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”!

13 thoughts on “No poo: color treated hair and hair cuts

  1. Viviennealston says:

    I have been no poo for three years and it does get better with time.  Hold out and you’ll be golden

  2. Michelle Marie Merriman says:

    I’m glad to see someone else having some back and forth, trial-and-error issues with this! I’m about 3.5 weeks into no ‘poo-ing it and the first week was terribly greasy, the second week was AMAZING but now it’s been on the dry side, except for the very back of my head at the base of my skull it still feels oily and off. Most of the accounts I’ve read online say to give it anywhere between 4-8 weeks, so I’m committed but I’ve been discouraged to see that there are a LOT of accounts of people who have smooth sailing when trying this…

  3. Kim T. says:

    What does the apple cider vinegar SMELL  like after you rinse it out…I am imagining walking around smelling like an old man.  Ew. 

  4. Jenny Bradford says:

    For me the smell dissipates immediately in the shower and if there is any remaining, it goes away when I blow dry my hair. You might make sure that you are diluting the ACV enough – it shouldn’t necessarily be used straight. I have seen ratios of 1 tbsp ACV/1 cup water to 1/4 cup ACV/1 cup water. I would start with the 1 tbsp ACV and go from there.

    I’ve heard some hair actually just holds the ACV more as well. You might have that particular hair… no fun! 🙁

  5. Jes says:

    What about people who use product on their hair? My understanding is that you can’t use baking soda/vinegar to clean the products out of your hair, only to clean your scalp. Is that true? What do you recommend for product users?

  6. Jenny Bradford says:

    Hm I did not think about whether it removes product? It seems to work fine to wash the product out of my hair – I use an Aveda Smooth Infusion something and then an Aveda wax of some kind on my ends. I also use hairspray occasionally (also Aveda!). I have heard a lot of the dedicated “no poo”ers say that they don’t need to use product after a while because their hair is SO GREAT. I find that a little hard to believe and I think I will always use the Smooth Infusion because it protects my hair from heat styling damage.

    I guess the short answer would be that I would recommend that you use hair products that are fairly mild, and therefore most likely water soluble. If they’re that hard to get out, it might be worth it to examine why the ingredients are so harsh.

  7. Laura says:

    Been no-poo for three weeks and loving it. My super straight hair has rediscovered some wave in the back and wonky tendrils on the top of my head, but I still blow dry it on low and comb it out with my fingers.
    I agree to use a baking soda rinse twice a week (usually the two nights I have Zumba) and I love the apple cider vinegar rinse.

  8. Jenny Bradford says:

    Sometimes I take my squirt bottle with the baking soda/water solution and squirt it on only one spot that is greasy and don’t use it anywhere else on my head, if that helps any?

  9. Janelle says:

    I am 3.5 weeks into no poo-ing. The first week I was sick in bed all week so my head didn’t leave the pillow and was very oily. Actually was contemplating a hair dye to dry out the oil but ended up trying the bicarb soda instead. Have washed my hair with the bicarb 3 times over the past 3.5 weeks and rinsed with water on 2 other occasions. Have not tried apple cider vinegar as yet since my hair always felt oily but have seen a huge change in the past week. Whilst feeling a little dry my hair has started to change for the better.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I do have a great tip we used to go no poo without the oil imbalance. Just add 3-6 drops of geranium essential oil to your baking soda wash. Geranium oil helps regulate oil production in your skin. Shake it a couple times before use. 🙂

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