During our discussion of The Truth About Beauty by Kat James, our Cellulite Book-of-the-Month (BOTM) last August, I mentioned that I had been “no-poo” for months.
No-poo is a growing movement of people who decide, for one reason or another, not to use shampoo. I decided to try no-poo because my naturally wavy hair is always frizzy after I wash it. The move is also part of a conscious decision to cut down on the amount of synthetic chemicals in my daily routine.
There are two common methods for going no-poo. The first method I tried was to wash my hair with baking soda. I used about a tablespoon of baking soda in an empty yogurt container (the 32 oz. tub), and then filled the container with warm water in the shower. I slowly poured the mixture over my head while working it into my scalp.
I followed that up with an apple cider vinegar rinse, which is supposed to restore the pH balance. I used about a tablespoon (or two) in a yogurt container, filled the container with water, then poured it over my head while working it into my scalp.
This routine worked well for me, but I wondered about the long-term use. Baking soda and vinegar are a corrosive combination. You know me —I was curious to investigate other options.
The next method I tried was the Curly Girl method. Instead of baking soda and vinegar, you wash your hair with conditioner. As its name implies, this method is designed for women with wavy or curly hair. These hair types require more moisture and are damaged by common shampoo ingredients.
This method worked okay for me, but it did not seem to get my hair as clean as the baking soda did. Plus, conditioners contain a lot of synthetic chemicals, too. I wanted to see if I could find something completely natural.
That is when I read about mineral hair cleansers in Kat’s book, The Truth About Beauty. Kat recommends clay mineral cleansers from Logona. I was about to order one of their products, when I realized I already have a mineral cleanser for my skin. It’s an ayurvedic clay designed for use as a mud bath or mask powder, but I thought I would give it a try on my hair.
To my surprise, the clay powder worked great on my wavy hair. I don’t know how well it would work for blonds, but it was the perfect cleanser for my dark tresses. I used it the same way as method #1, except instead of baking soda, I used a tablespoon of the clay followed by an apple cider vinegar rinse.
After a few months using this method, my scalp suddenly became incredibly flaky. I had been washing my hair every three days or so, but I had to decrease the interval to every other day, and then every day. Even then, the flakes started to appear by late afternoon. I assumed the flakes were caused by a dry scalp, but oil treatments had no effect. What was going on?
At the exact same time my scalp turned flaky, I realized my water softener had run out of salt. I refilled it right away hoping it would fix my scalp, but the flakes continued. Oddly enough, I read about other women who had this same experience. They were doing great on no-poo, then their water softener ran out of salt and their scalp was never the same.
My usual online sleuthing led me to EarthClinic, where people were discussing fungal infections as a possible source of a flaky scalp. One woman suggested a “shampoo” recipe using borax water. She read about it in a book written in the early 1900’s. I had some borax on hand for cleaning, and since I was desperate, I gave it a try. Finally, I found relief for my flaky scalp!
For the last two weeks, I’ve washed my hair with the borax water once a week. There is still a flake here and there on occasion, but nothing like it was previously. I still use the mineral powder, too, but there is another cleanser I am even more crazy about: eggs.
I like rubbing a few drops of rosemary hair oil or jojoba oil into my scalp for moisture, but if it doesn’t absorb well, the no-poo method can make it difficult to get extra oil out of my hair. So on mornings after an oil treatment, I scramble an egg in a small bowl and use it to “wash” my scalp. Again, I follow it with a vinegar rinse. My hair always looks the best on “egg days” —full of body and bounce.
After reading Absolute Beauty: Radiant Skin and Inner Harmony Through the Ancient Secrets of Ayurveda by Pratima Raichur, I decided to add herbal rinses to my haircare routine. She recommends burdock root or sage to keep away gray, and rosemary for a healthy scalp. I simply make a large pot of tea with these herbs, let it cool, and store it in smaller jars until I’m ready to use it. I heat it on the stove for a few minutes before I shower.
The herbal rinse smells so energizing in the morning. Sometimes I don’t rinse it thoroughly, just to have the soft scent linger on my hair all day.
Have you experimented with going no-poo? What are your best tips for natural haircare treatments?
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