Julianna Yu's Blog


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My No Poo Update

8ZzOUHeyyy! I’ve been keeping you in suspense for months. Hope you had an incredible summer and great kick off to the fall season.

Does she still no ‘poo? Has she done more experimenting? What is she washing her hair with?  So many changes ya’ll.. mm..not really..but sorta.. hang on tight. I’m going to address all of that. 🙂

First of all, I went into this alternative hair washing method for mainly these reasons:

  1. To go longer without hair washing
  2. Reducing my exposure to harmful ingredients
  3. Neat DIY

And most importantly, I went in with an open mind. I knew this wasn’t going to be an easy transition but I wanted to make an effort to try this routine out. I knew that as my routine and life circumstances changed, it might make more sense for me to buy shampoo (cleaners with low toxins of course).

I can’t believe I started making my own rinses since the end of April 2012 – That’s 2 years and 5 months. Whoa.

Early on this spring, I tried a few shampoos from the health food store with mixed results. I tried a few bottles but I still felt my hair felt cleaner with no ‘poo and could go longer without washes with no poo. My hair tended to feel oilier after a day of washing. I’d use dry shampoo to stretch out my washings by another day or two and style my hair in braids. As with no poo, I could usually go 3 days from wash day to my next wash. So naturally, I went back to no poo after I finished a bottle.

A couple of changes I made since my No Poo series was I swapped ACV for lemon juice this summer, mainly to just see if it would work and so I wouldn’t have to refrigerate it. The latest change I made was stop using baking soda for my washes… Let me explain. 🙂

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Baking Soda, ACV Rinses & PH levels

The last time I washed my hair with baking soda might’ve been a couple weeks ago. *sigh* here it goes. I read Baking Soda Destroyed My Hair by Kanelstrand (Her blog goes into detail about the PH level with diagrams too! Definitely good to check out if you’re currently no poo’ing) that highlighted the effects of raising your scalp/hair’s PH level ((baking soda is alkaline and ACV is acidic) and lowering it in a short amount of time isn’t good for your hair in the long run because it makes your hair prone to breakage and dryness. And hence the importance of looking for a PH balanced shampoo.

The more I read, the more it made sense for me to try another alternative. I was experiencing some dryness and decided to try a shampoo recipe with aloe vera and glycerin from a blog post about no-poo alternatives by Sara at My Merry Messy Life. The mistake I made was that I read the post really fast and missed the part where Sara says she likes using it to freshen up her curls. She has curly hair but I don’t…and I didn’t realize this until after the 2nd wash. Regardless of my mistake, I really appreciated the insights from her post.

I happily mixed up a concoction of vegetable glycerin with aloe vera and some essential oils and I washed my hair. My hair felt heavy but I figured I was probably transitioning. So, I waited 3 days and used dry shampoo for the 2nd and 3rd day. On wash day, I washed it and it felt kind of greasy but I figured once again it was probably the transition. The next morning I looked like I had just slicked my entire scalp in gel.. So, I put my hair in a bun. I looked like I was ready to ready for a ballet exam or recital. GROSS.

I had no time for tears. My hair looked absolutely disgusting but it was clean and I was going to work out that day so I would deal with it in the evening.

I tried a PH balanced coconut milk and aloe vera gel recipe. I loved how simple this recipe was but given the state of my GREASY scalp, it wasn’t cutting it. I felt I needed baking soda. It’s a hard habit to break. I tried to mix a little bit in my palm with water and I scrubbed my head. It was still heavy with the residue/grease. I reached for the last bit of Apple Cider Vinegar Clarifying Shampoo by Live Clean from my pre-no ‘poo days. It was the best decision in that moment but I also felt defeated to be honest. I knew I needed something to remove all the buildup in my hair. There have been different times that I have returned to using this clarifying shampoo – a couple of weeks in June 2013 and a few times during my mom’s treatment this fall and this instance.

I had revisited the curly hair shampoo recipe post after I woke up with the really greasy ballet bun hair and realized the mistake I had made.

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My Current Routine.

I decided the day of the greasy ballet hair bun to pick up a couple of new products to try from the health food store because I had no time/energy/patience to devote to tweaking hair recipes on top of my current routine. I probably spent about an hour in the store reading labels and checking the handy Good Guide app on my phone that scores the product based on the health concerns, the environmental and societal impact of the product. I can easily scan the product’s barcode with my phone to pull up this information while I’m shopping.

I have been using TheraNeem Gentle Therape Shampoo for the past two weeks (washing every 3-4 days), I am loving the mild scent and the lather was a surprise. I wet my scalp and scrub it as I normally would before adding rinses, and then I add in the shampoo and scrub really well all over. I wait a few minutes then rinse out the shampoo and towel dry as much as I can then blow dry.

I brush with a boar bristle brush everyday and I use my own dry shampoo (another recipe for another post) when my the crown of my head looks a bit oily (usually 2-3 days after a wash) or I’ll just put my hair up or braid it.

I will likely experiment with DIY shampoo recipes again – I would love to use more pantry items like herbs and tea. But right now, I’m going to use up what I’ve bought so far. I am not too ecstatic with the higher price tag.

Are you a no poo’er? Do you wash with baking soda? If you’re a no poo’er have you experimented with any baking soda free recipes? Do you have any PH balanced shampoo recipes to share?

Hope you have a great weekend!

If you’re interested in reading about the No Poo series: start with My No Poo Secret followed by the Transition Phase & Method and if you want more, Resources & Solutions 


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My No Poo Secret

This post has been sitting in my queue for months. I’ve been tinkering with it here and there, every now and then. The longer I go between edits, the longer the edits take. Do you experience this as well? Here’s hoping the wait was worth it and you enjoy the post. 🙂

I stopped washing my hair with shampoo at the end of April 2012.

Really? Yes! Yes! And I’m not a mess! Totally wrote that because it rhymed and showed excitement.

I basically went No Poo. Which means I stopped washing my hair the traditional way with commerical shampoo products. I started to wash with baking soda, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, aloe vera gel, essential oils and water. Although, not all at once. I spent a few months experimenting. I’ll share with you in another post. Prior to this, I had been using Live Clean Apple Cider shampoo (just the shampoo, no conditioner) for well over a year. I loved using it. The bottle felt good in my hands and I felt like it was probably one of the better shampoos at the drug store.

After the earth week lecture I went to, I was convinced that a shampoo change among other greener changes was in order. I had researched about shampoos and came across some very interesting posts on “No Poo”. Sounds disgusting right? Like we’re giving up on going #2. As it turns out, “No Poo” is just short for “No Shampoo”. You read that right, No shampoo for real. And as much as I wanted to jump on the No Poo train. I didn’t feel like I could at the moment because I didn’t know how I would be after the operation and whether I would have time/energy to tinker with a washing routine. Heck, I didn’t even know if I would need assistance in the shower or the washroom for that matter, so I wouldn’t want to put it on anyone else to help me with my new no poo routine. The idea took a backseat.

I remember being a teenager and struggling with greasy scalp and dandruff and not really knowing what to do. I would go to a beauty supply store to pick up a fairly pricey shampoo to help me with this problem. That was expensive and I relied on these products to get my mane looking tame. Ohhh that rhymed! Eventually, I stopped buying the stuff (couldn’t afford it) and returned to the regular drug store shampoos and rotated around. I still felt like my hair would end up looking terribly greasy when I washed every other day, so I went from every other day to almost every day (as often as I could). Sound familiar? Many people are in this boat with shampoos. Even though I heard that washing it often was not good as it stripped my hair of it’s natural oils, I would do it feeling that it was a necessity. Eventually, I cut back to every other day and if I stretched it I would go two days without max. The point of this story was I needed to buy a professional shampoo to get keep my scalp grease and dandruff free and it just wasn’t economical for me. Also, that gradually I found myself washing more often to prevent the greasy look.

So if you were like me, someone who found themselves washing more often than I knew was good for me, maybe you have a greasy scalp, dandruff, this post might be something for you to try out. Or maybe your a DIY’er or an aspiring DIY’er (high five!), whatever the case, you have nothing to lose by trying. Before embarking on this venture though, my hair looked and felt fine. I just wanted to try this greener and economical alternative out.

If this is the first time you are hearing about No Poo you maybe thinking this is disgusting, too “weird” for you to even consider. I would encourage you to just try to keep an open mind. This is just something that has worked out well for me and I’m sharing in hopes that if you have ever considered an alternative to shampoo, perhaps you might be open to trying this.

What is No Poo exactly? Washing without using traditional shampoo’s. The most basic method ratios.

1. Clarifying Rinse: 1 cup of water & 1 tbs of baking soda

2. Conditioning Rinse: 1 cup of water and 1 tbs of apple cider or lemon juice.

After my recovery and when I returned to work, I remember thinking about the idea and still put it in the backseat because I had gotten a few bottles I needed to use up first and besides, I was still transitioning back to real life. Lol! It was hard.

As I mentioned in this post, I had begun my journey of changing over to greener products well over a year ago. This spring (May 2 to be precise), I remembered I ran out of shampoo a couple days before and I needed to wash my hair. What was a girl to do? I was heading to the nearest Shoppers when a nagging voice inside of me went “This would be a good time to ditch shampoo”. I remembered No Poo and reread the blogs I had previously come across. This was it, what better time then now I thought. A small part of me was thinking, really? BUT it’s spring…and before I know it, it will be summer, won’t it be tough? And the bigger part of me thought, won’t I always have an excuse? Won’t life only get crazier? haha Doesn’t it always? 🙂

That day, I read as much as I could about other people’s experiences and was prepared for the transition that was going to happen. There would be no lather (bye bye sodium lauryl sulfates!) and my hair would be clean but probably feel very different than after I shampoo because there would be no leftover film coating it to feel soft. OK. Goodbye CRaP! Sounds good. I’m game.

Don’t get me wrong, I was very excited for this. To kiss my dependence on shampoo products goodbye was incredibly liberating. I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs in excitement. I felt like this could be the one thing that inspires me to continue with DIY projects. And it did.

I won’t lie a part of me was also afraid. Could I lose friends over this? Haha Would I look so terrible that it would look like I hadn’t washed at all? Would I smell? All valid concerns. Naturally, I kept this a secret from most folks unless I felt like the opportunity was right to share. So I told a few people I trusted could handle this.

The other part of me was saying “What’s the worst that can happen? You will have pushed yourself to try something new and you will see what your hair is like without shampoo”. Things can always be worse.

I didn’t give myself a timeframe for a trial because I knew that the transition period would take a while. I figured a couple of months at least and see if I like it.

I’m proud to say I’ve been a No Poo’er a little over 6 months (it has been six months and 6 days) since I started No Poo on May 2, 2012.

During these 6 months, I got my bangs trimmed once in July and on Oct. 26, I got my hair washed and trimmed. I was so busy on Oct 26, that I didn’t think of washing my hair first before going to the salon (which is really the only way to keep it No Poo). And by the time it hit me that I was probably going to get my hair washed, I was panicking a little on the inside “What about my whole No Poo thing?” I was sort of bummed… but figured, I’m already here (there are seriously bigger problems than my hair) and my hair could use a wash (even though I would prefer washing it the No Poo way). Gross thing was, after my hair was washed and cut, my scalp tingled and the smell of the shampoo and the styling product kind of made me feel gross. I missed my No Poo ritual. haha

Needless to say. I’m a full fledged No Poo’er.

In another post, I’ll share pictures, more details on my method, resources and more on my experience so far.

Do you No Poo? What was your experience like? Enjoy this post or got something to share? Let’s continue the conversation in the comments.

Here’s wishing you a great Thursday!

– Julie