The Gypset Guide To No Poo-ing

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!)


Gypset guide to no poo


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:

Week 1.

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!

Week 2.

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.

Week 3.

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.

Week 4.

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.

Week 5.

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!

Week 6.

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…

Week 7.

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.

Week 8.

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.

24 Responses to The Gypset Guide To No Poo-ing

  1. Yes, I’m loving it too and I’m actually enjoying all the experiments that come with the switch. I tried honey too, but it’s too heavy for me, but probably great as a conditioner.

    There’s this great blog I use for inspiration, maybe you’ll enjoy it too. I learned a lot & switched to the oil cleansing method with my face, and it’s working out surprisingly well. :)


  2. Hey my lovely!

    That’s SO good to hear! It’s working so beautifully for me too… I still totally love it. I’ve noticed my hair needs a bit less bc and more vinegar to get that softness and sheen – but it’s all about experimenting and finding the right combination for each individual. Hooray for no-poo! haha! xo

  3. Hey Vienda,

    Just wanted to let you know that I’m still no poo and at a point where I’m loving it! My hair started getting super wavy and it will actually hold a curl now, which it has never done before.

    I’m experimenting with other routines that don’t use bc, but so far it’s working really well.

    Thanks for giving me the nudge I needed to take the leap. :)


  4. Hey my lovely, that’s so good to know! I also had a bit of an up and down journey with it, but now that I’ve figured out the perfect balance for myself, I can’t imagine ever going back to toxic commercial shampoos! I had to do the egg yolk thing a few times before my hair totally cleared and settled, but now it’s just so good! Everyone keeps gasping at how soft and silky and shiny it is now!

  5. Hey Vienda,

    I went no-poo about four weeks ago and I am really enjoying it! I thought it would be a horrible transition and that I might not want to do it after a few washes, but it’s actually working out great.

    My hair was oily for about a week or so, but then I discovered that the biggest problem was that it was actually waxy, not oily. So I washed it with egg yolk like you suggested and tada! since then it’s been great.

    I’m playing around with the amount of baking soda and vinegar, but overall I’m just so happy that it’s working out. It’s so simple! And I think I’m noticing more shine to my hair too.

    Thanks so much for inspiring me to finally give it a try. :)

  6. Thank You so much Vienda! I will try it next time this way :) Just want to express my gratitude to you because I think your week by week guide encouraged me to finally try it, and I really love my hair now :)

  7. Hello my lovely! I use about a heaped tablespoon of bicarbsoda mixed with probably a handful of water and then place it on the crown of my head and slowly, gently massage the mixture outward to all the corners covered by hair. Then I rinse thoroughly and spray a mixture of 1 part ACV to 2 parts water and leave it in. The first few weeks or so, it’s normal for your hair to feel a bit weird as you are actually clarifying it from years of buildup from old products – even the natural ones cause buildup. Just keep washing it every few days. You have to experiment a little yourself because amounts and such are also affected by the water in your shower. Good luck and let me know how you go! xo

  8. Hey Vienda,

    I’m running out of shampoo and would love to try no-poo for a little bit.

    How much baking soda do you use for your hair, and how much water do you mix it with? If you’re freestyling it, I’d still love to hear an estimate amount you use.

    I’ve tried it before (after using all organic shampoos for 3 years) and it made my hair feel really weird, maybe waxy like you described. I’m wondering if I just used the wrong ratio? I have shoulder length hair. :)

    Thank you so much for sharing your experiment with us. <3

  9. I know what you mean, and I think you just have to experiment. If the water is hard or soft, the amount of bicarbonate you need varies. I think where I am right now the water is quite soft. I notice that the more water I mix it with, the easier it is to spread around my scalp. I just stay there and massage it around and away from the spot where I first placed it and eventually it spreads around. Also, because the particles are so fine, you might not realise that they are everywhere already, until you get more accustomed to it. Some people make a water and bicarbonate soda mixture in a bottle with those this spouts, like tomato sauce bottles, and then put it into the different parts of the hair. Maybe that would work for you?! xo

  10. I have been thinking to start doing it, and then I read your post with week by week personal experience! Amazing! So already washed my hair twice with this method, and I like it, but it still feels waxy. I think it’s something to do with water in the area, as when I use it with shampoos I always get lots of dandruff… I will keep going and see what happens.
    Just have one question – is just one small amount of soda enough for the whole scalp? It doesn’t spread easily so I end up with having loads on one part of my head and much less on others! :)

  11. When I first read about it, I was so impressed, but it took me a good 6 months or more to finally give it a go. But since doing it, I haven’t looked back! No poo rocks my world (+ the name is so silly + funny it’s worth it just for that). Let me know how you go with it!

  12. I go through stages of wanting to go ‘no poo’. I do all the research and then back out after a few days. I have high maintenance curly + fine hair so it gets pretty oily. But, Vienda, I have to say, you’ve convinced me to give the bicarb + ACV thing a go and at least try it and see what I think. Eek! Wish me luck!

  13. Hello my lovely! I don’t have a solution for that either. I don’t oil my hair because with this washing method it’s very hard to get out. But the idea here is that you don’t have to oil your hair anymore because the natural oils from your scalp will do the job for you. So i just take a tiny bit of coconut oil for my ends – like half a baby finger nail of oil – gently rubbed between my hands and then onto the ends of my hair. I think Argan oil would work well too. Let me know if you come up with an amazing solution!

  14. Oh awesome, I can’t wait to hear how you go. Once you get the hang of it, you will find just how wonderfully amazing this method is for your hair! Makes it sooooo soft and shiny!

  15. Vienda,
    Hi, I wanted to write in to say I’ve tried this myself and it works wonderfully, and may the tribe of those rejecting harmful chemicals and carcinogens of beauty products increase. I am from India, and we’ve always had a tradition of using soapnut powder and such natural alternatives (plant) that wash hair – it actually lathers. And we use it because we have a regiment of oiling our hair, with coconut oil because it nourishes and protects hair, slows down greying etc, and to wash it off. But soapnut tends to dry your hair, at least mine. Apple cider vinegar’s been the rage for a while now, but I’m always stumped with having to wash off oil, those days, it’s back to shampoo. Do you a solution in mind? Because here, we try to oil our hair and wash that off and not merely wash your hair – because it helps with hair growth and as I said, other benefits.

  16. hehe i love this honey! thank you for the advice… I have been wondering what alternate methods there are…. i remember in india, not washing my hair for 2 weeks, and my hair started to turn to wax… it was so wild! i am def going to try the bicarb ACV combo you speak of xxxx

  17. Good for you!!
    I will admit. I have wanted to try this, but I find that using a very natural product and only washing my hair every 3-5 days works well for me.
    Great job darling!!

  18. I think getting to use the word poo this many times in an article, as an adult, was one of the main attractions that made this experiment so enticing. And of course, the hair. But yes, thank you for giggling. Let’s giggle some more about it this weekend! xo

  19. I am excited to try this – this post was hillariously filled with my giggles as I read through. The word “poo” just makes me laugh all day!
    Thanks for making me giggle like that! I will now have a strong stomach AND beautiful hair! haha!

  20. I am soooo glad to meet a fellow no-poo-er! Hello Jo! It’s such a funny transition and most people don’t quite get it but once you actually TRY no poo, it’s really very amazing. Thanks for your comment my lovely. xo

  21. This is fab! I started no-poing exactly like you have described 10 weeks ago and only just feel like it’s sorting itself out, I think the ratios to use also partly depends whether you live in a soft of hard water area.

    I also tried using a little bit of Dr Bronners in the mix at first but that made my hair super heavy so now I just keep it simple with bicarb followed by ACV.

    I love that you included the mishap in week 7 as it had been my worry that I would undo all my hard work if there was ever a time when I had to resort to normal shampoo for whatever reasons so that gives me peace of mind!!

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