True No-Poo Not for Me?

Yesterday I wrote about the success I was having in eschewing commercial shampoos in favor of Chagrin Valley’s natural shampoo bars.  I still stand by it, obviously, but writing up that post forced me to look at the one thing I’m still not entirely satisfied with:  my dry ends.  In all honesty, the ends feel great by the end of the day, and my hair is surprising non-greasy, too…but then I brush with my boar bristle brush before and the grease slick sets in.  My hair looks wet.

And then I wash the next morning and everything looks great except that the very ends are dry and prone to tangling.  If I try to comb in a drop of oil, though, things are likely to get very oily very quickly.

So I’ve been pondering what I could do.  I could, of course, go down to the grocery and pick up any old no-silicone, no alcohol conditioner…which tend to be the absolute cheapest, by the way.  That would bring me back to the chemical dependency, though.  Alternately, I could try again to increase the number of days between true washes.  I’ve already determined that I’m still not at a place where I can skip a whole day of hair washing, even though I’ve not been using detergents, so this morning I thought I would give a different “no-poo” method a chance.

All hail sodium bicarbonate!

Enter baking soda.  If you run a quick google on the term “no-poo”, you’ll quickly find that the most common version of avoiding shampoo is simply to wash your hair with baking soda and vinegar instead.  You basically take a tablespoon of vinegar and get it onto your scalp in some way.  Some people dissolve it in a cup of water and massage that through their hair.  Some make up a thicker paste and massage that through.  Some sprinkle it in dry and rub it through.  No matter how you get it in, the idea is that you perform a thorough scalp massage, then rinse out the baking soda and follow up with an acid rinse:  most commonly about 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in 1 cup of water that you either leave in, or leave in while you finish your shower and then rinse out.  Tons of people are reporting great success in doing this every other day or various other lengths:  the longest I’ve heard is once a month, though once or twice a week seems more normal.

Having tried the 1 tablespoon of baking soda in 1 cup of water method as an experiment just before I began the shampoo bars and being, how shall we say, displeased with the oily results, I decided to try this again (hey, so many people say it works for them!), this time sprinkling the baking soda on dry (therefore undiluted), rubbing it through, and then proceeding on with a massage, rinse, and my standard ACV rinse.

Left: me this morning, moments after drying my hair. Right: me maybe a year ago after conventionally washing my hair (and doing my makeup!) for a night out. There is no product in my hair in either picture. Apologies for the poor iPhoto quality.

Seriously?  The picture above, bad as it is, still doesn’t quite convey the truth.  My hair is so greasy after the baking soda that it looks half dry.  And it isn’t.  I spent forever blowdrying my hair (usually takes 3 minutes or so).  There’s an odd amount of lift at my roots given the general state of greasiness, but there is pretty much NO oil reduction for me using this method.  (On the bright side, my ends feel great!)

Who knows, I might not be massaging for long enough or would do better with the paste method or something.  But I can safely say that if I experiment with this further, I better darn well do it on days where I’m not scheduled to teach, have any meetings, or need to leave the house!

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4 thoughts on “True No-Poo Not for Me?

  1. Today I switched soap bars, but I also rubbed a drop of jojoba oil on my palms, then slicked down the very ends of my hair after I dried it. It feels really good!

  2. I tried the jojoba oil again yesterday, and my ends felt fine, but my hair was very, very prone to tangling by the end of the day. I truly can’t remember my hair ever being that tangle-prone. So this morning I stole maybe a pea-sized squirt of conditioner from a friend. It seems to be helping the tangle woes.

    I think I may be investigating conditioner options.

  3. Yesterday I broke down and bought a conditioner, but I did my homework and got one that didn’t have any sodium laurel sulfate or any silicones (things ending in -cone or -xane). I ended up with Burt’s Bee’s “More Moisture Raspberry and Brazil Nut. I should probably research all the ingredients listed, but I feel good using this for now.

    I chose Burt’s because it can be found nationwide in popular places like Target, and I chose this version over Burt’s other offerings because an online reviewer specifically noted that she, like me, has longer fine hair “which means the ends are usually in need of moisture and the roots need lift” (YES). She noted that “this conditioner left [her] hair feeling soft, moisturized, and bouncy”. I used it this morning, and I’m liking the way it’s feeling. Since I’m air-drying my hair, I can tell it’s making me more wave-prone, which I like, and the fly aways are a lot more controlled.

    I’m really not a fan of the smell, though. Luckily, the carry over fragrance is really, really light and will probably be completely gone once my hair is thoroughly dried.

  4. Hey! As it turned out, I needed a conditioner for my hair type. Unfortunately, I’ve got very fine hair, and it’s prone to oiliness…not a good combination. Although the Chagrin Valley Bars and vinegar have done wonders, I still need to wash my hair frequently, so I do need a conditioner for my length and ends.

    I’ve used 3 conditioners since 2011: This Burt’s Bee’s, Avalon Organic’s Strengthening Peppermint, and Nexxus’s Hydra-light. All do not use sulphates or silicones.

    The Burt’s Bee’s wasn’t that great. It helped a lot with the no-conditioner state, but it still left me tangle prone, and my hair was pretty darn dried out after that bottle was done. My first bottle of Avalon was amazing. It practically restored my hair all on its own! Unfortunately, they soon switched to a new “more sustainable” formula that didn’t work as well and, after awhile, didn’t exactly wash out of my hair very cleanly. I dealt with extremely greasy hair for a month before spending another month with commercial shampoo and conditioner to calm down the problem.

    Since then, I’ve been using the Chagrin Valley Bars and the Nexxus Hydra-light. It’s a match made in heaven!

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