I was totally blown away at the response my first “no-poo” blog post got. People are clearly very intrigued by this! So hopefully this information helps some people and explains it a little bit more. I’m going to share a bit about my hair-journey and how I went from shampooing everyday to ditching shampoo entirely.
Stretching my Washes with Shampoo..
Growing up I shampooed my hair everyday. It was just the normal thing to do. I explained in my previous post that shampoo strips your hair’s natural oils, telling your scalp it needs to produce more. This is why so many people get greasy looking hair every night and have to wash their hair everyday to get rid of it. This was the case for me. At one point I had “side bangs” and sometimes I had to wash my hair once and then later in the day wash my bangs because they would already look greasy. It was bad. Last year I kept hearing more and more about how you shouldn’t wash your hair everyday because its bad for your hair. As someone with dry damaged hair, I thought I should give this a shot, so I started stretching my washes. I started off washing my hair every night. Then I started drastically cutting down on the amount of shampoo I was using, so I would focus a smaller amount on my roots and around my scalp where it tended to get oily. After my hair adjusted to this I started skipping a day. I did that for about a month and my hair got used to it so I started skipping 2 days…and so on and so forth until I was fine washing my hair every 5 days. That’s as far as I got before I decided to try this no-poo thing out. I think all in all it was probably 5 or 6 months that it took to get my hair and scalp to the point of washing every 5 days, but it did adjust. And I did notice my hair seemed healthier than before when I started doing this.
Throwing out the shampoo and going through “the transition”…
If you switch from commercial shampoo to any natural/homemade wash your hair will go through what us no-pooers call “the transition”. This is a horrible, terrible, horrendous time where your hair and scalp are freaking out because they just don’t know what’s going on. Haha that’s the best way I know to describe it. This is a whole new adjustment period that is way worse than the minor oiliness you go through when you’re trying to stretch out your washes. This phase can last anywhere from 2 weeks to several months and its not fun. If you shampoo your hair everyday and use lots of products in your hair, it could take even longer. People who already don’t use product in their hair and already stretched their washes out tend to have an easier transition phase. The hair has years worth of silicone and chemical build up that it needs to shed out, as well as getting your scalp to slow down oil production. Many people that try no-poo end up quitting early on because they can’t handle this phase, or they say that no-poo doesn’t work for them because they never really got through this phase. No poo can work for everyone, its just a matter of getting through the grueling transition phase and finding a wash method that works for your hair type. It can be a long frustrating process and I completely understand it not being worth the hassle for most people. I seriously thought about quitting more times than I want to admit. Poor, sweet Ryan had to put up with me complaining about my horrible hair, but he was so supportive and told me I’d get through it. And I did! After my very last shampoo, my hair looked good for about 5 days, which was how long I was going between washes, and then after that, it started to get greasy. And worse and worse and worse. A few people commented on my last post that they would like to try this but they’re afraid that they’d look like a grease bucket. All I can say, is you will. There’s no way around it unfortunately.. There are ways to hide it and get through it, which I’ll get to in a minute, but if you do try this, know that your hair will look bad for at least a few weeks. :/ I’ve seen so many people say that this doesn’t work for them and their hair looked awful when they tried it. Its important to realize that that is a part of the process and that its totally normal. Your scalp has to adjust to producing just the amount of oil that your hair needs, and that takes some time. Its unpleasant but you can get through it if you are really determined. My hair only looked really bad for 2 weeks before it started to calm down a little. Then about 2 more months before I felt comfortable to wear it down completely. It felt like an eternity though. This brings me to my next topic..
Getting through transition without looking like it..
I had to get creative with ways to style my hair during my transition phase. I remember the first day I had to go to work after my hair started getting really bad. I had it up in a messy bun and wore a cloth headband. My mother-in-law told me my hair looked really cute that day, so I thought that was kind of funny.. I told her I had started this no-poo thing and that that was the only way I could wear my hair because it didn’t look good. I fell in love with wearing headbands and bandanas during this time..they’re a cute girly way to wear your hair and hide oiliness at the same time. I wore a lot of ponytails too, and on a good day I could pull off a cute fishtail braid. Pulling the side back in a french braid is another great way to hide oiliness. Another thing I started to depend on was dry shampoo powder. (Although, I kind of sabotaged my transition phase and slowed it down by using it too much..) For dry shampoo I use arrowroot powder. Some people also use cornstarch. Its a fine white powder than you dust over your roots with a makeup brush and kinda massage it into your roots like you’re shampooing. It absorbs the excess oil, and then you just brush it out. This works great for me because I’m blonde. My sister has slightly darker hair and when I told her to try it, she wasn’t thrilled with it, probably because it didn’t really match her hair. Brunettes usually mix some cacao powder in to darken the powder. If you use too much powder though, it removes a lot of oil, and it is actually considered a “wash” so its not recommended to use too much of it, as it can make your scalp keep producing more oil for longer. I didn’t pay any attention to this recommendation though because I hated having oily hair so much. In hindsight I wish I would’ve used less dry shampoo because I think it made my transition phase longer than it would have been had I just sucked it up and dealt with it. 🙂 One other thing that is absolutely essential, even if you have no interest in going no-poo, is a boar bristle brush! (BBB is the quick abbreviation a lot of people use.) The natural fibers slide through the hair, spreading the oil down towards the ends when you brush. Its really important to move that excess oil from the roots, down the shaft of the hair to condition the bottom half and the ends! I brush with my BBB in the morning and before bed. It really helps when you’re trying to stretch your washes too. Here are some of my getting-through-transition-phase selfies. I promise I really don’t take selfies very often at all, so I feel somewhat embarrassed posting all these at once.. 🙂 I talked/texted my sister a lot during this time to vent about my hair and just talking about hair in general so I would sometimes send her updates on what my hair looked like, or how I was wearing it so that you couldn’t tell it was oily. I think seeing them might give someone hope that you don’t have to LOOK like you’re going through transition, and that there are ways of hiding it.
As you can see I got by wearing lots of headbands/bandanas and pinning the front sections of my hair back, or wearing my hair up. (Plus dry shampoo around the roots!) These things helped keep my hair in place so you couldn’t tell that there were any issues underneath. That was the plan at least. I hope it worked. 😉 Now I’ve actually embraced these hairstyles and wear them even when I’m not trying to hide hair issues. If you’re a hat person, that would be the ultimate way of hiding it. Or if you are a stay at home mom, or any other type of work-from-home person, you probably wouldn’t even have to worry about looking presentable. I work with people everyday at my job, so while I don’t have to look super “professional” I do have to look nice and presentable. My hair never really looked perfect by any means, but it didn’t look extremely oily and gross either, and that’s what matters. 😉 I still have battles with my hair; Its not perfect now by any means, but its getting better and I have TONS of new growth. Little baby hairs started popping up everywhere about a month after I started this no-poo experience, so I know my hair must like what I’m doing! Also, I now only have to curl my hair once a week and the curls last me all week without any product. I just throw it up in a top knot when I take a shower so it doesn’t get wet, and the loose curls stay put. Its awesome. I’m pretty low-maintenance, so for me this is one of the best things about it. 🙂
In closing, I wanted to clarify a few things.. I still DO wash my hair. Right now I wash it every 5-7 days but hope to go longer as my hair continues to get used to this. I’ll write a part 3 in a few weeks or so explaining the different washes I’ve tried. I’ve experimented with tons of different natural wash methods and I think I’ve found my wash. I want to keep using it for a few more weeks to make sure its going to work out for me, and then I’ll share more on this! I’ve had a lot of people question me about this and express interest in trying it, so I feel its important to know what you’re getting into if you do decide to try it. I just wanted to stress that one more time. 🙂 I would give it at least 2 months before quitting. If you don’t have that kind of time to deal with it or have no interest in going fully no-poo, I’d recommend just stretching your washes out as much as you can and looking for a more natural shampoo with less of those harmful chemicals! This is a great website that rates thousands of commercial beauty products and brands on their toxicity. The products rated 1-3 aren’t so bad for you, but the ratings go up to a 10 which are the worst of the worst. You can search your favorite products to see how many chemicals are actually in them, and choose better options when necessary!
Thanks for reading. 🙂 Let me know in the comments if you have any questions about my transition or no-poo!