A couple of my real-life friends have told me that they’ve tried going shampoo-free, like me, without success. They all gave it a good, long try, too, before giving up and going back to conventional shampoo.
“I feel guilty using regular shampoo again,” one friend confided. “I can’t un-know what I know about that stuff. But my hair just looked like crap when I was using the baking soda and vinegar.”
They all complained about the same thing I’ve mentioned: waxy-feeling, oily-looking hair.
I’ve been puzzling over the problem for a while. Why does it work for me? I’m still completely happy with this method of cleaning my hair.
To be honest, though, every once in a while, I’ll have a spell of bad luck with it, too. For no apparent reason, all of a sudden I’ll get the waxy locks for a wash or two.
It happened a few months ago, just in time for a wedding. Great. I was befuddled and annoyed.
But now it’s back to fabulous. Consistently. (Is it okay that I’m calling my own hair fabulous?) And since then, I’ve come up with a few ideas, along with a couple of words of advice for anyone still interested in trying it. I still love it and want to help you find success, too!
(This post assumes you’re already familiar with the no-poo method — i.e. washing your hair with a baking soda rinse, followed with a vinegar rinse, instead of using shampoo — which I’ve outlined here.)
1. DON’T FEEL GUILTY if it’s not working for you, and you have to switch back to conventional.
It just doesn’t seem to work for some people for some reason. I don’t know why. It might be your water or your scalp. Who knows. But you’re not lazy or vain or lacking perseverance if you can’t get it to work for you and you go back to regular shampooing.
I do think it’s worthwhile to get the ‘poo out of your life if you can, but it’s not the most important thing in the world. It’s definitely not worth stressing over. And it totally makes sense that you don’t want to look icky. It’s not narcissistic; it’s totally natural.
If ridding yourself of conventional poo is important to you, try again another time. You might need to tweak ratios. But if it’s stressing you out, take a break and come back to it.
Or try to find some other option. If it’s the plastic waste and the synthetic chemicals you want to avoid, you might consider trying a natural shampoo bar, either bought or homemade. (I want to try this one yet myself.)
You don’t have to do it immediately, though. Put it on your to-do list. If it’s important to you, you’ll get to it. I have faith in you.
2. If you want to keep trying, and if it’s waxy hair you’re dealing with, TRY DOUBLE-RINSING.
When I was dealing with this a couple of months ago, this technique seemed to do the trick.
I think the problem is excess baking soda staying in your hair. Resist the urge to increase the vinegar concentration in your follow-up rinse to combat that. You’ll just get oily-looking hair. (Ask me how I know this.) Instead, rinse more thoroughly.
Do your usual apple cider vinegar rinse, in the usual concentration; rinse with water; and then repeat.
If you are sticking with the no-poo method, and having success with it: hooray! We can be no-poo buddies. I have some additional tips for making it even better!
1. Invest in a good spray bottle.
In my initial posts in the subject, you’ll see I was using a crappy plastic spray-bottle for my ACV rinse. I got it from the dollar store. The nozzle was never great.
I recently switched to a high-quality spray bottle — one of those industrial-looking ones for the workplace, with warning labels on them in case they’re used for hazardous chemicals. I got it from the hardware store and paid a couple of bucks for it. That might seem like a lot for an empty plastic bottle, but OH MY WORD I should have done that a million years ago. I no longer have to give my forearm a workout just to rinse my hair. (Cuz let’s face it: I don’t want to ever feel like I’m working out. That’s why I don’t, you know, work out.) It gives a nice, heavy, even spray, and takes me half the time.
I don’t even have to do a double-rinse anymore (see above). SO worth the couple extra bucks.
(For the record, I still just pour the baking soda mixture onto my head, though.)
2. Pre-mix big batches of the stuff, and keep it under your sink or in your bathroom closet.
I got this idea from Tsh. Again, I don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner. I now mix them in big, old vinegar jugs. Instead of having to mix a new batch every week, I can mix up a big batch that lasts several months. Each week, I just have to funnel it into my spray bottles.
Realistically, it only saves me about two minutes every week, but that little bit of increased simplicity makes me ever so much fonder of the method. It’s just SO EASY.
Update: I found this page of suggestions helpful: No Poo Help for Dry, Dull, Waxy, Straw-Like Hair
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So that’s it. Have you tried the no-poo method? Did you like it? Do you have any additional tips?