The ‘No Poo’ Experiment, Six Months Later Without Shampoo

by DailyHealthPost Editorial

no shampoo experiment

“No Poo” is a nickname for going shampoo free…

Everyone has a different experience when ditching shampoo.

Here is Amber’s story….

So I decided to stop using shampoo and jump on this tiny “no poo shampoo” train that was starting. In theory it made sense to me, that commercially made hair washes strip your hair and scalp of their natural oils which makes your scalp freak out and produce more and more which makes you rely more heavily on soaps to clean it. Meanwhile, since your natural oils never get a chance to make it to the ends of your hair, you have to rely on conditioners to soften it and protect it. From the standpoint of shampoo manufacturers it makes a whole lot of sense. From a more natural beauty standpoint, um, not so much.

Still. I have very fine, oily hair. Just two days without shampoo and my hair is a stringy nasty oily mess. Could I really go without using shampoo? Could my scalp recalibrate and stop being so oily if I stuck it out long enough? Just how long would it take?

Sign up for our FREE daily newsletter.
Get daily health tips and exclusive offers delivered straight to your inbox.

So this is when I decided to do a little experiment. And take photos. I didn’t expect it to go on so long. It is now over a year later and I don’t think I’ll ever go back to using shampoo. There just isn’t any reason to. My husband and two kids also are completely shampoo free. For someone as skeptical as my husband was about this experiment, this says a lot. My husband in particular always battled dandruff and used special dandruff shampoos but now he doesn’t have a problem with it anymore.

My “No Poo Shampoo” Story… Through The Weeks

Week One

no shampoo experiment

Okay, so this is bad. There is just no getting around it. After one full week my hair was a greasy, stringy and yucky. During this first week I once gently massaged my scalp with a 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and warm water in the shower. All other showers I got my hair wet as usual but didn’t use anything.

Why baking soda? – Baking soda is used to physically, gently clean my scalp. Baking soda gently helps remove dead skin cells and dirt but it doesn’t chemically strip all the natural oils away like shampoo does. I eventually weaned off from baking soda and (a year later) use it less than once a month now.

The first week was horrible (I wore a lot of ponytails) but I kept telling myself eventually my scalp and hair would detox and recalibrate. I was happy that I picked a week where we didn’t have many plans. It wasn’t stinky though and that was a relief. Since I was still showering my hair was “clean” it was just oily. Oily with my natural scalp oils that are supposed to be there, mind you. The beauty industry teaches us these oils are gross and should be removed, but let’s just give them a chance to do their job…

Week Two

no shampoo experiment

Okay, getting a little better but yes, my hair still looks like crap. By the end of the second week, I could see some improvement which inspired me to keep on going. Rather than keep getting worse, my hair now looked a little less oily. Phew. The back was still the most oily part, but the front was most certainly better. Again, I massaged with 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in warm water just once during this second week.

However, another problem had cropped up. My scalp was itchy. For this, I added just 1 drop of tea tree oil to my 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and the itch was gone immediately.

Week Three

no shampoo experiment

By the end of the third week I could see that it really was going to work. My hair was still greasy, especially in the back, but much less now as my scalp was getting used to not being stripped of oil all the time from shampoo. I had faith that it would continue to improve. Just once a week I used 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and all other showers/baths I just rinsed with plain water.

Week Four

no shampoo experiment

By the end of the fourth week something funny began to happen. First of all, my hair was no longer greasy and oily. My scalp recalibrated! However, my hair started to get a little wavy. For someone with absolutely stick straight hair her whole life to suddenly have some waves after washing? What on earth was going on? It still didn’t look very good and it even seemed a little dry, like my scalp got confused and stopped producing enough oil. Yikes, was this ever going to work?

Week Five

no shampoo experiment

By week five suddenly there was a huge change. My hair looked good after five weeks. Yes folks, it took a full five weeks but I finally made it. It wasn’t greasy or too dry and it honestly seemed thicker and more wavy. I did it! My scalp is doing the job it is meant to do! Hey, our bodies actually work!

Week Six

no shampoo experiment

So after six weeks my hair is looking better than it has in years. Yes, I need a haircut in this photo you can see how it has grown, I haven’t had a trim in almost two years at this point, so ignore the ends please.

Current Routine: 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda + one drop of tea tree oil every other week. Once per month I rinse just the ends with apple cider vinegar. All other showers are just rinse with water.

UPDATE: After 6 months

no shampoo experiment

I finally did get my hair trimmed a few weeks ago and told my stylist all about the “no poo” method and how I’ve been shampoo free for nearly six months. He couldn’t believe it and said that for how long I’ve gone without a trim my hair looks remarkably healthy. He hadn’t ever heard of going without shampoo. I requested that he didn’t use any shampoo on my head and he said it was no problem, he just wet my hair with a water spray bottle. Now that the ends of my hair are cleaned up with a trim it looks fantastic. Shiny and healthy.

Current Routine: 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda + one drop of tea tree oil a little less than twice a month or so. I have a small bowl in my shower where I mix my baking soda with a bit of warm water and then just dump in onto my scalp and then gently massage in with my fingers and then rinse out with water. About once per month I rinse just the ends with apple cider vinegar. All other showers I just rinse with water and sometimes massage my scalp.

As I mentioned earlier, my husband stopped using shampoo once we ran out, which was about 3 months into my experiment. He always had dandruff so he uses 1 drop of tea tree oil + 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda every other week. The interesting thing is that we always bought tea tree oil shampoos for him that were for dandruff yet he still would get dandruff if a couple days would go by without shampooing. He hasn’t had dandruff since the switch. Not kidding.

So is trying no poo shampoo worth it? For us, yes. We alway bought expensive, natural, SLS free shampoos from our natural foods store and it was quite costly for a family of four. Not to mention that my hair was still oily and limp and my husband still had dandruff back when we were using different shampoos. All those plastic bottles that we no longer have to use make me feel better too. Much simpler this way to use safe products that we already use for our natural, homemade cleaning recipes and most of the time just water!

What do you think? Where are other places we can substitute more natural beauty products? We’d love to hear your thoughts and stories.

[mks_toggle title=”sources” state=”close “]
  1. fulfilledhomemaking
Sign up for our FREE daily newsletter.
Get daily health tips and exclusive offers delivered straight to your inbox.