Two and a Half Years of No Shampoo

   
Day 1 after washing, air-dried, un-brushed. First picture taken against the sunlight - most realistic depiction of hair color

Audley writes:

I started no-poo two and a half years ago with one baking soda wash to remove all styling products and to make the change easier. Since then, I wash water only, once a week. The biggest difference between shampoo and water only was, and still is, that my hair is more voluminous, thicker, and stronger. I think it's because of the sebum left over when you wash water only. I don't have to worry about my hair. I wash it, and if the ends are dry, I use a bit of oil- that's it. I noticed the first results after one or two weeks, but I've often read it can take 6-8 weeks.

Before, with “normal” shampoo, I had to wash my hair every other day. Despite frequent washing, the skin and roots were oily, my hair looked straggly, and the lengths and ends were too dry. I lost lots of hair (saw it in my brush) and it seemed to not grow at all. My hair looked dead regardless of which shampoo I tried, and I didn’t like this look. Years before no-poo, I gave up shower gel because of my dry skin, with good results. So I thought water only would be worth a shot.


  
Day 3 after washing, still unbrushed 

Before no-poo, I used normal drugstore shampoo. At first, I bought conventional ones; later greenwashed or natural ones, but the results were always the same. I used a wooden hairbrush with boar bristles (still use it), and sometimes hair spray. I hardly ever applied conditioner because it made my hair silky but totally lifeless. I never could tolerate the noise of the hairdryer (same with the vacuum), nor its heat in my face, so I almost never used it. Then, I used baking soda to start no-poo to remove all leftover styling products, especially silicone. I think if I were to use hair spray for a special occasion today, I would remove it with baking soda again.

After one or two weeks of no poo, my skin and roots were no longer that oily. My hair became shinier and silkier, stronger and more voluminous. It also became heavier and took longer to air-dry. One thing that didn’t change or improve after several months are broken hairs. They still break, unless I constantly pin up my hair with a hair stick, which helps a bit. Since I prefer my hair loose, I obviously have to accept it.

Wooden boar bristle brush

Wooden hair stick


There wasn’t really a transition period, probably because I started with baking soda, which cleans more than everything else I tried. The only issue that occurred was some flaking I discovered after a few weeks. It wasn't so bad that I could see it on dark clothes, and they disappeared after a few weeks.

People in my life know about my no poo routine because I told them- otherwise nobody notices- and they don’t care. Some wonder how my hair doesn't stink and can become clean with water only. Then they say they can't imagine this could work for them too, and that is why they don’t try it. Sounds like a circular argument. Only my mom tried it once or twice- she didn’t like the remaining sebum in her hair. She felt it wasn't clean enough, so she went back to “normal” shampoo, although I told her that she didn't try it long enough. Still, she couldn’t tolerate the “messy feeling.”

Thank you Audley!
Paris to Go

18 comments:

  1. Thank you for this post. I really want to try it now.

    1. Can you tell me more about the texture of your hair ? its straight but is is fine/medium/thick in strand ?

    2. Do you exercise ? What do you do after intense sweating ?

    3. Can you tell me about the baking soda clean up ? Some more details please ?

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    1. Hi Archana! When I look at a single hair it's more on the medium-fine side. After sweating I let it just dry or when there's too much sweat I rinse it with water. For baking soda cleansing I take 2 tablespoons of baking soda (when your hair is shorter/longer modify the number of tablespoons) and disssolve in 500 ml water. I rinse my hair with water and massage my hair and skin with the baking soda mixture. Then I rinse it with water again. Finally I rinse my hair with a mixture of 1-2 tablespoons cider vinegar and 500-1000 ml water. Audley

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    2. Audley,

      Thank you so much for the reply. I have been trying to rinse it with water after exercise and it looks weird. Perhaps my scalp has an adjustment curve. I will try to keep at it.

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  2. Hello! I'm a week and a half into no poo! I've stuck it out, I think I've turned a corner! NOT ONE FLAKE! Not one. I'm am so surprised, and very happy. I finally used the hair dryer to style it and if prefer that for work, but not washing every day, do it lasts. My hair feels thicker, fuller (is thick red hair, with lots of actual hair). So THANK YOU Ariana, and Audley!! I'm a happy no-poo girl!!

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    1. That is awesome Kate! Your hair sounds gorgeous!

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  3. Such beautiful, thick, long hair! Why do all the no poo girls seem to have endless amounts of hair? Very inspiring. Thank you Audley.

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    1. Her hair is completely gorgeous! I wish I had hair like hers... hopefully next year :)

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  4. I'm just past the 2 week mark with the no poo. My roots still get a bit greasy, but it's still early in the process. Hope my hair turns out like yours, Ariana.

    Lilah

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    1. I'm so happy Lilah! Keep me posted. Way to go!

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  5. I love the no poo posts! I've been at it for about 6 months now. Obviously, my results have taken longer, and I'm still not through transition. I have very fine and thin/low density hair. I low poo twice a week, and do a water and an acid rinse between those times. They're not stretched out like I would want. But my new job in the big corporate city pressures me to do what I am currently doing. Maybe it will take another Christmas holiday to achieve more results?

    In addition, I'm going to take a blood test to see what vitamins I'm deficient in. I was very sick for several months-off and on for years a bit ago. I'm thinking I may have some deficiencies there. I'm hopeful once I address the issue, my hair will catch up! I also have a silk pillowcase in the mail that sold handle breakage well :)

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    1. HI Danielle! From the pictures I've seen recently (on Snapchat lol) your hair looks great! I hope the transition period ends soon for you. I'm sorry to hear about you being sick but glad it seems to have cleared up, hopefully the blood test will reveal more info. What do you use for the low poo? Hope the job is going great!

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  6. Hi there! I have been wanting to go no-poo/water only for a while now, but after a bad experience about a month ago with the baking soda/ACV routine I gave up. The water in my area is very hard, so neither substance reacted well with my hair. For water-only washing, do you use filtered water? And is the tap water in your area hard or soft?

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  7. Wow! your hair looks amazing! I know that since you live in Paris there must be a huge hard water problem there. How do you wash your hair and prevent buildup from hard water? Do you use any sort of filter?

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    1. Hi bluebird! I live in Paris but Audley doesn't :) Sorry for the confusion.

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  8. Thanks so much for sharing Audley!

    I would like to know how did you start the no poo, did you use the baking soda every weeks or more since the beginning like normal shampoo until you could have weeks within? Or did you have a time without nothing, not even water during the first weeks?
    I'm really considering it but between the hard water here in mexico city and my dandruff problem since I can remember, I'm not sur yet. Also, do you scalp your hair every day like Ariana or are you barely brush it/touch it until the no poo please??

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    1. Hi Marion Rouillé! I used the baking soda only once at the beginning to remove styling products and shampoo built-up. I would not recommend to use it regularly because it's extremely drying, at least for my hair. If there is a problem with hard water - means chalky water? - you can try to rinse your hair with cider vinegar or lemon juice mixed with water. I massage my scalp only right before washing. And I brush it only when it starts to lay flat after 4-5 days or when the roots start to become a bit oily. Audley

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  9. Thank you for these water-only posts! I've been reading them somewhat obsessively and finally decided to give it a try a week ago. I have a lot of fine, wavy hair. My roots currently feel a bit ...piece-y, but I'm going to hang in with it because your and Audley's hair are impressive inspiration. :)

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