Have you heard of the "No Poo" experiment? It's supposed to be a fun way of saying "I stopped using shampoo", but it just sounds painful to me.
On Monday, I used shampoo for the first time since Christmas. Over 4 full months of no shampoo. The benefits touted are numerous. If you have curly hair, the results are generally phenomenal. I don't have curly hair. I have thin, fine, flat hair. For all hair types, it is supposed to stimulate hair growth. It is supposed to add body. Oil production is supposed to slow so that you can wash your hair less often. I have extremely oily hair, so the idea of not washing my hair every day sounded impossibly wonderful. So I tried it.
The method requires not washing your hair for at least a week, which is just disgusting. I have church twice a week. I started on a Monday and wore a gross ponytail on Wednesday. By the next Sunday, I used the "No Poo Shampoo", which is just baking soda dissolved in water, applied to the scalp only. After a week of an itchy, greasy, smelly scalp...it felt wonderful.
The next morning, I didn't need to wash my hair! I was able to skip a day! But by the next morning, it needed washed again. I hunted for solutions and read that it won't mess up the process to use cornstarch. So I turned my hair grey. The next day, I washed my hair with more baking soda water. The next day? It needed washed already. I tried cocoa instead of cornstarch. That actually worked quite well.
Through it all, I never could go more than one day without washing and it always needed something to absorb the excess oil. When possible, I skipped several days, but it was gross and it never balanced out. Still, it was nice not using the chemicals of shampoo in my hair and I plugged on, committed to the full 2 months everyone said it really takes to make it work.
At 2 months, I evaluated the progress. Not balanced in any way. No new hair growth that I could see. However, there was a good dose of dandruff. Maybe there was more body? But the texture was turning straw-like, so I suspected any "body" was from my first experience with frizz. However, I was still happy to not be using chemicals and hoping that maybe I could find a way to make it work. I checked around and some people had different experiences with different amounts of baking soda. I experimented from 1 Tb of baking soda dissolved in a cup of water to 1/4 tsp of baking soda in water. No real change, so I stuck with a teaspoon of it.
Since I knew the oil balance wasn't going to get any better, I tried adding in conditioner once a week, just to the ends of my hair. It helped with the frizz some.
Fast forward through the last 2 months. I get my hair colored every spring to match my roots. It's a peroxide-free coloring that evens up the color that has faded toward the ends of my hair and adds a gloss to the dry effects of winter. I asked my hairdresser if she saw any changes in my hair since the last time she saw me 4 months ago. Nope. Well, there was some dandruff. But that was all.
And that's when my experiment ended. I didn't want to use abrasive baking soda on colored hair and it wasn't really helping anyway. So now I am on the hunt for a gentle cleanser that is sulfate-free and silicone free. If you know of anything, I'd love to hear about it!