I’m back to ‘no poo! Back in 2012 (on the 23rd of April to be exact) I went no ‘poo for the first time and it did wonders for my hair (No ‘Poo 1.0). Back then I was used to washing my hair every single day, as well as blowdrying and straightening it with the same frequency. Going no ‘poo really made my hair look more healthy, shiny, full and wavy, not to mention how it helped me to stretch my washes, got rid of my overly greasy hair and helped me become more self assured about my appearance. But somehow (well, not really somehow, I just got lazy), during summer, I fell prey to regular shampoos and conditioners again, causing me to ditch the no ‘poo method, because I thought those regular products could bring me the same results.
But lately, my hair has been driving me insane! Nothing has been able to make it behave; it has been limp, dull, greasy and thin. I have been trying everything! I bought all these new products to do my hair with: shampoos, hair masks, conditioners, styling products, I even started blowdrying my hair again. My hair would look okay for a few hours or so, but after that it would be dry at the ends, greasy at the roots, overall limp, thinner than ever, dull, frizzy, full of split ends, I was losing hair like crazy and my hair had no nice waves anymore like it used to when I first went no ‘poo. So back to the drawing board and out of the window with all the hair products we go!
This time around I did a lot of online research on the ratios of baking soda and apple cider vinegar (acv) one should use, but there are just too many variables out there. The one most used seems to be 1 tablespoon of baking soda/acv to 1 cup of water, but 1 tablespoon of baking soda seems just not enough for my very greasy hair. So I decided to wing it and went with my gut feeling, which means I might adjust the quantities as I go along. Another thing that might seem out of the ordinary is the fact that I added honey to the acv. The first time around when I tried ‘no poo, this wasn’t something I did and the only reason I’m doing it now is simply because I wanted to try it.
Some things are different from back when I first went no ‘poo. First of all, back then, I was using the wrong kind of “baking soda”. Turned out, it wasn’t baking soda at all, but washing soda. Yeah, let’s just pretend that never happened. Second of all, back then, my hair was short (I would say neck length). Right now my hair is around armpit length.
I’ll be keeping a hair journal on here, both for you if you want to read about my experiences with the no ‘poo method, as well as for myself to read back on how things went.
On this first day of ‘No ‘Poo 2.0’ I dived right in and mixed up a little over 2 1/2 tablespoon of baking soda with 1 cup of warm water in an old water bottle and shook it very well until the baking soda was dissolved. In another old bottle I mixed 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon of honey with 1 cup of warm water and shook until dissolved. I went into the shower, got my hair soaking wet and poured the “shampoo”, the baking soda mixture over the top of my hair. Something I remember from my previous no ‘poo experience is that it’s important you give yourself a nice head massage to really get your hair all clean, so work the baking soda mixture around your skull and rinse thoroughly. My hair felt clean, although not squeaky clean, after rinsing. There’s really no need to apply the baking soda to the length of your hair, because that’s usually the part of your hair that’s already more dry and less greasy.
For the length of my hair, in comes the “conditioner”, the apple cider vinegar (and in my case, + honey) mixture. First, I squeezed the excess water out of my hair. Then I poured the apple cider vinegar mixture over the length of my hair (I also like to pour just a little tiny bit over the top of my head, just to help tame the frizz). Some say to rinse it out immediately, I just let it sit for awhile, while I continue with the rest of my shower routine. Rinse thoroughly and you’re done! My hair didn’t feel as soft as it would feel when using regular shampoo, it was actually feeling a bit straw like. I used half of the baking soda mixture and about 1/3rd of the acv mixture.
After I got out of the shower, I put two drops of argan oil in my hands, rubbed them together and put the oil on the length of my hair. What was left on my hands, I put on the top part of my hair. After that I carefully combed through my hair using a wooden wide toothed comb, starting at the bottom of my hair, working my way to the top. This was really easy to do, there were no tangles and the straw like feeling was gone. I let my hair air dry and when it was completely dry, I only straightened the two pieces framing my face. My hair was not feeling as squeaky clean as I’m used to after I washed it with regular shampoo, but it wasn’t greasy either. It was feeling quite soft at the top, but a bit dry at the ends.
My hair was still looking decent, not overly greasy or anything, good enough to go out in public without doing anything with it, so that’s what I did. Right before I went to bed I looked in the mirror and I saw that my hair was starting to get a bit greasy, and since I knew that the next day I had to go somewhere, I decided to apply some dry shampoo. One tiny little problem though… I really don’t like store bought dry shampoo. Luckily for me, I remember making my own dry shampoo back in the day when I went no ‘poo the first time around. The DIY I used back then used multiple ingredients, and although it worked, I remember it being a pain to brush out, so I decided to just go with the most basic DIY dry shampoo I could find: cornstarch (and because I like to experiment, I also added a bit of cinnamon). I have strawberry blonde hair, so the white colour of the cornstarch is no issue. The original “recipe” I found online called for 1/4 cup cornstarch mixed with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, but since I like to try my DIY’s first before I make a big batch of them, I just mixed 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with a sprinkle of cinnamon, dusted my hair with it by just using my fingers, left it in overnight, brushed it out in the morning*, and it worked like a charm!
*This is just a little life hack I learned somewhere a few years back: apply your dry shampoo at night, right before you go to sleep, and then brush it out in the morning. For me, it seems to work so much better than the regular way of applying it and brushing it out right away. If I still have any greasy spots in the morning after brushing it out, I simply apply just a little bit more dry shampoo, let it sit for a minute or so and then brush it out.
Today I woke up with grease-free hair, thanks to the DIY dry shampoo I applied last night. I simply brushed it out in the morning and my hair looked just fine. The end were a bit dry though, but my roots were not greasy, which usually is my biggest problem. I went about my day and my hair kept grease-free pretty well! I think I could have stretched washing it another day, but I don’t feel comfortable doing that yet. I might have done it, if it wasn’t for the fact that I had to be somewhere tomorrow. Before washing my hair I made a hair mask using half an avocado, half a banana and 1 tablespoon of honey and applied that to my hair for about 30 minutes.
In the shower I first thoroughly rinsed out the hair mask, making sure to massage my scalp to remove any oiliness from it, as well as any remaining dry shampoo. After that, I shook up the baking soda mixture that was still left from my previous wash from Monday, washed my hair the same way and continued with the acv+honey mixture.
When I got out of the shower, I applied 2 drops of argan oil to my hair, carefully combed it through with a wooden wide tooth comb and let it air dry. My hair was feeling soft at the top, but just a tad bit stiff at the ends. I decided not to straighten the front two sections that frame my face, just to see how they would look after sleeping.
Woke up with really soft hair, with only a little bit of frizz at the top. The ends are a little bit crispy, but really just a little bit, certainly not more crispy than after washing my hair with regular shampoo and conditioner and using hair serums and what not. Throughout the day I did notice my hair getting a bit more greasy. Despite knowing I had to go somewhere the next day, I decided not to put dry shampoo in my hair overnight, just to see how my hair would look the next morning without me doing anything about the upcoming greasiness.
When I looked in the mirror this morning, my hair looked a bit limp, but not really all that greasy when down. When up in a ponytail or anything, you can clearly see it’s becoming quite greasy though. Despite the fact that I need to go out today, I decided to go another day without dry shampoo and just letting my hair down to cover up the grease. I also need to go somewhere tomorrow, and my plan is to apply dry shampoo tonight so I can go another day without washing my hair tomorrow.
I got some new bottles to put my mixtures in today, just to make things a little bit easier (and because it looks pretty in the bathroom). Because I ran out of “shampoo”, I decided to mix up a new batch, following a tip I got online, which was to increase the amount of baking soda when you suffer from oily hair. So this time around I mixed 3 tablespoons of baking soda with 1 cup of water. It also stated that you should decrease the amount of acv if you have greasy hair, but since my ends are a bit dry, I won’t be doing that. I did put less honey in the mixture this time around, 1/2 a tablespoon per 1 cup of water (so 1 tablespoon of acv, 1/2 a tablespoon of honey and 1 cup of water). I will be stopping putting that tiny little bit of acv mixture on the top of my head like I used to, to see if that helps with keeping the greasiness at bay for a longer period of time.
3 tablespoons of baking soda to 1 cup of water really seems like an awful lot, compared to the wildly used ratio of 1 tablespoon to 1 cup. I think that, after my hair and scalp is getting used to the no ‘poo method again and the greasiness is under control, I’ll slowly be cutting down on the amount of baking soda.
By the end of the day my hair was a mess. The bottom was still reasonable, but the front sections, the temples and the nape were stringy because they were so greasy. I applied a ton of the DIY dry shampoo right before I went to bed, hoping that will make my hair look good enough to last another day without having to wash it tomorrow.
Although the dry shampoo did a decent job on covering up the greasiness at the roots, the length of my hair was looking quite stringy and limp and I just wasn’t feeling secure enough about myself to go out with my hair looking like that, so I decided to wash it. I got these new bottles the other day in which I put my “shampoo” and “conditioner” mixtures and I was excited to try them out. Something I noticed after rinsing the baking soda mixture out of my hair, was that my hair wasn’t feeling as clean as it did with previous washes. I decided to let it be and moved on to the acv mixture. I noticed right away that not as much of the mixture was coming out when squeezing the bottle (something I couldn’t see when applying the baking soda), explaining why my hair wasn’t feeling as clean after the baking soda application. This is something I definitely will take into account the next time I’ll be washing my hair, that I need to squeeze the bottle more to get more of the mixture out. I decided to let it be to see if my hair would look clean after it dried. Another thing I did differently from the previous washes is that I didn’t apply the acv mixture to the root area, to see if it helps preventing my hair getting greasy so quickly.
After I got out of the shower, I decided to trim my ends, to provide my hair with a clean slate to grow longer from there. I cut off 1 centimetre (0.4”), using Feye’s Self-trim Instructions (I like using the one for getting a U-shape). My hair is now 61 centimetres (24”) long (measures from my forehead, so where my hairline starts, all the way to the back). Fun fact: when I visited my parents later that day, my mother commented on how long my hair was getting. Umh, mum, I just cut it and my hair barely grew any this year. But thanks anyway. After that I decided to squeeze in two drops of jojoba oil in my hair, because my hair wasn’t feeling as clean as usual, so argan oil seemed a bit too heavy. I squeezed the oil in to enhance my natural wavy texture.
As I already mentioned, my hair wasn’t feeling all to clean after washing it, but I decided to wait to give a final verdict until my hair completely dried. Well, the verdict is in: I don’t think it’s clean. My hair, mainly the top parts, feels waxy and gritty, like 1. I didn’t wash it properly enough and 2. I didn’t rinse out all the baking soda. The first one is easy to pinpoint: I simply didn’t apply enough “shampoo”. The second one could be due to one or both reasons: either I should rinse better or I should try using less baking soda in my baking soda to water ratio (as I increased it when making this new batch). I turned to my trusty friend Google and searched for ‘no ‘poo troubleshooting’ and actually came along someone stating that if the baking soda felt gritty, you’re probably using too much, since it should completely dissolve in water (then I really should use way less, because even with my previous quantity, the baking soda would sink to the bottom of the bottle when left in the shower after use). Another tip was to keep the baking soda mixture in your hair until it gets sort of slippery, for about two minutes, and then thoroughly rinse it out. So my hair, mainly the top part, the roots, feels nasty ad grainy, and there’s some more frizz than after previous washes going on. The length looks fine though.
Another thing that crossed my mind while in the shower (isn’t the shower just the most wonderful place for getting ideas?) was that I would really like to be able to stretch my washes a bit more. I was reading my old no ‘poo journal the other day, from my ‘No ‘Poo 1.0’ adventure, and back then I did ‘water only’ washes in between two regular washes. That’s definitely something I want to look into. However, while I was googling for ‘no ‘poo troubleshooting’ I came across someone stating that one should try to avoid washing one’s hair in between no ‘pooing, because the more your hair becomes wet, the more brittle it can become. Another interesting thing I found while googling was that by leaving in the acv in for too long, you could get an oily/waxy feeling, because you’re over-correcting the pH levels of your hair and scalp. I don’t experience that, but it’s something to remember for when it might happen in the future.
Today was a lazy Sunday. All I did to my hair was brushing it and that’s it. My hair still felt a bit dusty at the top and there was quite some frizz going on, but it didn’t look greasy, even though it didn’t feel clean, because of the overuse and/or not properly rinsing out of the baking soda of yesterday’s washing. I did love how my length, especially the ends of my hair looked today, no frizz, shiny, wavy and even some ringlets!
Tomorrow I’m planning on doing a cassia treatment to my hair, after which I’ll wash my hair using a different ratio of baking soda to water (either 1 tablespoon to 1 cup of water or 2 tablespoons to 1 cup of water. I’ll be mixing both quantities to try out).
A quick recap on this first week of ‘No ‘Poo 2.0’:
Monday: First day. I used 2 1/2 tbsp baking soda to 1 cup of water and 1 tbsp honey+1 tbsp acv to 1 cup of water. After washing my hair felt clean, although not squeaky clean, soft at the top, a bit dry at the ends.
Tuesday: Hair still looked decent enough to go out in public with, not overly greasy. At the end of the day, my hair started to get a bit greasy, so I applied some DIY dry shampoo before going to bed.
Wednesday: Hair was grease-free, thanks to the dry shampoo, but the ends were a bit dry. Applied an avocado/honey/banana hair mask and washed my hair, using the same mixture as on Monday. Hair came out soft, but the ends were a tad bit stiff.
Thursday: Hair was soft, with only a little bit of frizz at the top and just a little bit crunchy ends. Throughout the day, hair was getting a bit greasy, but decided not to apply dry shampoo to see what hair would look like the next morning.
Friday: Hair looked limp, but not overly greasy when down. By the end of the day, the bottom still looked reasonable, but the front sections, temples and nape were stringy and greasy. Applied a ton of dry shampoo before I went to bed, try to go another day without washing it.
Saturday: The dry shampoo did a decent job, but I wasn’t feeling secure enough to go out with my hair looking the way it did, so I washed it using a new mixture (3 tbsp of baking soda to 1 cup of water and 1 tbsp acv+1/2 a tbsp honey to 1 cup of water). Baking soda mixture was not a success: hair felt not clean and gritty after washing it.
Sunday: Hair still felt dusty, because of yesterday’s washing, but the length looked really nice.