Originally posted 20 November 2019. Updated 20 February 2021 with Conclusion.
I was going to call it NONpoo Method because NOpoo isn’t quite it… Although, both are better than SHAM-poo. Which I can’t help but notice that in the moniker since starting to clear my life of synthetic personal care products, clothing, and other items. I did, in the end, conclude with LOWpoo.
My little girl can’t use regular soap, or shampoo, conditioner, or even homemade soaps if the ingredients aren’t trialed into her routine as safe. I work on trialing her care products one ingredient at a time, and if they pass then I work with them to make stuff she can use.
So this is My LOWPOO Journey. Once I figure out the ins and outs according to those others who came before me, then we’ll really get rockin’ and rollin’.
How To Start Nonpooing
To begin, I looked at several sets of instructions for Nonpoo Method but primarily used Corn Allergy Girl’s (CAG) trusty personal care methods for hair “shampoo” and “conditioner”. Which I more aptly think of as “Hair Wash” and “Neutralizing Rinse”.
In addition to CAG, Code Red Hat (CRH) has in-depth nonpoo instructions and other natural hair care (and handy moisturizing recipe that also looks divine) that I appreciated beyond measure.
Beyond that, if troubleshooting isn’t figured out with CRH, then CAG also linked to Pistachio Project (PP) for further nonpoo instructions.
The idea is that hair care shouldn’t be so frequent because the scalp doesn’t need that much attention if it’s healthy.
Which is why the whole initial period of time for the first 2-4 weeks or so of the nonpoo method is called the “detox” phase, in which the silicon from past detergent shampoos is removed so the natural oils hair has can take back over and do the work.
My first wash wasn’t the most tentative thing I’ve done. The instructions linked above gave me plenty of courage to go for it, but what I ended up using was…
Nonpoo & Rinse Ingredients
- 2 Jars
- In Jar One: 1 TBS baking soda to 1 C filtered water
- In Jar Two: 2 TBS Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar to 1 C filtered water
The two biggest things I noticed about that first wash:
- I didn’t go to Shower Lala Land (because less additives?), and
- I didn’t stay in there for eight million years (because it was to clean and not zone out).
So a little different.
First to Second Nonpoo Wash
After my first wash on 16 Nov 2019, my scalp got super itchy. I felt like dandruff was coming, and ordinarily I would use Head & Shoulders Medicated shampoo (the stuff in the dark blue bottle) because I don’t like to mess around with trying to fix something. I get it fixed.
I noted my discomfort and went back to the nonpoo instructions at CRH. I had two choices:
- Fix oily hair?
- Or fix itchy scalp?
I figured that since the instructions for each of those went in different directions, that I should focus on one fix at a time. Since my hair is usually oily between showers with regular shampoo, I figured that was probably the way forward and that my itchy scalp was a side-effect.
To fix oily hair, since mine didn’t feel “waxy” or “cotton” dry, the next instruction was to do a hot water wash.
I judge the effects of my efforts by the day following my washes. The hot water wash on 18 Nov 2019 removed the oily feeling and my scalp stopped itching. Win.
I was even more careful to be sure I agitated my scalp when rinsing the baking soda and apple cider vinegar (ACV), but I think I did well enough that not rinsing good enough wasn’t the problem.
But my hair looked a mess. And I was feeling like I really, really wanted to wash it nice again. So that led to my second nonpoo wash the next night.
I did the next instruction for oily hair, which was to increase the baking soda by a fourth and to decrease the apple cider vinegar (ACV) by half. Since I had some left in my jars, I added a 1/4 TBS of baking soda to the one, and I added a 1/2 cup of filtered water to the other.
(Which, if I were remaking it for my first wash would have been 1-1/4 TBS baking soda to 1 C of filtered water, and 1 TBS ACV to 1 C filtered water.)
My second nonpoo shower was a lot nicer. I wasn’t fumbling, and I had an easier time focusing the baking soda at my roots (without worrying too much about whether it touched my strands), and being more careful to only apply the ACV to my strands.
The outcome of my second shower was a success. My hair looked half again as healthy as after the first nonpoo shower.
I’m definitely looking forward to my next (third) nonpoo method night. Which will probably come after another hot water wash in between if my hair acts like that again before I get there.
Second to Third Nonpoo Wash
So, second wash was on 19 Nov 2019, third wash was on 23 Nov. I apparently forgot to get a snap of my hair when it was out of the shower.
But this, my third nonpoo wash, pleased me. It came out softer, with shine this time. Less weighty and tousled seeming without the lingering oily feel. I had after Wash 2. But drier toward the ends.
I had a thought on why it would be nonpoo hair is supposed to feel “like cotton” in its early days. I’d say it’s probably to do with how processed the hair is when the Nonpoo Journey begins, mixed with the simple “cease fire” of wash-rinse-repeat shampoos and conditioners.
I did the “stretch” test on a couple strands. They were easy to snap, but clean snaps. So my fourth wash will need to moisturize, or I might adjust my current protocol for dryness. I have the honey for CRH’s moisturizing recipe, but would need a stand-in for aloe gel.
Third to Fourth Nonpoo Wash
For this set, I have three comparisons: a midwash coconut… thing, fourth wash, and a hope-fully-more-successful honey mask before I do my fifth wash.
I said my hair was dry, right? Well, I couldn’t make it to the store for 100% aloe gel, and the times my husband and I did make it to the store we couldn’t find any 100% aloe gel.
So on 26 Nov I made do with the teeniest bit of coconut oil on my palms after a shower when it was still damp to lock in moisture.
It was a moisture fail. My hair apparently doesn’t approve of coconut oil. It became more oil than was reasonable. It did still seem to help, though.
By the point enough time had passed for my fourth wash on 28 Nov, I can’t say I wasn’t eager to get my hair wet again. Baking soda! ACV! Hopefully my hair wouldn’t be even drier than the third wash.
As you can see, it came out really pretty. Faith in my hair and nonpooing again restored.
Midwash Honey Mask
Still no aloe gel, so my husband and I’ll order online soon. And so I looked for another way to moisturize.
This midwash turned into a honey mask on 2 Dec. It was very sticky. The only way it set in and covered my strands was with the bag on (the thing I do if I dye my hair at all, last dye job was teal highlights in 2012).
The outcome for this the next day was again less than desired. Weighty and waxy, which is associated with hard water, which I knew we had but didn’t expect that effect during this.
And my boar bristle brush took a beating this time, reinforcing the hard water fact, though I’ve already washed it out since.
Still, my hair is still behaving in other good ways. I have even still more volume than I’ve ever known. My hair still has unexpected waves. I just need to get my routine down, which is just going to take more experimentation, however long.
I look forward to my fifth wash. And, depending on moisture level, I may be doing a banana mask before my sixth wash.
Update as of 20 February 2021… My Conclusion
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I wish I had a better conclusion to give than “Yep, I gave up on full nonpoo.” Gave up?! Oh yeah, gave up.
I was doing everything right. I adjusted carefully, as necessary. But the fixes kept skipping me “too little” or “too far” past my goal. I kept getting too “gummy” or too brittle, even with very weak solutions. I finally figured my issue was most likely a combination of my house’s water being too hard for my hair, plus my hair being too weak to withstand that water hardness after so long not truly understanding its real state since it was covered with commercial silicone reinforcement.
I’ve been working on diet ever since. Cabbage for vitamin K. A good multivitamin. Vitamin A, vitamin E. More healthy fats and oils (like hemp oil for omegas and its amino acid profile). Still working on all that.
My next best option? Lowpoo. Well, why not? I tried that instead, and it’s been fine. I shampoo and condition about once every 4 days now. That’s 2 to 3 days longer than my old average, and a little shorter than what I was shooting for if I had been able to fully nonpoo.
The closest best option for my fine locks that I could find is Desert Essence Fragrance Free Shampoo & Conditioner Bundle. Works just as well as regular shampoo and conditioner, but without intrusive scents, excess chemicals, and kind enough not to set off any reactions in my corn derivative intolerant kids (yep, both have proven to be so).
Bonus thing I did with my hair: curtain bangs.
When the 2020 Pandemic Thing started, I became my family’s hair stylist. Go-to haircut person, at least. Hair Mom? My husband gets a short buzz with shorter sides that fade up, my son the same, my daughter something that keeps hair out of her mouth and eyes and off her neck, and I end up with an angled short cut when my hair gets long enough to angle down again.
To now this past year, I’d only chopped my hair back shorter a couple times. Since I was doing everyone else’s hair and saw this how-to curtain bangs video by Brad Mondo, I decided it was within my capabilities. Very simple.
Thanks, Brad Mondo! Love your videos.
As for everything, it wasn’t exactly what I was trying to do, BUT I did achieve my goal of finding a safe option for my corn intolerant kids.