Yep, that’s right, I’ve quit shampoo! This is something I tried to do back in my late teens (a period characterised by veganism and long flowy skirts) but…well, it didn’t work. My hair was always either super dry or super oily and I eventually became frustrated and gave up. I had been using a product from my local health food store that came in a little plastic bottle and claimed to shampoo and condition one’s hair with just a few drops of its contents. Bad move. Firstly, it was no different to shampoo environmentally speaking, since it came in a plastic bottle. Secondly, it was perhaps even worse than shampoo, since it didn’t do the job properly so I had to shampoo and condition my hair the regular way after a day or so in any case. Since that time, I’ve firmly stuck to the regular way of washing my hair using shampoo and conditioner of the more natural variety, but recently my interest in trying to go all natural has been reignited thanks to the wonderful zero waste community that exists online. I learned that among zerowasters it’s called no poo. There are different methods out there, but the most popular by far is bicarb soda and apple cider vinegar, so I decided to give it a go. After one wash, I was completely converted!
To do a wash, I use about 1 tablespoon of bicarb soda and 1 – 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. The bicarb I transfer to a small plastic container, and the apple cider vinegar I mix in a plastic jug with a few cups of room-temperature water. Once in the shower, I wet my hair thoroughly, sprinkle the bicarb all over my head, gently massage it in for about a minute, then rinse well. Now for the vinegar rinse. I pour about a third of the vinegar mixture onto my hair, then let it sit for a minute or two while I wash the rest of my body. I then slowly pour over the remaining mixture, rinse thoroughly for another minute or so (this part is important, otherwise the vinegar smell lingers..) and that’s it! I like to gently pat my hair dry (rather than tousle it with my towel, to avoid damage) then let it dry naturally. The result is clean, silky soft hair. I couldn’t believe it, but it’s true – there is absolutely no difference in appearance or texture compared to hair that has been shampooed and conditioned!
A word of advice, however: I don’t recommend using only bicarb or only vinegar; they really must be used in conjunction. The other day I was keen to try out doing the vinegar rinse alone, as my hair wasn’t really greasy so I thought the bicarb might have been overkill. The result? Very greasy-looking hair, unfortunately. Similarly, I imagine the bicarb used alone would make your hair dry and coarse, as before the vinegar is applied I have really noticed my hair feels a bit dry – the same feeling as before you apply conditioner.
I am so excited to have found an alternative to commercial haircare products that ticks all the boxes: plastic-free, non-toxic, cheap, simple and effective. While my Nothing New Project allows for the purchase of essential personal care products, I am keen to move away from commercially-made, packaged options and am planning to look into making more health and beauty products at home as part of the project. If you think no poo might work for you and are interested in doing some further reading, I recommend you check out this website, The No Poo Method, for more info on the apple cider vinegar/bicarb method, as well as a whole host of other no poo options, too!
So what do you think of the method? Have you ever no pooed your hair?