Gonna Wash That ‘Poo Right Outa My Hair


What exactly does that mean? It is actually the “slang” team for washing your hair without shampoo. Yes, it is actually something people do!

I was first introduced to the concept a few years ago but never tried it.  At the time I wasn’t ready to actually stop using my chemical-laden shampoo even if it would be one more step towards natural living. Last year I met a woman who had gone no-poo because of an allergies. Her hair was similar to mine both in length and texture, and her hair looked great. She was my inspiration to stop using shampoo.

Last June I stopped using shampoo cold turkey. At first, my hair became greasy and hard to comb. I checked out the internet and found out there is an adjustment period. I kept at it and slowly my hair became softer and less greasy. As I investigated more I found out people who go no-poo usually have to try a few different no-poo “recipes” to figure out what works best for their hair.

I learned to wash less was better for my hair. Also, I didn’t need much baking soda to clean my hair and using too much dried it out. After later experimenting, I found out Dr. Bronner’s Classic Liquid Soap worked well to wash my hair and I could only wash at most 2 times per week, often more like once a week or every 9 days. Since I already used Dr. B’s to make hand soap in a foam dispenser I just brought it in to the shower with me. Another discovery was plain old white distilled vinegar worked fine as a conditioner. I mixed 1 part vinegar to 7 or 8 parts water. If I wanted a little different smell than the usual vinegar when I rinsed I added a tea bag to the vinegar at the beginning of my shower and by the time I finished washing the vinegar smelled a bit less like vinegar. Finally, I found out that for the most part once it dries, vinegar doesn’t smell much.

Why would I want to stop using shampoo?

Shampoo is easy – you wet your hair, rinse, add conditioner and dry. But did you know shampoo can be harmful for your hair? Most shampoos strip the natural oils off of your hair as they clean and then you need to apply conditioner for your hair to be brushable. Many people have to shampoo daily because their scalp compensates for the lack of oil by producing more, making their hair feel oily after a few hours or a day.

Shampoo also contains many chemicals that may be harmful to you or the environment. Check the back of your shampoo bottle – do you know what most of that stuff is? If you don’t I encourage you to check you shampoo at the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database.

Below are the most common ingredients that cause concern. Most of the problems associated with these chemicals occur in high doses but with chemicals in multiple products and with build up in your body over time researchers are still not sure of the full effect of cosmetic use.

  • Fragrance occurs in most shampoos, and the ingredients make up the fragrance are not often listed. Often it has phthalates, which researchers say can affect reproductive hormones and may play a role in obesity and insulin resistance.
  • Parabens are a preservatives that keep microorganisms from growing in products. They have been linked to disruption in the endocrine system and are neurotoxic in high doses.
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) are surfactants, or the cleaning agents in shampoo.You may see them in other products that foam. It is possible they can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane which the EPA has labeled as a “probable human carcinogen.”

There are a lot of unknowns about shampoos and other cosmetics and their effect on a body over years. Many shampoo ingredients are found in our local and world waterways more frequently and in greater numbers.

I have now been no-poo for over a year now with no plans to buy any shampoo. I’m pretty happy with my routine and my hair although I may try some non-toxic shampoos or conditioners in the future to see what is available.

Happy no-pooing!

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