Whenever I mention to someone that I'm doing the no 'poo thing, it gets quite the reaction! Despite its confusing name, no 'poo has nothing to do with fecal matter. Though I have to admit that the association does make me giggle.
So what is this no 'poo business about? The 'poo is short for shampoo. It's a hair care regimen starring those superstars of natural living: baking soda and vinegar. No, you don't do a volcano experiment on your head (though if you try this, please send me a picture!). Depending on who you talk to, you'll get a dozen different methods, but here it is in a nutshell.
Baking Soda Cleanse
Make a paste of baking soda and water in the palm of your hand and massage it into your scalp. Let it sit for a few minutes before you rinse it out thoroughly.
If making a paste in the shower on the fly seems like a bit much, you can also premix your baking soda solution in an old, well rinsed shampoo bottle. Start out with 1 part baking soda to 3 parts water and sort of go from there. If you feel like your hair is on the oily side, you might up the baking soda a bit at a time until you get a mix that works for you. For drier hair, start with a bit less baking soda.
Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse
You'll probably want to pre-mix your apple cider vinegar. You just need about 1 part vinegar to four parts water. If the vinegar smell bothers you like it does me, try adding a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the bottle to mask the smell. I've even heard of folks putting fresh herbs or cinnamon sticks in there! Just massage a bit of the mixture into your scalp and through your hair, let it sit for a few minutes, and rinse!
What to Expect
A lot of folks who go no 'poo for the first time have to deal with the dreaded "transition period." This is tougher if your hair is longer, but it's so worth it to stick things out! That transition is your scalp getting used to producing its own oils freely again. Once it's regulated itself, things will mellow right out. Then, they get really, really amazing.
A lot of folks who do the no 'poo thing say they only have to "wash" their hair once or twice a week, and many don't need as many (if any) products to make their tresses behave.
Not only is this method healthier for your hair, it's better for the environment, too! Unlike a lot of the ingredients in your typical shampoos and conditioners, baking soda and vinegar are biodegradable and nontoxic. It doesn't hurt that they are also dirt cheap, unlike the organic hair care products you'd buy at the store.
Image Credits: No Steaming Poo. Remixed Creative Commons photo from goosmurf; ACV and Baking Soda. Photo by Becky Striepe