06-30-2012, 07:06 AM
#1
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All I have to do is think about sleeping and I get bed head. It's the sort that no amount of brushing, styling, or product will fix, so I pretty much have to wash my hair every day. Frequent washing with commercial shampoos can throw off the natural balance of the hair and scalp, and my hair has certainly shown signs of it: dry, frizzy hair, itchy scalp...

I read about the "no poo" method, which has the goal of restoring the natural pH balance of the scalp and hair. I had dabbled with it a bit a year ago but stopped for some reason. Now I'm back at it, and my hair and scalp feel great.

Process
The goal is to restore the natural balance disrupted by commercial shampoos with their often harsh chemicals. Yes, I have tried more "natural" shampoos but they did not really improve my situation much. The restoration is accomplished using baking soda and a vinegar rinse.

Baking soda "shampoo"
The baking soda is simply mixed with water. There are different approaches to this; some suggest creating a thick paste that you then massage into the scalp, while others recommend a greater dilution, such as 1 T baking soda to 1-2 cups of water. I have tried both methods, and I think a paste is good for the initial applications. Once you feel the balance restored, you might switch to the diluted version.

The key when applying the baking soda solution is to really focus on the scalp and not the hair. You want to stimulate the follicles. Make the scalp healthy and the hair will follow.

Vinegar rinse
This probably doesn't sound appealing, but the purpose of the vinegar rinse is to help restore the pH by balancing out the baking soda. Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is less harsh than the white, and if you can get it raw (like Bragg's), even better. You can dilute the vinegar, and I've been using a 1:1 ratio of vinegar and water. Others suggest a ratio similar to the baking soda mix (1 T:1 C water).

Massage the vinegar through your hair and scalp. When rinsing it out, use cool water, as hot water can dry the scalp and stimulate the production of more oils.

Your hair should not smell much of ACV after this, but if you just can't stand the smell, you can add some essential oils to it. Rosemary in particular is good for haircare and can help restore balance. Lavender is pretty much a safe standard, too.

Results
In just a week, my hair feels really nice and soft, not dry and frizzy like before. I keep running my fingers through it because it's such a change! My scalp feels good and does not itch nearly as much as before. Overall, it's a great improvement and quite painless. Give it a week and see what you think!

There are tons of blog posts on this, so if you want to read more, you can google "no poo" or just baking soda shampoo.

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 06-30-2012, 07:26 AM
#2
  • gijames
  • Mile High Soldier
  • TN, USA
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hmmm, very interesting... what about natural hair loss... does this method help strengthen the hair shaft too?

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 06-30-2012, 07:37 AM
#3
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I haven't used soap or shampoo on my head in months. I wash with water only and a relatively stiff brush. But I keep my dense head of hair very short.

It got rid of all the negatives that you mentioned when I had a shampooed head, and the more I washed it the worse it got.

It's counterintuitive, and goes against all the retailing propaganda we come across every day, but it isn't "not washing", it's washing with water only. Or as you do with much less oil stripping products.

FWIW, it also gets rid of dandruff.

Dandruff is caused by a fungus that eats oils that are secreted by the skin. The more one shampoos and strips these oils, the more oil is produced. Shampooing actually makes that sort of dandruff worse. The theory is that by washing the hair with a non-stripping product, or just water, the oil is left in place and over time the skin will get the idea and stop overproducing the oils that are the underlying problem. Don't feed the fungus and the balance is restored and the fungus is controlled. It takes about a month for that to happen.

Wash w/o oil stripping chemicals at least every other day. Every day is much better IMO.

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 06-30-2012, 07:53 AM
#4
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(06-30-2012, 07:26 AM)gijames Wrote: hmmm, very interesting... what about natural hair loss... does this method help strengthen the hair shaft too?

I don't know about that. People have said that this method stimulates hair growth, but I don't know whether there's any science that says it does.

(06-30-2012, 07:37 AM)ShadowsDad Wrote: I haven't used soap or shampoo on my head in months. I wash with water only and a relatively stiff brush. But I keep my dense head of hair very short.

It got rid of all the negatives that you mentioned when I had a shampooed head, and the more I washed it the worse it got.

It's counterintuitive, and goes against all the retailing propaganda we come across every day, but it isn't "not washing", it's washing with water only. Or as you do with much less oil stripping products.

FWIW, it also gets rid of dandruff.

Dandruff is caused by a fungus that eats oils that are secreted by the skin. The more one shampoos and strips these oils, the more oil is produced. Shampooing actually makes that sort of dandruff worse. The theory is that by washing the hair with a non-stripping product, or just water, the oil is left in place and over time the skin will get the idea and stop overproducing the oils that are the underlying problem. Don't feed the fungus and the balance is restored and the fungus is controlled. It takes about a month for that to happen.

Wash w/o oil stripping chemicals at least every other day. Every day is much better IMO.

Exactly! My goal is to get to where you are, where I can eventually get away with just a water wash and maybe use the baking soda once or twice a week, if necessary. I notice a big change in the first week but you're right, I think it takes closer to four weeks to get back to the natural balance.

A lot of people don't realize that the natural state of things is health. It's disease and problems that are unnatural, and we keep mucking around in things we don't know because we think we're so durn smart. We've thrown out all the traditional knowledge our grandparents used in favor of scientism. Time and time again, new science disproves the conventional scientific consensus, especially about health and diet.

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 07-10-2012, 09:09 PM
#5
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I just tried the baking soda paste on my fringe of hair and scalp tonight. My head is always itchy and has some bumps in the hair. My hair looks dry after shampooing or using hand soap in my hair.

The baking soda made my hair look great and my head doesn't feel itchy or oily. Now I'm going for the Bragg's vinegar/water rinse.

Thanks for the great idea, DonnTodd.

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 07-11-2012, 02:21 AM
#6
  • Dave
  • Moderator Emeritus
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I have done the baking soda in the hair trick for abour 3 years or so now. It really does seem to help.

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 07-11-2012, 03:27 AM
#7
  • Howler
  • A calamophile and vintage razor lover
  • Fort Smith AR
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This discussion is interesting,personally I still use shampoo.
I find that wet shaving has led to other changes in personal grooming. I switched from liquid soap to bar soap for showering.

Would not a shampoo bar be another alternative to using shampoo?

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 07-11-2012, 07:00 AM
#8
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Well, of course it's an alternative to shampoo.

But if it's a soap or detergent it'll strip the oils and get the cycle going again. At least that's my concern. I stay away from all of that anymore because I've been there and I don't want to go back. I don't even want to chance it.

BTW, I still use soap on my body lest anyone think otherwise. Biggrin

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 07-14-2012, 10:35 PM
#9
  • vuk
  • Senior Member
  • Virginia
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I've been off shampoo for about a year. It took a few days for my hair to balance out but after that it looked great.
I rinse it daily with hot water and do the vinegar rinse here and there. Its worth a try especially if you have shorter hair.

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 07-15-2012, 08:06 PM
#10
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Interesting method. i have never heard of it. If i let my remaining hair grow, i would give this a try.

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 07-15-2012, 08:19 PM
#11
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I have an extreme gag reaction to the smell of vinegar. Could lemon or some other citric acid be used instead?

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 07-15-2012, 09:59 PM
#12
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Arley, only water is required. There is no need for anything else.

I keep my hair quite short and I use a brush to invigorate the scalp and clean the hair under the shower head. That's it. No need to complicate it with "stuff". "Stuff" is what caused the problem in the first place. That's the whole point of doing this. It returns the hair/scalp to a natural condition. By adding "stuff" we're just imposing our (inadaquate) understanding of what our body needs, and not allowing the hair/scalp to do what it needs to do if we just leave it be and "wash" it with just water.

Ok, from a logical viewpoint... We put something acidic on our head after washing it with water. Do we rinse it off, or just smell like a salad all day? Of course we rinse it off. The last material to touch our head is what our head is sent off with. That's water. You won't hurt anything by using something mildly acidic, but it just serves no purpose if you intend to rinse it off with water. The pH of the water has the final "say" on the hair. Water is neutral.

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 07-16-2012, 11:40 AM
#13
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Thanks for your input Brian.

I keep my hair very short, from a number 1 blade to a number 3 on top, sort of a modified high and tight.

I am going to start trying just the water method, as I have had a problem with dandruff my entire life, that no shampoo seems to help.

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 07-16-2012, 01:48 PM
#14
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Just bear in mind it's not an overnight solution. It'll take a month for it to even begin to "take hold" and in 6 weeks you should see a difference. You may wonder at some point, "What on earth am I doing?", but press on. Oh, and resist the urge to scratch if that's also been a problem.

The brush I use is an ordinary long handled K-Mart back scrubbing brush. At times I wish it was stiffer. Which reminds me, I meant to cut the long handle off of mine. I keep hitting the shower walls with the long handle. Biggrin I'll get around to it eventually.

I've had itchy scalp my entire life. Finally that's a thing of the past. No more itching, no more scratching. I can't tell you how good it feels to have relief from that.

I sure hope it works for you.

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 07-17-2012, 01:49 PM
#15
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Todd, i was just re-reading your post and i remember trying this exact method 20 years ago when i became a vegan and i still had most of my hair. It was not called the "no poo" method. i do not recall it having any specific name except a method to restore and condition your scalp and hair. Great post, again.

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 07-21-2012, 06:48 PM
#16
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I assume this method would be pointless for me, as I use a fiber gum to style my hair everyday?

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 07-21-2012, 07:03 PM
#17
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(07-16-2012, 01:48 PM)ShadowsDad Wrote: Just bear in mind it's not an overnight solution. It'll take a month for it to even begin to "take hold" and in 6 weeks you should see a difference. You may wonder at some point, "What on earth am I doing?", but press on. Oh, and resist the urge to scratch if that's also been a problem.

The brush I use is an ordinary long handled K-Mart back scrubbing brush. At times I wish it was stiffer. Which reminds me, I meant to cut the long handle off of mine. I keep hitting the shower walls with the long handle. Biggrin I'll get around to it eventually.

I've had itchy scalp my entire life. Finally that's a thing of the past. No more itching, no more scratching. I can't tell you how good it feels to have relief from that.

I sure hope it works for you.

I've been using this method since this thread started and wondered if you put anything on you hair afterwards, like hair tonic or whatever aftershave balm or whatnot. Or does that defeat all the good the baking soda and vinegar have done?

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 07-21-2012, 07:52 PM
#18
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Well, you quoted me, but I don't use anything but water. Don would be better for an answer here than myself.

The key is to not strip the sebum (I think that's what it's called) from the scalp and hair. Strip it off and the scalp detects that condition and the cycle kicks in all over again. The scalp will overproduce sebum, etc, etc.

I have very short hair using the lowest setting on my cutters, and I remove my hair every 2 weeks, so it never gets long. I have no need of any products. I only need a brush in the shower and some water.

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 07-12-2013, 10:17 AM
#19
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I might have to try this out as my hair can get dandruff and begin to get itchy...

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 07-12-2013, 10:21 AM
#20
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Is the point of the baking soda/vinegar routine to work your way to a "no poo" method?

A few weeks ago I tried just not shampooing (I usually use a "2 in 1" shampoo/conditioner) and over about a week my hair got really oily and when it got wet, it felt really tactile and nasty. I wonder if I needed to gradually acclimate my hair or something.

Anyway, I still use the "2 and 1" and I have to say my hair still feels fine.

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