Thursday, October 01, 2009

October is "No 'Poo" Month

I've recently read of a growing trend among greenies: stop using shampoo or conditioner to wash hair. The idea is that hair does not require all the chemicals and minerals in commercially-produced products to keep it clean and healthy. As people with oily hair can tell you, the scalp produces lots of natural oils that are intended to keep hair in tip-top condition. The more products (and heat styling) people use, the more damage they cause and the more products they need to combat/repair it. I'm a great candidate for giving "no 'poo" a go because I am so low-maintenance (okay, lazy) about styling my hair. I don't blow dry. I don't use styling products (hairspray, gel, etc.). I don't wash my hair every day (every 2-3 days does the trick just fine). An extra qualification is that I don't work in an office. With the change to being poo-free, there is a good chance of a transitional period when hair will become significantly more oily. The scalp has become accustomed to being stripped of natural oils by shampoo, so it overcompensates. Without shampoo, there could be an oily mess for a few weeks. In my line of work, that really doesn't matter. Let's face it, if it all goes pear-shaped this month (which I doubt it will), the last poo-free day will be Halloween, so my hair could be ready to go!

This is the "before" shot, taken today. I'm due for a wash tonight; the last wash was two nights ago.

So, how to proceed?
Shampoo will be replaced with a mix of baking soda and water in a ratio of 1 Tablespoon to 1 cup.
Conditioner/rinse will be replaced with a similar ratio of apple cider vinegar and water, with an occasional treat of rosemary tea (clipped fresh from my garden).
I have long hair, so I also plan to apply a small amount of coconut oil to damp hair each time.
Several sites have all-natural recipes for styling products (if needed) and deep conditioning treatments for once a month. I will forego those during my month-long trial period for purposes of evaluation of the basics. I'll let you know how it goes! Anyone interested in joining me?

To give credit where credit is due, my information was gathered from the following blogs:
Simple Mom
The Herbwife's Kitchen
Clothesline Alley


Karly said...

I am, quite simply, too chicken to try it...even along with you. I have read about it before, and have been intrigued, but as mentioned above, am simply too chicken. I am, however, super happy to let you be the guinea pig in the experiment ;) If it goes well for you, perhaps I will try it...

schlelly said...

I completely agree with you!! I completely support you!! And I say best of luck with that because I won't be going there. I am also afflicted with the low maintenance mentality but sadly my oil tendency was high even before I over trained it. I had a friend who told me she had the same problem with needing to wash her hair everyday and it took her awhile but she trained it not to be oily. I feel guilty having thought this but I have to be honest, I realized she just trained her own mind not to think it was oily because I swear it was a grease slick! I can't change but I promise to teach my children that they don't have to wash their hair everday earlier than I learned that lesson!

the dipe squad said...

Karly, I'll be posting updates every week. Maybe you'll be tempted! (or maybe not)

schlelly, you crack me up!
I mentioned this to a friend locally, and she said she tried it last year but gave up after a week and a half because her hair was too oily. I think if she'd hung in there, she would have passed that critical adjustment period...but I can understand her caving. It really is unattractive, and if you know you can stop it, why not?

I'm not so much doing it for the planet as I am for my own curiosity. I pay a ridiculous amount of money to buy "good" shampoo that's grey-water safe and as natural as can be, but if I can beat that with baking soda and apple cider vinegar for $5, why wouldn't I? I also am feeling the insanity of all the shampoo bottles. I hardly buy any cleaning products anymore (I make/use effective natural alternatives). I've stopped using "body wash" in plastic bottles and instead use locally made bar soap (olive oil or goats milk) sold without a wrapper. The luxury of waste strikes me more and more often...but I'll climb down from that soapbox before I fall off and hurt myself. It would be subject for a separate blog, and my carbon footprint is way too huge to justify the attempt.