Going No ‘Poo

In my previous post I mentioned a little bit about my hair history and highlighted why commercial shampoos were perhaps not worth all the hype the luxurious TV commercials will show us. Today, I am going to do a step-by-step guide of how to whine yourself off shampoo. This is going to be a long process and will not happen overnight. Your hair will enter a transitioning phase – this is a phase where your hair is still overproducing oils, but you are not using anything to remove those oils. So the greasy build-up can be bad and it can take six week to three months for your hair to regulate itself.

Things you’ll need:

  • A boar bristle hair brush (this is a must!, I tried No ‘Poo without it and quickly learnt you need one).
  • A dry shampoo (you can buy one either as a spray, powder, use talcun powder or you can make one)
  • An alternative to shampoo, a No ‘Poo if you will. I will discuss a couple down below.
  • An alternative to conditioner (optional), I don’t feel the need to use a conditioner any more, but if I do I use diluted Apple Cider Vinegar, if you find that does not work for you, you could try White Vinegar.

Getting Started:

Before you start no poo, it’s a good idea to look at how often you wash your hair. If it is everyday then it is probably too dramatic for you to completely give up shampoo just yet. As I mentioned in my last post, every time you wash your hair you are stripping away essential oils. If you wash your hair very frequently, you scalp is going into overdrive producing these oils. If you give up shampoo at this stage your scalp will still over produce these oils and you’ll have nothing to soak it up. I suggest to stick with commercial shampoo but extend the time you do not wash you hair by a day. On a no hair wash day you can use dry shampoo to get you out of those sticky spots. Once you are able to comfortable go every other day. Extend not washing your hair by another day or so.

Boar Bristle Brush:

Your Boar bristle brush is an essential tool and you should start using it every time you brush your hair. A Boar bristle brush is very good at breaking up the oil in your hair, soaking it up in it’s bristles and then will help you work some of that oil down your hair shaft. When I first started out with my Boar bristle brush I liked to give myself a good massage with my fingers for 5 minutes, to help break up my greasy hair. I would then go in with a Boar bristle brush for about another first minutes to help carry some of that oil down. When I woke up in the morning I found that my scalp was less greasy because some of that oil had travelled down my hair shaft. I use this one.

No ‘Poo:

You can google a range of different mixtures people have come up with for different no ‘Poo shampoos. The most popular one seems to be Baking Soda. This is the one I first started off with, I use to take one Tablespoon of Baking Soda and mix it in a 6oz sauce bottle dispense like the one below. I got these really cheap off amazon here. I would shake it up and then distribute that through only my scalp – working it in and letting it sit for about five minutes. Then I would wash it out and follow with One tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar in the other bottle and filled with water. I do not recommend this method at all – not only was it hit and miss and found that I would come out of the bath and my hair didn’t look clean. My hair just didn’t feel good and was in worse condition then when I was using commerial shampoo. After reading other blogs about alternatives to Baking Soda, I realised that this product is alkaline and is disrupting your hair’s pH levels too much. So I searched for alternatives.

J.R. Liggett’s Old-Fashioned Soap:

This product reminded me of the lush shampoo bars which I use to adore (until I started going against Sodium Lauryl Sulfate). The company itself makes this shampoo from an old pre-commercial shampoo recipe and would have been similar to the shampoos that were available before commercial shampoo. I like this product, very much, but I’m not in love with this product. After coming off the Baking Soda mixture, this shampoo felt great – like a traditional shampoo. It lathers and you can dispense it well through your hair, you know exactly where you are cleaning your hair through the suds and you get good results with it. It says you do not need to follow up with conditioner, I felt I did so I would use my Apple Cider Vinegar mix. The thing I didn’t like about this shampoo, was that when I was washing my hair…it felt sticky. My fingers wouldn’t slide through my hair that well and when I went to wash my hair it didn’t feel that easy. That might not be the shampoo in itself – it could have been product build up from commercial shampoos that was still in my hair – which is a normal process. I was not completely satisfied though. So I searched for alternatives.

Rye Flour:

My current shampoo routine is a mixture of the J.R. Liggett shampoo above – followed by a second shampoo with Rye Flour. Rye Flour I have been using for a couple of months and it is safe to save I am completely happy with my No ‘Poo hair routine. I wash my hair with the Liggett shampoo, work it through my hair, focusing just the scalp. I then take my Rye Flour. I always wash my hair in the bath and before I get in the bath I prepare my Rye Flour mixture. I pre-sifted the bag on the day I got the flour, to remove some of the larger pieces of Husk. You can do this every time you shampoo but I found it easier to just do it once and keep it in an old glass jam jar (I have a ton of old jam jars lying around and they are great for storing lots of things in!). Mason Jars are popular in America – but I have no idea where to get them from. Anyway back on task…I spoon around three heaped teaspoons into a bowl – depending on your hair length you can use more or less. And I like to make my mixture quite watery so I just use hot water that is into running my bath. I mix it up so it is the consistency of watery porridge and let it sit on the side while I wash my hair with J.R. Liggett’s shampoo bar. Then once I’ve rinsed my hair I scoop of the mixture, which has now firmed to the consistency of porridge onto my hair. I put this everywhere, at the nape of my neck which use to get quite oily, on my scalp and down the shaft of my hair to the ends. I focus on the scalp and really work it in like a regular shampoo. I then let it sit, normally for about thirty minutes. Before washing it out. You really need to spend a good amount of time washing it out. The little particles of husk really like to stay in your scalp. Then I get out and wrap my hair in a towel for about five-ten minutes. I never rub my hair with the towel.

After shampoo:

I never use a hair brush on wet hair. Before I had a fringe I just use to leave my hair to dry without touching it. Since getting a fringe I feel I need to comb and dry my hair with a hair dryer or it just looks ridiculous. So I take a wide tooth comb and gently comb out my tangled hair. I then part my hair and comb out my fringe. I then quickly use a hair dryer to blow dry my fringe and scalp. I literally do this for about one or two minutes. Just a quick burst to get it drying but not completely drying it out. If I see any bits of Husk in my hair I try and blow dry them out. I leave the rest of my hair to dry naturally. Once my hair is dry I turn my hair upside down and massage to get any bits of Husk left in my hair out…the better you rinse out your hair in the first place – the less husk you will have.

That’s all I do. I’ll leave my hair for a good week, even longer if I don’t have anything planned to do it’s own thing. I have a good system now and my hair feels good. I washed it Thursday (27/08) and I’ll probably leave it for a week to ten days before I wash it again. If I am going out feel it is a little too greasy I’ll even tie my hair into a plait to disguise it a bit or I will spray it with dry shampoo and brush it through. The only thing I do every day is brush my hair and plait it before going to bed.

I hope you find my walk through useful, if you have any questions you can put them in the comment bar below. I would suggest a really big top tip and that is if you are going No ‘Poo and you are transitioning and your hair just feels awful. Stop. Relax and reach for the commercial shampoo bottle. Just try not to reach for it too often. I’m talking emergency best friend’s wedding or really I can’t cope with No ‘Poo any more day. Next time you wash your hair go for the No ‘Poo alternative.

My next post I’ll try to document what happened during my transition and how I dealt with it. If you are still in transition and you’ve come across my post. Don’t worry it does get better you just need to find the No ‘Poo method that works for you and allow time for it to work!

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