Six days without poo

by Sarah Luna

That’s right, I’ve been “no poo” for nearly one week.

Now before you think I have some sort of intestinal problem, I should mention that I’m talking about shampoo, not poo poo. I’ve gone without shampoo (and conditioner for that matter) for a week. Gross, right?

Now for those of you who are familiar with my hair, that statement probably sounds just as absurd. Take a moment to freak out about all the creepy crawlies that are now infesting my locks. Think of my luscious curls defined by my own natural oils. Imagine how much you sweat during a week of 80+ degree weather. Awesome, right? Just what every girls wants, no? So how (and why) did I go without shampoo?

Why would I even consider this???

I did think this through; I promise. Here are my three reasons.

  • Chemicals. Maybe it’s living in Ithaca around more health-conscious people. Maybe it’s living with a soon-to-be-mama. For some reason, though, I’m becoming more aware of the chemicals I’m putting on (and in) my body.  Even the Johnson’s Baby Shampoo I used previously only has a “Fair” rating in The Cosmetic Database. I looked online less harsh alternatives.
  • Curiosity. I was really curious to see if using a solution of baking soda (for example) in lieu of shampoo would work. My hair is…not the most cooperative. It’s curly, frizzy, oily on top, dried on the ends. Don’t get me wrong; I love my hair, but it is not easily tamed.

And…perhaps the inspiration behind this experiment:

  • Field work. I am going to be spending a great deal of the next year out of the country. These places might not have shampoo. They might not have clean water. Sure, I could bring two months worth of shampoo, but wouldn’t it be simpler if I could find a way to clean my hair with the supplies at hand?
Simply put: If I can’t find a way to clean my hair by the time I leave for India, I’ll have to cut it off.
Alicia told me this would look cute. However, I don’t want to cut my hair, so I’m motivated to find an alternative.

How did I do it?

First I consulted Google (of course). I found this helpful post and this one that gave great ideas. And then I found Crunchy Betty–the most amazing non-edible food blog I’ve ever seen–which gave a solid article about going “no poo”.

I decided to go with 2Tbsp baking soda per cup of water in place of shampoo and 1Tbsp apple cider vinegar per cup of water plus a few drops of olive oil in place of conditioner. There are fancier recipes out there, but I thought I’d stick with the basics for now.

No Poo Diary

Are you ready? What follows is an account of my week of no poo. I washed my hair every night and reported results the following afternoons.

Day 1 (wash 0 happened the night before): definitely have the “I put too much conditioner on” feeling. I’ll cut back on the apple cider mix next time. My part was really white though. I let my hair dry naturally just to see what would happen. It looked beachy. Curls and VOLUME.

Day 2: ok, less volume today. A little more oily than usual.

Day 3: My curls look really pretty when fluffed.

Day 4: OMG SO MUCH OIL. This is so disgusting. I can feel oily residue on my finger tips each time I touch my hair. Upside: no frizz at all. It’s kind of like when your hair is thoroughly damp and weighed down my the water. Except not water. Note: even though it feels nasty, it doesn’t look gross. I’m going to try more baking soda solution tonight

Day 5: Much better. I focused the alkaline solution on the really oily parts, and it gave my hair a “shiny” feel on my fingers. Still no frizz.

Day 6: Ok, the curls on the bottom feel kind of gross. I certainly would not ever let someone touch my hair in this state. It’s …limp.


It’s too soon to say. All of the no poo authorities insist it takes the scalp a minimum of two weeks to adjust to not being shampooed, and that it will overproduce oil during that time. OH YES IT DID.

Astute readers may wonder: why did you only go for six days if you knew that it wouldn’t be enough time to see accurate results? Great question. I had planned to continue for two weeks and draw my conclusions then, but something came up that made it imperative for me to wash my hair tonight. And tomorrow. But you’ll have to wait until then to hear about it.  🙂

In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Am I crazy?
Does the thought of me not washing my hair with shampoo freak you out?
Should I just chop it off?