If you’ve been following the No ‘Poo series so far then you’ve read about my secret, my transition & method and maybe you’re ready to give it a go or maybe still on the fence but enjoy reading about it, that works! Everyone is welcome.
This post will have resources I used as well as factors to consider and finally a section on solutions to common problems. I’m not an expert on No ‘Poo (although, not sure if there’s such a thing). I’m sure I haven’t covered all factors and don’t have all the possible solutions. I write from my experience and from what I’ve learned from others.
My Go To No ‘Poo Resources (AKA My faves!)
1. How To Clean Your Hair Without Shampoo by Simple Mom. There’s also The Oh-So-Important Hair Update (24 months later). Tsh’s blog posts are what convinced me to give this whole thing a go. Her blog is about simple living. There’s always something interesting to read and learn. She’s got a book out on “Organized Simplicity” too.
2. No ‘Poo To You, Too!! by Crunchy Betty. In this post, she shares what convinced her to go no poo, what shampoo does to your hair and her method. I like this blog because there are lots of DIY sharing going on namely putting food on your face, hair and skin and household stuff. Love it!
3. Going no ‘poo by Stephanie over at Keeper of The Home. She shares a link with resources and info and goes on to share what excerpt made her want to try this out. Also her No ‘Poo Update post (a year later) with details on her hair washing method.
4. The No Shampoo Alternative by Christi at Nature Mom’s. This was where I learned about the importance of really giving your scalp a good scrub. The post also shares about why you should go without shampoo (your health), the chemicals in shampoo, how to no poo and trouble shooting (including a tip on dealing with frizzy hair).
5. Secrets to My No Poo Success by The Eco Cat Lady Speaks. Extremely informative post. It covers her system, motivation, sebum, silicones in shampoo, dealing with hard water (you need to use more acid the harder your water is), baking soda, acid rinse and brushing.
Factors to consider when going No ‘Poo
- Hard water versus soft water. Washing with baking soda in hard water can leave hair feeling like it is dirtier than before washing. As Veggie_One describes “the minerals coat your hair with a fine powder which can mix with sebum and cause hair nastiness”. The baking soda combined with the minerals in the hard water leaves soap scum in your hair. I noticed this texture in the early stages of no poo. Using baking soda and water is like a natural soap and the hard water will leave a residue in your hair making your hair feel greasy, waxy or dusty. This is unlike traditional shampoos which are detergents that are made to lather in both hard water and soft water.
- Ratio of baking soda to water. If you use too much baking soda it dries out your hair, start with 1tbsp and go up and down. You can also try making a paste of baking soda in your palm.
- Ratio of apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice) to water. Start with less if you’re hair is normally on the greasier or oily side. Focus on your ends rather than on your scalp. I only use about 1-1.5tbsp (I eyeball it) on my actual scalp. Also, if you’re worried about lightening or darkening your hair. I’ve read that lemon juice lightens dark hair and apple cider vinegar can darken light hair. Keep in mind, the purpose of the acid is two fold: 1. Cut through the soap scum 2. Restores the pH in your hair.
- Frequency: How often you wash during the transition (less is better – start with less than before you started No ‘Poo) AND how often you use to wash (at least in the beginning of your transition) can have an impact on how your hair/scalp reacts. You might want to consider stretching out your washes with water only washes or dry shampoo’s between actual washes (no ‘poo)
- Other products you use in your hair. I would refrain during transition time and stick with natural oils to style your hair – like almond, coconut oil, jojoba oil and grape seed oil, but this is my personal preference. Do what works for you!
- Hair brushing routine. Make it daily. (Confession: I didn’t use to do this, couldn’t be bothered before. So this whole no ‘poo thing has me playing with my hair more than EVER before. Cannot stress the importance of this.).
- Brushing your hair before you wash
- Pre-mix your solution or mix as you go. I pre-mix my acid/conditioning rinse but make the clarifying rinse (“shampoo”) right before hopping into the shower.
Solutions for Common Problems
Issue: Oily/Greasy hair
- If this happens during the transition, it could just be your scalp over-producing oil like it use to when on shampoo, it will take some time to adjust.
- In the short term, to combat the greasiness, I’ve tried increasing the baking soda to 1/2 tbsp for the next wash to get rid of the grease, but make sure to follow that up with an acid (ACV or lemon juice) on your hair.
- Try lemon juice in place of the ACV. This worked for me and I stuck to lemon juice up until late November. I decided to try ACV again now that my hair had adjusted.
- It could also be too much of the conditioning rinse. I remember finding that I was using too much apple cider vinegar when I first started and it left my hair feeling heavy/oily.
- You might want to use a dry shampoo when you are stretching out your washes. Sprinkle a bit on your scalp where it is greasy (usually the crown), scrub it in and brush it out with a comb. It will soak up the sebum. You’ll have nice volume too. For ex. Assuming you’re in the transition phase, if you were washing everyday before No ‘Poo and now you are doing every other, you might find your hair is getting greasy by day 2 around your crown.
- Not rinsing out well enough. Make sure you are scrubbing your scalp well (focus on your scalp not your hair) when you wash your hair and spending a good amount of time rinsing out the solutions.
- Try putting just a small amount of the conditioning rinse on your head (some people omit this all together) and pour more on the ends and bottom half of your hair.
- Brush and comb your hair right before hopping into wash
- Brush daily. Start with the ends of your hair and work your way up. I like brushing from my bottom layer up to the top (4 sections).
Issue: Itchy Scalp
- Scrub your head for longer during the baking soda rinse. Spend a while rinsing it out and making sure to scrub all over your scalp paying close attention to the crown of your head.
- Add aloe vera gel to your baking soda solution. I felt that this help me when I had an itchy scalp.
- Also add lavender essential oil to your conditioning rinse. Tea Tree oil or lavender, peppermint essential oil could work well too.
- Brush daily with your boar hair brush.
- Wash your combs/brushes weekly or every other week.
Issue: Dry Hair or Straw-like Texture (Cause: Too much baking soda)
- Reduce baking soda ratio
- Leave your conditioning rinse in longer before rinsing it out.
- Use oil to condition your ends. Just a drop can go a long way. (coconut oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, and sweet almond oil).
- Brush daily with your boar hair brush.
- Don’t wash too often
Issue: Waxy, dusty residue in hair. It feels like there’s gunk in your hair AFTER you washed it. (Cause: Hard Water)
Assuming the cause is hard water, try one of the following suggestions:
- Install a water filter in your tap. This will filter out minerals in your hard water.
- Using distilled or previously boiled water (way to soften hard water). Here’s a post on the no shampoo method with hard water using boiled water for the baking soda rinse.
- Water temperature. This worked for me not sure if this would work for everyone. I just use hot tap water when I make my baking soda rinse and I also wash out the baking soda rinse with hot tap water in the shower. I finish with a cold conditioning rinse and the very cold water (the coldest I can handle). In my quest to find a post on how to solve another issue I was having, I came across this post by Sara Valor where she shares that hot water opens up the hair cuticle and cold water closes it up. Two birds, one stone.
- Switch from ACV to lemon juice. Some people have also switched from ACV to white vinegar. The acid helps cut through the soap scum. Let the acid sit in your hair for a few minutes before thoroughly scrubbing and rinsing out.
- Increase the amount of acid you’re using.
- Brush your hair before you wash and scrub your scalp really well while washing and rinsing.
Issue: Washing Too Much
Maybe you’ve found yourself washing more than you’d like (just as much or more than you use to with traditional shampoo) or maybe you want to cut back.
- Stretch out the no ‘poo washing with water only (WO) washes. Still scrub your scalp really well but without the baking soda and ACV rinses. I’ve done hot water followed up by cold water.
- Another way to go longer between washes is to use dry shampoo. I explain how to use it in the Greasy/Oily section above.
Issue: “Dandruff” or Dusty White Residue Covered Bristles (Cause: Baking soda residue)
- Wash your brushes. Gets the gunk out of the brush and keeps it out of your hair. I started doing this when noticed the white stuff on my bristles. I also started scrubbing my scalp longer and rinsing longer because I knew it was probably baking soda residue on my scalp.
- I wash mine once a week with a simple solution of warm water and Dr. citrus liquid soap and an old tooth-brush.
- I leave it to dry overnight lying on its bristles on top of a towel.
- Up your lemon juice or vinegar in your acid/conditioning rinse.
Issue: Staticky Hair
- Using some honey in your BS solution. I’ve read some people using 1 tbsp worth. I had static a few weeks ago and didn’t get around to try this tip out because I didn’t have any more static after the next time I washed.
Don’t obsess about the basic ratio (1TBS to 1 cup). If it doesn’t work for your hair, change it. Keep experimenting. Don’t obsess about getting the right ratios quickly. You need time to figure out what’s best for you. I found that I had to tweak when seasons changed and when I was working out or perspiring more. Your baking soda amount might be more than your apple cider vinegar (ACV) or lemon juice amount. I remember when my hair was greasy/sweaty in the summer, I upped it to 1.5TBS to 1 cup of hot water for my baking soda rinse. And in the fall I changed back to 1TBS to 1 cup of hot water.
Experiment, change things up, try something new, get dry shampoo (or make it) and make sure you have some hair ties, big hair clips for those not-so-pretty days. It’s not a quick and easy transition for most, so don’t fret when things are not as smooth as you had hoped.
For the acid/conditioning rinse with ACV or lemon juice, be careful not to get this in your eyes. I haven’t had any issues (it’ll hurt), but at the beginning I use to close my eyes tightly while carefully pouring the solution on my hair.
What do you think about alternatives to traditional shampoo? Do you have any shampoo recipes to share? What is your hair brushing routine like?
Have you kicked shampoo to the curb? What was your motivation and how are things going? Would love to hear your thoughts.
If you start to no poo after reading my series, leave me a comment so I can hear how things are going. If you try any tips I’ve shared, let me know as well. Got any to add? Please share!
In case you missed the other posts in the series, here they are.
Have an awesome Saturday!