My mom and I have been doing the No Poo method for exactly two weeks now, and we have had drastically different results, which emphasizes to me how there is no “magic formula” that works for everyone.
As I’ve been doing the No Poo, I’ve had no greasy transition (the linked post, which has a wealth of info in the post itself as well as a ton of answers to questions in the comments, says you’ll experience a “greasy period” as your scalp tries to reset itself). Quite contrary, I feel as though I get LESS greasy between washes.
My mom, on the other hand, feels as though her hair is unbearably greasy on the second day, and is having a hard time sticking to only two washes a week (recommended, as more might dry out your hair). However, she was used to washing her hair daily, and she has a very oily scalp naturally. She has noticed that she doesn’t really need the vinegar rinse — that her hair is soft and less greasy without it (the vinegar is a conditioner, and perhaps if you have super greasy hair, you may not need it). She’ll be following a few of the suggestions for oily hair, or perhaps going the Low Poo way if she continues to have greasy hair after a few more weeks.
As for me, though, I have had a ton of success with this method, and only one or two issues that are incredibly minor.
Before I get into why it’s working out for me, though, here’s my scalp stats: I have a naturally dry scalp, very thick and long hair (as you can see) and previous to going No Poo, I shampooed at MOST twice a week, sometimes once a week, and sometimes… well, this mama of a one year old didn’t get a chance to shower. So my scalp was probably pretty prime for working with the No Poo method.
Since going No Poo these are the pros I’ve noticed:
- Softer hair — with shampoo, it was okay, but usually just tangly
- MUCH easier to brush through — like, almost no tangles with brushing, unless I’ve used massive amounts of hairspray. With shampoo and conditioner, it was always a struggle to brush my hair, wet OR dry, unless I used the mega-super-hydrating stuff that comes with hair dye.
- My usually flaky scalp is no longer flaky
- Way, way less fallout in the shower — like, 2-3 hairs vs the previous 10-15, and much less hair in my brush after brushing
- My terrible in-need-of-trimming ends break off less
- Split ends are smoother and less noticeable
- Overall, ends are less crispy, smoother, and less brittle
- More volume at my roots, which previously just fell flat due to (I thought) the weight of my hair.
- Easier to curl and style than before, when curls would fall flat in a matter of hours.
- Thicker-feeling hair overall, which could be partially due to new growth that I suspect is partially because of pregnancy
- BETTER smelling hair than when I was using shampoo (I always got a whiff of wet dog with shampoo, but now my hair smells a bit sweet, thanks to the black tea bag I stuck in my ACV solution (suggested by a comment I found somewhere — black tea for dark hair, chamomile for light, berry for reds)
- No more body welts from my allergy to shampoo!
- My hair can get SO FLUFFY, and as a girl used to flat, straight hair, this has been… interesting. A very tiny dab of coconut oil run over the ends fixes that, though
- Not a con for me personally, but it could be for many — the smell of ACV in the shower is very strong. It doesn’t stay on your hair after rinsing, but to some people (who don’t like the smell of vinegar), it could get overpowering. You can, however, use a citric rinse instead, which is also listed towards the bottom of this post.
- Also not really a con, but my hair looks less shiny and smooth which I am guessing is due to lack of silicone and heavy conditioners — it doesn’t bother me, and I’ve noticed that after using coconut oil to help with flyaways and then running a curling iron over wibbly spots, those spots shine more. I think the less shiny is due to more volume and hair not “sticking” to itself as much.
Side note, these pictures aren’t the best representation of how my hair looks after No Poo, because I had it up in a very messy and haphazard bun while it was wet, which resulted in unruly waves. That were easy to brush, but didn’t lose their wave at all. So, y’know. Normally, after washing and letting it dry, my hair is fuller but still pretty much straight.
Shirt, Target | vintage skirt and belt, thrifted | boots, JC Penney | glasses, c/o Firmoo
A few questions I’ve been asked about this:
1. Do I rinse with cold water? Nope; I shower nice and warm. Cold water DOES close the cuticles on your hair shaft and make it look shinier, so you can, but so far as I’ve read it’s not actually mandatory.
2. Is it color safe? I have dark brown dye in my hair to cover up the red, and so far, no color stripping. I have read from hairstylists that permanent dyes (of any color) should not be affected, and if anything, the baking soda is the culprit as the vinegar is a solution that is very diluted. But, for reds or blondes, I’ve also seen experiences that are half and half — some have had reds turn more orange, or blondes get lighter, and some have had no changes. It may just depend on the strength of your solution, how much junk was in your hair, or even your hair type. So you’ll have to do lots of research before you try it on dyed hair.
3. Do I use any shampoo any more? NO. Thus, it’s called “No Shampoo” because… I don’t use any shampoo.
4. How often do you wash your hair? I wash my hair the same amount as I did with shampoo, so pretty much every four days or so. (Twice a week, ish.)
5. Will it damage your hair to wash more than twice a week? The No Poo method is NOT meant for daily use, just as you shouldn’t shampoo every day, and the entire point of going No Poo is to allow your scalp to self-regulate its oils. I don’t know whether doing three times a week (which might help oilier scalps) will hurt anything, though, and I’ve seen advice saying if you really can’t STAND the oiliness, every other day is okay as long as you are able to taper off. The goal is to wash 2 times a week (or less, if you get to the water-only stage.)
6. Does your hair get greasy? Well, I don’t have a naturally oily scalp, so no. I’m on day three after wash day, and my hair is just BARELY starting to feel a bit oily if I rub my fingers along my scalp. It still looks as clean as it did on day one, though. If you have a naturally oily scalp, like my mom, then yes. Your scalp will get greasy, and if like her you shampooed daily, your “transition” period can take as long as six weeks before your scalp calms down.
7. You use this in the shower, right? Yes. It’s meant to replace shampoo and conditioner.
8. Has your hair gotten longer since starting this? Ha, well, it’s not Miracle Gro, so as far as I’ve noticed, my hair has stayed at its normal growth rate of somewhere around 1/2 inch a month. However, it does feel thicker and I do have new growth (which, like I said, could partially be pregnancy), and the No Poo method does promote new hair growth due to unclogging your pores and allowing more hair through your scalp. (here’s an example of my hair about a month ago, vs what you see in this post.)
9. Does it wash out hair product (hairspray, gel, defining agents, etc)? Yes! I’ve used a boatload of hairspray while doing this, and it all comes out in the shower.
So those are the questions I got from friends; if you have more, ask away! I’ll do another update once it’s been a month, and we’ll see how my mom does with adjustments and her oilier scalp. If you’re thinking about jumping in, read this post about No Poo to get started. And if you are looking for a homemade conditioner for dry hair, here’s a recipe!
And remember, you will probably have to adjust the levels of what you’re using for your particular scalp. So what works for me may not work for you (as proven by my mom and I using the same method with far different results.). Experiment!