it with distilled water, then added a generous tablespoon of pure avocado oil and a few drops of lavender essential oil. She loves the way it smells, and I love the fact that it makes her hair so much easier to mannage!

  3. Emily says

    I have a question also for those who go “no poo”. What do you do when you get your hair cut? Do you just not have them wash it? (That’s my favorite part!) Or, does it work ok to occasionally have your hair washed with shampoo? (I only get my hair cut about twice a year.)

    • says

      My hairdresser will freak out on me if I tell her what I’m doing! I want to see if she notices. I will probably let her wash it normally. After all the shampoo/conditioner she uses is far less damaging then the color I use. Let’s just ignore that for the moment. :)

  4. Lowela says

    The people who seem to have the most positive experiences doing this have curly, dry, or frizzy hair, none of which are true for me. However, some people also counterintuitively say that this technique also benefits greasy hair. The claim is that when too much of your natural oil is cleaned off, your sebaceous glands detect that there is not enough and will overproduce oil to compensate.
    Lowela recently posted..provillus reviewsMy Profile

  5. Elle says

    Hi! I began the “no poo” in 2012 too and just wanted to share some tips I have come across in my hours of research to get this routine right! I have used 1 tbsp baking soda dissolved in a cup of water followed by 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar dissolved in a cup of water as a rinse. The key with the baking soda solution seems to be to really scrub and work it into your hair after you pour it on. Give your scalp an intense massage and go over every part of your scalp, particularly the crown, until your arms are sore. I massage the baking soda into my hair for at least two minutes. My understanding is that using a paste (less water, more baking soda) can be damaging to the hair cuticle and too drying. The solution should feel like water, not a gritty paste. Then I pour the Apple Cider Vinegar solution over my hair and let it sit for two minutes before rinsing out with water. If you have very dry ends, try dipping them in a cup of the ACV rinse first so they get extra conditioning. It is important to cover your whole head with the ACV as it will neutralize the pH of your hair and prevent damage to the acid mantle of the scalp from the alkalinity of the baking soda. It also acts as a conditioner and prevents tangles. If ACV is too moisturizing, you can use white vinegar instead.

    Another option if you aren’t enjoying the baking soda is a natural shampoo bar, followed by the ACV rinse. I’ve heard great things about “Chagrin Valley” and “JR Liggett” shampoo bars but haven’t tried them myself. The shampoo bars won’t strip the natural oil from your hair so they are a good natural sulphate-free alternative to the baking soda rinse and still very affordable and eco-friendly :-)

    • Barb says

      I just started using the Chagrin Valley shampoo bars. I bought several sample sizes to find which one worked best for me. I am loving the one that works best for my hair. All natural ingredients and a great price. I think the sample size should last me at least 3 months! I still have not found the best way to condition my hair, but I am working on the ACV rinse ratio.

  6. Deana says

    I use aloe Vera to maintain the thickness and have a shiny hair. A lot of benefits can get through using this natural plant. Aside from using shampoo and conditioner, put aloe Vera gel after the conditioner and observe the difference after using it.


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