No ‘Poo

It’s a terrible term, isn’t it? It makes me think of the Weasley twins’ “U-No-Poo, the constipation sensation that’s gripping the nation!”

Evidently one can now buy U-No-Poo.

In fact, it’s a cutesy term for the hippie movement to forego shampoo: no ‘poo. I’ve been trying it.

Now, before you run screaming because I’m a disgusting person, hear me out. Instead of using shampoo, you use a mixture of baking soda to “wash” the roots of your hair and diluted apple cider vinegar to “condition” it.

But why do this? You can read all sorts of scientific and/or pseudo-scientific reasons why shampoo is evil and we’re pouring carcinogens on our heads and stripping away our natural hair oils and replacing them with synthetic grease! *deep breath* That’s not why I’m trying it, though, even if I really believed those things. Nor am I trying it because it’s cheaper or because I want to live a more “organic” lifestyle, though both those things are true.

No, you see, I have long hair. (I’ve written about it before.) Not SUPER long or anything, but it does reach my lower shoulder blades. It’s also very fine, and tends to need a wash every day so that it doesn’t look totally limp or require a ponytail just to give the appearance that I can manage it—which, to be honest, I can’t. And as it gets longer, it gets more unmanageable, and I have to spend forever washing it after every trip to the gym.

So I’d like to be able to wash it less. Yes, the basis of my decision to try no ‘poo was laziness. Go figure.

The basic process goes like this:
1. Mix approximately one tablespoon of baking soda with a cup of water. Repeat in a separate container with apple cider vinegar.
2. Spray or pour baking soda mixture onto roots of hair. Massage well and rinse.
3. Spray or pour apple cider vinegar mix over ends of hair. Let sit for a moment, then rinse.
4. Enjoy your newly lovely hair that may smell a tiny bit like pickled beets (but only if you didn’t rinse well.) Also, try not to give up during the so-called “transition period”, during which your hair will produce excess oil in a reaction to no longer getting stripped every day.

Easy. It started out grand: my limp hair was, for the first time ever, FLUFFY. I use all  caps because it really was huge. I was so amazed that I felt bad for slandering my hair all my life.

I feel your pain, random photo lady.

And then the baking soda started to build up. My hair wasn’t just FLUFFY. It was stiff. You could push it into a position and it would stay. It was alarmingly static-prone. It tangled and snarled enough to frighten away even the most dedicated nest-making birds. My fiance could pet my hair and come away with a small handful of it. And it was somehow simultaneously dry and oily.


I gave up and used shampoo again over the weekend. My hair was so limp on Monday, thoughm that I’ve adjusted my no ‘poo routine for another try. I’ve diluted the baking soda mixture more and now comb a very little jojoba oil over the ends to combat the snarls and tangles. I’m told more vinegar would solve that problem, too.

In short, I’ve spent way more time messing with my hair than I was to begin with.

The whole process has gotten me thinking about the ludicrous things we do in the name of beauty. I met a woman once who had had lip-liner tattooed on. Plenty of women have tattooed eyebrows. We use razor blades, wax, lasers, and bad juju to remove hair from our bodies. We use radiation to darken our skin.

Once, when I was in high school, I read that applying mayonnaise to your hair would make it ultra soft. I tried it, and my hair turned into a grease pit. Without thinking, I had used Miracle Whip.


Readers, what crazy things have you done in pursuit of beauty? Please, tell me, so I don’t feel so absurd.

9 thoughts on “No ‘Poo

  1. Geez, I can’t think of anything. I’m one of those poor bastards that are so ugly, there’s nothing to do about it.

    Oh! I just remembered. I dyed my hair pitch black one time. Many of the women in my family have thick, long, silky black hair. My (poo) brown hair is greasy and fly-away at the same time. I thought I could get that luxurious look that my cousins had if I dyed my hair black. (shudder)

    It was the first time I cut my hair above my neck. I couldn’t stand how bad the dye job came out so I just cut it off.

    • I dyed my hair pitch black once, too! It was not the best look for me, given that I’m fair-skinned, freckled, green-eyed, and light-browned hair. I looked like quite the mutt. I used a dye remover on it, which brought it down to just a dark brown. And then it started to grow out with light roots…

      I had it chopped down to a pixie cut after that.

  2. Can’t think of anything too crazy I’ve done, as I’m a low-maintenance kind of gal. But I’m interested in the no ‘poo movement too (despite the name) — hope you manage to find the right balance!

  3. You poor girl! Have you tried getting really natural, organic baby shampoo (dye- and fragrance-free)? You can even try diluting that with water to see if it works. I haven’t tried anything major yet, but I want to try this ridiculously expensive Japanese protein-infusion treatment. It’s supposed to straighten curly hair in a healthy way! I’ve always wanted straight hair, but I have big ringlets (and they get very frizzy and yucky without constant attention).

    • Oooh, that sounds interesting. My hair isn’t quite curly enough to require something like that, though I wish it had more curl. Don’t they say that straight-haired women always want curly hair, and curly-haired women want straight? Well, my hair is neither curly nor straight. It’s just a pain.

      I’ve heard that diluted Dr Bronner’s works well for hair, but I’ve never tried it.

  4. I do spend ridiculous amounts of money on hair products. I use what my hairdresser uses because it works so well. Of course, when I was young I tried that ol’ lemon juice on the hair at the swimming pool to lighten my hair. Don’t think it ever did much, especially since I’m only honey blonde.

    • I always buy the cheapo stuff that doesn’t work all that well. You’d think I would’ve just payed more for the stuff that would work, instead of spending about the same amount on trying a variety of things. Go figure.

  5. Hey there –
    I went through the vinegar/ baking soda phase as well, but have since moved back to the stuff I buy in giant bottles at sams (also went through the black hair dye phase, truth be told). The baking soda is really drying I think, and was burning my face after a few weeks. The vinegar on its own, to strip the shampoo, might have some merits.

    You should get an rss feed for your blog, so I remember it! Very mushy brain I have.

Leave a Reply to Kristin McFarland Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.