My No Poo Journey: Saying Goodbye to Shampoo FOREVER

by allysonrosenbloom

Since middle school, I’ve been washing my hair every morning.  If I go out for the evening, I wash again as part of my “beauty routine.”  In fact, washing my hair is my ONLY beauty routine.  If I want to get all dolled up, shampooing is my go-to plan.  My hair is as straight and greasy as Danny Zuko, so I have always accepted my shampoo investment, while jealously scowling at my curly-haired friends who can get away with washing once or twice a week.

I’m going shampoo free!

I first heard about the “no poo” movement in college when a friend with similar hair to mine decided to stop shampooing.  She lasted a couple weeks, complaining the whole time, and eventually caved and went back to daily pooing.  Self-conscious and with the attention span of a flea, I let the idea drop.

Three years ago I started teaching elementary school.  As my first summer break was approaching, I knew that because of my fortunate career choice I could have several months dedicated to this mission, without needing to look gross going into work everyday.  But, a week before summer break, I got engaged.  There went my no poo plans.  We planned our wedding for the following summer- WHAM- two summers in a row where I had to look presentable.  So here we are…. my third summer break and no excuses.

Day Three 

We are at day three now and things are really looking awful.  I have been showering every day, getting my hair wet and pretending like I’m lathering in shampoo (same body and face wash as I’d been using before though).  Even with a cloth headband to cover my hair, I feel like the grease is seeping down my face and neck.  Summer time can be gross as it is with all the sweat, but I feel like I haven’t showered since I started this.

It seems like there are two main reactions when I tell people about my “no poo” decision.  “I’ve tried that, lasted two weeks and it’s awful” or “Why would you want to stop shampooing?” So it leads me to think about that more.  Why am I doing this?  Because I want to see if I can.  Because I wonder if it’s really better for your body and the look of your hair.  Because I’m a fan of less chemicals polluting our water and my body.

My husband has decided to no poo with me.  He hates all artificial products and unnecessary chemicals coming near his body.  On Day 4, he had to go to a business meeting.  I was impressed how good his hair looked with just a tiny bit of gel.  Turns out, he wasn’t wearing gel and was able to style his hair with grease.  I was so grossed out, but it also showed that his hair was looking better than it did the day before…. and way better than mine…..

A week in….

Yesterday I mixed baking soda, a drop of tea tree oil, and a cup of warm water before going into the shower.  I worked it through my hair the same way you would shampoo, it just didn’t lather.  My hair looked a million times better.  I thought it was the magical cure! I even went out to dinner last night without a ponytail or head covering.  The fun was short lived, however, because this morning my hair looked back to it’s greasy self.
The idea of the baking soda is to get some of the dead skin cells and other junk out of your hair while not chemically stripping it of its natural oils.  I’m disappointed with myself for using the baking soda.  I read online that it was the process I needed to take, but I feel like I just delayed the process of my hair naturally recalibrating.  While it helped my hair look good for one day, I don’t know if it was worth the setback.

My husband’s hair is still looking great though.  Why do men have it so easy in life?

Day 9


I’ve been reading online that some people use baking soda and apple cider vinegar everyday.  Keeping your hair looking good but without the chemicals in shampoo certainly has its appeal.

But the main reason for this experiment is to see if my hair will recalibrate on its own, not with the everyday help of an outside product, even if that product is not bad for your skin or the environment.  So I am going to stick with as little outside help as I can get.  I have used baking soda just once so far, and I’m going to try and make it to day 13 without using it again.

Today a friend who I hadn’t seen in three days asked me if I gave up “no-pooing.”  When I said that I still hadn’t shampooed, she was impressed with the fact that I am now able to wear my hair down without people obviously being able to see the grease.  She said it looked better.  So, I’ll take that as a mini victory today.  Things still feel gross, and if I put my hair in a ponytail, the sides are horrible.

Part Two

What Are Your Thoughts?

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Naraleska June 6, 2012 at 8:00 pm

hey girl, I gave up shampooing in March. Until then I had only heard of baking soda and apple cider vinegar. I have heard of other natural things you can use to “wash” your hair. There was one tip I heard of that motivated me to actually leave you a comment 😉
The hair will calibrate itself, no worries, keep it on!! if you would like to take away some of that extra grease your hair is producing right now you can cut a lemon/lime and squeeze it in your scalp right before you wash it with the baking soda solution. I used this at the very beginning of the journey when I thought it was too greasy but I don’t really need it anymore. At the end you can rinse it with the apple cider vinegar solution. The ratio for the baking soda / apple cider vinegar is one spoon per cup of water. The way I have done it is washing my hair once a week only.
I used to wash my hair also everyday and it was also my only beauty routine 😉 My hair doesn’t really look a lot more different then it did before, but I notice that the ends don’t split as they used to do all the time before. I do notice a big natural shine that I didn’t have before, but I notice that specially more on my kids, my daughters hair has become very very shiny!! I love it!

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Allyson June 7, 2012 at 2:55 am

Thanks so much for the tip! I’ll try it on Friday when I wash with the baking soda solution.

My hair has always been pretty shiny, and that’s part of what worries me. I’m afraid that my “shiny” will always just look greasy with the no poo.

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Gina June 6, 2012 at 8:29 pm

I just recently have tried to wean myself off of washing with baking soda/ACV rinse every few days. I went 7 weeks washing only with water! Lots of hat wearing and scarves! It definitely got better but I never fully got rid of the waxy coating on my hair. So after 7 weeks I washed with baking soda/ACV again and my hair was absolutely beautiful! So soft I couldn’t stop touching it. Since then I’m wasing with baking soda/ACV once a week and it seems that my hair is adjusting very well and producing less and less oil. It barely starts to get oily by day 7 now. I’m just going to try to space it out more and more. Good luck!

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Allyson June 7, 2012 at 2:57 am

That’s just awesome to hear! Even though my husband’s hair looks good now, it still feels waxy (and mine certainly feels worse). I’m hanging in there, hoping for the best!

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Michelle June 7, 2012 at 12:59 pm

To help with the waxy feeling you could try a boar bristle brush. When I was around 5 or 6 weeks no shampoo I started using one and it pulled all this grey waxy residue from my hair (it didn’t look grey in my hair – only on the brush.) When I first started brushing with the boar bristle brush, I would have to stop every couple minutes and wash the brush with hot hot water to get all the waxy gunk off the brush and then go back to brushing. I never figured out if the waxiness was from natural hair sebum, old shampoo residue, or something else entirely. Thankfully my hair now is soft and shiny!

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Allyson June 7, 2012 at 11:33 pm

I can’t wait to try! I’m desperately needing something. I found myself thinking today…. “well, one wash with shampoo wont be that bad….” I need to stay strong!!!

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Tami June 11, 2012 at 1:02 am

I have been washing with a castile soap mixture…..I do have to go to work everyday so I needed to use something…..it has been horrible!!! I am washing every other day which is huge for me. I was an every day washer my whole life as well…..very oily skin and hair. The weird thing is that my hair is greasy all over but that waxy whatever starts about 3 inches from my scalp?? I don’t get it. I too was contemplating using shampoo. I am glad to know that I am not the only one walking around like this! I am about 3 weeks in. I am hoping that I get to the “my hair is so great I can’t stop touching it” stage. Right now I don’t want to look at it, let alone touch it! Hang in there! I will be too!!!

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Rebecca June 12, 2012 at 11:25 pm

Hi ladies:

I gave up shampoo in March. My best “recipe” has been to wash every 3rd day with 2 teaspoons of baking soda, a few drops of Castille soap (rose), a drop of honey, and 5 drops of peppermint essential oil in 8oz of water (I have somewhat hard water; I pre-boil 2 quarts and keep the cooled pitcher in my bathroom then warm up the water in my 8oz bottle in the microwave for 30 seconds before adding the ingredients). I then mix 1/4c WHITE vinegar to 3/4c cold water in a spray bottle. I wet my hair, pour the wash solution on my scalp, rinse thoroughly, then spray my hair with the vinegar solution and wet comb gently with a wide-tooth plastic comb. I keep spraying (ears down spray; mist over the top of my head for scalp conditioning) and combing until it is easy to comb through. I then towel dry, re-comb, air-dry and go.

Because of my hard water, if I use only BS, my hair becomes straw-like. If I use only diluted castille soap, my hair is waxy and coated feeling (crunchy and oily at the same time). But the very weak mixture is rather brilliant. I usually go easily the day of the wash and like my hair best by that night and into the 2nd day (so shiny and soft), and it starts to feel a little greasy (but looks okay) on day 3, so I wash either that morning (if I must be presentable) or push to wash the 4th morning.

When I was shampooing with the store-bought stuff (even SLS free), I needed to wash e/o day. So this is working! I’ve been at it just over 10 weeks. It’s worth it! I had some weird stages in there and every once in a while (today!) I get the balance off a bit and my hair’s a little dry, but overall I’m super pleased and haven’t needed to use product since I started washing. I have coarse, frizzy, wavy, color-treated (highlighted) hair that is just past my collarbone. My last cut/color was mid-March.

Cheers!

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Heather December 7, 2012 at 3:33 am

I absolutely can’t wait to try this! I have very thick, very coarse hair so I already go a while without washing my hair. I use to dye my hair and have stopped that altogether(trying to be more natural and not push myself closer to the big C than I already am). I’ve noticed that it isn’t as frizzy as it use to be since it’s not dried out from the chemicals. I use a little hair repair for split ends and some hairspray now to hold the curl. Other than that, I let my hair air dry and, don’t flat iron or curl it very often. After seeing your progress here and, reading everyone’s comments I’m excited to try it! Wish me luck!

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Gina August 14, 2013 at 10:31 pm

I am curious as to how this would work for someone who has to color their hair? Dos anyone know? Thaks

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Vivian October 24, 2013 at 4:52 pm

I am trying the “no-poo” experiment because my son decided to do it and his hair has never looked better after three months of no-poo. He has very similar hair to mine so I thought, well, why not? It appeals to me on lots of levels. It makes sense that we’ll been “brain-washed” (excuse the pun) into believing we need shampoo and of course, for me, with dry, curly hair, that means adding conditioner, gel, etc, etc to get it not to frizz like mad. One thing leads to another! I also like the idea of not buying bottles of hair products that will just go into the recycling/garbage and saving myself a lot of money. I am a week into this experiment so I can’t say whether it’s a success yet, but I have no real issues with how my hair looks or feels yet. We’ll see! It’s encouraging to read about others giving it a try. Thanks!

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