Note from Cat: I happen to be lucky enough to be good friends with Andrea, who agreed to do a guest blog post for me on the No Poo method. And no, it doesn’t involve your bathroom habits, but a frugal addition to your hair care arsenal. Read on, and be sure to visit Andrea at A Measured Life;
How I Wash My Hair for A Mere 8 Cents
I’ve never been the type of girl who spends a lot of time styling her hair. I did go through a phase in high school where I NEEDED to use Pantene, but once I started paying for my own hair products I rapidly outgrew that phase!
Now that I’m really trying to live frugally, I’ve been experimenting with hair care products. I’d tried the No Poo method before, years ago, but gave it up for some unremembered reason. But recently, I felt like I wanted to give it another go.
Now, to be fair, I’d been doing co-washing for a while. Co-washing is a fancy term for only washing your hair with conditioner. Have you seen the informercials for Wen by Chaz Dean? It’s exactly like that, except without being charged ridiculous prices. You don’t need fancy mail order conditioners to be a co-washer! Try to find the simplest, most natural but still CHEAP conditioner you can. When I co-wash I use Suave Naturals Coconut Conditioner. It’s DIRT CHEAP (like $1.69 a bottle) and works great on my hair.
Here’s the thing: a lot of people do No Poo because of the chemicals in commercial hair products. I do it because it’s cheap, it’s simple, and it works for me. Your mileage may vary. I personally have long, wavy hair that’s fine, but I have a lot of it. I don’t normally blow dry it, and very rarely straighten or curl it, so I don’t really need a bunch of silicones added to my cleansing routine to protect my hair.
So what IS No Poo?
In a sentence, No Poo is cleansing your hair without using commercial hair care products. Simple, right? If you want a vastly more detailed tutorial on No Poo, check out this link:
There are probably hundreds of methods of No Poo, but I use the baking soda (BS) and apple cider vinegar method (ACV). Here’s what I use:
(Baking soda, apple cider vinegar, condiment squeeze bottles, a yak horn comb and a boar bristle brush.)
My formula is easy: 1 tbsp of BS to 1 cup water, and 2 tbsp ACV to 1 cup water. I wet my hair, then use a squirt bottle to apply the BS mixture to my scalp. I use my fingertips to scrub vigorously, making sure to massage my scalp thoroughly. Then I rinse very, very well with warm water. At this point, my hair feels…sticky. THIS IS NORMAL. The baking soda opens up the cuticles of your hair strands, like this (right photo):
(Gee, I found a website about kettlebells, coconuts AND hair care! Doesn’t sound like me at all! :P)
An apple cider vinegar rinse helps close the cuticles. According to Coconut and Kettlebells:
“The outer layer of the shaft, also known as the cuticle, is compromised (sic) of tightly packed overlapping scales. The acid mantle is instrumental in making cuticle scales lie flat, which gives hair a shiny, smooth appearance, and protects from moisture loss.”
So rinsing with ACV after a baking soda wash restores pH and smooths out the rough cuticles of your hair, making it smoother, shinier and less likely to tangle. Occasionally I also do an additional rinse of brewed Chamomile tea to calm my scalp when it feels a bit itchy. Here’s what my hair looks like when it’s MOSTLY dry:
My hair isn’t perfect, but it never was anyway, no matter what products I used. No Poo, however, works for me. It costs me pennies for each wash (I did the math, it’s 8 cents: 5 cents for the vinegar and 3 for the baking soda) and I can wash my hair less frequently as my scalp doesn’t produce oil as rapidly as when I use regular shampoo.
I did “splurge” on the yak horn comb. It’s all natural, and thus has no seams to snag hair. It also holds less static than a standard plastic comb. The boar bristle brush is for in-between washes when I gently coax my hair’s natural oils down to the ends.
Will I stick with No Poo forever? Probably not. I’m a bit fickle when it comes to hair. But for now, it’s for me!
Thanks for reading!