NO (sham) POO – The Controversy

Jul 2, 2013 | Beauty & Skin, Recipes

no poo illustration copy









About 5 months ago I decided to stop using shampoo and conditioner.

hair no poo

My hair today.

That is right, my hair has not been touched by any shop bought hair product for a while. In fact I only wash it about 2/3 times a week and spend pennies on hair products.
I have been called gross and unclean, and generally given strange looks by people who are too British and polite to say such things.
However my hair looks good. Intrigued?


These picture were taken today and despite the fact that I am in desperate need of a hair cut (split end central!) I think it looks good and in fact I regularly receive comments about how people wish they could have hair like mine.

Today I am going to tell you how you can.


But first, why stop using shampoo?
I will keep this pretty brief but basically your skin is your biggest organ. It covers, on average, 2 square metres! It protect us from sunlight, chemicals, bacteria and basically ensures no harmful things get into our bodies. The skin is highly absorbent – where does all that suncream go when you rub it in? Or hand cream? They are all absorbed into your body and blood stream.
So in my research and growing awareness of looking after my body (and skin) as naturally as possible I started to get uncomfortable with the amount of chemicals I was putting into my blood stream. Shampoo, conditioner (every day and loads of it – my hair is very long), shower gels, soap, washing up liquid, washing powder, deodorant – the list is endless.

The Science Bit
Love a bit of lather? Well chances are your lovely foamy shampoo (shower gel, toothpaste or soap) contains Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)  which is effective at removing oils but classified as a moderate hazard by the Environmental Working Group. It prevents your skin from ‘breathing’ and can cause skin/eye irritations, rashes, dandruff and hair loss. Studies have  shown links to cancers, reproductive toxicity, developmental problems and other harmful diseases. (If your interested there is loads of more detailed  info online.)

These studies are not world shaking (everything these days is linked to cancer), other than SLS is harmful and mildly hazardous.
A big deal? I personally felt that my body, brain and finances needed all the help I could give them (plus I love a good ‘going natural’ adventure). 

So I began by getting rid of shampoo. It was a cheaper, quicker and a more natural alternative to the (once) daily ritual of hair washing .
I researched all the options and came across the ‘No Poo’ method which uses bicarbonate of soda and apple cider vinegar to wash and condition your hair. I tried this to begin with but after a while it alone was not working well for me – my hair was fine but not the lovely ‘run your fingers through it’ I was used too. So I researched why, and I found a great answer here, by this wonderful blogger. Basically using bicarbonate (highly alkaline) and apple cider vinegar (highly acidic) together can cause your hair to break and doesn’t provide the ideal scalp pH level of 6-7. This can cause your hair to become brittle and coarse. My hair no longer needed to look like straw – praise the Lord!


Want to go No (sham) Poo? Here some tips before you begin:

1. Be determined. Your hair will detox from anything from 1-6 weeks (yes mine was more like 6 weeks – I blame long hair), which means it will either be greasy and gross looking (French plaits are a good cure) or dry and frizzy. This is the least fun stage.

2. Stock up on bicarbonate of soda. I bought it in bulk (25kg – enough to last me a life time) and it means you are never tempted to use other stuff.

3. List your reasons for why you are doing this. Mine where to save money (main reason I was going through shampoo by the litre every few weeks) and help detox my body so I could be super naturally healthy.

4. Warn your friends. You may look a bit greasy for a few weeks, tell them to be nice and that you’re not joining a commune (yet).


Practicalities – Kezia’s No Poo Method 
(Please remember we are all unique and we need to listen to our bodies )

A. I began by washing my hair 3-4 times a week with about 2-3 tbspns of bicarb. I would spoon it fresh into a glass, or bottle-head. Then, whilst in the shower I would make a liquid with the shower water and pour this over my hair, massaging it in like normal shampoo. I have now reduced that to 1 tbspn as the oil production in my hair has regulated.

B. Leave on my hair for a few minutes (whilst I use my coffee morning scrub to scrub away cellulite and dead skin).

C. Rinse off.

D. Once  I had  detoxed my hair (you will notice it switch from gross to normal almost over night – that is what happened to me), which took about 6 weeks, I started to condition it with this great recipe of coconut oil and aloe vera gel. I store it in the freezer like she does and with my long hair use 1/2 a cube per wash.  Conditioning my hair with this pH neutral solution has made the world of difference to my hair. I only use it once a week – otherwise my hair is too greasy but it means my hair is much softer and shinier.

A side shot.After a lifetime of using chemicals on my hair I still think my hair is adjusting and detoxing, but overall it looks good. I am aiming to reduce the bicarb I use on it every couple of weeks and only wash it twice a week.

Why not give it a go? It will save you time (no longer drying your hair for hours every other day), money (no more expensive products) and ultimately your health. Priceless.

Any questions then leave a Comment and I will get right back to you.

Go on take the no poo challenge!!



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