Commercial shampoos and conditioners strip your hair of natural oils and then coat it with silicone and waxes to make it appear soft and shiny. This results in hair which, underneath the chemical coating, is actually overproducing oil to compensate for being stripped by harsh chemicals.
As much as I try to nourish my body with nutrient dense foods and stay away from processed chemically-laden products, my hair had not been treated the same way. It was time for a change –but mine would be a slow, gentle transition to going “no poo” (without shampoo).
Why Slow and Gentle?
I like to shower and had been washing my hair daily. In preparation for going “no poo” I took about two weeks to “wean” off my daily routine. I went down to just washing my hair every other day. My hope was to hopefully cut down on the transition time (which can result in icky, greasy hair) once I stopped shampooing completely. Then it was time to jump in cold turkey. Goodbye, commercial products.
It has been almost a month since I last used shampoo. I had wanted to go “no poo” for a quite a while and only wash with baking soda and apple cider vinegar, but after reading many blog posts I was afraid of the greasy, stringy results I’d seen in pictures. I don’t mind looking less-than-stellar (I mean, I have two littles, they’re a great excuse, right?!) but I did want to be at least presentable at church functions. I thought if I went more slowly the transition period would be less icky.
I filled two spray bottles with my new “products.” My new “shampoo” is 1 tablespoon of baking soda and 1 cup of water. Conditioner is 2 tablespoon of Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar in 1 to 2 cups water. Since I have thick hair that gets oily easily, I mixed with 2 cups of water. If your hair is normally dry, mix with 1 cup water.
When showering every other day, I focused on my roots with the baking soda and massaged it in before rinsing well. Note of caution: You need to be very thorough in rinsing, especially if you’re used to commercial shampoo; it takes more effort to get the baking soda out. After my first wash, my hair was very clumpy and then I noticed I still had baking soda in my hair! After a dunk under the faucet it was a lot better. I conditioned just the ends with apple cider vinegar.
From the first day on, my hair felt “dry” but it looked greasy. I tried to hide it in a ponytail but it was still pretty bad, to be honest. And when I pulled the holder out, my hair stayed put in the “ponytail” shape; it was awful! I washed with my products just every other day the first week and I was having a hard time handling it.
So the two week period of weaning still wasn’t enough. Was there anything else I could do to make the transition period less icky and more attractive?
After a week of just the “no poo” washing every other day, I spoke to a professional hair stylist who suggested a dry shampoo to help on the “in between” wash days. This could keep me moving toward healthy, nourished hair. The trouble is that most of the dry shampoos on the market are also chemical laden and I didn’t want to go backward.
So I found some recipes online for natural dry shampoos using baking soda and cornstarch. We didn’t have any cornstarch on hand — as I prefer arrowroot powder in most cases. Here is what I ended making for my “dry shampoo”.
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
Brunettes can add a little cocoa powder to this mix for color — so you aren’t dumping a lot of white powder on your head. However, I would caution you if you’ll be outside in the heat all day! This is not a good idea; it will drip down your neck.
I just sprinkled a little of the dry shampoo on my roots, flipping my hair up to get the sides and then brushed it out. Almost instantly, my hair felt soft again. It doesn’t move or feel like commercial shampoos, but it looked a whole lot better and was manageable and not as embarrassing to go out.
I am still washing every other day with baking soda and apple cider vinegar, and using the dry shampoo in between. My hair is changing, slowly, although I am still in the transition phase. The transition is taking longer because of using the dry shampoo, but it is much more gentle and manageable.
I hope to get to the point where I am washing just weekly with soda and ACV, as most seem to recommend, but my hair isn’t there yet. I am enjoying the process now, though, and happy to be rid of the harmful chemicals that were hurting the health of my hair.
This is my hair after 4 weeks of “no poo.” It isn’t done transitioning and is still a little flaky on top, but it is a whole lot better than the first week! I think it’s getting there!