No-poo Recipes

So I'm about three years late to the no-poo party--at least, most of the blogs I have read regarding no-poo are about three years old. What? Oh, No-poo? It means not using commercial shampoo on your hair. Like, ever. I haven't used shampoo on my hair in over two months now. And I don't ever plan to again. Here's a little known secret:

You don't need it.
(Shyeah! I do!)
No you don't. And if you can get past the idea that you need a headfull of sudsy bubbles to make your hair clean, you can live perfectly happily without shampoo.
( But...but...)

See, here's the thing. Shampoo completely strips your hair of its natural oils. (Sidenote: It's called sebum, but I hate the word sebum, so instead of saying sebum over and over, I am going to say natural oils). So there is your hair without its oils, and it must produce more to compensate, until at last you have trained your scalp to over produce it. Ick.

That's the point I was to. While I am concerned about our environment in a non-commital kind of way, saving the world of a couple shampoo bottles and keeping chemicals off my skin had less than a one percent effect on my decision to go no-poo. I wouldn't mind being a little more granola, but I'm just not. Don't judge me.

So why did I? I had three main reasons for giving it a try. #1 The over-production of oil thing. I've always had really manageable hair, but the last few months it's been lifeless and flat with build up, and even after I washed it, it did not look that great. The shampoo got more and more expensive, but it seemed it was only a few hours until my hair wanted to be washed again. In a word, blech. #2 I have always had manageable hair, like I said, but I've also always had a lot of fall out when I wash it. While some of this is a result of genetics and diet, it occurred to me that some of it could be a result of the topical chemicals I was putting on it every day. #3 And finally, I was starting to get a lot of flakiness around my hairline. I naturally attributed it to sun exposure, make-up residue, etc. But it couldn't be my shampoo, right?

So I saw a baking soda and vinegar hair clarifier on the Pinterest (yes, I waste some of my time there) and stumbled upon No-poo when I went back to find it. Ultimately, I think I was bored with my summer, and starting the no-poo gave me something to think about and puzzle out.

Because while it is very simple to do, it can be puzzling and take lot of trial and error to get the concoctions right for your particular needs, preferences, and hair-type.

And speaking of a trial, there is a, gross trial period. But it's fun! It's like an initiation you must pass to be a no-pooer. It only lasts about two weeks (that's two weeks of pony tails, braids, hats, and head scarves), and it might be lessened if you cut down on shampoo before you cut it completely out--but I didn't. Still, it wasn't too bad.

Results? I can now go about three days between washes. But I have so many recipes I still want to try, I never make it that long before I am experimenting again. Fun! The flakiness went away after about two days and has not returned. And the fall out. Well, some things make it fall out (ahem, I'm looking at you, lemon) and sometimes I have none (a true miracle).

Anyway, I guess you're here for the recipes.

Now, just a disclaimer. I gleaned all of these from other blogs and have tweaked them based on how well they worked for me. It's an ongoing process. I have little knowledge of the chemical makeup of these products and very little inclination to put in the effort to find out. Pretty much the knowledge I have is based on my own experimentation, which, did you catch the part where I said I was bored? All right.

Most no-pooing consists of a wash and a rinse, sort of like shampoo and conditioner. It's a whole bunch of mumbo jumbo about cleansing, resetting the pH, and changing the polarity of the ions. Or something. So here 's the basic wash and rinse.

1 C water
1 tsp-1 Tbsp baking soda

Mix and pour over pre-wet hair. Let sit 30 seconds. Rinse thoroughly.

When this is done right, your hair will feel slippery, almost slimy during the application. Some have suggested boiling the water first. I put the baking soda in distilled water. I think softened water may need less baking soda, because all the baking soda really does is soften the water anyway. It's the same thing you would do for eczema with a baking soda bath. 

1 C water
1/2-1 tsp vinegar

Pour over hair. Rinse immediatly. I don't need a lot of "conditioning" so I don't like the feel of the vinegar. I use a very weak solution and rinse quickly. You can just leave it in with no rinse. When done right, you can literally feel the strands of hair separate from the other strands, like putting the same poles of two magnets together.

Anything you read on No-poo will have some variation of these recipes. Some people use water bottles for application, some use ketchup and mustard bottles. I use a cup. Some people scrub the baking soda in dry hair and then rinse out. Some scrub the baking soda in and squirt it with a bottle of vinegar.

Vanilla Buttermilk Shampoo

1 egg, beaten
1/4 C buttermilk
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Mix together. I let it sit out on the counter so it's not freezing when I apply it, although it does help to have it cool so you can tell where you put it. Cover hair, scalp to ends. Let sit 1 minute. Rinse with COOL water (or you'll have scrambled eggs in your hair).

Washed and dried, this feels the most like a shampoo wash. Very clean. Very conditioned and soft. To deter tangles, do a finishing rinse with the basic vinegar rinse.

Banana Peach Shampoothie

1 banana (great use for old bananas)
1/2 peach
1/2 mango
1/4 c buttermilk
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp honey

Beat in blender until there are no clumps. Apparently the clumps are very hard to rinse out. I didn't have any problems with that. Apply to dry hair, cover with a bag or towel, let sit 20 minutes, rinse and follow with baking soda routine wash.

This was very moisturizing. Smelled great. The cocoa is great for brunettes and red-heads, but it made my blond highlights very brassy.

I have to thank Crunchy Betty for this one. This recipe is totally tweaked to my preferences (and to what I have on hand!) Thanks!

Cucumber Lemon Wash

1 cucumber
1 lemon

Peel and blend until smooth. Apply to hair like shampoo. Rinse. This was very conditioning, but I have noticed that when I use lemon, I have more fall out, which I am particularly against, but you might not be. The smell is better than vinegar, but only during application because the vinegar smell goes away when the hair dries (I know you were worried about that). Also, this had a lot of pulp in it. Lots of combing that out. I tried it with just lemon/lime juice, but still, the fall out. Really liked the cucumber though. I'm thinking about giving this a try with lemon essential oil instead.

Other things I have tried:

Lately I have been using Borax instead of baking soda. It is not as messy, easier to rinse out, and have you seen what it does to grease on your stove? I've read the pH is totally wrong for this, but it works and it doesn't make my hair fall out. It gets that slimy result you are looking for during application, and all around, I like it better than the baking soda.

Green Tea. This is supposed to work like the vinegar rinse, but I don't like the feel of it after the hair is dry, so I use it, but rinse it out with the Borax solution. The caffeine in the tea is supposed to discourage fall out and puts a nice tint in for brunettes.

Camomille Tea. This is supposed to be a good tint for blonds, so I didn't try it at first. Then I read that it takes the brassy out of your blond, so Iused it after the cocoa fiasco (don't get me wrong, I loved the cocoa) to pull out some of the brassiness I introduced into my highlights. I think it worked and I'll use it again. It really brightened up Kammi's blond after only one application. Tea. Who knew?

Yogurt mask. I think you're supposed to use a boring plain yogurt, but I didn't have that. I used a flavored yoplait and it smelled awesome! I tried this early on, so I was really missing the good smelling shampoo and this filled that temporary longing. This was quite conditioning too, similar to the shampoothie, and I felt that I would like it better after the adjustment period. I can't wait to try it again. Slather on dry hair, cover, sit, rinse.

Whey. Yes, I actually had whey in my fridge. Great rinse. Packed with stuff like protein and if you ever have the hankering to make cheese, well, you now know what to do with the whey.

Quinoa rinse. Quinoa (it's a seed, like a grain) has an outer coating that has to be soaked off. Save the water and use on hair. Again, protein and all that good stuff.

Okay, this is the longest blog post ever. Anyone want my abandoned bottles of shampoo?


Heather said…
Those sound interesting. I always wondered what people did before shampoo was invented! I mean, you look at movies about the past and their hair always looks great! (I know, I know...the actors used shampoo, but still...!) I'm pretty sure the pioneers didn't run around the prairie with grease dripping down their hair. (Although maybe it was so full of dust and dirt that it didn't matter?) I'm not quite brave enough to go without my suds. I have, however, never worn deodorant. (Well, I guess I can't say never, but a stick of deodorant can last me for years!) It's interesting...I worry if I start using it, then I'll start needing it! :) I would, however, like to try using coconut oil on my hair. I'm intrigued by coconut oil lately! Have you tried it in your hair?
Unknown said…
I like to dye my hair different colors and I have dreads will this still work and can I add tea tree oil or pennyroyal extract so I can stay lice free? I would love to try this permanently but want to keep my cool color and dreads and still be pest free BIG PLUS!
Misty Moncur said…
I've read that no poo is great for dreads. But I still have a bit of trouble preserving my lighter highlights with no poo. I've resorted to a sulfate free shampoo for that. Lots of no poo recipes call for tea tree oil. Honey and witch hazel are good cleaners too.
Hallie G. said…
What is the best alternative to the vinegar? Even though it is diluted i don't want to take the chance of it stripping my hair. And what is the order that you use the rinse cleanse and shampoo/wash?
Misty Moncur said…
The vinegar restores the pH after the baking soda, so I really don't think it would strip your hair. It really does take only a tiny amount of vinegar. I'd be more concerned about the baking soda personally, and more concerned about commercial shampoo stripping your hair, but that's just my opinion from my experience. I had trouble with this combo stripping the color from colored hair, but it is actually really good for fallout. I use the soda first, then the vinegar.
Trisha said…
I have knee length straight but tangly hair. I've been going back and forth between kirk's castile soap, baking soda, and egg yolk as my shampoos followed by acv rinse. During the summer it worked pretty well, but now that the weather is colder my hair was static-y and tangled yet looked kinda greasy and limp. I tried a bit of coconut oil on the ends, but it seemed like it was sticking together. So I tried egg yolk followed by a borax rinse. It seemed to make my hair really soft and fluffy around the face:) I still have some issues with my ends being tangly. do I need a conditioner? Can I wash with borax every few days or will that hurt my hair?
Anonymous said…
If the baking soda and water solution doesn't make my hair feel slippery, does that mean I need more baking soda, or less? And do I use the entire cup per wash? Thanks! said…
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