All-Natural Haircare and NO POO
How many of you have heard of “No Poo”? Many of my clients cannot go to a salon due to chemical or fragrance sensitivity, and as an alternative to the sometimes high price tags of all-natural hair products some of my clients forego shampoo and products altogether. Before you start thinking about how gross or smelly these people must be, I’d like to interrupt to say they have the cleanest, softest and freshest smelling hair – even in comparison to those who use shampoo! The texture difference between shampooed hair and ‘natural’ hair is so striking that I have seriously considered it myself….but more on that later.
It takes a lot of patience over a month or so if you want to go fully shampoo-free. Your scalp will need time to normalize oil production, as it will no longer need to overproduce to compensate for being stripped dry all the time. Here’s all you need:
- A tablespoon of natural baking soda (the generic brands have unlisted chemicals in them that are toxic), mixed in 250mL of water
- A tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar (I like Bragg’s), mixed in 250mL of water
Saturate your hair in the shower for about 30 seconds, then slowly pour the baking soda mixture onto your scalp. Pour a bit into your hand so you can press it up into the hair at your nape. IMPORTANT: do not scrub this into your hair like you would with shampoo! You will cause horrible breakage which can take a year to grow out. Instead, gently apply pressure to your scalp as though you were giving a pressure point massage, working the baking soda gently into your hair at the roots. This should take about 2 minutes and it will help to balance the pH of your scalp. Once finished, rinse thoroughly under the shower. When your hair feels a lot less gritty, gently pour the apple cider mixture onto your scalp. You could massage this in as with the baking soda, or simply rinse right away. After you’re done, rinse all the apple cider out of your hair, and you’re good to go!
Our society has conditioned us to believe that our natural body oils, and oils in general, are bad and that they should be scrubbed off with chemicals in order for us not to offend everyone with our stench. The truth is that natural scalp and skin oils are actually the ideal conditioner for our hair and skin (our body makes exactly the right oil if we are healthy). Our natural scalp oils do not smell bad unless we are unhealthy, eating poorly, or not showering daily. I am close to many heads a day, and can say with confidence that EVERYONE’s scalp has an odour whether they have used shampoo or not. It’s rarely gross. If you rinse daily, there will be no noticeable odour; the main thing that makes your head smelly is sleeping on a stinky pillow in a stinky bed and not showering the next morning. There is a colossal difference between not showering and simply not using shampoo.
The trend of Argan oil, Moroccan oil, Ojon and other oily hair products has given my clients a new openness to trying oil in their hair if they do want to continue using shampoo. I am grateful for the high prices of these products, because it makes it easier to encourage clients to try the cheapest and most effective alternative: organic virgin coconut oil. It’s my beauty secret! Make sure you get organic oil because I have heard that processed oil is bleached…that’s very bad for your hair and skin. Coconut oil helps to control frizz and give curly hair that lovely ‘piecy’ look without feeling crispy. Slick a whole bunch into your hair and scalp, braid your hair and wear a shower cap overnight for a mega treatment. It’s a must if you want to retrain bangs or cowlicks because it soaks into the hair and makes it more pliable. It’s colour safe and actually protects your haircolour because it has an SPF. Also it smells yummy. Wanna know more about this awesome stuff? 333 Uses for Coconut oil!
Certain oils, such as coconut oil and almond oil, are even known to help clear up acne and excessively oily skin! Did you know that the ancient Romans used only olive oil to wash their bodies? They rubbed it onto their skin and used a tool to scrape it off. This removed dirt, excess natural oils and other grime. They also used olive oil in their hair. After these rituals they rinsed with herbal scented water.
Coconut oil is also soothing for Baby’s scalp and hair, especially if you have made the mistake of using Johnson’s Baby Shampoo or other cheap baby shampoo. Did you know that the reason it’s tear-free is that alkaline chemicals don’t sting the eyes? The correct pH of the scalp should be acidic (4.5-5.5) and baby shampoo is closer to 8…which is the pH of an endothermic perm. Yes, you read that right! Baby shampoo can be used to develop a perm. It can also strip haircolour. Baby shampoo is one of the leading causes of cradle cap because it upsets the natural pH and encourages growth of fungi and bacteria. Also, think about the fontanelle and what it actually is: there is mere skin between the outside world and your little one’s brain. In my professional opinion, the best thing for a baby’s scalp is plain water. I have clients with ‘No Poo’ babies and children who have the most beautifully clean and surprisingly tangle free hair compared to shampoo-using babies and children.
And finally, I’d like to point out that curly haired people find that going ‘No Poo’ makes their hair softer and easier to manage. Curly hair is naturally dry because the cuticle sits a little open no matter how healthy it is; this means that it’s constantly losing moisture and needs it replenished. Most people do not realize that the best conditioner for your hair comes directly out of your scalp in the form of your skin oils! They naturally resist dirt and simple brushing with a boar bristle brush will loosen it enough to be rinsed out with plain water. I have seen curly clients go from unmanageable frizz to lovely clean curls that sit perfectly (with the help of my Curly Cut) just by going product free. There are massive websites devoted only to curly hair and they all suggest trying this.
It was very tempting to go ‘No Poo’ myself after seeing others enjoy so much success with it. As a hairstylist it is essential for me to stay abreast of product trends and be able to recommend the very best to my clients; it is for this reason alone that I will continue to use regular shampoo, conditioner and styling products. However! For over ten years, I have only worn makeup on special occasions (maybe a few times a year), and figured it would be a fun experiment to stop using soap on my face altogether. I am proudly soap-free (face only) since October 2012 and my skin has NEVER been so clean or clear. I rinse with water morning and night, gently exfoliating with the towel as I dry. If I’ve worn makeup for whatever reason, I use coconut oil to remove it. I do still use an eye cream and night cream (Blue Cosmetics), as well as a biweekly clay mask, but during the day it’s coconut oil and that’s it.
So! Tell me about your experiences with ‘No Poo’. I would love to hear about what you think.