Sometime last year I started using what is commonly called the “no poo method” for cleaning my hair. It was a bit of an experience. I’m sharing some of my own observations as well as a link for instructions and observations at “Living On A Dime”.
1. Not everyone has the same results, or at least not quickly. It literally took my hair months to settle down and adjust to the new method. At first it felt rather oily, and yet it was very manageable and it didn’t look oily. So, I continued with it. In the end my hair settled down and started acting pretty much like it always has. I used to wash my hair twice a week. (I’d heard years ago that washing often resulted in oily hair, so I didn’t do it.) Now I wash my hair a little less than once a week – usually. It runs about 5-6 days most of the time with an occasional need to wash sooner for various reasons.
2. I do still get scalp build up on the top of my head. I find it necessary to remove it with my finger nails. This may seem kind of gross to some, but the fact of the matter is that it’s a natural body function and people had to deal with it in the past without our modern stripping shampoos, so it isn’t a strange or unusual thing.
3. It may not be for everyone. I’ve heard that it “didn’t work” for some people. Judging by how long it took my own hair to finally get its normal feel again, I wonder if they stuck with it long enough.
4. There are various methods.
Here is one. (Note: She mentions using lemon juice in place of vinegar – be aware that this can bleach your hair, while vinegar won’t. Also, she says her hair was wonderfully more manageable and kept its curl longer. I’ve not noticed a significant improvement in mine. Results will vary from person to person. Just don’t quit too soon.)
My own preference is to make some baking soda paste in the bottom of a small cup. I find that I need more when my hair is longer and less when it’s shorter – a no brainer, but I thought I’d mention it. I don’t use precise measurements, though I probably should. I have thick hair and so I make a generous amount.
I rub in the baking soda paste well focusing on the roots and then rubbing it through all over. I let it sit for at least a minute while I do other washing. This was suggested by another site I read (bad language, no link provided here).
I have found that I need to rinse my hair well before moving on the apple cider vinegar rinse. If there’s baking soda left it can react with the vinegar and for me this seems to have a negative effect. (Also I do not recommend washing your hair in the bath tub by submersion with this method. Once the baking soda is in the water it appears to mess with the rinse.)
I use more than the recommended 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar per 8 oz. of water as well. Again, my hair is thick. I feel like I need it. I dip sections of my hair into the full cup carefully, squeezing out the excess as I go. When I’ve well soaked each section I then pour the remainder over the top and make sure it’s worked in. I wait a little (not as long) and then rinse it well.
I have also started letting my hair dry with little to no combing. This is supposed to help the hair maintain its own body or curl. It also helps reduce the strain on the roots that can occur from combing wet hair.
As a side note, I have started using aloe vera gel in place of hair gel. I buy a kind that does not have colorings in it. It may still have some undesirable ingredients, but it’s a lot better than the manufactured hair gels. And, I’ve been very happy with the results. It brushes out and washes out beautifully and it doesn’t leave a nasty residue. My hair spray, which I still use some, is another story.