Monday, June 17, 2013

My 'No Poo' Evaluation

After 6 weeks of
no shampoo

My Verdict:  It's a No-Go For Me, For Now
I don't want to discourage anyone from going poo-less, but here are my reasons for not sticking with it...

Why It's a No-Go:
  • After 6 weeks, my hair is limp, more oily at the scalp, and still dry at the ends
  • I am not saving $ without the shampooing because I am using twice as much conditioner (!)
  • It doesn't smell as good, even with yummy conditioner
  • I am an oil-head and don't think this is for oil-heads with long hair who live in a 90+ degree climate.
  • My hair fell out when I washed it at about the same rate as with shampoo.
Why I Will Try It Later:
  • Two weeks prior to going poo-less, I had gotten highlights which kills my ends. I will wait till my hair is healthy again to try no-poo.
  • I started doing it in May. Where I live, by mid-June, it's reached over 90 degrees outside. Maybe I will try it again in the winter.
  • I'd like to try a cleansing conditioner next time and see if that helps
  • Maybe oily heads need to go 8+ weeks before they see results
Read on if you want details...

Why I Tried No-Poo

I tried 6 weeks of no shampooing to see if it was really true what I had heard about it. The premise for going "poo-less" is that your hair becomes healthier and shinier, requires less maintenance (you wash only 1-3 times per week), it saves you money, and I can't remember what else.

I first heard about 'no poo' a few years ago on Very Purple Person's blog post.  I didn't think it would work on my big oily head and thought it wasn't for me...boy was I right.  Then, a couple of months ago, I read Weslie's post on it and thought I'd give it a try. I live on the edge.

I look happy, but that's b/c it was my
last day without shampoo

My 6 Weeks
The first week, I didn't do any kind of washing, just rinsed with water. It was disgusting. I felt like an oily mess and usually kept my hair in a bun or wore a hat. I felt like I could really become a hippie if I wanted to. After the first 5 days I did wash my hair with shampoo the night before church day.

Then I remembered that there are numerous natural treatments no-poo-ers do, the most common I think is a baking soda with water solution.  I would dump about a tablespoon of baking soda into an empty Herbal Essences shampoo bottle (so ironic) and filled it with water, wet my hair in the shower, poured the solution over my head, would massage it a little, rinse, then use my usual teaspoon amount of conditioner. My hair dried and I had beach hair.  Not fun to sleep on, or wake up to.  Crispy, brittle ends, as if there were still some baking soda in there.  I had to use twice as much conditioner as usual to get rid of the crispiness, nixing the whole 'save money' reason to go poo-less.

Weeks 3-4 got better because I realized that my hair looked and felt cleaner if I kept the box of baking soda in the shower and poured a pile of it into my left hand, sprinkled water on it, mixed it into a paste, and massaged it into the top of my wet scalp, or the oiliest areas of it (repeated 3-4 times), then rinse. Then, after rinsing, I'd actually have to use about a tablespoon of conditioner, massage it all around, including my scalp, to counter the baking soda crisp, then rinse again.  I was doing this 3-4 times per week during weeks 4-6.  My hair was nice the first day, then oily and limp again the next day.
Pre-poo-less and happy at the salon a couple
weeks before my daring feat
Things That Make You Go Hmmm...
Weeks 5 & 6, summer was in full effect and I was going to the lake and spending a lot more time outside than previous weeks.  I noticed my ends started to break way more rapidly than they ever did.  After one day in the sun, my hair was 2 shades lighter and the highlights were way too light.  This was most likely from the highlights ruining my hair and not the baking soda remnants that never seemed to wash out, but one does wonder.   
So, yesterday, I decided to wash my hair with my Umberto shampoo that I had planned on returning to Target.  Boy did it make me giddy all day knowing I would have my old hair and scalp back.  Mr. Johnson is happy with my decision too.


  1. It can take MONTHS for your scalp to adjust to no-poo, though it sounds like you were drying your hair out with baking soda (I had the same problem, no matter how little I used). The thing about not using shampoo is that you never get that squeaky clean sensation, since you are no longer stripping your hair like crazy, which is what shampoo does. I finally went with using nothing but an all natural conditioner and my hair has never looked so healthy. I have body and soft waves in what has always been thin and frizzy. I didn't do it to save money, though, which is good, since I now use more expensive conditioner. I did it to combat frizz and simplify my hair agenda.

    1. What kind of conditioner do you use? I was going to try Wen's cleansing conditioner ($32) but couldn't bring myself to spend that much.

  2. I'm glad to read about your experience with no-poo. I don't use shampoo regularly - I buy products without sulfates /etc and for the most part use very little on my hair (I'm allergic to most things anyway). But - my hair is the opposite of yours -- dry / curly it wants all that extra moisture! I think it really depends on the type of hair.

    1. I agree, it does depend on your hair type. I do think having shorter hair makes it easier for no-poo-ing!

  3. thanks for sharing, i'm too chicken to try an experiment like this for me...though i don't wet shampoo daily, i alternate wet for dry shampoo

    1. What brand of dry shampoo? Have you tried Garnier's?

  4. I guess baking soda falls into the category of too much of a good thing. You describe dryness.

    I am not a expert, nor are many, many opinions you will read on the internet promoting the use of baking soda. I like it and have used it many times to scour pans. Please understand that baking soda on hair is associated with brittleness and damage.
    Baking soda is corrosive and can burn your scalp. It can actually weaken tooth enamel. I mean, would you consider using it on a pet? Please be very careful with your scalp and hair. I think women do not get enought protein and found that "protein with every meal" has been useful for a healthy head of hair. Maybe it is strictly genetics. I do not overdo the protein either.

    1. Yes, I felt like I was scouring my scalp in the shower, actually! It didn't make sense to me, and I didn't see results with it, but thought I would with time. I should have just purchased a good cleansing conditioner.

      I'm anemic, I think bc I have a hard time digesting meats, so should probably take some protein vitamin or other. Have you ever heard of or tried biotin pills (I think it's a natural hormone) to promote faster, healthier hair? I started taking some a year ago or so and started having chest pains, so I stopped. Thanks for your comment!


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