Yes you read that right! It’s been more than 7 years I haven’t applied shampoo, and my hair is at its best. Then what do I apply? And why? Well, read on to know it:
WHAT IS NO-POO? No-poo method of hair washing is actually giving up shampoo and using natural alternatives to wash hair. The popular alternatives are baking soda as shampoo and apple cider vinegar as conditioner. Over time I have discovered what is right for hair and what is not, and what else can be used for healthy hair washing.
WHY NO-POO? Well, the commercial shampoos contain a lot of chemicals including the SLS (sodium lauryl sulphate), silicones and parabens. Most of the ingredients are carcinogenic in nature but hey, if you research you will find most of the things around us are carcinogenic so I don’t really bother about other ingredients. My only concern is SLS and Silicones. SLS strips the hair off its natural oils and makes hair dry; the scalp produces more oils (sebum) in order to balance it and this makes hair oily! To wash off the oiliness we use more shampoo and the cycle continues. Makes sense right?
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With oily hair comes dandruff and other scalp problems as the dandruff-causing fungus grows well in sebum, and that is what we provide them! Skipping the shampoo balances scalp’s oil secreting function and hair remains oil-free for days and hence less dandruff.
HOW I DO IT
7 years ago when I made up my mind to give up shampoo, I researched a lot on what can be used as a shampoo alternative. Internet was flooded with natural shampoo recipes and the basic baking soda-ACV wash method. It was my final year BSc last exam so I thought it was the perfect time to give this a try since I only had to be out for few hours (for exams). I tried the Baking soda thing- mixed up 1 tablespoon baking soda in 1 mug of water (approx. 3 cups) and used it to wash my hair. I simply poured the solution on my hair in parts taking care it reaches the scalp and massaged for about 5 minutes. After washing it off, I used ACV. I have a spray bottle that I keep in my bathroom, I just fill it ¼ with ACV and add 1 ½ cups water. I sprayed the ACV solution on my scalp and hair, massaged for 5 minutes and washed off after 10 minutes (yea I know, a lot of time that is). Basically you use Acv to balance the scalp pH since baking soda does not match the pH of our scalp. ACV has other benefits too like it is anti-fungal, hair softener and it adds a subtle shine to your hair.
Ok, so that was what I tried the initial days of nop-pooing. My hair felt rough initially and got oily like crazy on the second day itself. But, do not wash it again. You have to gradually increase the gap between hair washing. This is called as the transition phase.
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Basically transition phase is the time your scalp is trying to adjust to no-shampoo and it certainly takes months to get back to normal. Yes, this means you will have bad hair days for months but you can tie a bun or braid to hide it. I always had a bun and it worked fine.
I used only Baking soda and ACV for 2 months, hair washing reduced from alternate days to once or twice in a week. I felt my hair was getting a lot drier and I could also see white deposits on the hair which was Baking soda certainly. I realised I had to scrub my hair properly in order to wash off the baking soda residues. I invested in a scrubbing comb which is round and has tiny bristles. I scrubbed my scalp before hair washing to loosen all the dirt and dead skin cells and after using Baking soda to remove the residue. The scrubbing worked like a charm and I had no white residue after that particular day.
SHAMPOO ALTERNATIVES I USE – Baking soda can make hair dry over time so I use other alternatives in between. If you ask me, I have used almost everything from the kitchen- coriander water, egg wash, cucumber, bottle gourd, bananas, carrots, lemons, beets, etc. Here are my top favourites >>
MY HAIR THEN AND NOW
My hair used to be very oily and I had to wash it every other day. Besides I had dandruff problem too. Ever since I have left shampoo, my hair is all naturally soft and smooth, does not get oily for 4-5 days after hair washing; sometimes remains fresh for a week, hair is a lot manageable and not dandruff problems anymore. The major change I saw is that it my hair grows like weed!
- Your hair will be dull and oily during the transition phase, trust me you have to let it go and not give up; your hair will be fine gradually.
- I use baking soda twice a month and use other natural alternatives and water-only-wash in between washes. You can do what works best for your hair after experimenting a bit.
- Always scrub away the residual baking soda.
- You can apply conditioner once or twice a month to the ends only.