Tuesday, August 7, 2012

No 'Poo FAQ

No 'Poo FAQ
One of the most popular posts I have written is definitely my no ‘poo post in which I explain that I now wash my hair not with shampoo and conditioner but with baking soda and vinegar.


No ‘pooing is quite the craze in the crunchy world and everyone wants to give it a try. Many of you have and many needed help tweaking their routine to get the best results. I wrote a no ‘poo troubleshooting post just for people who needed that extra help when trying to figure out what they needed to adjust.

However, there are some of you who still have questions. You don’t want to dive in without getting some answers first and that is completely ok. Today, I’m going to tackle some of the no ‘poo questions I have heard and hopefully many of you will finally get your answers so that you can give no ‘poo a try!

What is No ‘Poo?

No ‘poo is the method of washing your hair with baking soda and vinegar instead of shampoo and conditioner.

Here is the basic routine:

1 Tab. baking soda in 8oz water. Pour on hair, massage in, let sit one minute, and rinse.

1 Tab. vinegar in 8 oz water. Pour on hair, let sit one minute, and rinse really well.

What is detox?

Detox refers to the time when your hair is adjusting to the new routine and balancing out it’s oil production. Detox should only refer to the days after a no ‘poo, meaning your hair should only look gross days after not right after a no ‘poo. If your hair does not look amazing right after a no ‘poo then you need to troubleshoot.

How long will detox last?

It really all depends on your no ‘poo routine.

There are basically two types of detox periods you can go through.

The fast but greasy and the slow but less noticeable. With the fast detox you no ‘poo as seldom as possible (think once a week) this means you will notice your hair looking greasy while waiting to no ‘poo again but you will finish the detox period quickly.

The slow detox you will no ‘poo more often (around every 2-3 days to start) and thus you might not notice your hair getting very greasy at all. However, it means it will take you much longer before you can go for a long period of time (say a week) before your hair gets greasy. I took the slow detox route and I washed every 3 days. By 6 months I could finally go every 4-5 days without greasy looking hair. Now at over 2 years in, I can go 1 week with nice looking hair.

Can I no ‘poo with dyed hair?

Yes, you can still no ‘poo even with dyed or highlighted hair. I always tell people that no ‘poo is like washing with “regular” shampoo/conditioner as opposed to the “for color treated” shampoo/conditioner. So it might fade a bit faster. It’s also important to keep in mind that no ‘pooing removes all the buildup from your hair so your hair might not need as long for hair dye to work.

Can I still use hair products if I no ‘poo?

Yes! No ‘poo is great at removing build up so it will have no problem removing styling products that you use. It is recommended that you avoid products with ingredients that end in –xane or –cone as these coat your hair and are hard to remove.

Can I blow dry or flat iron my hair if I no ‘poo?

Thank goodness, yes! Many people do find that they can get away with letting their hair air dry when they switch to no ‘poo. However for those of us who still need a bit of help from the blow dryer or flat iron, it’s good to know that it’s totally fine to keep using these tools if you no ‘poo. I personally  need both the blow dryer and the flat iron to keep my hair looking nice.

Can I no ‘poo with permed hair?

Yes! You should have no issues if you no ‘poo and have permed hair.

What about long hair/thick hair/lots of hair? Will no ‘poo still work?

If you happen to be blessed with tons of hair, no ‘poo will still work however I do recommend doubling the recipe. Just as you would need more shampoo/conditioner than most people so you will need more no ‘poo solutions than most people.

No 'Poo FAQWhat if I’m a swimmer? Can I still no ‘poo?

You can still continue to do laps while no ‘pooing. I don’t recommend no ‘pooing everyday. If you only swim a couple days out of the week then I suggest coordinating your swim days with your no ‘poo days. If you swim every day then I recommend keeping your usual no ‘poo routine of washing every 3-7 days and then on the days that are not a no ‘poo day, just rinse really well with water or do just the vinegar part. Another tip is to wet your hair before swimming as that will help your hair cuticles close and protect your hair from the chlorine. There’s also the good old swimmer’s cap!

What do I do if I exercise and need a shower?

If it’s not your usual no ‘poo day and you just worked out then you can just rinse with water. If for some reason you find that you really need something other than water, you can do just the vinegar part of no ‘poo.

Do you get your hair wet on non no ‘poo days?

I do not. If I need to take a shower on a day that is not a no ‘poo day then I wrap my hair up to keep it from getting wet. The more often you get your hair wet, the more prone to breakage it can get. Therefore, it is best to avoid getting your hair wet in between no ‘poo days.

Can I no ‘poo every day or every other day?

One of the points of no ‘pooing is that you are helping your hair readjust it’s oil levels so that you do not need to wash your hair every day. By no ‘pooing every day or even every other day, you will be hindering your hair’s adjustment. On top of that no ‘pooing every day (and possibly every other day) can be too harsh for some. Now if you happen to have an important event going on day 2 of no ‘poo and your hair has to be perfect then by all means go ahead and no ‘poo early. No ‘pooing early every once and a while will ruin things. Just don’t make it a habit.

I’m in the food service and I need to wash my hair or it stinks! How does that work with no ‘poo?


If you need to rinse out the smell of burgers or coffee from your hair on a daily basis, you can still no ‘poo. I recommend no ‘pooing on your normal days (every 3-7 days) and then on the other days just do a water only wash. Alternatively you can also fill up a spray bottle with water and some essential oil and then use that to mist your hair with.

Can I no ‘poo while pregnant or breastfeeding?

Absolutely! The only reason to worry about no ‘poo and being pregnant or breastfeeding is that sometimes your hair can get out of whack due to hormones. This means that if you start out no ‘pooing while pregnant or breastfeeding you might have some troubleshooting to do. It also might mean that even if you previously no ‘pooed with success when not pregnant, you might need to readjust things when you are pregnant.

Can my children no ‘poo?

I generally recommend not going the traditional no ‘poo route for young kids. It is doable but it’s nerve wracking! I did it once with my boys and the whole time I was taking extra precautions so they wouldn’t get vinegar in their eyes. My alternative is Lo ‘pooing. The basic idea is you use castile soap for the “shampoo” and water (or for older kids/adults vinegar and water) for the rinse. I do a diluted version of this. I pour a bit of castile soap into my boys’ tub water. Then I pour the tub water over their hair to wash it. Castile soap used un-diluted can be too drying at times. I find this works great for my boys. (You can also switch out the castile soap for baking soda, vinegar, or Epsom salts. Just add either of these to the tub water and use it to wash their hair) However, if you want to give lo ‘pooing a try for an older kid or an adult, I do recommend using a vinegar rinse as you really should restore your hair’s ph level, which is what the vinegar does. If you want to use an acidic rinse for your little ones hair, you could go with a juice such as apple juice or cranberry. A juice rinse won’t sting their eyes like vinegar will. You could also try this homemade conditioner instead.

What do you store your no ‘poo solutions in?

You really can use anything you like. I use a small cup for my baking soda solution and a peri bottle/chocolate decorating squeeze bottle for my vinegar solution. I keep a jar of baking soda and a jug of vinegar in the bathroom cabinet. Before getting into the shower, I pour each of those ingredients into my cup and bottle.

Does it matter what type of vinegar I use?

No. You really could use any type of vinegar. The two most recommended ones are white distilled vinegar and apple cider vinegar. I generally recommend white distilled vinegar as it is cheaper and it smells slightly less than ACV. However if you buy the good ACV with the “mother” still in it then it can have potential beneficial properties, which might help your hair or scalp. However the choice is completely up to you.

Is there any way to make the vinegar smell better?

First off, keep in mind that once your hair dries, it will no longer smell like a pickle factory. However, if you can’t stand the smell of vinegar in the shower then you can add essential oils to your vinegar mixture to make it smell a bit better?

I can’t stand the smell of vinegar at all! Are there any alternatives?

Yes, there are alternatives to vinegar. Juices (lemon, apple, cranberry), most teas, or homemade conditioner can all be used as alternatives. I have found that it’s best to use the juices completely undiluted, as they do not have quite the acidity that vinegar does. Teas will obviously be made with water but I do not recommend adding more water to the mixture, just use the tea in the same strength as you would drink it.

I’m going to the salon to get my hair cut. Is there anything I should know?

There are a few things to keep in mind, when getting your hair done. First off, I recommend using a vinegar alternative the no ‘poo before you go to the salon. This is because vinegar will reactivate when it gets wet again meaning you might make the salon smell like a pickle factory. Secondly, you should be able to have your stylist do just a water only rinse before cutting your hair, however if you need to have a shampoo then know that one shampoo with traditional products isn’t going to ruin your no ‘poo efforts. Neither will getting products such as hairspray on your hair ruin things. Odds are that the shampoo or hair styling products your stylist uses are not the best for no ‘poo but if it’s a once in a blue moon thing then your hair should be just fine.


Are there any questions that I didn't talk about? Do you still have questions about no 'poo? Write a comment (or an email) and let me know!










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