If you’ve not heard this silly term before; “no poo” (no shampoo) is a collective term for methods of washing hair without commercial shampoo.
Why are we talking about this? Am I really not washing my hair anymore? What does this have to do with being a gypsetter?
Wow! So many questions!
We are talking about this because, for years, I’ve been searching for the perfect, organic, chemical-free, shampoo and conditioner to care for my hair. And in this search, I’ve tried dozens, upon dozens of different brands. I’ve tried really expensive one, I’ve tried the lower price range, I’ve tried everything that claims to be natural and wash your hair.
But if I’m honest, natural shampoos and conditioner brands just don’t cut it. They leave my hair really dry and straw-like, and strip the natural oils even more than chemical ones do. The are harsher on the hair, and give less of the nutrients back.
So, in between experiments, I would go back to commercial, chemical hair products, out of desperation, even though I really hate them. They always leave a weird taste in my mouth and make my hair feel greasy after about day three.
And then I started thinking. This is such a weird cycle we’ve started. Washing all the natural oils out of our hair, essentially stripping it bare from its own nutrients, then lading it up with chemical proteins and oils to replace what we just stole, and then expecting to have healthy, beautiful hair every day!
The theory is this: Shampoo strips hair of sebum, the oily substance secreted by our scalps to ward off bacteria and wetness. To compensate, we produce too much of the stuff, leading to that dreaded greasy look. In an attempt to remedy that problem, we lather even more frequently, and soon our ends are dry and frizzy, necessitating the use of conditioner and other expensive and time-consuming unguents. We are all, in other words, hamsters on the chemical-products wheel, and if we want to get off we must cut out, or at least curtail, their use.
I mean, Pocahontas has gorgeous, soft, luscious hair. I bet she didn’t shampoo. She must have had her own method of no-poo.
So, I’m not, not washing my hair anymore, no. I love having soft, clean, silky hair. But I am trying a tried and tested method, that’s been seen all across the cyber-sphere over the past few years which involves baking soda and apple cider vinegar. Don’t believe me?
Gala Darling does it. Jessica Simpson does it. And apparently Prince Harry does it too. (Weird!)
So I stalked the internet one night (as I’m apt to do as seen previously when I cut my own hair) on how, I too could achieve beautiful, glorious, locks without using chemicals, by allowing the natural oils to return to their rightful place and care for my hair like they’re supposed to.
Basically, for me, it works like this:
- I have a watertight jar of regular baking soda in the shower with me, from which I pour a small handful into my hand and mix with water to make a paste. Then I rub said paste into my scalp and ‘wash’.
- I rinse it out thoroughly.
- Followed by spritzing the rest of my hair, focusing on the ends, with a water ACV mixture (1/4 ACV; rest water). I leave this in my hair while I take care of all my other shower needs. Like you would a conditioner.
- Just before it’s time to get out, I thoroughly wash the ACV out of my hair, et voila! The no-poo method is complete.
Why is this a topic for gypsetters? Because we are custodians of the earth. And anything that harms us, harms the earth also. So we endeavor to continuously find ways in which we can take care of, and protect ourselves and our planet. Commercial, chemical shampoos and conditioners are laden with so much toxic stuff, it would make you cry to think of. Just imagine a dolphin having to swim in that!
That is why. Because we don’t want our beautiful sea creatures to have to swim in our disgusting toxins. And neither should we.
The Gypset Guide To No Poo-ing:
After the first wash, my hair felt clean, but a little bit weird. It definitely had an identity crisis. So I kept it up in a high messy bun for the next few days, until I felt it was ready for another wash. 3 days later, I brushed my hair thoroughly to spread all the natural oils around before the wash, and then again afterwards, so it could dry tangle free. The second time around, my hair felt incredibly soft, bouncy and ever so shiny. I was feeling quite pleased with myself!
At this point, I left it four days until I felt I needed to wash my hair again. My scalp stays clean for 2-3 days before it starts getting oily, but I kind of want to encourage the natural oils to settle down and condition my hair naturally, so I’m really just paying attention to what my hair is doing day by day. By the third wash I was committed to this no-poo trend. I could tell that my hair was cleaner than ever before, and was being clarified from all the old gunk and toxins from previous hair products. It felt good! It felt clean and soft and happy. The ACV made my hair look healthy and shiny, and the various colours in my hair from spending lots of time in the sun, were starting to blend.
The compliments have started rolling in. Oh yes!
“Wow, your hair is so shiny!” “Ooo your hair looks so healthy, what have you done to it?” “Hey, did you get a hair cut?”
“Ammm, thanks, yes I know. It’s because I’ve stopped shampooing it.” Jaws drop. Eyes slant. Brows furrow. “You what?!”
And so I explain to them what I’ve explained to you. By now, I’m washing my hair every four to five days. I’ve discovered what works best for me is to wash it in the evening, which is somehow magically followed by two amazing hair days, where I wake up with good hair. The two days after that I actually make an effort to style it or put it up.
I’m still really loving the method and the concept, but I’ve discovered that after a day or two, my hair starts getting a little bit waxy – kind of like the day after swimming in salt water without rinsing. It’s not quite as soft and shiny as it was to begin with, and I’m quietly disappointed that this no poo challenge might not be the answer to all my dreams of natural Pocahontas-like hair. But I continue on, washing with bi-carb soda and conditioning with ACV, with the hope that this waxy phase will pass.
After the wash, my hair is always lovely but a day or so later, not so much. My scalp is itchy and kind of dry and my actual hair starts getting that waxy feel again. So I google. And discover that I’m probably using too much bi-carb and not enough ACV mixture in my method. I also learn that, to remove the waxy build up in the hair, to wash it with 1 egg yolk mixed with cool water. With hopes that these solutions will save me from having to turn back to shampoo, I try it.
And guess what!? It worked! Back to lovely, shiny, swishy, soft, lovely hair. Who would have thought!
I have absolutely nothing to report. My hair and I are doing just fine. People have started saying that it looks like it’s growing really quickly all of a sudden, and come to think of it, I must agree. It seems to have grown at least an inch in the past 3 – 4 weeks. I’m wondering if the toxic chemicals in normal shampoos stunt the natural growth of our hair and slows it down? Or maybe this new, natural method is just so exciting for my scalp it can’t help but push hair out faster…
So, I had a tiny mishap. It was my birthday and I was at a friend’s house and desperately wanted clean hair before we went out. So I shampooed. Oh the shame! I was mostly worried that I had undone all those weeks of going au natural in one fell swoop, but it seems ok. The only thing I noticed was that my hair was unusually oily afterwards. The next time I no pooed everything seemed just fine.
I think two months worth of experimentation is enough time to decide whether something works for you or not. And I can confidently say that YES! I like it, and no poo is a definite go for me. I really like the way it makes my hair feel, and look; all soft and wavy and light. I also really like how it makes my hair grow really, really fast. When I first started, my hair was just below my shoulders. And now it’s already halfway down my shoulder blades. Plus, I’m not damaging our planet nor my body with any nasty, toxic stuff. I also see that this method will be quite easy to take with me anywhere I go.
No poo is officially gypset approved!
Image by Dana Boulos.