Friday, February 24, 2012

The “no-poo” method…why and how I stopped washing my curly hair

How’s that for a title? 

It seems like anything having to do with “poo” refers to bodily functions around here, so it is with great trepidation that I even use the word.  But that is what it is, the no-poo, or no shampoo method of “cleansing” my hair.

Weird, right?  I thought so too.  But I get questions on it from time to time, so I thought I’d share.

Let’s get a few things over with first, shall we? 

I do not have dreadlocks.  I do not have spider webs or other nasties living behind my ears.  My hair does not stink; my husband has repeatedly done the sniff test for me and has given me his complete nasal approval.  And finally, I am not a greasy messy head of hair. 

no shampoo routine

So here is the story, if you’re interested.  And I’m guessing if you’re reading this far you might just be a little curious and therefore, I’m assuming, interested. 

It all began back in December of 2010 when I decided to grow my very short hair out.  After about 7 years of short it was time for a change.  I committed with my good friend/hair stylist not to cut it at all (excluding a get in shape trim once) until June of 2011.  As the months went on it got longer (obviously) and at times I felt frumpy and odd as I entered in between stages.  But I also noticed something else, it was starting to curl.  This was new territory for me.  The last time I had encountered curl on my head was the spiral perm days of my junior high years.  I began to realize that I had a choice to make, keep it growing (I really wanted to) or cut it a bit and blow it out and iron it daily.  Simplicity won over.  Besides I was kind of liking what I was seeing. 

But these new found curls and waves demanded a different form of care.  It seemed like my regular routine of shampooing every other day then blowing out was not cutting it.  It left me limp and dull and quite honestly took too much time than I was willing to spend.  Especially when a mere half hour after this process my perfectly ironed hair would start to misbehave and flip out.

Couple my hairs need for maintenance with a fairly regular and rigorous running schedule and I was usually a frizzy mess.  An odd length frizzy mess.

Enter in this book:


and everything changed.

I slowly began to phase out the shampoo.  I switched to a sulfate free (and expensive) salon brand.  Despite it’s teenager Skittles smell I liked it.  But it was spendy.  So I started to only wash on running days, usually three days a week.  One day after an easy and not so sweaty run I skipped the shampoo and instead spritzed it with water afterward.  A bit of scrunching and some time with my diffuser left my hair looking as though I had washed it.  But I didn't   And it didn't even stink, my husband will confirm this.  Slowly I eventually stopped using that expensive shampoo and am amazed to say that the bottle I bought last May (last May!) is still not used up.

I must say, as I went through the process I was nervous about my (at that time) always greasy forehead and scalp.  After a month or so the grease disappeared, it hasn't come back and consequently the amount of breakouts I have on my face has greatly diminished.  And then my hair?  It feels healthier, stronger, and happier despite a regular, bi monthly rendezvous with hair color.

There’s a whole lot of stuff said about why shampoo isn't that great for your hair.  It boils down to this: the sulfates in shampoo actually strip your hair of its natural oils, leaving it dry and in need of deep conditioning.  So you use a conditioner to coat your hair with synthetic moisturizers, replacing the natural oils your shampoo removed.  The result?  A head that’s confused and typically over producing oil to make up for what the shampoo stripped.  Leaving you feeling like you need to shampoo more, condition more, shampoo more…’s a vicious cycle.  And that doesn't even address the chemicals that most shampoos contain.  While a more natural way was appealing to me, that honestly wasn't my first thought when I stopped shampooing. My first thought was my curly hair and making it look it’s best. 

So I follow the routines suggested by Curly Girl.  I cleanse with an organic conditioner once a week.  I squeeze and scrunch out the extra water and wrap it up with an old t-shirt.  Then I use my hand to comb it out, work in a mouse for curly hair and then spray in spray gel.  Then I commit to a bit of time with my diffuser to dry it out.  I scrunch as a I dry, move my head around and get it good and dry.  By the time this is all said and done the curl is set (as in kind of stiff) and I've spent about fifteen minutes total on my hair.  The rest of the days I normally only refresh the curls in the morning or after a run with water that has a little bit of lavender oil added.  If it’s quite out of shape (from tossing and turning too much at night) or sweaty after running I’ll rinse it out in the shower and then dry it, using a little bit of spray gel if it’s necessary, but it usually isn't. 

And that is that.  And I love it.

And for your reading pleasure, Simple Mom has a great post about this, as does Keeper of the Home and one of my favorite new to me blogs, Crunchy Betty has some info too.

So, I’m curious….anyone else going no-poo?


  1. Makes sense and looks great, thanks for sharing!

    1. You're welcome! I used to think that was kind of weird...but it really does work well. My husband's phasing out shampoo too and he's noticed a big improvement in scalp.

  2. I only use shampoo once a week...I am thinking of phasing it out but I only wash my hair 2 times a week as it is....hmmmm...

    1. I was surprised at how easy it was to ditch shampoo once I was at that point. I really think my hair is a lot happier now...I do a hot oil treatment every once in a while to keep moisturized. That does the trick! :)

  3. I've thought quite a bit about this, but haven't yet picked up the book to know exactly how to implement it (I like recipes and here's-what-to-do lists :) ). I think I will now. Thanks for sharing your experience - and also for posting links to others! By the way, I'm also very much enjoying your blog! It refreshes me on so many different levels.

  4. Do you mind sharing what you do for a hot oil treatment?


  5. Hi! I m no-poo for 2 months now. My hair is very long and also curly.I started with the usual method, b. soda and apple vinegar ,but can t say I had very much success. I noticed my hair absorbs a lot of moisture and becomes heavy.Moreover, neither the straighteners or the curling iron don t work on it as used to. And of course, it still produces a lot of grease.
    Overall, I m not happy and I was thinking to use a conditioner instead of shampoo, but didn t manage to find one free (or nearly free) of chemicals.Which one are you using?



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