Sunday, March 16, 2008

No Poo

I belong to the Weston A. Price Native Nutrition yahoo group.  Fabulous group.  I'm a lurker, and have been for about 6 months.  I read the posts, absorb the information like a sponge, and experiment with whatever "crazy" idea they are proposing at the time, in terms of nutrition and lifestyle.  The other day, after feeling fed up with my face and hair products, I sent out my second post ever.  (My first was a question about Cod Liver Oil [CLO]: capsules vs. oil?)  I asked if anyone had any recommendations for hair care or facial products.  I was not prepared for the answers.

First let me say that I'm a hair product junkie.  When I was nine years old, my mother decided to get me a "pixie cut" for the summer.  Little did we know, my thick straight hair was going to turn into an afro.  I had nicknames like "Fro-master", "the Fro", "bee-hive head", and "Marge Simpson".  Needless to say, this was not a pleasant time in my life.  My hair took about 4 years to grow out, and I spent all of middle school trying to figure out what products would tame my unruly locks.  High school and college were much better, but I could NOT be without my expensive products, or else I'd resemble cousin It.  I eventually switched to the CVS brand of KY Jelly as a gel - it's water soluble and doesn't build up! - but couldn't seem to find anything that rid my hair of dry scalp.  

So, I was expecting brand names of lovely organic products, though unfortunately even those have long lists of ingredients I can't pronounce.  I did get some brands, but the most surprising reply of all was the one titled, "No Poo."  Duh.  As if I would ever put poo in my hair!  Turns out "no poo" stands for no SHAMpoo and it definitely caught my attention because of my quest to be as natural and non-toxic as possible.  There is a plethora of websites out there that give great explanations as to why shampoo is harmful at worst and unnecessary in the least.  My favorite is

My reasons for trying to go no poo are simple: 
1. the fewer products I use, the less waste I create
2. the less toxins I put on my skin, the less toxins will be absorbed into my bloodstream

The above link gives some options for how it's done, but I've been experimenting with baking soda and apple cider vinegar (ACV).  I haven't shampooed my hair in 6 days, but have used 1 T of aluminum free baking soda in 1 C H2O, rubbed into the sides and crown of my head, followed by a rinse of 1T ACV in 1 C H2O.  The first few days I just rinsed with H2O and it was grossly greasy.  The last two days I have use the soda and the ACV and it's definitely better.  Not greasy at all, but frizzy and a bit dry.  I'm going to experiment with a little less baking soda next time I use it (will probably just rinse 5 days, and use the soda 2 days per week).  I'll also see if a little coconut oil will help on the ends.  The ACV is awesome - it detangles so quickly and leaves my hair really soft.  I've been putting it up in a towel and leaving it there for a half hour after the shower, and I think that is partly why it's so dry.  I'll experiment with this too.  But I'm on my way to beautiful hair!  

Briefly, the theory is that our hair is so used to the abrasive shampoo, that we then need conditioner to replenish the oils.  So, our hair stops producing sebum, the original oil, because of the frequency and stripping quality of the shampoo.  Many people have had great results (though it can take weeks or months), and their hair has never looked better, as it begins to produce its own oils again.  I'll keep you posted. =)

I've also wanted to quit with the neurotic face washing routine I've had for 20 years.  Morning and evening, I simply must wash and moisturize.  Over the summer I switched to Burt's Bees exfoliating scrub and moisturizer, but I still think I could go more natural than that.  Somewhere, I came across the idea of using coconut oil as a cleanser.  I massage my face with it once or twice a day, and then rinse well.  Love it!  Ah, purity.

Lastly, I have been skipping the deodorant most days too.  I didn't really use it over the summer, but when I went back to teaching and wore some  synthetic fabrics, I had to cave in.  I've read quite a bit that if you are healthy on the inside, your sweat shouldn't smell, so that's what I'm going for.  And though the idea of pit stains doesn't appeal to me (or to anyone out there, I assume), the idea of little chunks of aluminum cutting my skin and causing my sweat glands to swell so that all the toxins stay INside my body is even less appealing.

For my own records mainly...I have had a headache since Tuesday.  The last time I ate refined sugar was Monday.  I'm trying again, to go entirely sugar free.  So, the headache could be stress, or it could be sugar related.  I woke up this morning with a sore throat too.  My immune system could definitely be compromised, considering the sprained finger and many illnesses going around.  I've been taking 5 pellets of ignatia amara 30 and it makes me woozy, but the headache went away briefly.  Now off to do some yoga, pray, and drink my newly made kefir!


  1. I have three thoughts on your post. The first one is about washing your hair. If the baking soda is too drying, try borax. Two, the reason most people have a stink is because the bacteria that grows under your arms really like soap. So if you are having a smell issue try not using soap. And third I stopped processed sugar last November. I have really bad cravings/withdraw symptoms when I eat regular mayo. I had to make my own. Maybe you are eating a food that should be not sugar, but has the junk in it. Hope the sugar thing gets better, I know I was very crabby for a while.

  2. Do you know if it's important to use RAW ACV? It's so much more expensive -- if i'm going to attempt "no poo" I'd rather do it with store ACV...