Washing your hair every day or two is normal behavior for most people. But the harmful ingredients in shampoos have many people looking for other options. So, what’s the solution? Well, many women have decided to try out the no poo method. They prefer to use natural ingredients over commercial products on their hair. The downside is that some of these products can cause damage over time. The best way to benefit from going no poo is to learn which products work best and how to use them. And when your transition to the no poo method is complete, which ones to stick with for the healthiest hair.
The no poo method is a simple process. All that is required is for you to replace your normal shampoo with an alternative product. The most popular choice in this movement is baking soda and apple cider vinegar. But there are many other natural choices you can use for this process. It all depends on your hair type and your personal preference.
For the majority, going the no poo route is a more natural approach to hair care. Shampoos contain chemicals used for washing your hair. But these chemicals can also strip away the natural oils your hair needs to stay strong and healthy. When this happens, your hair’s sebaceous glands kick in. They replace those oils, sometimes overcompensating, which leaves your hair feeling greasy. This leads to further shampooing.
As well as throwing off your hair’s natural balance, there can be other issues with shampoos. Many shampoos use a variety of questionable ingredients. For instance, some fragrances can trigger asthma or allergic reactions. Parabens could disrupt endocrines, which can interfere with reproduction. Petrolatum and sodium laureth sulfate are both linked to cancer. Despite these claims, you’ll still find these products listed in the ingredients. Shampoos can also be more expensive than the natural products you find at home. For those on a budget, finding cheaper cleansing options is a must.
Starting the no poo method doesn’t mean tossing your shampoo in the trash immediately. Many people prefer to slowly wean themselves off their commercial shampoos. If you wash your hair every day, start doing it every 3-4 days. After a couple weeks, you can stop altogether. But your hair will still need to be cleansed of the dirt and oils it accumulates. For this, the popular choice is baking soda. The reason baking soda is so obvious is because of its versatility. This natural cleanser can remove daily grime from your hair. But it also goes a step further, acting as a clarifier. It can strip away the residue from shampoos, conditioners, and styling products. For swimmers, it can also remove the chlorine from your hair, keeping your natural color fresh. Because it keeps your hair free of dirt and chemicals, it can even help it grow longer and stronger.
To use the baking soda method, all you need to do is mix a tablespoon of baking soda with 6 tablespoons of water. Apply it to your hair and work it in, starting at the roots and moving down to the tips. Let it soak in for a few minutes to be sure you’re removing all the excess oil and dirt. Then rinse it clear. This may take a few minutes. Now it’s time to condition your hair. Mix 1 part apple cider vinegar with 4 parts water and apply this to your hair. Leave it again for a few minutes, and rinse.
Since you’re washing your hair less often, you may find it feels a bit oily. You may even be tempted to wash it earlier than we’re recommending. Fight this urge. Your hair is going through a transition period. The more often you wash your hair, the longer this transition will take. If you must, use plain water to remove some of those oils. After a few weeks or a month, you will notice your hair feels clean for a longer period of time. The oils will begin to balance out, requiring less washing. During this process, your scalp will be oilier than the rest of your hair. To keep it from looking extra greasy, you’ll need to distribute the oils throughout your hair. The best way to do this is with a boar bristle brush. The bristles of this brush are the closest to human hair and won’t cause any damage or split ends.
There are countless people who praise the baking soda no poo method. But there are some issues with this combination that most won’t tell you. For instance, your hair has a pH of about 4.5-5.5. That means it is slightly acidic. Baking soda has a pH level of 9, making it more alkaline. This high level can actually cause damage to your hair over time. There have been reports of dryness, cuticle damage, breakage, and scalp irritation. These effects don’t show up right away, but prolonged use of baking soda could cause these hair issues. The apple cider vinegar rinse is used after the baking soda in an effort to counter these effects. Apple cider vinegar has a lower pH level of about 3. It can add the moisture the baking soda strips away. It is also an anti-fungal, which could help to treat dandruff. But unless you use the proper amounts of baking soda and ACV, you may be causing further damage.
One option is to try to create the proper balance in your hair. By using pH test strips, you can test the baking soda and water mix. Just dilute the baking soda in water as usual. Then take a pH test strip and dip it in the liquid. Give it a few seconds to change color. Then hold it up to the color chart to see where it ends up. Then do the same with the apple cider vinegar. Try to find a balance that comes as close to your hair’s natural pH as possible.
Even if you can find the right balance, be sure to limit the amount of baking soda you use on your hair. Try only using it every 4-5 days, followed by the diluted apple cider vinegar. The rest of the time, use plain water or another alternative.
If you want to try the no poo method, but are concerned about the harm long-term use of baking soda can cause, don’t worry. There are many other natural ways to cut shampoo from your routine. Try out the following options, to see which one works best for your hair.
Clays for hair are one of the top natural hair products around. There are a few to choose from, all with similar benefits. Which one is for you depends on your hair type, so check them out before deciding on one. The first is Bentonite clay. It has the ability to remove chemicals, toxins, and impurities from your hair. This makes is a great clarifier. To use this clay, mix it with a bit of water to make a paste that can be easily distributed through your hair. Some prefer to add some aloe vera juice to the mixture to lower the clay’s pH. This will help you match it to your natural levels. You can also add a few drops of your favorite essential oils for a lovely scent. Bentonite clay is best for those with oily hair.
The next option is Rhassoul clay. This clay also absorbs impurities from your hair. But it can also unblock your pores and reduce dryness and flaking on your scalp. After using this clay, your hair looks and feels soft and moisturized. That’s why those with dry or curly hair favor the Rhassoul clay. Kaolin clay has a high silica content, which is necessary for detoxifying your hair. It can also hydrate dry and damaged hair, giving it new life. Multani Mitti clay is a type of kaolin clay. It works great, absorbing excess oils in your hair and detoxifying your scalp.
Soap nuts have a wide variety of benefits for your hair, which is why they are a favorite among naturalists. The high saponin content in these plants leaves your hair healthy and shiny. Soap nuts, or reetha, are also hypoallergenic. They have no odor, so you don’t need to worry about a strong smell after you wash your hair. They are also sustainable, keeping the planet as healthy as your hair is. Soap nuts can keep your hair moisturized, making them a natural conditioner. This not only keeps your hair hydrated but can reduce the dryness in your scalp. And because they foam up when they touch water, they give you the lather you are looking for in a shampoo.
Castile soap is made from all-natural ingredients and is completely biodegradable. It has many uses around the house, including as part of a natural shampoo. All you need is 7 tablespoons of castile soap, 6 teaspoons of coconut milk, and a half teaspoon of coconut oil. Mix it all together for a great shampoo that smells wonderful. The only downside is that you need to keep it in the fridge rather than the bathroom. But once you get used to using it as part of your natural hair care routine, it will be well worth the trips to the kitchen.
Shampoo bars look like any other bar of soap but are specifically for use on hair. Most of them are made using only natural products, but it is best to check the ingredients to be sure. Any hair type can reap the benefits of using a shampoo bar. Those with fine hair will see increased body. Thinning hair will begin to grow faster. If you have dandruff, shampoo bars can help treat this issue, reducing the flakes. And for you curly-haired ladies, you’ll have more control and better definition. Even color treated hair won’t suffer any dulling or stripping when using a shampoo bar.
But there are a few things to consider with a shampoo bar. Because they are a natural product, they will have an expiry date. These bars can last for months, so check to make sure it will still be good long after you buy it. These bars also may not lather as well when used with hard water. This doesn’t mean they don’t still clean your hair, but you may not see the suds you want.
Dry shampoos are great since they can absorb the extra oils and give you a boost of volume. But store-bought dry shampoos can contain chemicals you don’t want in your hair. Making your own at home can keep your dry shampoo chemical-free. The base will be an oil-absorbing powder, such as cornstarch or arrowroot. Some people use other ingredients, such as essential oils or witch hazel. This video shows one that even uses cocoa powder. Whatever you use, make sure it works on your hair type and color.
A paste made of rye flour and water leaves your hair clean, shiny, and soft. That’s because rye flour is rich in the vitamins, minerals, and proteins healthy hair needs. Together, they heal damaged hair and reduce split ends. After a few applications, your hair feels great and is much more manageable. Rye flour also has a pH level of 5.5, making it much more suitable for your hair than some other natural hair products. Of course, it contains gluten, so shouldn’t be used by those with Celiac disease.
We can’t argue that a regular shampoo and conditioner won’t keep your hair clean and soft. But they contain toxic chemicals that you may want to avoid. That’s why the no poo method has become so popular. This approach to hair care can keep your hair in its natural state, as it’s meant to be. And with so many different no poo options to choose from, you should have no trouble finding the right one for you. And don’t forget to share it with anyone you know looking for a healthy alternative to shampoos. If you are looking for more hair care articles check out our hair care buyer’s guides.
I joined BloomGorgeous in 2014 and have been reviewing for them ever since. It's my passion and joy to help people thrive. I have had my up and down days with my my look and my mindset, it is our goal here to help people get through the rough times a little faster.