All About ‘No-Poo’

October 20th, 2009 - filed under: The Fashion » Beauty and Cosmetics


This month’s Mission was to go ‘no-poo’. There was a lot of interest in the Mission, but that interest came coupled with all sorts of questions. Well of course it did! Inquisitive minds are intelligent minds, and my readers are the curious-est!

So I’ve written up a little faq on the no-poo hair care system, an expanded addendum to accompany this Mission. I hope it helps to clear up the confusion!

What is the point of no-poo?
No-poo is a method of natural hair maintenance, including cleaning and healing, to be continued indefinitely. No-poo replaces conventional shampoo and conditioner, allowing your hair to self-regulate.

How does it work?
Baking soda and vinegar, of course! (would you expect anything else from me?) The goal is to ‘mess with’ your hair as little as possible, applying the baking soda (BS) and apple cider vinegar (ACV) once a week or less. Some people eventually remove the BS and ACV all together, and stick solely to water. Others continue the BS and ACV forever, but decrease the frequency and increase the dilution ratio over time.

You should still ‘water-wash’ your hair whenever you shower (not more than once daily), by running your hair under water and massaging with your fingers. Brush your hair carefully and thoroughly to distribute the natural oils that are essential to healthy hair. Finally, don’t overdo it! A little BS goes a long way (ha!)

But why would you do that???
I’ve written in the past about harmful chemicals in cosmetics, and shampoo is no exception. Common offenders include sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate, the detergents/surfactants that have been linked to all sorts of terrible troubles. There are tons of other worrisome additives lurking in your shampoo and conditioner too, variable by brand.

Then of course, there’s the oil industry connection. Yup, shampoo contains petroleum products, in the form of ‘mineral oils’. These byproducts are added to give your hair that extra shine, – by coating it in petroleum! Ick.

And finally, if all that isn’t enough to convince you, how about the cost? It’s just cheap ol’ baking soda and vinegar, and you use a lot less of it too. Can’t beat that!

So why baking soda? What does it do?
Believe it or not, water will remove the vast (vast!) majority of grit and residue found in ‘dirty’ hair. But for those tough times, BS does the rest. BS is oh-so-slightly alkaline, is a natural deodorizer, and gently scours away dirt and product build-up.

Apply the BS (try it in a squirt bottle) to the roots, gently massaging it thoroughly over the scalp. Allow it to sit and then rinse in warm water to cleanse and clarify.

So why vinegar? What does it do?
Conditioner was invented to replace the oils stripped by harsh detergents (that’s shampoo). Without the nasty, drying, stripping soap, there’s no need for extra oils. Vinegar can do it all!

ACV is mildly acidic, with about 3-5% acid content in most store brands. Most importantly, the tincture restores desirable pH. It seals the cuticle while detangling and clarifying hair. Additionally, it promotes circulation in the scalp and reduces flaking or peeling skin. No dandruff!

Apply ACV (try it in a spray bottle) to the shafts and scalp. Distribute evenly and allow to sit. Rinse with cool water to soften hair, reduce frizz, and restore curls.

What about the transition period?
If you use normal shampoo, your hair is accustomed to being stripped of it’s natural oil. When this stops, the hair freaks out for a bit! This can cause an ‘oily period’ where the scalp is overcompensating. Just give yourself a few weeks to re-adjust.

What are the benefits of all this?
A lot! People who no-poo claim:
• volume
• shininess
• bounciness
• softness
• cleaner/clearer scalp
• less breaks/shedding (more elasticity)
• less need for styling products

And that’s all there is to it . . . so what are you waiting for!?

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Hi Connie, well it really just depends on the individual. For me these days I use the whole batch of baking soda mix (1 tbsp in a cup of water), and then as many spritzes of vinegar as I see fit. =)

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  • Jessica

    Just tried it out for the first time a few mins ago. Right off that bat I will say I was a little skeptical, but wow it seems to have worked. The baking soda actually cleaned my hair, I know I shouldn’t be surprised but give me a break! Lol and I was SHOCKED when the vinegar made my hair feel so soft and LIGHT even wet in the shower! Can’t wait to see how it dries!

  • starsoftheocean

    i’ve been using ACV for a couple months now and as a teen who coveted yummy smelling shampoos, the smell was a huge bummer for me. So, I recently added 3 sticks of cinnamon into my ACV mixture and it definitely helps with the smell! Note: Adding the cinnamon a day or two before using it helps it spread throughout the solution.

  • Jennstretch

    Ok so I’d really like to try this. I suffer from dandruff and hair breakage and it’s driving me nuts. I’ve tried to find products without the major chemicals but I still don’t find it that great. Judging by all the positive feedback this just might be my scalps ticket to freedom. Thanks a bunch! <3

  • Dbakeca Italia

    good to know

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  • Mireia

    And how do you maintain the nice curls without washing your hair? I have a thin curly hair and the only moment my hair looks really nice is after washing it, with very defined and natural waves. The next day, especially after sleeping, it is a super mess and I have to tie it up. Any tips or advice from curly girl to curly girl? ;)

  • Diana

    I just started doing no-poo last week! (I’m definitely in the oily phase as my hair adjusts). I would love for you to do an update/info post on some of these body care posts that are so many years old!

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