So, here I am. . . getting ready to tell you how to go about quitting shampoo.
I should start by explaining: never in all my life did I think I would totally stop using shampoo, much less tell others how to go about doing it. I’m pretty girly when it comes to that kind of stuff. I have always loved hair products – trying new ones out as well as my old standbys.
Then one day, I started seriously considering no-poo, as they call it (no-poo peeps, can’t we think of a better term?!) and started reading up on it. I saw the success stories, as well as the non-successful stories. I learned so much about how commercial shampoos work and was baffled by how little I knew all through the years, constantly trying to grow my hair out and then chopping it all off – it took forever to grow and it wasn’t healthy.
When people quit shampoo, they usually have pretty good reason for it. Some are trying to rid their lives of toxic products, some are in it for the frugality, but me, I just wanted to grow my hair faster. 🙂 Honestly, you know? In my “quest” I have learned many methods for growing my hair quicker, and it all started with dropping my shampoo, conditioner, heat protectant, gel, mousse, and hairspray. (I still do purchase many products for my hair here – it’s one of the ONLY places I trust for high-quality hair products.) But mostly it’s homemade washes with stuff from around the house and sometimes online.
I’m having a ton of fun without shampoo, which I haven’t used since August of 2014. There are so many methods to try out there. The process is a journey, but sometimes I think the hardest part was wrapping my head around the fact that we don’t need commercial shampoo to have beautiful hair. Think about it – it’s only been around for the last century or so. People have had beautiful hair long before those hair commercials.
If you’re thinking about going no-poo, I want to let you know: there is quite a learning curve. Have fun doing the research, but also, here are my top ten tips for going no-poo. Enjoy!
10 Tips for Going No-Poo
1. Be committed.
Anyone who has successfully quit shampoo will tell you right off the bat: it’s a journey. There are ups and downs, and more ups and downs, 🙂 but the hardest part is at the beginning! Be prepared to deal with your scalp trying to normalize its oil production. As in, you will be one big greaseball until your hair is finished going through its transition period.
But that’s okay! Realize that your scalp is just doing its job – providing the right amount of oil to condition and nourish your hair. Stretching the number of days between no-poo washes is not necessarily fun, but it is necessary to get your scalp to settle down. So get stubborn. Real determined. Your hair will thank you for it, and be your testimony for getting back to basics and back to a more natural routine.
This is the one tip I wish I had known from the beginning. There’s probably no way you can realize just how much crud is built up on your hair follicles and scalp. That’s why it is helpful (not necessary, but very helpful) to use a cheap detergent shampoo as the last shampoo wash you do before going officially no-poo. You’ll just need a $1 bottle of cheap shampoo from the store. Think Suave, White Rain, etc. Make sure it contains no silicones: anything that ends in -cone, -conol, -xane, -zane. (I found this post helpful and it explains things well.) Add a teaspoon baking soda to the shampoo when you wash.
Since I didn’t clarify my hair before the switch, my transition from shampoo to no-poo has taken longer. I finally realized what I did wrong, and ordered this high-quality hair and scalp detox so I could get things done right.
Without clarifying, it can take months to get rid of all that junk in your hair! Make your last shampoo count – clarify, and get off to a great start.
3. Use the right products for YOU.
Guess what. Everyone’s hair is different. I know it sounds so obvious, but it’s actually quite easy to forget, when you’ve been used to a one-shampoo-fits-most mentality. But as you strip the products away from your amazing hair, you’ll realize just how unique your hair is. You need to be ready to deal with what works best for you.
Most no-poo’ers start off with a baking soda and vinegar wash/rinse. (Please only use this natural baking soda for your hair. 🙂 Strangely, not all baking soda is created equally.) Many often move on to a more individualized plan, including myself. What works for your best friend might not work for you, so don’t take it personally if you have to figure out a different angle. Remember tip #1 – you’re determined, right? 🙂 Find your place and remember, there are no cookie cutters in the no-poo world!
4. Lower the heat.
Yeahhhh…. Okay, hear me out. I have the straightest hair of anyone I know. The only way I was used to getting my hair to hold any type of curl was by using a ton of heat and hairspray. Well, those things are not really ideal in this situation. So be aware, for your healthiest head of hair, you will want to stop attacking it with heat. It’s just hurting your mane.
Many no-poo’ers still use heat occasionally, for special occasions and whatnot. Since I have low-porosity hair (more about that in a minute), a few seconds with a warm hair dryer after applying my leave-in hair oil helps my hair to absorb it better. I also will use my straightening iron a few times a month to give a little bend to the ends of my hair if I’m short on time. But here’s a fun new world that will open up for those seeking curls:
No-heat curl methods
There are ways to get around the heat! I have had a blast figuring out heat-free ways to get my hair to curl. My favorites are:
- large foam rollers (nice for volume and waves – lightly wet the ends of your hair before rolling)
- smaller foam rollers (pack a curly punch!) – and here is a great tutorial for avoiding hair dents while using the rollers.
- headband curls – find out how here
- sock bun curls – my awesome sister-in-law gave me this at Christmas and I love the volume and waves! This one is the Claire’s brand, which I think is what she gave me. It has a snap that I find helpful, but you might not need the snap. I think it would be cheaper to buy at Claire’s, too.
- spiral rollers, although I need more practice with these. 🙂
- cocoon curls – interesting, I haven’t tried these yet, but I love the look of the curls they make. No products except water needed.
- french braids
So fun. 🙂
5. Figure out your hair type.
More specifically, find out your hair’s porosity. Porosity, more or less, is a measure of how well your hair absorbs and holds moisture. High porosity hair will absorb too much moisture, while low porosity hair will have a hard time absorbing it. I highly recommend figuring out your hair’s porosity before going no-poo.
6. Deal with hard water.
My guess is that one of the biggest reasons most people give up no-poo is due to their hard water and not being prepared for it. Hard water is a bummer. And I’ve had hard water in every place I’ve ever lived. It leaves my skin feeling dull and dry, and does the exact same thing to my hair.
Many no-poo’ers find relief by installing a shower filter like this one. Since we have a water filter attachment in our kitchen sink, I just fill up a pot with some filtered water, heat it to shower temperature (not boiling!!!) and pour it into two tall cups, mixed with my baking soda, vinegar, or whatever I’m using, for use in the shower. Just do what you gotta do, but do deal with hard water, if you have it.
If you’re considering going water-only, most definitely invest in some type of water filter or water softener for water-only success.
7. Be adaptable!
This is probably the most important tip. Well, I think that about all the tips! 🙂 So let’s just say it’s very important to be adaptable in your shampoo-free journey. Why? Well, because as your hair gets de-gunkified (totally a word) and starts growing in healthier, starts getting nourished from the outside and inside, your hair needs will most likely change.
Some no-poo veterans have stayed with the baking soda and vinegar method for years, and that works for them! But most of the time, something will work for a while, and then your hair’s needs will change, and YOU’LL need to change something. Be prepared to watch how your hair is faring and make necessary changes. 🙂
8. Have community!
How are you going to know what changes to make? Ask the experts! Seriously, the no-poo groups on Facebook have taught me so much. Here are some groups for you to think about trying out:
- No Poo & Low Poo Hair Care Group – public group, so others will see your posts
- No Poo (no shampoo) – closed group
- No Poo – Water Only (WO) – closed group
- Toxin-Free Hair Care – No ‘Poo/Low-Poo Forum – closed group
Be sure to read the group files, and just read over the conversations. Trust me, you’ll learn a lot. Also, be sure to check out my Ultimate Natural Hair Care Directory for tons of helpful posts, as well as thenopoomethod.com – a whole site dedicated to no-pooing! 🙂
If you’re going to quit shampoo, you’ll be removing the silicones that are masking your hair’s true state. Once those ‘cones come off, you’ll see your hair for what it really is. No more band-aids. This means that you will NEED to moisturize. Please do this. I use my personal hair growth oil as a moisturizer on the ends, every time I shower, whether I wash my hair or just rinse it. (FYI, adding this to my ends doesn’t make my hair grow faster, just moisturizes.) Just add a drop or two to my palms, rub them together, and then apply to the ends of my hair.
I also use argan oil on my ends on days that I don’t wash. I LOVE THAT STUFF. Here’s the brand I use. Same principle: one or two drops, applied to ends of hair. One tiny bottle seems like it will last forever.
I also use a moisturizing mask that I make up about twice a month. I will share the recipe soon. 🙂 I can really tell a difference in my hair when I use that treatment.
And best of all, your scalp already comes with the best built-in moisturizer for your hair – your natural oils, called sebum. Be sure to buy a boar bristle brush, and use that brush often to disperse your natural oils throughout your hair. Your hair will thank you. 🙂
10. HAVE FUN!!!
Going no-poo has been such a fun little diversion for me. I started it because I wanted to grow my hair (and my daughter’s hair) faster, healthier, and therefore, longer. Each day is fun, seeing what my hair will do, how long I can stretch my washes, seeing new hair growth. I love learning new ways to curl my hair, style my hair. I love wearing french braids when my hair starts getting a little closer to needing a wash. I love making my own hair products and sharing them with you!
So if you think you’re ready, come and join us no-poo’ers, and give it your best shot. You’ll be using the best hair treatment, tailored just for you and only you. And when everyone starts noticing your hair’s health and asking what shampoo you use on your hair, you can smile and say, “None!” 😉 Then tell ’em all about it.
What tips would be on your top ten list??
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Oh yeah!! If you love making homemade beauty products like I do, be sure to check out Heather Dessinger’s ebook, DIY Organic Beauty Recipes. It is filled with over 50 all-natural, toxin-free recipes you can make with stuff around the house. It’s one of my favorite ebooks and a fantastic resource. <3
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