Sunday, March 1, 2009

My No-Poo Shampoo Experience

I am always looking for ways to not only us less chemicals in my personal life, but also to have less impact on the environment. To that end, I looked high and low for chemical free hair care products. I was always disappointed in the results of the products - they dried out my hair, didn't clean very well and left it flat.

 Not only did they not work, these specialty products were more expensive than their chemical laden counterparts; I wracked up quite a bill for all the discarded bottles that litter my bathroom cabinet. I always gave up and went back to my Garnier Nutrisse products.

I had also developed quite the case of flaky scalp that I needed to deal with. I had tried various lotions and potions on this itchy, unsightly condition - to no avail. Maybe there was something that would not only get rid of my scalp problem, but also be chemical free and environmentally friendly? Sounds like a pipe dream. Then I heard about the no-poo method of washing the hair and scalp.

I was reluctant to try it because it didn't sound very appealing to me; I was very skeptical. I have a really good friend who tried it, so I decided that if she were brave enough to try it I could give it a go, too. I gathered my supplies for my mission. Baking soda, apple cider vinegar and a couple of essential oils. Check, check and check. I already had these ingredients on hand. I guess if these things can clean my tub and my teeth, they might be able to clean my hair too.

Here's what I did: I took 4 tbsp of baking soda and put it in a jar with a lid. Once I was in the shower and had wet my hair I filled the (about 4 oz) jar with water and shook it up. I then worked this through my hair and scalp. After rinsing that out I then applied the conditioning rinse I had mixed up before I got in the shower - 1 oz of apple cider vinegar measured into an 8 oz squirt bottle. To that I added 2 drops each of tea tree, lavender, lemon and thyme essential oil. One I was in the shower and ready to apply it, I filled the bottle up with warm water. I started with my scalp and massaged it all in and worked it down to the ends of my hair. I let it sit on my hair for a few minutes and then I rinsed it all out.

The first week I was not that impressed with the results, but I had heard that there was a transition period that takes place when you go no-poo, so I persevered. Week two got a bit better. Week three came around and I decided to put an olive/almond oil conditioning treatment on my hair before I washed it. I put the oil on my hair and let it sit for about an hour and then washed it with baking soda and vinegar. This was a massive fail. The oil did not wash out and my hair looked greasy and stringy wet all day long.

The next day I applied dry baking soda directly to my scalp and scrubbed it around; then I let it sit on my hair for about and hour. I then did the usual wash and rinse with vinegar. Ahhh...much better.

My hair is long and naturally wavy/curly. It now needs no anti-frizz serum or curl defining gel. I use a bit of natural aloe vera gel and an alcohol free hair spray and it looks great. My scalp is also healing. The flakes have diminished greatly and the itching had gotten much better. I hope after a couple of more weeks I will be flake free as well as poo free. We'll see.