So, 8 weeks ago, after much reading and a gradual move towards more natural crunchy things, I decided to try going no-poo (you know, the whole quitting shampoo thing). I thought I'd write about my experience in case someone comes looking for as many opinions as they can get. I'm also going to explain what works for me and my greasy hair.
So, I started as most do, with the 1 tbsp baking soda, 1 tbsp cider vinegar thing. I dissolved my baking soda in a cup of water right in the shower, and dumped it on my head, and massaged for a bit. My hair felt awful. I rinsed with the vinegar, diluting it with my shower water in a bigger cup. Felt slightly better. So I got out, towel-dried a bit, and as I combed it out I realized that it felt... how do I describe this... gluey. It was slightly sticky and if I squeezed it, it stuck together in a solid mass. It was as if I had rinsed not with vinegar, but with soft beeswax. For three weeks I played with the ratio of baking soda and vinegar (which was almost certainly what was causing the icky feel), and feeling like a greaseball. My hair was stringy, greasy, gross... my hands were gross and sticky after touching it.
I started reading about using castile, so I bought some castile bar soap. It still made my hair feel icky, but a different kind of icky. I then decided to stop messing with the "cleaning" part, and start experimenting with the "rinsing" part. Now, I have an overabundance of sage in my backyard - apparently, if you don't cut it back in the fall, it grows back on all the old wood. So I took a bunch of it and steeped it in boiling water, and ended up with a strong sage tea. I washed with baking soda and rinsed with sage tea and my hair felt better. The clumpy waxy feeling was gone... though this may have also been due to my increased vigor with the baking soda part. Next step achieved.
So enough back story. Today, after what I've learned, here's what I do when I wash my hair.
- I brew enough tea for a 2-pint mason jar (usually a handful of sage and a spoonful of some kind of loose tea). To this I add 1/2 tbsp of cider vinegar. When I shower I pour enough of this into my cup to fill it halfway (I think it's a 16 oz cup).
- I take a small cup and I mix together 1 tbsp each: baking soda, liquid castile (made from bar soap and water), and water. I add a couple of drops of essential oil - lavender, bergamot, lemon, rosemary, whatever. If my hair is feeling particularly bad or I've waited too long, I add 1 tsp of borax.
- When I get in the shower and get the water good and hot, I add a little more water to my baking soda mixture and pour it on my head. I scrub my whole scalp thoroughly for a minute or two. With this mixture still in my hair, I take a wide-toothed comb that I keep in the shower and I comb my hair out. This is easier than it sounds, I assure you - this mixture makes tangles fall out no problem. This ensures that the length gets clean too.
- I rinse this out, then top up my tea cup with shower water. If I'm in the mood I add oils to this too just to add scent, sometimes palmarosa or ylang ylang, or sweet orange - just a drop or two of anything. I pour this slowly around my whole scalp, work it in slightly, then rinse out. That's it.
So, to anyone who's iffy about trying the whole no-poo thing, what have you got to lose? A whole lot of chemicals and a few weeks of your life while your head adjusts. It's such a small amount of time in the grand scheme of things. I know it feels awful and you think you look awful, but honestly nobody is going to remember your hair. From a distance, it just looks like hair. It's greasy, but it's clean, and that sounds so weird. I looked back at photos I took during the worst of it, and it just looks like hair. I got through it and nobody said a word or gave me a funny look. No hats, no buns, just me and my hair. So.. yeah, it can't hurt to give it a try. I did and I'm not looking back.