April 10, 2013

Project No 'Poo | 1st Month Update

Yes, I gave away all of these shampoos!

Hi ladies! At the beginning of March, I announced I was jumping on the no 'poo bandwagon, and I really want to share my progress with you as the months go by. The past month has mainly been about trials and errors so I can't really talk about proper "progress", but it was rather interesting to find the method that works best for me.

At the beginning of my journey, I started by testing the recommended ratio of about 1 tbsp of baking soda for 1 cup of water, but I guess I did not let enough time to my scalp to adapt to the new routine because I thought it was getting super oily really fast - which was predictable, duh! - so I decided to add more baking soda - and I mean, tons of it. This was a terrible mistake because my hair was left more and more cotton-y, thick, heavy, crunchy and... just plain icky, after each wash, which left me completely clueless and demoralized. I did tons of research and I was glad to learn that I was not the only one who had that problem, and that the solution was simply to use less baking soda. I felt completely stupid. But wait, there is more to this...

Because I started feeling ashamed of my disgustingly dry and unmanageable hair and that no amount of hair masks or oils could solve the problem, I had the briliant idea of doing a deep conditioning treatment with... coconut oil. Do you have any idea how hard it is to remove oil from your hair with just baking soda? No, of course you don't know - who does that?! - but it is virtually impossible. I had to do four consecutive washes, scrubbing off so hard that I could not feel my arms for a while after, and I ended up dusting my whole head in dry shampoo to soak up the excess, and the worst is that this did not even fix my hair. At all. My hair was not dry - it was feeling icky because of the baking soda builduit in it, so I went back to the 1 tbsp of baking soda for 1 cup of water ratio and stuck to it until now, which partially solved the problem.

Voluminous and manageable hair after a baking soda wash

I am no longer struggling with cotton-y crunchy hair, but even though I make sure to really rinse my hair after the baking soda wash, I ocasionally see white residues in my hair, and I am not able to tell yet if they are baking soda residue, dandruff - I have never had dandruff in my whole life! - or something else. Through my researches, I have learned that adding a few drops of tea tree oil to the baking soda mixture does wonders, so I will have to check into that. These white flakes could also be the result of a mixture of sebum, dirt and dead skin cells.

Since my ultimate goal would be to wash only with water one day, I try to space baking soda washes as much as I can. Currently, my hair starts to get oily on the second or third day, so I try to brush it often to distribute the sebum throughout the scalp and hair, especially before washing it. My hair also feels a bit heavy from time to time, especially on the third after a baking soda wash, and I guess this is the oil building up in my hair, but I have been told this is the way "normal" hair feels (free of chemicals). I also found that "washing" only with water helps controls the oil, although it does not completely cleanse the hair, but I tend to do this on lazy days to give a break to my scalp and hair.

There are mixed opinions on the web about using store-bought dry shampoos when going no 'poo because they can mess with the natural cycle of your hair so I try rely on them in emergency only - if the water rinse is not enough, or if I am going out, for example. An homemade alternative would be to use cornstarch and baking soda - it really works!

I mentioned in my first post that I would skip the vinegar rinse because this tend to strip the color, so I continue to use store-bought conditioners for now, and I make sure to cover my hair from crown to ends with it, really massaging it in to counteract the drying effect of the baking soda. The results are smooth, soft and managable hair.

As for hair color, I did color my hair with box hair dye in the past month and I it did not seem to have messed up the whole scalp balance thing. It is a bit hard to say but I do think the color stays vibrant longer since I use baking soda mainly on the scalp, so it does not strip the hair as much. I have not noticed that horrendous orangey/rust/brown color so far, so I guess this is a good sign!

I don't know if I am biased or overreacting, but I do think my hair grows faster since I switched to baking soda, and I guess this is due to how you need to really massage it on the scalp, which stimulates the blood circulation. Seriously, my hair is already touching my shoulders, and it seems I got it cut only last month! It is also much more voluminous and it is easier to style - I have barely touched my flat iron in the past month!

My original idea was to store my baking soda and water mixture in an empty spray bottle, but I did not have one on hand and I was too lazy to go buy one, so I decided to try storing it in a shampoo bottle instead. It was OK although a bit impractical since the mixture is way more watery than traditional shampoo and I felt like I wasted tons at the beginning, but I got used to it. That was until I realized that my Roots Only Hair Color Applicator Comb would be perfect for this, since the comb allow the mixture to be applied directly to the scalp and roots trough hollow teeth, not touching the rest of the hair, and since it is guaranteed not to leak, it is virtually 100% mess-free!

The transition period has barely started since it has been only a month since I started this routine so there is not much I can say, but I will keep you updated! My next post will probably be about the products I use on my no 'poo hair.


  1. your hair looks amazing, so glad this is working out of you

  2. Bonne initiative Gaby !

    je vais suivre ta progression c'est sur!


  3. Your experience is inspiring, but I am still not convinced to try... Thanks for the sharing anyway!
    Good luck.
    Cheers :P

  4. @katie m: Thanks so much Katie, this is very motivating!

    @Eni tas: Merci Julie, je suis contente d'avoir ton support!

    @Jacq H: You know, my goal is not to convince anyone, but simply to share my progress on this fascinating journey (:

  5. I haven't seen anything about this No 'Poo online until your blog and this is very interesting to me that I went and looked up what No Poo is. I might want to try this if this works out well for you. Can't wait for your next update :)

  6. Wow! I can't believe this is possible! Your hair does look lovely! Good for you!

  7. I really need to try this. My hair is dull and limp and all the chemicals have killed it. Ugh. Great hair photos. XOXO

  8. Je suis ton expérience avec intérêt (même si je ne me vois pas faire ça pour être honnête). Est-ce que le bicarbonate de soude n'assècherait pas un peu ton cuir chevelu et que c'est pour ça que tu vois des résidus blancs (genre petites peaux sèches qui se détachent)? j'imagine que tu le sauras plus sur le long terme :)

  9. Great post, thanks for sharing how it's going! x


  10. Thanks for the update! I was eager to read how it was going. When you started this, it gave me motivation to decrease washes... I'm washing more like every other day rather than everyday recently and it's working well! Oh, thanks for mentioning about the dry shampoos - I've thought about that before. When I use them, I try to spray them not quite at the root, thinking maybe that'll keep it from interfering? Eh who knows!

  11. @ SheerBeauty (Kayla) : I'm glad this interests you - I would be really interested to rad your post if you ever give it a try!

    @Tracy@Beauty Reflections : I know right! I still have a hard time believing I've come such a long way! Thanks Tracy!

    @Venus Loves Virgo : Please be sure to let me know if you try it, I would love to read your post and know how it goes for you!

    @Cocovanilla: Contente que mon expérience t'intéresse! On m'a dit que les petits résidus pouvaient être un mélange de sébum, de saleté et de peau morte - intéressant, non? Ahahah! Je crois bien que ça se produit parce que je n'utilise pas de vinaigre ni de revitalisant à mes racines pour rebalancer le PH de mon cuir chevelu. Je ne veux pas utiliser de vinaigre car il parait que ça ternit la couleur (déjà que ma couleur est assez dure à faire tenir!), et je ne veux pas utiliser de revitalisant sur mes racines, de peur de rendre mes cheveux gras. Le vinaigre de cidre de pomme est supposément plus doux par contre, je vais regarder ça!

    @Catherine : Awww I'm so glad you found my post motivating, and it's great that spacing washes works well for you too!

  12. Hi Gaby! I agree with a lot of the commenters - your hair looks amazing :) I love the colour and volume in your hair.
    I'm so out of touch with youtube or other blogs that I had no idea what No'Poo was until I read your whole post. It's an interesting concept. I'm curious to read your follow up post on how it's going for you.

  13. Hallucinant! Tes cheveux brillent vraiment. Je n'avais jamais entendu parler de cette méthode mais ca a vraiment de marcher pour toi

  14. @Karen Law : Hi Karen! Not a lot of people seem to be aware of no 'poo, I would say it seems to interest more those of us who are ecological and/or on a budget!

    @Gaelle@LipstickErgoSum : Merci! C'est fou non? Je n'en reviens toujours pas!

  15. Your hair is looking so good!

  16. I love this post Gaby! I tried no poo but just couldn't do it and switched to co-poo 3 years ago and love it. I use conditioner to clean my hair and will never use shampoo again.

    I hope it all works out great for you and cannot wait to hear how the rest of your journey goes.

  17. Tes cheveux ont l'air si propres, si soyeux et si brillants! Ça donne envie d'essayer aussi, histoire d'arrêter de se mettre de la cochonnerie dans les cheveux! Continue de faire des articles là-dessus, ça m'intéresse énormément! :)