follow up: no poo hair

Two weeks ago, I wrote about my adventures in no poo hair: not using shampoo on my hair, basically. At first, I began using a small amount of baking soda to clean and diluted apple cider vinegar to condition. Baking soda seemed too harsh for me, and after a week or so of that treatment, I decided to shift to a liquid, peppermint scented castile soap, and that has been much better for my hair and easier to apply.

flickr image by Wolfgang Lonien

Everything I’ve read about moving away from shampoo has said that everyone’s hair is different, and it will take weeks of trial and error to figure out the right balance for your head. I’m not going to lie, that’s the hard part, and I’m still figuring it out. For the first first few weeks, my hair was surprisingly easy to comb through, even right after I washed it, and very easy to brush. However, in the last few days, I’ve noticed that it is a little more tangled than it was before, so I’m thinking about incorporating the apple cider vinegar rinse again.

The other thing: sebum. I don’t have naturally oily hair (although everyone who uses conventional shampoo knows the resulting oil slick it creates in a day or two). I did not know what sebum was until I started this no poo experiment. It’s this oily film that your body naturally creates to protect your hair. It’s strange, and you have to clean it off of brushes and combs. That’s definitely a new and unexpected aspect of going without shampoo, but it’s also the reason my hair is so shiny, healthy, and voluminous without shampoo.

Here’s the bottom line: I’m really liking my hair. It feels healthy and thick. It is naturally voluminous and wavy. It has that sun and salt look, that just-got-done-surfing-and-let-it-dry-on-the-beach look. It does not look greasy. I really like that I’m not using harmful gunk on my skin and hair, but I have to admit that, so far, it has been more work. I  wash my hair less frequently, but when I do wash it, it takes more time and care. Shifting from baking soda to castile soap has definitely helped. I’ve been at this for about a month now. Will I stick with it? I don’t know. I think I’ll discover very quickly whether or not this is sustainable once school starts.

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