Can a move away from shampoo really improve my hair?
By Sophie Isbister, Life & Style Editor
The “no-poo” movement—a beauty trend where shampoo is bucked in favour of baking soda and vinegar—started to take hold when long locks were king. But now, in the era of the J-Law pixie cut and the oh-so-chic long bob (a cut to which at least three of my friends have fallen victim), does no-poo have a place? Read along, dear reader, as I attempt to wash my hair without the aid of shampoo for a whole month.
The rules are simple: no shampoo for four weeks. Dry shampoo is also out of the question. Same with hair-spray or any other similar product; I’m going full hippie, and I’m writing about it for you. Each week I will update you on my experience as my hair goes from normal to terrible and then hopefully back to normal. I’ll also attempt to shed some light on this strange, almost cult-like beauty trend: its history, its proponents, and an in-depth look at why and how no-poo can be better for your hair.
When I reported on the no-poo trend back in April 2013, I described banishing the bottle as a way to promote hair growth: “If your aim is rapid and healthy hair growth, shampooing your hair too much isn’t advised because when the hair is wet it becomes elastic and prone to breakage.” But there are additional reasons to avoid commercially available hair cleansers.
Perhaps the most compelling reason to go no-poo is that it resets the grease balance of your scalp. Ladies (and gentlemen) on Reddit’s no-poo forum (reddit.com/r/nopoo) have been sharing their stories of great hair set free from the grease cycle. Supposedly when you use shampoo, it strips your hair of its natural oils, causing your scalp to become so confused that it immediately starts pumping out enough natural oil to solve the energy crisis. It’s almost like you get addicted to the shampoo.
No-poo breaks that cycle, but it’s not pretty. The Internet doesn’t have a definitive answer for when the grease-explosion is supposed to end, but not-so-helpful estimates range anywhere from a week to several months. Which is another compelling reason to try it for myself.
How much will my hair freak out, and for how long? And will I be able to handle washing my lengthy locks with a homemade paste of water and baking soda? Will I feel conditioned enough with a rinse of apple cider vinegar and water? No-pooers don’t completely avoid washing their hair; they still wet it regularly, and every few days they wash it with baking soda and vinegar. The theory is that my hair will become softer, more manageable, and less greasy overall.
Stay tuned, because this week I begin testing that theory! Next issue I will discuss how I’m adjusting to my new, greasy overlords.