No ‘poo frequently asked questions

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So, you wanna give up shampoo… “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?!” – that’s all your friends and family when you tell them what you’re up to, just FYI.

I should start this off by saying that I am in no way a “No ‘Poo expert” – I personally like to use Ayurvedic herbal powders to cleanse my hair, which are used by men and women all over the world with all hair types, but there are loads of other No ‘Poo methods out there that you can try out.

Update June 2017: I recently chopped off about 20 inches of hair and went straight into the water-only method, which is exactly how it sounds. The short hair has meant I’ve had no transition phase at all, and my scalp and hair absolutely love it. I’ve left the rest of this page unedited as I know water-only sounds a bit hardcore and people are interested in natural shampoo alternatives.

Anyway. I find Ayurvedic herbs to be just all-round nice guys and I put together a very quick guide which might be able to help you choose the right Ayurvedic herbs for your own hair.

The “recipes” I post on my blog are just quantities and combinations that I personally enjoy using, please please take a look around the interwebs to find other No ‘Pooers who have different experiences and tips and try experimenting for yourself!

I’m simply all about sharing the crazy idea that we shouldn’t have to wash our hair every day with nasty chemicals to combat our scalp’s natural oils, whatever your hair type.

It’s not easy. It takes time and effort to learn your hair type and what methods might work for you. And it’s really bloody hard getting through the detox. You need nerves of steel and the patience to experiment and just have faith that your body will tell you what it needs.

No ‘Poo was what led me to discover green living and natural health, and if this silly blog about my hair intrigues a few people here and there and helps them to take control of their own health, then that’s amazing and I am so humbled that you’ve decided to find out more from my daft little site.

I hope this page answers some of your questions. Please, please – do your own research, join this amazing Facebook group for No ‘Poo newbies, and listen to your body.

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What do you use instead of shampoo?

Update June 2017: I recently chopped off about 20 inches of hair and went straight into the water-only method, which is exactly how it sounds. The short hair has meant I’ve had no transition phase at all, and my scalp and hair absolutely love it. I’ve left the rest of this page unedited as I know water-only sounds a bit hardcore and people are interested in natural shampoo alternatives.

You can find my go-to, fully adaptable shampoo recipe here. It includes various mixes of shikakai/amla/neem powders, reetha (soapnut) powder and rose water/chamomile tea/just plain ol’ boiled water.

There really are no rules to it, but it basically consists of Ayurvedic herbal powders which are used by men and women all over the world, known for promoting healthy hair and personally they work really well for me.

Warning! Shikakai and amla can “discolour” blonde hair; shikakai makes my hair lighter, while amla makes it darker. A real Alice in Wonderland conundrum if you ask me. I wouldn’t say it’s overly noticeable, but if you’re blonde and worried about this, it might be best to skip those particular herbs for now until you’ve done your own research or experimenting.

Neem is my favourite herb so far as it smells and feels really fresh, and amla is wonderful for softening, but I need to mix them with reetha in order to make a cleanse feel effective.

Shikakai is a little drying over long periods of time, but it’s not nearly as bad as things like rhassoul clay, so used short-term, sporadically or in small amounts, it’s not too bad to use.

How often do you shampoo on the No ‘Poo Method?

Update June 2017: I shower every day and get my hair wet before letting it dry naturally. Sometimes I massage my scalp in the shower, sometimes I don’t bother. It’s really not very exciting or difficult with my hair short.

Every 4 or 5 days, sometimes up to 7 if I can get away with it. There aren’t any rules though and it may be different for you, I just go by whether or not my hair feels greasy, which usually takes 3 or 4 days to start kicking in.

A lot of No ‘Pooers like to stretch their days out for as long as possible to train the scalp not to overproduce sebum, but personally I prefer to cleanse my hair from dead skin cells, air pollution and the like – you never know what’s lurking in yer barnet these days.

What do you use instead of conditioner?

Update June 2017: I recently chopped off about 20 inches of hair and went straight into the water-only method, which is exactly how it sounds. The short hair has meant I’ve had no transition phase at all, and my scalp and hair absolutely love it. I’ve left the rest of this page unedited as I know water-only sounds a bit hardcore and people are interested in natural shampoo alternatives.

You can find my cassia obovata, amla and rose water deep conditioning recipe here. Again, herbal powder-type stuff which I use as a pre-condition before a cleanse; using it post-cleanse makes my hair is too heavy to dry properly.

I’ll be posting a new recipe at some point which includes fenugreek (methi) powder, but to give you a heads up it goes really slippery and slimy when hydrated and it’s fantastic for slicking through your hair before a cleanse. I’m just trying to figure out a way of using it that doesn’t make my hair go limp after the first day, which is proving a little tricky.

I also sometimes pre-condition using hair oils, which I’m working on another post for – basically, I warm really lightweight oils and massage them through my scalp and leave it for an hour or two before cleansing them out. However, I’m still working out which ones are No ‘Poo-friendly as oils can be a total nightmare to wash out without the use of commercial surfactants.

How often do you condition on the No ‘Poo Method?

Update June 2017: Never! Muahahaha.

Not often, really – the amla and neem keep it pretty soft, whereas deep conditioning tends to give me fewer days before it goes greasy.

I’d say I deep condition once a fortnight, but mainly only because I’m trying to figure out what methods work for the posts I’m working on.

There really are no rules with this stuff, though. It’s your hair, figure out what makes it feel good!

Do you use dry shampoo between No ‘Poo washes?

Nope. It’s like a cardinal sin in purist No ‘Poo circles because it contributes to build-up on your scalp, and no ‘poo methods aren’t generally harsh enough to strip out masses of product.

I did use a homemade one during the detox until I just stopped needing it. I used to slap kaolin clay and cornflour together, sprinkle it on my scalp, massage it and leave it in overnight before brushing out in the morning.

But grey roots and really dry hair aren’t cool long-term, so I weaned myself off it.

Also, cocoa/cacao powder is meant to be good for dark hair – don’t use white powders like kaolin or cornflour unless you’re really going for the dandruff-chic look.

Do you use heat on your hair if you’re No ‘Poo?

A few times a year – my hair looks a little poofy day-to-day because I do nothing to tame it. Using a hairdryer used to make my hair go limp and tacky, so I’ve just learned to embrace my natural hair and love it for what it is – to hell with looking polished all the time.

And I use straighteners for the odd occasion, but I’m a serial hairdresser-avoider so the less ends I split, the longer I can let my hair do its own thing and the fuller my wallet feels.

Where do you buy your No ‘Poo ingredients from?

I’ve just published a new post listing all the places that I’ve bought no ‘poo-friendly herbs from so far – I’ll continue to add to this list as time goes on, and I’ve included some tips on how you can track this stuff down for yourself if you’d rather purchase from retailers in your own country.

Please feel free to send me your recommendations and I’ll add them to the list 🙂

How is your No ‘Poo shampoo recipe going to affect my hair? Will I still go through a detox? Can I still go swimming/use heat/dye my hair? What if my hair is X/does X?

Honestly, I have no chuffing idea. It all depends on stuff like your hair type, whether you live in a soft or hard water area, what else you’re putting on your hair – and, truth be told, possibly even the foods you’re eating. I’m huge on ditching processed foods and eating a low low low carb/sugar diet, which has quite possibly contributed to the health of my own hair.

The best advice I can give you is to take a look at this incredibly helpful Facebook group for No ‘Pooers – there you’ll find a ton of files dedicated to figuring all this stuff out along with methods which may suit your hair much better than my own personal recipes.

There’s also my little quickfire guide to Ayurvedic herbs for all sorts of hair problems, like thinning hair, oily hair, dry itchy scalp – even preventing split ends, which you might find helpful in steering you towards the right method for you.

How did you get through the No ‘Poo detox?

I wore my hair in a lot of buns and ponytails, and I wore a hat around the house at night to give my hair a break from being up all the time, without crying every time I looked in the mirror (I’m kidding).

I ignored the No ‘Poo laws about resisting the urge to wash and sticking with a method until it magically starts working – I tried different methods every few days until I found what worked and made my hair feel clean.

I also used the very basic DIY dry shampoo “recipe” I mentioned above, as well as my rhassoul clay and apple cider vinegar recipe which you can find here. Mix the clay with water if your hair is super greasy and waxy, or mix with vinegar if you want a gentler wash, or maybe even try rose water – just don’t ever use metal to mix clay and don’t use this method for long periods of time as it breaks the hair down with regular use.

Any other tips for complete No ‘Poo beginners?

Apparently, you’re meant to wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo to strip the hair of silicones, which should make your transition period a lot less… gunky.

This probably would have helped me at the time, but I didn’t know anything about clarifying for the purposes of going No ‘Poo soooo you may need to do some more research on that.

Besides that, I just kept washing my hair every 2-3 days as normal using different No ‘Poo methods until I got through the detox, and then I gradually stretched the washes out to every 4-7 days whilst looking for methods that didn’t dry my hair out.

Does your hair smell when you don’t use shampoo?

Does my hair look like it smells? Do you think I would still be doing this if it did? Really?

You know rose water has its own smell, right? A smell called… “rose”.

What are you like.

Is your scalp itchy doing the No ‘Poo Method?

Sometimes – it’s a careful balancing act with No ‘Poo. If I overuse very drying/alkaline methods like rhassoul clay, or even overdo it with the reetha in my newer mix, it can dry the scalp and make it a bit itchy.

I guess that’s a warning to anyone who’s addicted to washing their hair every day – I do mine every 4-7 days so my scalp isn’t getting stripped and scrubbed too often, and if you’re using detergent-type ingredients like reetha more often it could very well get itchy eventually.

Can you still go to a normal hairdresser when you’re No ‘Poo?

Mine lets me mix up my recipe right there in the salon and helps me keep track of when my hair’s getting too dry – if yours is a knob about it, perhaps try another hairdresser?

Was your hair thick before you went No ‘Poo?

Sort of – it was thin but I had a lot of it, if that makes sense. It was already a lot healthier than my younger days because I’d stopped dyeing it years before I went no ‘poo – you can take a look at the bleach disaster that made me finally stop dyeing it if you want a good laugh.

Again, I eat an incredibly healthy diet, and I don’t use heat on my hair, so that probably helps too.

The one thing I have noticed is that rhassoul clay gradually receded my hairline because I used it for so long, whereas switching to Ayurvedic powders helped my baby hairs to grow back.

Do you use a boar bristle brush for No ‘Poo?

No, BBBs and scritching and preening make my hair sopping wet with grease. I know that’s the point of it, okay? I just effing hate it.

But that could be completely irrelevant to your own hair – that choice is yours alone to make!

And to be fair, I do hear that your own grease (okay, sebum) makes a wonderful overnight deep conditioner, and a BBB really helps to distribute those oils.

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Hope this helps, if it doesn’t, PLEASE check out that Facebook group for No ‘Poo newbies, it’ll be much more helpful than I could ever be!

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