…and why some people fail
By Sophie Isbister, Life & Style Editor
While I was doing my extensive no-poo research, I definitely came across a few horror stories. Usually they involved people giving up too easily—I read a lot of, “Ugh it’s been a week, and my hair is just so greasy!” But in addition to impatience, there are a lot of other reasons that the no-shampoo method doesn’t work for people, and some of them are totally valid.
Before I go into those reasons, let’s check in on my success. I’m 35 days, or five weeks, into my journey. It’s time for me to start thinking about whether or not I’ll continue with this experiment—and honestly, I’m not quite sure. I’m definitely happy with my hair: I wash with the baking soda and apple cider vinegar about once a week, and it’s been getting less greasy in-between washes. It also looks good without product, albeit a little boring. Mostly, it’s been nice to cut my shower time to a third of what it used to be. I just throw my hair in a bun and wash everything else. Life is simple.
But part of the reason I might fail is that I genuinely miss product. I miss the flirty, flowery, and girly smells of hairsprays and gels. I miss how my chemical-laden dry shampoo used to make me smell like the beauty section of Shoppers Drug Mart. And while I appreciate the simplicity of my new hair care routine, I genuinely miss the complex steps that used to go into putting together a hair look.
So, a love for traditional hair products is one reason people fail, and I suppose you could say that the root reason behind that is a lack of commitment to the ethos behind no-poo. Perhaps I just don’t believe in no-poo enough? After all, if many of my girlfriends are an indication, you can still wash your hair weekly with traditional shampoo and it will eventually train itself to be less greasy between washes. Perhaps that’s the best of both worlds.
People also fail at no ‘poo because it just doesn’t work with their hair. They fail because it doesn’t fit with their lifestyle. Some people find their hair gets smelly. Others find that the water in their town isn’t compatible with no-poo—in the Lower Mainland we have soft water, which means that there are fewer hard minerals in our water supply, making it easier to wash with baking soda. People in towns with hard, mineral-rich water often quit no-poo, or painstakingly wash with jugs of distilled water.
Dear reader, I leave you with bated breath, waiting for my sixth and final instalment of this hair journey. I’m still not sure if I’ll continue—I have one more week to decide. In the meantime, I’ll be looking up some low-poo options (shampoo without sulphates), so maybe I’ll be able to have my lather while remaining yucky-chemical-free.