Updated: Apr 8
Did you know that using shampoo on a regular basis is something that is actually rather modern? Up until around the year 1800 is was considered normal to wash your hair once a month. It was only in 1927 that the liquid shampoo that we know nowadays was invented (by Hans Schwarzkopf in Berlin if you are curious). This upped the shampooing frequency to about twice a week around the 1970s.
The shampoos nowadays are less aggressive as the previous one but, even though they are gentler for your hair, they still remove all natural oils from your hair and scalp. This triggers increased oil production which again leads to more hair washing for some people. To break this cycle, some people opt for an alternative like the ‘no poo method’.
The idea behind the ‘no poo method’ is washing your hair with a less aggressive alternative to shampoo, like baking soda and apple cider vinegar or even just water. This will clean your hair without stripping it of its natural oils resulting in less damage of your hair and being less dependent on your daily shampooing. A lot of dermatologists and hair stylists are encouraging less frequent shampooing and are also enthusiastic about this new development.
Next to the advantages for your skin and hair, there are more advantages like reduced plastic consumption, fewer chemicals you flush down the drain and ultimately saving money. For me, the less plastic and chemicals were the most important reason to give the no poo method a try. I bought a good brand of baking soda (for washing) and organic apple cider vinegar (to put the pH of my scalp back in balance) to start my no-poo journey.
I read that there would probably be a transition period in which your hair needs to adjust to the new treatment. This was also the case for me. The first few times after washing, my hair got greasier and it felt not clean at all. I also had difficulty applying the baking soda to my scalp. I had mixed it in a bottle and applied it on my head and hair which seems to go ok, but I wasn’t totally satisfied.
The transition period seems to be going on forever and after a few months, my hair was still not adjusted to the new treatment. By now my hair felt disgusting. I was even greasier and because my hair has little dandruff sometimes, you could see all these skin cells in my hair. In short, it did not only feel disgusting, it actually looked disgusting. By now I switched back to regular shampoo and even then it took a few times of washing my hair for my hair to be fully clean again.
So, why did the no poo method not work for me? I live in an area with relatively hard water. Meaning the tap water here has a relatively high mineral concentration that messes up the pH of my scalp drastically. Rinsing my hair after washing with baking soda with apple cider vinegar should have solved this problem but unfortunately for me, this wasn’t enough. For me, this method did not feel good anymore so I decided it wasn’t for me. I decided to try a shampoo bar instead. Here you can read more about that.