The 'No Poo' movement promotes an alternative way of washing your hair with simple natural ingredients like baking soda or soap nuts.
It's a reaction to the excessive use of commercial, highly processed shampoo.
Washing your hair every day with commercial shampoo can have an adverse effect on your scalp, your hair and the environment.
Washing your hair too often makes the sebaceous glands work hard to produce sebum making your hair more and more oily. If you have a tendency for dry skin and hair, commercial shampoo can be drying for both skin and hair.
The 'No Poo' method is not really new. Commercial shampoo as we know it has only been around since 1930s. For thousands of years in India people washed their hair with Shikakai or Soap Nuts. The new thing is the internet that allows us to spread knowledge of all the options available.
Googling 'No Poo' brings up loads of weird and wonderful recipes people have used to wash their hair.
I don't claim to be an expert, but I have done some research and tried stuff on my own hair.
I prefer a mix of Shikakai with a dash of Soap Nut powder, it gives my hair a special silkiness. They say that when you stop using commercial shampoo for a while, your hair becomes much healthier and softer and you feel good about it.
The 'No Poo' movement uses one or several of the following to wash their hair:
- Plain Water
- Baking Soda
- Apple cider vinegar
- Reetha, Soap Nuts
- Rye Flour
- Moroccan Ghassoul, (Rhassoul) Clay
- Tulsi - Holy Basil
Be as creative as you like, experiment and find out what suits you and your hair.
You have to try No Poo for at least a month for your hair to get used to it. You may find at first your hair is dull, lank or too greasy. This is because your scalp and hair need to recover, and your sebaceous glands have to get used to not being stripped by detergent. But if you persevere the results will pay off.
Baking Soda and Cider Vinegar
A popular No Poo method is washing your hair with baking soda followed by a rinse of apple cider vinegar solution. Apparently if you use baking soda on its own it can be drying to your hair but if you use apple cider vinegar as a rinse afterwards it has moisturising effect. It seems strange to me that vinegar can be moisturising but that is what they say.
A typical recipe is mixing 1 tablespoon baking soda to a cup of water put in a spray or squirt bottle. Apply this mostly to your scalp rather than your hair shaft. Rinse very thoroughly. Follow with a cider vinegar rinse. This acidic wash counteracts the baking soda which is alkaline, the vinegar also balances the PH. Mix 1 part cider vinegar with to 3 parts water put in spray bottle, spray on your hair focusing on the hair shaft and ends rather than the roots and scalp. Leave a few minutes then rinse.
If your hair is dry use more vinegar, if your hair is oily use more baking powder.
No Poo From Plants
Baking powder has the advantage of being cheap and easy to get hold of, but it doesn't have any particularly nourishing properties. If you use organic plant ingredients such as Shikakai or Soap nut you benefit from therapeutic properties of the plants.
You can also add some other Ayurvedic herbal powders such as Amla or Bhringaraj to your mix which will have additional therapeutic properties.
Shikakai powder can be either mixed with water into a paste or made into a tea and used to wash your hair. Shikakai, not only cleanses your hair without stripping its natural oils, regular use helps to prevent dandruff, promotes hair growth, leaves your hair more manageable, silky, soft and smooth. It is also good for flyaway hair and helps to prevent hair tangling.
For a moisturising effect you can add a small amount of following:
- Vegetable Oil such as Coconut oil, Argan oil, or Olive oil.
- Coconut Milk
- Aloe Vera
If you add too much of the moisturising element it may be less effective and cleansing.
You may also give your hair a moisturising oil treatment before washing.
How About Organic Shampoo?
You can get organic and natural shampoo which is 'lower poo' because it doesn't contain the nasty ingredients in commmercial chemical based shampoo. But it does still contain a mild detergent, albeit from a natural source, usually extracted from coconut.
Within the natural/organic shampoo spectrum there are different levels of purity. Some contain the less pure detergents - cocamidopropyl betaine, ammonium laureth sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate and some have synthetic preservatives in them.
The organic shampoo we sell on our Suvarna website is at the purest end of the scale. They only contain the purest detergents from coco glucosides, and dont contain any artificial preservative.