Since I've gone no poo, a lot of people ask me when I mention it, how I care for my hair now. Obviously I do care for it or it would like terrible and dirty all the time and probably smell bad too. It doesn't. However, I can now go for 2 weeks without doing anything other than scrubbing it out with clear water and have it still be clean and healthy looking. So because I get asked so often, I thought I'd post an explanation of how I keep my hair clean. I clean it with baking soda solution and rinse with apple cider vinegar solution. The vinegar does not leave a scent on your hair. You barely use any at all, and then you rinse it out very well. If you want a scent, you can use a drop of essential oil, but I just put my favorite perfume on a q-tip and run it through my hair a couple times in the morning. That way it's not overwhelmingly strong and wears off by the end of the day so I can choose a different perfume if I like the next day.
Here's what you need:
1. A pair of 2 oz squirt bottles like this one
(I actually used bigger ones empty from hair dye at first, but found the small ones were plenty for my shoulder length hair)
2. A box of baking soda
(my first one cost 97¢ and my current one cost 80¢)
3. A bottle of apple cider vinegar (mine is 32 oz, and cost $2, and in a year I have used only half the bottle even after I stole some from the bottle for a yarn dying experiment)
Step one: Don't change any products yet. Just spend a few weeks gradually extending the time between washes. If you wash your hair every day, start washing every other day. Then every third day. Then twice a week... for example, at this stage, I washed every Wednesday and Sunday because it worked well with my schedule. Stick with that schedule for a couple of weeks. In the mean time, you can get your supplies
Step two: Ditch the shampoo and conditioner. You may have to play around with your amounts a bit to get it perfect for your hair type. I started out with a teaspoon of baking soda in 4 oz... and that has worked pretty well, though I have smaller bottles now, I do about half a teaspoon in a 2 oz bottle of warm water. I don't measure it exactly just eyeball it. I give it a shake to dissolve it and then squirt it onto my hair while it is dry. Start at the scalp and then you can use your fingers to work it to the tips. For me the 2 oz is enough to pretty thoroughly saturate my hair though it is pretty thick. Longer hair may need more. This will of course not foam up like shampoo. That's part of the adjustment, is thinking foam is necessary. Just scrub it around with your fingers for a couple of minutes. Especially your scalp, but make sure you are getting the ends in there too. Rinse thoroughly. Now in the second bottle (or really you could just rinse out the same bottle I guess. Mix about a half teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar per 2 oz of warm water. Give it a shake and also squeeze the entire bottle onto your hair. rub it in, especially on the tips. (I usually start at the tips and work my way up to the scalp. Rinse it very well.
Step three: Continue with Step Two for a few weeks. Staying with the same twice a week wash schedule you've been using. This is your adjustment period. I noticed that at first my hair felt heavy and strange, though it looked clean and I could style it without too much trouble. I adjusted my amounts, as I may have started out with too much vinegar. I don't actually remember! haha.. but some of it is just that your hair and scalp is recovering from years of having wax and silicone applied in conditioners after having all the natural oils stripped out by the shampoo as often as daily or for some people even more. Just stick with it and let your hair adjust. It's been over producing oil for years too, as it tries to compensate for what the shampoo is stripping out. Clogged follicles can also open up after a while and your hair may grow in thicker and maybe even more of it.
Step four: Once you feel like your hair is starting to normalize, you can either continue to wash twice a week as I did for quite some time, or you can try washing once a week, and just giving it a good scrub with your fingertips and clear water the other day you would have been washing. If this isn't working for you, then just go back to twice a week, and gradually extend your time between washes until you can reach a week. I don't think there is any shame in it if you don't get there. The main thing is that you don't want to go back to washing every day, as even with this natural method, this will strip your hair of oils and cause it to over produce again.
I hope this is helpful and informative. I don't have a good picture of my hair today, and I'm not going to take one since I'm in my pajama's, but I do have some at varying stages
These two were taken on Day 71 of the experiment:
This picture was taken further out. April 17. I've just decided to stop dying and you can see some of my silver.
You'll notice it looks glossier and healthier, this is because I'd gotten a lot of the damage cut out of it recently.
Here I am on New Years Day 2014 playing Apples to Apples with my spawn and some friends.
Ok so anyway, if you're interested in trying this out, feel free. Share your results with me and feel free to ask any questions you may have about the process. I also no longer use any styling products. Honestly, I have so much body that I don't need them, and I've learned over the years that my hair styles best if I just have a good cut and let it do what it wants to
So 14 months ago, after some study on the subject, I decided to try an experiment with my hair. I wanted to stop using shampoo and conditioner. Period. I had been reading these labels and looking at all the crap that is in these products and realizing that it was full of phosphates and wax and silicone and all kinds of crazy stuff that I didn't really want on my hair. Firstly, because most of them actually make your hair dry and brittle, while disguising that fact by coating it wax and silicone. To date, I have not used shampoo (nor any sort of soap) or conditioner on my hair (other than when I dyed my hair once every 6 weeks or so) since October of 2012 now. After a brief adjustment period, my hair started feeling healthier than it's ever been. Since then, I also decided I wanted to see what my hair would look like without any dye, so I stopped, and when I had an inch or so of hair grown out dye free, I also cut it super short to let it grow out clean and natural. I guess that was probably about 6 months ago. It's probably about 5 or 6 inches on top now. The change is amazing. I'm not sure yet if I'll keep the natural color. I'm considering using henna on it, but will do a test swatch first to see if I can get an acceptable color first.