Let me start by saying that I have very thick hair with a lot of body. About 1 1/2 years ago when we started Crossfit / Lifting my hair dresser urged me to stop washing my hair daily and to just rinse and condition on days I worked out, especially if I'd just washed my hair the day prior. I've washed my hair DAILY forever! So this was a bit of a change in it self. I started going 2-3 days between washing. I also started washing my hair at night and letting it dry overnight on it's own after I put oil on it. This saved me from using a blow dryer, doing more damage and causing more frizz. My hair did get better but it was still no where close to where I wanted it to be.
Finally about 4 weeks ago I took the plunge and decided to try 'No-Poo' which I'd been hearing about for the last year. I was also watching Clare from Flame to Fork go through changing to no-poo. A friend of mine, April, from the Reluctant Healthwife had done a post about no-poo a while back. I went in search of her article to find out how to do this. She'd used a mixture by One Green Generation found here. I first tried the paste option, Recipe 1. I was scared but totally amazed the next morning to find my hair clean and 'normal'. My hair lasted three days before needing to wash again. For the second wash I used Recipe 2, which I liked much better. It was easier to use for me and my hair.
I've yet to try Recipe 3 but will be doing so shortly as my hair settles into this new routine.
Here's a quick snapshot of the improvement in the first 3 weeks. The upper left is my hair prior to starting, which was fuzzy and not curly. The upper right is after 1 week. You can see that it's a little fuller and is starting to curl. The lower photos were at week 3. I had enough healthy curls to just wake up and go in the morning.
Now at week 4 I woke up to this very full head of super curly hair. Mind you I didn't grow up with curly hair. This has been something that's occurred in the last 1 1/2 years has my lifestyle has gotten healthier. Weird I know!
Last week I made another adjustment to my hair care. I had ordered Buck Naked Shampoo & Soap bar from Soap-A-Licious. I ordered this for the boys because baking soda and apple cider vinegar wasn't going to work for them, nor did I feel it was needed. SAL soaps and shampoo bars are made from all natural ingredients. They don't strip your body or your hair of the natural oils like mainstream products do. I'm beyond sold on the soap as my skin feels great and hasn't needed lotion in the week since I've started using it. This is unheard of for me, especially in the winter when I have to reapply 2 times a day at least.
I tried the shampoo bar last week and when my hair dried in the morning I was in love. It was easy to use and my hair felt wonderful. It was softer and fuller. This could be because I'm in week 4 of 'no-poo' but either way everything is working. I still have to use an apple cider vinegar rinse with the bar, I don't think that will change.
I'm not sure a shampoo bar falls under the traditional 'no-poo' but I'm thinking it's open for interpretation. It's natural ingredients, it doesn't strip or damage my hair and is chemical free. To me that's 'no-poo'.
So what's my go forward process? That's a good question. I'm still ironing out the details as my hair continues to change and surprise me each day. I'm thinking I will use in rotation: baking soda, apple cider vinegar rinse, Buck Naked Shampoo bar, arrow root and coconut oil. The arrow root I use as a dry shampoo on no wash days if needed to get rid of any oil spots at the root. Coconut oil I use if there's any frizz or dry patches (I've only had to do this twice early on).
When this process started I was using shampoo, conditioner, Moroccan Oil, hair spray and dry shampoo. The amount of chemicals in these products is mind blowing if you look at the label. I now wash with Buck Naked or baking soda and rinse with apple cider vinegar rinse. My hair dries overnight and I either go with what it looks like in the morning or I use a large barrel curling iron or straighten it then head out the door. I don't use hair spray or anything else on it. It's soft, fluffy, my curls hold and my hair stays full. Weird I know!
I hope that all makes sense, but let me know if you have any questions. Everyone's hair is different and will react differently. There is a transition period that you just have to get through. You'll probably need to make adjustments to find what works best for you. The good thing is there are so many internet resources and a whole community of women who have walked away from traditional hair products. You are sure to find the process that works for you.