Quitting “no poo”

Soaps and Shampoos
photo by takot on Flickr

I haven’t washed my hair since Christmas, and it’s the beginning of February. Most of January was actually pretty good, with my routine of Aveda oil/tea tree oil and apple cider vinegar rinse. Baking soda a few times a week.

But now. My hair is consistently greasy and limp, no volume at all. At the same time, it’s frizzy and mostly composed of flyaways. The hair itself doesn’t feel dry, but my scalp issues (for which I’ve used medicated shampoos most of my life) have come back with a vengance, and much worse. Several times, I’ve had small sores or scabs on my scalp – GROSS! In addition, it takes more than twice as long to blow dry my hair. I rarely ever get it completely dry because I do not have 20 minutes to spend with my hair dryer while 2 kids wait for breakfast.

When I read about “no poo”, the successful users say their hair immediately got much softer and easier to manage, or that their natural curl came out and started to look amazing. Most report not having to use hair products at all anymore. I was really hoping for this.

The tenet of “no poo” is that your scalp will regulate itself without assistance from chemicals. This is probably true for most peoples’ scalps. It seems that mine might be an unusual case. I don’t know what the situation with the sores on my scalp is, but apparently it can’t regulate itself.

So, after 41 days of “no poo”, I went back to good ol’ Head And Shoulders original formula. It used to get acceptable scores on the EWG database, until suddenly one day they changed their rating. After one use of shampoo, my hair instantly got smoother, my scalp calmed down (still waiting for the sores to heal), and I was able to dry it in much less time.

I think my conclusion is similar to Calley’s, over at The Eco Chic – “no poo” is not for me, but it has taught me that I can probably go longer without shampooing than I thought I could. And, like Calley, I’ll also be on the lookout for a good scalp treatment shampoo. Maybe an alternative shampoo? I’ll keep you posted!

See all previous “no poo” posts

7 Quick Takes Friday #33

— 1 —

No poo update: Irritatingly, my dry scalp flared up again early this week and I was *thisclose* to going back to shampoo just to use medicated shampoo on it. Instead, I decided to massage tea tree oil into my scalp before bed and let it sit overnight then wash it with just water and the apple cider vinegar rinse in the morning. Much better! I used tea tree oil a few more times instead of the Aveda oil this week to continue to work on the scalp issue. I think I’ll do that a few times week to ward it off. Still haven’t used shampoo since Christmas!

— 2 —

This week’s successful Pinterest find: more natural cold prevention! I’ve had a bit of a runny/stuffy nose since we returned from a trip to a friend’s lake house this weekend and I tried this simple mixture of honey and cinnamon.

Not sure if this alone was responsible for me not getting sick, but so far I haven’t got any worse! Plus: YUM!

— 3—

You might remember that I’m testing out a new meal planning system, Food on the Table. So far I’ve made one of the recipes this week and it was really yummy!

Food on the Table Meal #1

I have a crockpot meal planned for one day this weekend. If you’re interested, you can sign up for free any time. The Premium version costs around $5/month. I think after trying it for another week I might sign up for it!

— 4 —

I found the most adorable little girls’ boutique here in Richardson, Little Lam Boutique. Got some really cute presents for some upcoming little girls’ birthdays and Sip N See’s!

— 5 —

But then I messed up big time and let the sweet owner talk me into spending way too much on my own little girl. In my defense, I’ve never actually shopped for her and never really bought her new clothes – we rely almost exclusively on hand-me-downs, which I love! So when I was surrounded by super cute new stuff I got really confused about how much I should be paying. $70 is too much to spend on a dress for an 11 month old, Jenny. I think we can all agree on that. MY dresses don’t usually even cost that much.

So I will be re-selling at least one of the purchases on Craigslist or Ebay, New With Tags, since the sale stipulated I can’t return them. Here’s the one I think I’m going to part with:

It’s a Giggle Moon brand Abby Gigi outfit set with matching bow. I’ll sell it for $55. If you know anyone who is interested, pass this info on to them! I’ll mail it and take PayPal!

— 6 —

After I spent all that money, I saved some serious money by buying Valentine-themed decorations and cupcake trimmings at Walmart for Little Lady’s birthday!

— 7 —

I am currently interested in essential oils and thinking of signing up with a company that sells them just so I can take advantage of their educational information on how to use the oils most effectively. Would you readers be interested in hearing about what I learn?

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Well that’s all for this week, be sure to visit Conversion Diary for links to more 7 Quick Takes Fridays.

7 Quick Takes Friday #32

— 1 —

Have I mentioned that we are addicted to Downton Abbey here at our house? When my husband and his brother (who stayed with us from Christmas to New Year’s) first started watching a 19th-century period drama on PBS Masterpiece I made fun of them (nicely) because it seemed funny that two adult men were watching that genre nonstop. Then I started watching it and it sucked me in. It is amazing! I love how complex the characters are. The acting is fantastic and the storylines are compelling. I started following the #DowntonPBS hashtag and found this hilarious but true tweet:

— 2 —

I’ve been debating whether it is OK to share the information that I lost my part-time job on the internets, since my part time job was in social media. But there you go. No more part-time job. The company I was working for was bought by a larger company and in the expansion they aren’t wanting to retain any part-time employees. I couldn’t take on any more hours because I got paid so little that if I hired childcare for the times I would be working more, the babysitter would get paid more than I would make. No way am I paying someone to work! I already work here at home for free!

— 3—

My parents are coming to watch the kids on Saturday night! I am so excited. We are going to pay all kinds of money for some really nice room where I will hopefully sleep more than 4 consecutive hours. I might also have a bath! Woo hoo! So exciting!

— 4 —

I am very much enjoying the space at the new house and so are the kids. Sometimes we don’t even go somewhere during the day like we used to EVERY SINGLE DAY because there is room for them to run around and burn off their energy here upstairs, downstairs, and in the back yard.

— 5 —

This week BlogHer announced their Call For Volunteers and I applied, like, 5 minutes after it was announced. This is the only way I’m getting to BlogHer this year – if I can mic wrangle or be a reg desk or liveblogger volunteer. No way can I pay for it, and since my part-time job is gone, they won’t be paying like they did last year, either. Now, who wants to be my roommate?!

— 6 —

Still poo-free and now my hair feels completely normal. It’s soft and manageable again. Every morning I just look at it and determine if I need to use any Aveda oil or a tad of baking soda or just rinse with apple cider vinegar. That’s all I ever use on it!

— 7 —

Seriously, only 4 people have taken my Facebook poll? Please let me know if this blog has influenced you in any way, as I continue to use the data to work on monetizing in an inconspicuous way!

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Well that’s all for this week, be sure to visit Conversion Diary for links to more 7 Quick Takes Fridays.

No poo: color treated hair and hair cuts

I’ve been “no poo” (without shampoo) for over a week now! I’ve got some helpful new information for those of you who have asked questions, so I’m going to have to combine two topics in this post: getting a “no poo” haircut and “no poo” for color treated hair.

How do you do “no poo” when going to get your hair cut?
When I started this experiment, I knew that I’d need a haircut soon. It was almost enough to make me delay the whole thing. The friend who originally inspired me to try “no poo” tried convincing her regular hairstylist not to use ‘poo at her last cut, but the stylist wouldn’t do it. I’ve heard that others have had the same issue. Of course, a stylist makes a great markup on selling hair product, so they’re going to be reluctant to skip the products. Based on my own experience and the experiences of others, plus a little “guessing”, here are my suggestions on how to get a “no poo” hair cut.

  1. Best case scenario: ask your stylist if you can arrive at the appointment “already shampooed”. Then, of course, you’d only just wet your hair or use your baking soda/apple cider vinegar as you usually would when you shower, and go immediately to the appointment without drying or using any products. I think this would work best if you have an ongoing relationship with your stylist. I used to come “already shampooed” all the time when I was in college to save on the shampooing charge.
  2. Tell them the truth about “no poo”. I think this method would work best if you’ve been doing “no poo” for a long time (several months) and are satisfied with the results – you’ve got your mixtures set and everything is working great. That way your beautiful hair can speak for itself and you might not get much pushback. It’s hard to argue with great hair!
  3. Tell them you’re doing a detox or an experiment. Since I was only 8 days into my “no poo” journey, I didn’t have great hair to show off. My hair still looked and felt a little wonky so I had to admit what I was up to, but I didn’t want them to try and talk me out of it before my experiment was completed. Letting them know that it might be only a short-term experiment helped them understand the condition of my hair was only temporary (I hope?). I actually told them about you guys (my readers) and said that I could not possibly use shampoo right now since so many people online were reading about this experiment!
  4. Be prepared to compromise. My compromise was allowing them to use conditioner. So yes, I used conditioner one day, 8 days into the “no poo”! But, conditioner was only used on the ends of the hair, not the scalp, which is what should supposedly be regulating the oil production in my hair during the “no poo” experiment. Also, half the ends that were conditioned were then cut off!
  5. Be open to their suggestions. My hair has been feeling much drier than everyone online reported at this point in their “no poo” journey. My stylist’s advisor was able to suggest a few tweaks and a solution to this dryness that did not require shampoo. So even though you may get some pushback, and your stylist may be horrified by “no poo”, keep listening! They have a great deal of knowledge to share!

Can I do “no poo” with color treated hair?
I am embarrassed to say that it did not even occur to me that my hair might react differently because I highlight it semi-regularly. I will say that my hair was much drier than everyone online said theirs was. Most people seemed to struggle with too much oil, but not me! I’d also noticed that when I blow dried my hair, it took much longer than usual. It used to take me 10 minutes or so to blow dry, but since I’ve been doing “no poo”, I’d dry it for 15 minutes and still find wet spots.

I have the answers to these problems and hopefully some solutions, thanks to Brittany and Sue and the Aveda Institute of Dallas, where I get my hair cut. Brittany is the student who cuts my hair, and Sue was her advisor/teacher. Sue knew all kinds of things! These are the things she told me:


Problem: Color treated hair is more porous. Baking soda is a substance that makes things more porous. So you can imagine how fragile the baking soda can make color treated hair. This is also why it started taking so long to dry – my hair was just sucking up all the water and holding it in like a sponge.

Solution 1: If you have color treated hair, you don’t want to use baking soda every day (like I was doing… oops!). Not even every-other-day. Probably more like once a week, at the most.

Solution 2: Keep up with the apple cider vinegar! Sue even suggested the ACV before she knew that was part of the “no poo” routine. So what I’m doing now is wetting my hair in the shower but only rinsing with the ACV. I haven’t used baking soda at all since last week.

Solution 3: Use some kind of moisturizing oil on the scalp. Since I have a flaky scalp and the baking soda wasn’t helping, Sue suggested that I massage Aveda’s Balancing Infusion for Dry Skin into my scalp regularly. Because it’s typically used on the face it doesn’t block pores, and it won’t lay heavily on top of hair to make it greasy. There are also a lot of other oils you could try, such as argan oil. I have also read about a lot of “no poo” folks using coconut oil, which is much cheaper, I’m sure. Whatever you use, just put a few drops in your palms and work it into your scalp before getting into the shower. I like to let the steam from the shower help the oil soak in for a while before rinsing with the apple cider vinegar.

So there you have it – my tweaked “no poo” routine for color-treated hair!
I started using the Balancing Infusion oil on my scalp and haven’t used baking soda since last week. I rinse with apple cider vinegar at a ratio of 1/4 cup ACV to 1 cup water almost every day. I immediately saw an improvement in my hair. It’s not nearly as dry!

How’s your “no poo” going?

Related: See all “no poo” updates, including the one where I quit “no poo”!

7 Quick Takes Friday #31

— 1 —

I was originally going to postpone today’s 7 Quick Takes in lieu of a “no poo” update, but after going to Aveda Institute for a haircut yesterday I have more tweaking to do, and more findings to write about. There will be a full update either this weekend or Monday.

— 2 —

Yesterday I finally bought this laundry tote, and it is going to change my life.

It can hold 3 LOADS OF LAUNDRY at once, which is perfect for taking clean folded clothes up and down the stairs. I love Real Simple magazine and also this tote. If someone told me that magazine clubbed baby seals on the head to publish it, I would probably still buy it.

— 3—

We recently discovered that we need a full size box spring for our guest bed but I refuse to pay $200 for just box springs. That seems ridiculous. I have been looking on Craigslist but we don’t have a vehicle big enough to transport it if we found one. So there is nowhere that delivers used box springs for less than $200?! Maybe we should just buy a cheap platform bed instead.

Related: I would like to apologize to our recent houseguests who found themselves falling downward through our guest bed mattress in the middle of the night.

— 4 —

Possibly because I’ve been pregnant so much of the last few years, I keep forgetting about Happy Fun Week until it surprises me. This time I only had a few disposable pads in the house. When those were gone, I just never got to the store. I’m most of the way through using only organic tampons, the Softcup, and the cloth pads I got from Lunapads or made myself. I didn’t realize I could do this without using any disposable pads! It does take some getting used to.

— 5 —

My in-laws gave me the Otterbox Defender iPhone case for Christmas. It promises to make my phone invincible. Which I need, considering I have dropped two previous phones in the toilet and the bathtub. This destruction has got to stop!

Unfortunately, the Otterbox makes the phone as bulky as a brick. I can no longer fit it in my jeans back pocket while I chase the kids around the house. For the first week I just set my phone nearby wherever I was, but I kept leaving it upstairs or downstairs and I’d hear it ring and not get there in time, or it just wasn’t nearby when I needed to jot something down or look something up or text someone.

The Otterbox came with one of those “phone holsters”. You know, the ones that clip onto your belt that the IT guys wear and look like complete geeks?

I am now wearing that holster. I have been wearing it all day. I look like a complete moron, but I can always find my phone.

— 6 —

Another thing we want to do: get some chickens. We found out recently that chickens are actually allowed in Richardson. We can put a bunch of chickens in our backyard. I cannot imagine what could go wrong with this idea!

— 7 —

I need to stop staying up so late, it makes getting up at our usual time horrible.

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Well that’s all for this week, be sure to visit Conversion Diary for links to more 7 Quick Takes Fridays.

Going “no poo”

 I’ve been thinking about it for a while now: I am going to stop washing my hair with shampoo.

I have read a lot about the “no poo” method for hair, where you stop using traditional shampoo and conditioner and instead “wash” with baking soda and “condition” with apple cider vinegar (not white vinegar, as pictured above). As I read about it over the years, I saw a lot of people complain that it doesn’t work unless you have fairly curly hair. Since my hair is pretty much stick straight, I had assumed it would not work for me.

Then my friend Rebecca (who is, like, my medicine woman!) tried it. She has hair that is straight, just like mine. Her hair looks great! You can’t tell at all. She said that sometimes it takes up to 3 months for the hair to regulate, but that’s OK with me. Her point is that we can always just start washing with shampoo again any time we feel like it.

So, I am on Day 2 of Not Shampooing My Hair! Day 1 (yesterday) I think I used too much baking soda and it got super crunchy in the back. Christian said it looked completely normal but the crunchiness drove me a little crazy. Today I used less baking soda and a ton of vinegar, and that seem to balance it out. It’s much softer than Day 1, although still kinda crunchy-ish. I don’t have any greasiness yet. My hair looks and smells normal.

I’ll keep you updated on the progress!

Related: See all “no poo” updates, including the one where I quit “no poo”!