I hate shampooing my hair. I can’t stand washing my skin. Why, you ask? No, I’m not trying to pull off the grunge look. It’s just that soaps hurt. I have had sensitive skin ever since I was a kid. I can remember once as a child when the shampoo actually left blisters. My skin burns after applying almost any washing agent. Shaving is an ordeal, too- imagine running a razor over aching skin. I tried looking for alternative products, but nothing seemed to cover all the bases. I wanted to find something natural and healthful for my skin. Natural products definitely reduced or eliminated the discomfort, but I found that the more natural the product was, the less reliable it seemed to be. One shampoo I tried was even gritty due to the “all natural” ingredients… so gritty, in fact, that it was completely unusable. And even if the product did work, it seemed like I’d have to pick up a side job just to pay for it. I can’t afford $20 for a bottle of shampoo… especially when the bottle only contains six ounces.
So, I resigned myself to dreading showers for the rest of my life… that is, until the day I heard of “no-pooing.” No, this isn’t a movement against cattle ranching runoff, or a strange form of potty training. It is a method of hair care that uses only two ingredients for cleansing and conditioning- baking soda and vinegar.
If it hadn’t been for my mom and grandma, I’m not sure what I would have thought of this haircare approach. As a little girl, however, I can remember taking baths with my grandmother. She would always prepare her special bathing pitcher with a mild mixture of vinegar water. After washing (always with bar soap), she would rinse with the vinegar. She said vinegar was always the best solution for removing bar soap residue from your hair, especially if you had hard water. I also remember my parents’ stories from when they were dating. My mother always used the same technique she learned from her mother. Noting that your hair smells a little bit like vinegar until it dries, mom fondly remembers how my dad would playfully tease her, saying that she smelled like a tossed green salad whenever it would rain.
Ready to try anything to ease my skin, and proceeding with the time-honored assurances of my mother and grandmother, I decided to give the “no-poo” method a try. And you know what? It works!!! My hair has never been shinier or healthier. And my scalp doesn’t ache! Not only does it work, but it’s dirt cheap!!! After no-pooing, I can never go back.
So how do you engage in the act of no-pooing, you ask? It’s quite simple, actually, but there are a number of things you should know in order to maximize your no-pooing experience. Instead of taking the time to write this up myself, I’d like to point you in the direction of Sami Blackford. She has a site called “Loving Yourself Naturally- healing your skin through holistic skincare.” Her explanation of the no-poo method was very helpful to me as I embarked on the journey of forever washing my hands of shampoo. Please read her article for an in-depth explanation of the practice of no-pooing.
One time-saving tip I will add, though, involves preparation. Many no-pooers mix up a batch of vinegar and soda every time they wash, but that is a little tedious for me. The length of my window of opportunity to shower is never guaranteed (and is often cut short), so I’d rather not waste time mixing up batches of soda and vinegar every time I have a chance to wash. So, I repurposed two of my husband’s body wash pump bottles, filling one with the vinegar mix and the other with the soda mix. I just pump out what I need every time, and it works like a charm!