It has been 1 year since I’ve used shampoo & conditioner to wash my hair! (This Monday, Sept. 5th, to be exact). Now, before you judge me (I know it sounds gross), let me explain what I’ve been using to clean my hair instead of shampoo, and why going “no ‘poo” is better than using commercial shampoos to clean your hair.
HOW I CLEAN MY HAIR WITHOUT SHAMPOO (THE NO ‘POO METHOD):
To replace shampoo - Use 1 tablespoon of baking soda mixed into 1 cup of warm water. I put this in a small reusable bottle with a sports bottle top (pictured above, on left). This makes it easy to open the top and squeeze a bunch over the top of my head in the shower. This recipe can be multiplied to fill a larger bottle, if you’d prefer. Baking soda is used to cleanse and deodorize. Applying a little baking soda to your hair will clean your hair and remove build up from use of products and chemical shampoos.
To replace conditioner - Make a hair rinse by combining 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with 1 cup of water. Apply to hair (after cleaning hair with baking soda mixture), and rinse out with cold water. I double or triple this recipe to fill a large spray bottle (which I bought empty, at a dollar store; pictured above on the right). That way, I don’t have to make this mixture very often since it lasts me a while. The apple cider vinegar rinse does not have to be used with every wash. If you have thinner or more oily hair, you probably won’t need to use the ACV rinse very often, maybe once a week, or every few washes. If your hair is thicker, or tends to be dry, you may have to use the ACV rinse more often, or even after every baking soda cleanse. Experiment to see what’s best for you. And don’t worry, it’ll only smell like apple cider vinegar while your applying it. As soon as it’s rinsed out, you won’t smell it at all! ACV helps to balance the pH level of your hair, as well as clarifies and detangles hair, while sealing the hair’s cuticle.
After trying the ACV/water mixture alone for a few months, I decided to enhance this step by boiling my water portion and steeping tea bags in the water before mixing the ACV. You can use whatever herbs or tea you’d like to get extra nutrients into your hair. I use black tea — black tea is recommended for brunette hair, and it also provides anti-oxidants & additional nutrients to the cleansing process.
Cleaning your hair with BS and ACV allows your hair to take control over itself, naturally. Once your hair is allowed to fully function on it’s own, and it’s oil glands are under control, you will most likely not need to use hair products anymore since your hair can do what’s right. People who have gone no ‘poo claim that their hair is less frizzy, has nicer curls (for curly hair), and is more flat/straight (for straight hair) — and it’s true. My hair has probably never been healthier. It’s not dry or brittle, I don’t use a straightener anymore, and especially don’t use any hair products anymore. It’s just not necessary now that my hair is able to take care of itself! It takes my hair about 3-4 days of no BS/ACV cleanse to get as greasy as it used to by going just 1 day without shampoo. It’s really amazing.
WHY GO SHAMPOO & CONDITIONER FREE:
1. It’s healthier for you and your hair: Commercial shampoos and conditioners are filled with toxic chemicals. Everything from the synthetic foaming agent that causes the bubbles that we’ve learned to associate with “clean”, to the artificial fragrances that gives our hair that freshly cleaned scent, to the preservatives that allow the bottle of shampoo to sit on a shelf for months at a time before it even enters our homes, are ALL chemicals that were developed in a lab — and there’s absolutely nothing natural about them. These chemicals have been shown to cause neurological diseases (including Alzheimer’s), liver damage, and cancer. These toxins are absorbed through the skin and scalp, and are also found in basically all of our commercial personal care products (including soap, lotion, toothpaste, deodorant, make up, etc). With use of these products, toxic chemicals can get into our bloodstream, and accumulate over time. Therefore, it is important to eliminate toxic products whenever possible, or switch to an all natural alternative. — Shampoo and conditioner are two products that I have learned are completely unnecessary.
2. It’s cheaper: Switching to a completely all natural shampoo and conditioner is expensive (especially if you use shampoo and conditioner every single day, like I used to), and is really not necessary once you realize the baking soda and vinegar mixtures clean your hair just as well, for only a small fraction of the price. I’ve been using a 5 lb. bag of baking soda for the past year and still haven’t finished the bag yet (that’s including using the baking soda for cleaning my hair, cleaning my house, baking, and for making other all natural skin care products over the last year), and I still have a good amount left! Actually, the amount that I use to clean my hair is the least amount that I use that bag of baking soda for! So aside from the fact that you probably already have baking soda & apple cider vinegar in your kitchen for other uses — BS & ACV are cheap! This is THE absolute only way to save so much money on hair products, while still keeping your hair clean. I just bought a huge 4 lb. box of BS for only $2.18! And this will last me at least a year (that’s including all of the other things I use BS for..if I were to just use the BS for my hair, it would last me a few years, I’m sure). And ACV is almost just as cheap. For a 16oz bottle of ACV (found at the grocery store), I paid just a dollar or two, and this lasted me about half of the year — considering I bought just 2 of these ACV bottles over the 1 year I’ve been using ACV as a hair rinse. So if you think about it, I’m spending about $6 over a 1 year span, and still having clean hair! Compare that to the cost of using all natural shampoo & conditioner!
3. Aside from toxins, shampoo does us more harm than good: All of us naturally have oils that come from our scalp and go to our strands of hair to provide protection and nourishment to our hair. When we wash our hair with harsh shampoos (which are really detergents that we use in our hair), our natural oils get stripped away. Most of us are led to believe that when shampoo washes away the oil in our hair, that it’s a good thing. But it’s not! Oily hair is NOT “dirty” hair. When we use shampoo, our natural oils are stripped away and our hair feels “clean” and “soft” — but these are just the shampoo’s chemicals at work, giving us that instant gratification that we seek. Overtime, these harsh chemicals cause our hair to become damaged and weak. And because these are the same chemicals that strip our hair of it’s natural oils, our hair loses it’s ability to protect itself. Also, by eliminating the natural oils in our hair and scalp as often as we do with use of shampoo, our scalp is fooled into producing more and more oil to protect and nourish our hair — often causing our hair to become greasy/excessively oily whenever we attempt to skip a few days of washing with shampoo. It’s a very vicious cycle!
*TIP: Going no ‘poo is a commitment! Within days of going no ‘poo, your hair will go through a detox period where your scalp will produce excessive amounts of oil since that’s what it was used to the entire time you’ve been using shampoo (which, for most people, is our entire lives). Since everyone is different, this detox period can last from a week or two to a month. It completely depends on your hair type and what your hair is used to. In my situation, I’ve washed my hair with shampoo and conditioner EVERY day for my entire life when I decided to go no ‘poo. Because of that, my oil glands were out of control and produced excessive amounts of oil whenever I didn’t have shampoo to wash the oils away. On top of that, my hair is rather thin and oily to begin with, so it gets that “greasy” look VERY easily. With just a day of not washing my hair with shampoo, my hair would look absolutely disgusting. So my detox period was pretty rough and lasted a week or two. During that time, I wore my hair up to cope with the greasiness. And that’s really the best advice I can give to get through the detox period — headbands and ponytails! (I’ll post a picture of my hair after a month of going no ‘poo in my next post, to prove that once you get through the detox period, no ‘poo really does work!)
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