What is the No Poo Method?
What if you don't need all those expensive, fancy products to have beautiful hair? That you can go five, 10, 15, or even 20 days between washing your hair & your hair could be cleaner than ever before. That you probably already have almost everything your hair needs to be healthy. Well friend, it’s not a fantasy! All of those things can be achieved with a natural hair care routine called “no poo”, as in “no shampoo.”
"No poo" simply means that I don't use commercial shampoo. Natural, nourishing, healthy ingredients are what make natural, nourished, healthy hair. The idea that your hair needs chemicals to be healthy is crazy! And frankly, the commercial shampoo marketers are genius to convince us of that.
Commercial shampoo as we know it was first used in the early 1930s. Drene, a Procter & Gamble "amazing shampoo discovery" (as claimed in the below ad), was the first synthetic shampoo. Daily washing wasn’t the norm until about the 1970s. Before that, people used soap, herbs, essential oils, & baking soda and washed their hair about every two weeks.
I started my no poo journey in February, 2013. I didn't wake up the next day with glorious, shiny hair. It rarely happens that way. It is a journey & process that takes time. I had three full months of transition where my hair was very difficult. This transition time is your hair detoxing the chemicals and yucky ingredients that you've been using for years and it's normal for most people. A lot of people who attempt no poo don’t make it through the transition time. I promise it is worth it if you can wait it out.
Benefits of No Poo
- There are an average of 15 toxic chemicals in a bottle of commercial shampoo. These chemicals have been linked to cancer, allergies, fertility problems, autoimmune disorders, and hormonal disturbances.
- Commercial shampoo as we know it wasn’t first used until the early 1930s. Before that, everyone used the no poo method.
- The No Poo Method works with the oil your hair naturally produces instead of working against those oils.
- People that use The No Poo Method use fewer products, spend less time styling, and go longer between washes.
- The cost savings are huge! The No Poo Method uses inexpensive, easy to find ingredients.
Why Was I Worried About The Chemicals In My Shampoo??
I was on an endless surgery cycle (or at least it seemed that way; 3 years of spine surgeries), in pain, and not healthy. So I started researching natural alternatives. And you know what I found?
Pain is linked to inflammation. Inflammation is linked to synthetic chemicals and toxins. So I started detoxing.
I started by upgrading my diet to whole foods. And I started feeling better. Then I got rid of chemical cleaning products. And I started feeling better. I was on a roll! I wanted all the yucky ingredients out of my house.
And the more toxins I removed from my life, the better I felt and the healthier I was. That brings me to no poo.
I started to look at the ingredients in hair products. I started to use natural commercial shampoos and products. They were ok. My hair didn’t love them. And they are expensive. I decided to give no poo a try. My hair is healthier, thicker, and shinier than ever!
No Poo Myths
I know I had some of these thoughts before I started no poo. So let's chat about some of the rumors:
Note: While I love hearing from you! It's extremely difficult for me to troubleshoot via email. If you need troubleshooting help, I highly recommend joining this facebook group with over 40,000 no poo-ers and ask there.
Myth #1: People that use the no poo method do not wash their hair.
While I don't use commercial shampoo, I still wash my hair. I just use natural alternatives to commercial shampoo that is full of synthetic ingredients and chemicals. When someone uses a natural cleaner to clean their house, we still call it cleaning, right? So cleaning my hair with a natural cleanser is the same thing. It’s still clean, I just use a natural cleanser. I use natural ingredients that nourish, wash, and moisturize my hair.
Learn more about the different no poo methods here.
Myth #2: No poo hair stinks.
Something I get asked more often than I’d like to think about is if my hair stinks. Nope. Naturally clean, pH balanced hair doesn't smell bad (learn about pH balanced hair care here). Before no poo, immediately after washing my hair with a fruity smelling shampoo, my hair would smell like a (synthetic) floral arrangement. But after a couple days when that smell would wear off, I’d be left with the toxic aftermath and my hair would smell a little off. Now that I have detoxed my hair and my scalp of all those nasty ingredients, my hair no longer gets “that smell” between washes. It’s the synthetic chemical buildup causing that smell. Not your hair in its natural state.
You can still add yummy, delicious, and fun scents back into your hair care routine by using essential oils if you chose. Essential oils are great for your hair & scalp health and they smell great. Here is a list of essential oils that not only smell good, but are also good for your hair. This isn't all inclusive, you can get creative with your favorite essential oils.
- Lavender (soothing)
- Cedarwood (healthy scalp and promotes hair growth)
- Peppermint (healthy scalp and promotes hair growth)
- Rosemary (healthy scalp and promotes hair growth)
- Clary Sage
- Ylang ylang
- Sandalwood (promotes hair growth)
- Lemon (photosensitive, if you have sun sensitive skin or plan on being in the sun, don't use lemon)
- Purification (my favorite essential oil ever!)
- Tea Tree (healthy scalp)
Myth #3: No poo hair is unhealthy (and ugly).
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder ;-) But I get a lot more compliments on my hair since I have gone no poo. My hair is thicker, shinier, healthier, smoother, more manageable, and grows much faster.
Myth #4: Baking Soda is the Only No Poo Method
The phrase “THE no poo method” is a little misleading. There isn’t just one no poo method; there are lots of different methods. When I say "no poo", most people think of the baking soda and apple cider vinegar method. However, I could interview 100 no poo-ers and there is a good chance that not a single one of them follow the same routine. Everyone has different hair needs and wants different results.
Many people start no poo with great intentions but quickly quit because they were using the wrong method for their hair type. Baking soda is not for everyone. A major factor in no poo-ing successfully is finding the right method for you by finding out more about your hair characteristics. Some important characteristics are:
- Curl Pattern
Some other no poo methods include rye flour, water only, oil cleansing, and clay wash. Read about them here.
Myth #5: No Poo Makes Your Hair Fall Out
It is normal to lose up to 150 strands of hair a day. If you go a week in between washing, rinsing, and brushing (be sure to keep brushing regularly in between washes. I prefer a boar bristle brush), you will have a week’s worth of fall out at once. Many no poo-ers think they are losing more hair, but really it’s just they aren’t shedding their hair everyday anymore through daily washes. So when they do wash, it comes out in bigger clumps.
Some things that could cause losing hair:
- hormones / pregnancy
- thyroid problems
- transition / detox phase
- dry or damaged hair (but this usually results in hair breaking instead of falling out at the roots)
- seasonal changes (we lose more hair when it is hot outside)
Blood circulation helps with hair growth. So massaging and scritching & preening helps.
If you are experiencing larger amounts of hair loss, it is usually a result of stress and / or diet and you should seek medical attention.
Myth #6: No Poo Causes Dandruff
Often, it’s not dandruff.
- Make sure you are rinsing your hair completely. Many of the products used in no poo are grainy. And if they are left in your hair, they could be mistaken for dandruff.
- Too much baking soda too often can and probably will damage your hair and scalp causing dryness. So try cutting back on the amount and frequency of baking soda.
- You can use a deep conditioner to combat a dry scalp. Learn how to make a personalized deep conditioner here.
- A big part of the transition period (my transition lasted 3 months) is your hair and scalp detoxing. Sometimes this results in products actually and physically being released from your hair. So you may just be detoxing (which is a good thing!).
Sometimes it is dandruff.
Dandruff can be treated with anti-fungal products and soothed with natural ingredients.
- Essential oils – check out my favorite essential oils here.
- Honey – Massage into your scalp and allow to sit for several hours. Rinse. You can do this as often as needed but at least several applications over a 2 week period.
- Apple cider vinegar – Mix with water, about a 50/50 ratio and use as a hair mask letting it sit on your scalp for 20-60 minutes, rinse. Do this up to twice a week, as long as needed.
- Probiotics – Probiotics are the good bacteria. Read all about probiotics here. Kefir or kombucha are both full of probiotics and make an excellent hair mask. I use one of those monthly. Simply massage either kefir or kombucha into your scalp and let sit for 20-60 minutes. Rinse. Repeat as often as needed. Yogurt will also work. Taking a probiotic supplement regularly may also help eliminate dandruff.
Time To Get Started!
Since I have used the no poo method, my hair has been healthier, shinier, more manageable, and grows much faster. I'm wishing you all healthy, happy hair