I Tried It: The "No Poo" Hair Care Method

Or, what I thought about not washing my hair for four weeks.
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elle hair no poo

Photo: ELLE

The idea of going without shampoo terrified me. I have naturally platinum blonde hair, and the smallest bit of oil is visible, so I was used to washing my hair frequently.

However, one of my friends told me about the "no poo" method, where you essentially give up shampoo completely. I was skeptical: I thought my hair would look disgusting every day, it would smell, and worst of all, not be able to do anything but sit in a bun on top of my head.

Even though I had my doubts, I decided to try out the "no poo" method. Read on to learn about my experience!

Photo: ELLE

Photo: ELLE

Back in the 1800s, people only washed their hair about once a month. There was no need to wash it more than that! People lived naturally, and nobody complained, so clearly they were doing something right.

In the 1970s, synthetic shampoos took off and daily shampooing became part of the norm. Until then, most people washed their hair about once or twice a week. Dandruff was also not a common concern until the '70s. See a connection? That was one of the main reasons I decided to try this method.

Long story short, I have a love-hate relationship with the "no poo" method, but mostly love! For the first week, I can't lie, I hated it. I hated taking a shower and not being able to condition my hair, and couldn't stand having my hair in a bun or French braid all day. It was difficult to make it look good. 

However, my hair didn't smell, and I only used dry shampoo once. Surprisingly, washing it with water did the job -- for the most part.

After the first week, things started looking up. I decided to begin using the vinegar and baking soda "shampoo and conditioner" method. To do this, you need to dissolve baking soda in water to create a "shampoo." You're looking for a paste-like consistency - nothing too thick or too watery. Massage this mixture into your scalp thoroughly, then rinse.

For the vinegar "conditioner," mix 1 tablespoon of vinegar into 1 cup of water. Once it's mixed, pour it on your head and work it though your hair.

I use Arm & Hammer baking soda, which can be found at any grocery store.

I use Arm & Hammer baking soda, which can be found at any grocery store.

I didn't shampoo my hair for four weeks (and I'm still going!). I only used the vinegar and baking soda twice a week, and only when I felt I needed it. Honestly, I didn't have much of an adjustment period after I started using the baking soda and vinegar. My hair looked fine during those four weeks.

There's no lingering vinegar smell (I promise!) and no obvious signs that I wasn't using conventional shampoo. My hair's natural texture was more defined, and it looked better without heat than it ever has. 

Though the first week was difficult, the "no poo" method has worked for me, and I think everyone should give it a shot.

Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar

This is the brand I use, but any apple cider vinegar works.

I have a few quick tips to make your experience easier if you decide to try this method:

  • Resist the urge to condition. Your hair might not feel soft in the shower, but I promise it feels great after it's dry.
  • Dry shampoo is fine in moderation, but relying on it completely is just as bad as washing your hair. 
  • The only part of your hair that actually gets dirty is the hair that touches your scalp, so try to leave the bottom section of your hair alone for the most part.

For more info about the "no poo" method, especially for those of you that have curly hair, be sure to check out this CF article. Good luck, and let me know if you have any questions! 

What do you think?

What do you think about this method? Would you try it? Would you like to see more posts like this in the future? Remember to tell us your thoughts by leaving a comment!

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