Go no poo

 The last time I used shampoo for washing my hair was about 2,5 months ago, or to be exact, in June 18, 2009.

My hair was not the best hair in the world. I’ve abused it in many ways, colouring it, spraying it with curling spray to keep the shape, and rubbing it with shine serum to make it shine. Actually they looked kinda alright, but then I noticed that without all those styling stuffs, my hair would look dull and lifeless.

Then I read this article about ‘no poo’. Here’s a woman who has stopped shampooing at all and has nice healthy hair instead. All she did was washing her hair with water and brushing the wet hair with a washcloth 100 strokes each side to spread the oils from the scalp evenly across the hair. And within two weeks, her frizzy ends became less flyaway and the hair began to shine. No kidding?

Quoted from her article:
“In fact, shampoos aren’t designed with your hair in mind. Instead, they’re meant to satisfy your fingers and eyes. Marketers know you don’t believe you’re cleaning unless there’s a thick lather, the kind you get when washing the dishes and scrubbing the floor. But your hair is more delicate than pans, and the chemical that produces lather, sodium lauryl sulfate, is too harsh for hair. Over time, it strips away sebum, leaving hair frizzy and dull. You get split ends and breakage. You begin to look like Ronald McDonald. And so you reach for conditioner.

Conditioners, which began to be sold commercially a few decades after shampoo had created the need, coat your hair with artificial esters and gives it back some shine. Of course, the stuff builds up after a while (along with the natural sebum your poor follicles are still desperately overproducing) and the combination makes your hair lie flat as a wet blanket.

Okay, time to shampoo. Vicious cycle.”

I’m sold! I did a little research and found some people are washing their hair with baking soda and rinsing it with vinegar solution, so I did it on my first day. Afterwards, my hair felt a bit frizzy. But I’ve also read that because the hair has been used to the shampoo for years, it will need some adjustments to the ‘no poo’ treatment, from about two weeks to two months depending on the person.

On the next day, I found some split ends. And then, more split ends! Oh no! I cut them vigorously. Then I tried using some brown sugar scalp scrub (brown sugar+shea butter, followed by applying olive oil on hair and wrapping it in towel for an hour) in order to stimulate more oils from my scalp.

The hair then became oily, and then oilier. And more. That was disgusting. I’ve heard about using corn flour as dry shampoo, so I tried. Oiliness subsided but hair felt heavier. I wasn’t happy.

After about 4 days, my hair was dead. Or seemed like it. They were limp, oily, heavy, and lifeless. I felt a bit hopeless. I washed it again with water and put very little regular conditioner before rinsing it. No baking soda, no vinegar, no brown sugar thingies. And suddenly it came back to life! The soft curls were back, it bounced nicely, and it felt wonderful.

I continued the treatment from then on. Once a week, I massaged my scalp while washing the hair with water, a little conditioner before rinsing and then I’m done. Once a day, I brushed my hair with a soft hairbrush to stimulate the scalp. This week I’ve stopped the conditioner and only used water and it still felt good! No smell, no split ends, no oiliness. My hair is still not the best hair in the world, but at least I don’t need to use any styling products anymore, the hair hangs nicely by itself without any help.

I applied this treatment to Sidra too, and his hair reacted very nicely with no transitional period at all. Now he washed his hair himself with water at least once a week. His hair used to be a bit smelly after 20 minutes walk from school in a hot day. But after he stopped using shampoo, there was no smell at all. I mean, at all. Even when the scalp is wet with perspiration. I guess that’s the joy of having child’s hair, Sidra can wake up in the morning with messy hair and he still looks nice.

My husband was a bit skeptical about this whole ‘no poo’ thing at first, but after witnessing the result on me and Sidra, he was inspired to try. His hair reacted very nicely too with no transitional period. Maybe it’s because he and Sidra almost never used any styling products on their hair. My husband used to complain that his hair would look limp after a hot day, but now the problem’s gone. Before ‘no poo’, he had a bit of dandruff problem with his hair and used dandruff shampoo when needed. But after he stopped using any shampoo, the dandruff was amazingly gone!

Now I can erase shampoo and conditoner off our shopping list. Very happy! I’ve also stopped buying plastic liner for the sink, paper towels (use fabric rags instead), and stopped buying bottled water. We only drink tap water now. I turned an old pillowcase to a shopping bag to use when shopping and bring a reusable water bottle when we go out. Okay, sometimes I forget, but I’m trying.

Why did I do all these things? Actually, I’m not pretty sure. But the thought of me shedding so many waste terrifies me. I know what I’ve done is probably nothing, I know some people who are far more dedicated and focused than me. But at least. At least I make myself happy. Not buying shampoo and conditioner every month, not having a heap of plastic shopping bags at home, not throwing away a dozen big PET plastic bottles every week, not shedding several disposable pads every month (use cloth pads instead). If not doing things can make me happy, then yeah, I’m not doing it. More if I can.


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  • hi there! i just found your blog, and i love it! you are so beautiful and talented. i also love to sew, so have been admiring your projects! you have also inspired me to try the no shampoo project!

  • verypurpleperson

    Thank you for the tip! I will try it ^.^

  • Anonymous

    Have you tried using egg yolk (with or without olive oil)? I would recommend it. It's ways better than vinegar or soda. I've been using it for 2 weeks and my hair feels fantastic.

  • aromanis

    I think I want to try your no poo way…

  • carla

    I'm so excited to try this noo poo thing. I wish it will help my 'never ending falling hair'
    Thank's for sharing Novita

  • Maja

    oh, yes, i know it is sodium bicarbonate, i just wonder if it is good for hair-in long term.

    We all love your blog..and your family is so lovely! All of you are great an beautiful, really special:)

  • verypurpleperson

    Thank you for sharing, Hana! (^.^)
    I guess only water works for me because my hair is not very oily.

    Maja, baking soda is the commercial name for sodium bicarbonate, a kind of mineral. For hair rinsing, you have to dilute it with water. Please browse the links in my post for more recipes about using baking soda and vinegar. Hope it works for you!

    I'm so happy that you guys would like to try this too! \(^.^)/

  • amiNoacidA

    Hey, I just discover your blog and i fell in luv with it.
    I'm really inspired by this post so I'm trying it right now, I'll see how it works, since I exercise a lil'bit…
    I'll let u now

  • Stefani Sarah

    Wow. You got me at "But after he stopped using shampoo, there was no smell at all."

    Good job on this one! Will definitely give it try.

  • maja

    yes, maybe you are right…I tried to do it on monday and i have to say i liked my hair…i also used winegard..but i noticed that my hair is more oily, i think i used too much winegard maybe.
    But it is fun to try something new..
    Does anyone know what is baking soda made from?

  • Hana – Marmota

    I love this post – or article, if you like. 🙂 Not just because of the subject, but the way you've written it…
    "If not doing things can make me happy, then yeah, I'm not doing it. More if I can."
    – that made me smile. I love the wording.

    I've been using baking soda for – how long? – two, three months? It turns out it works better for me with the vinegar. I've always had quite oily hair, so I suspect only water would not work for me, especially because we have quite hard water (guessing from other people's reactions; I haven't tried it myself). But one difference I immediately noticed: It's much easier to comb my hair after having it washed with baking soda than after having it washed with shampoo! And that has always been my big problem, so I'm glad to have it solved. 🙂
    I suppose it's exactly because the soda doesn't remove all the oils – when my hair is greasy, when I'm in need of a wash, it's easiest to comb.

    And I'm glad you mentioned the dandruff problem. I have to tell my cousin – she was intrigued by the baking soda solution, but wondered about dandruffs.

    Maja: I do not know anything concrete about it, because I do not do sport, but on principle, why should it not work? I'd suggest, just try it. Wash your hair every day if you need to, and skip the shampoo – who knows, maybe it will work better for you than washing your hair everyday with shampoo! After all, I suppose you need to wash your hair everyday because of the sweat, not because your hair is exceptionally oily, right? I remember my classmate, who also did sport every day, saying that she had to wash her hair daily and it was making her hair too fragile. So I suppose, if you use shampoo every day, it actually removes even the oil that's natural… while if you leave it out, it only washes your hair. If that makes sense.

  • Maja

    so you use just water and no baking soda, no winegard…but i am wondering…i am doing sport every day…do you think this would work?

    i also admire your blog and nice stuff you make…hardly wait to see another post and things you make.

  • makka

    I have heard about this before also but I think now you have inspired me to try it.

    I have been reading your blog for a while, I love all your sewing projects and they inspire me to sew more!

  • jen

    hey! I love your blog and the things you're doing, it's so inspiring!

    If you use cloth pads, I could really recommend the mooncup or the divacup, I was sceptical at first, but it works wonders and doesn't produce any waste at all. it's very easy to use and you can go swimming, exercise or whatever.

    I was wondering how the no shampoo thing worked, here in denmark the water is really hard, so I don't know how it would work without using shampoo, but I should really try for a while!

    thanks for a great blog!!


  • acorngirl

    I have followed your blog from afar (Washington State) for over a year now and finally figured out how to leave a comment! I am continually inspired by the beauty and originality of your work, as well as by the ethics behind it.

  • nYam

    coba ah, rambutku suka mengembang ga jelas. ga bisa manjangin karena dandruff dan rapuh. thx infonya

  • verypurpleperson

    Wow! I'm glad that so many find this inspiring!
    As everybody's different and living in different climates, please expect some errors and trials to find your best method.
    Good luck for anybody who want to try! ^.^

  • designer

    lam kenal Novita 🙂
    this no poo thing.. d'u think it'll work in a tropical climate?

  • Lan0stZz

    Hi, been following your blog too for the past couple of months. Was attracted to all your sewing projects ESPECIALLY your bags and your lil boy's outfit. ANyway, this is a very inspiring article and am gonna talk to hubby bout doing this no poo thing. thanks for the infos! and your hair looks gorgeous. 🙂 save the world everyone!

  • Sylvie

    This post is a revelation!
    I have long hair and I feel trapped in the circle of shampooing every 2 days, or more when it's hot…I think I will try this new but evident option 🙂

    (By the way: I am French, 24, and following your blog for few months, and love all your dresses)

  • Eva Marie Sutter

    This was a very interesting article! I had never thought about this before. Thanks so much for dedicating a post to this subject!

  • lunatepetal

    now I have to go out to get a nice soft hair brush 🙂

    and yes, every single little bits counts!

  • Cosmo

    I don't use shampoo any more either. It is awesome that you are doing so much to stop creating more waste than necessary. So many people do nothing. I was going to try cloth pads, but went to a Diva Cup instead.

  • littlecottondresses

    This is an awesome idea. Thanks for posting. I don't usually wear styling products and find my hair rather limp although generally in an acceptable condition.

  • Amanda Elizabeth

    Yay for no poo! I've been wanting to try this for quite sometime and I think your making me want to try it this week!

    also, I didn't know you were a cloth user 🙂 I am too! I make them myself as well! awesome! thanks for spreading the word!