Six weeks ago I stopped using shampoo. I was inspired by Amber at Fulfilled Homemaking to document the process. When I began asking my family to snap these photos, I honestly thought I wouldn’t share them. So, why am I posting it? I want you to know what you will be getting yourself into if you choose to embark on a “no poo” journey and what happens when you don’t let those first few weeks deter you. Personally, I wanted to throw in the towel… or should I say, throw on some shampoo. Thanks to Amber’s photographs, I was encouraged to keep going. I hope this post offers the same encouragement to others.
Let’s begin with the first week. If you can survive week one, you will be doing great. I felt so ugly and gross. My hope was that things could only get better. I wore a hat or ponytail (or both) everywhere I went. These two photos were taken at the end of week one. The only thing I did to my hair during the first week was rinse it when I took a shower. Oily and flakey describes it perfectly:
Week two was not much better. Christmas fell during week two, which meant photos with greasy hair. I tried to mask it by hot rolling my hair but that didn’t help much. Then, at the end of the second week, I realized that I had never washed out the product put on my hair at my last appointment (which was the day I started “no poo”). So, I broke out the baking soda and apple cider vinegar (ACV). I didn’t measure out the baking soda (or vinegar) but I’m guessing it was about a tablespoon that I added to a little bowl. I mixed the baking soda with a bit of warm water and then massaged that into my scalp. Rinse. Then I mixed the ACV with some warm water and poured it over the ends. Rinse. I think I used about a quarter cup ACV. I did this only once, all other “washings” were water only. This is what my hair looked like by the end of the second week. This is blown dry only with an attempt with the curling iron. The crown is still oily. The flash exaggerates the look a bit but you get the idea.
Week three seemed better. My morning “bed head” is still pretty comical. My hair sticks straight up and brings much laughter from the Husband. I didn’t use anything but water on my hair during the third week. Most “no poo” folks will do the baking soda thing about once a week but I am hoping to speed up the process toward using nothing by doing it every other week for now. I’m loving not doing the shampoo/rinse thing in the shower. My scalp is noticeably less dry and itchy. Which is significant in this dry climate that I live in. Here is what my hair looked like at the end of week three. It’s still oily at the crown, although not as bad. Clearly it is beginning to curl better. My hair has always had difficulty holding a curl so this is a wonderful change for me.
Let’s see, week four seemed significantly improved. I did end up repeating the baking soda/apple cider vinegar routine once. The ends looked a little dry to me when I blew it out. I scrunched it a lot during the fourth week and let it air dry. I decided to just blow out my hair for this photo. No curling iron, no flat iron. This looks “normal”. The flash shows a bit of separation at the crown still but the Husband tells me that it only shows up on the camera with the flash now and not in real life.
During the fifth week I went back to water only. I’m still amazed at the amount of oil in my hair but I’m beginning to think that what I found “normal” before was not. I think I kept my hair in a perpetual state of “dry”. I really thought that my face would breakout more with all of the oil it comes into contact with now, but it is actually clearer than it’s been in years (this probably has a whole lot to do with eating raw). It was during week five that I got my first hair compliment and it came from someone who had no idea I hadn’t washed it in almost five weeks. I forgot to take this photo until the end of the day, whereas all of the others were taken right after showering. The curl is looser than it was but clearly, it’s still there and it’s bedtime! My hair was blown dry and curled with a curling iron.
At the end of week six I did the baking soda/apple cider vinegar routine once. I think I’ll do that again at 8 weeks and then attempt to go three weeks in between. I can’t really say that my hair is “normal” because I think it’s better than normal. It’s thicker and shinier. It holds curl better. It’s easier to style. It doesn’t have static (hated when it would cling to my face). I’ve gone six weeks without spending a dime on shampoo or styling products. Yes, that’s right, there are no styling products in my hair. Once again, I dried and curled my hair for this photo… taken yesterday. I was trying to curl it a little differently than I usually do. I don’t really like how it turned out. Still, would you ever guess that this is hair that hasn’t seen shampoo in six weeks?
Most people, like I did, would think that your hair would stay in a perpetual state of week one if not shampooed. Clearly that isn’t the case. This morning, as I run my fingers through my hair, I do feel a little oil on my fingers. But oily doesn’t mean greasy. Our natural oils are there for a reason. They are supposed to moisturize our hair and protect it. Even the Husband (who by the way, is the only person in this house still on shampoo), admits that my hair looks good. He has even complimented me on it without prompting (you know, “so honey, does my hair look alright?”). And he isn’t the only one, I received two more lovely comments during week six. One gal didn’t know about the “no poo” and the other did.
So, what made me embark on this journey? It wasn’t so much the chemicals in the shampoo, although that was one reason. Mainly, I just wasn’t happy with the condition of my hair on shampoo/conditioner/styling product. I felt like I had to add more and more stuff to get anything remotely close to what I wanted… and I still wasn’t happy with it. I wanted to see if my natural oils could do a better job, and I believe they have.
Update 12/29/2012 – Still No-Poo?