A&L Series: Does This Shit Really Work? An Experiment with the “No Poo” Method, Part 2


First of all, before continuing on, yes my birthday was on Monday. I’m 28. Hooray! I work under the belief that every girl should do something nice for herself once in a while, especially on her birthday. My birthday was no exception. Weather was beautiful and I made a little extra money this last paycheck, so I’m thinking I’m gonna spoil myself just rotten.

Second bit is that since I do now have some extra $$, the blog is going to be seeing a major overhaul. My friend David is an excellent web designer, so he’s going to be helping me update the layout, and I’ll be shelling out some bucks to WordPress for an updated account. Big things changing around here! And all his services will cost me is lunch. I’m lucky to have such amazing friends ❤

But anyways, let’s get back to talking about hair.

I ended up not washing my hair on Sunday because my workday ended up running pretty late, and frankly, when I got home, I didn’t feel like it. But we can just say that I wanted to see if the baking soda would mitigate any extra oil production, since hair can get pretty gross when you don’t wash it. Yeah, that sounds better, let’s go with that. You guys see the sacrifices I make for you? Jeez.

Anyway! As you can imagine, the week was pretty hectic, balancing between my birthday madness and work, so I didn’t get around to making a proper blog post until now. Sorry about that! But I’ve dutifully taken pictures and gotten everything good to go, so at least the week was properly documented. Brace yourselves, I’ll be showing you pictures of me at my greasiest, and it will not be pleasant. Consider yourselves warned. But that comes later. Onto the schematics of the week.

Whenever I go to the gym to work out, I start out with a mile run, and cardio is usually when the faucet turns on in my scalp. Monday was upper body, so I only spent an hour at the gym, as opposed to the two I spend whenever I do full-body workouts. I debated whether or not I wanted to wait until Friday, when I do said full-body, but I figured I don’t sweat much more doing those than I do when I just focus on one area, because most of the sweating, as I said, comes from the cardio I do either way. Plus, again, it was my birthday and I was going out to dinner that night, so I want my hair to look as nice as possible under the circumstances.  So I went ahead after I washed my hair to do the coconut oil deep conditioning.

Verdict? When they tell you you need soap to wash that shit out, THEY MEAN IT.

I tried to use as little shampoo as possible to get rid of the coconut oil, but I also made the mistake of using too much. I didn’t realize it until later when I was out with my grandmother wondering why my hair was taking so long to dry…until I realized it was. My hair was so oiled up, it roped up and made me look like an absolute greaseball. I had to borrow my grandmother’s shower and use more shampoo to get the rest of the stuff out of my hair in time to meet with my best friend for my extremely wonderful and memorable birthday dinner. But I learned really quickly that there’s a definite balance to coconut oil and you have to make sure you use enough soap to get it out, because you won’t know whether or not your hair is clean and free of the residue until it dries. Needless to say, I didn’t give it another go until today.

So fast forward to Friday. Have I seen any difference this week, having subjected my hair to the debatable reputation of baking soda? Well yes, actually. I have noticed within the past day or two that my hair is actually less dry than it was the first go around. And yes, baking soda did hold up against the monstrous greaseball that is my head post-gym. This is what that looks like, for people who are dying to see me at my least attractive:

I could fuel my car with the oil from my head. SO ATTRACTIVE RIGHT?!


This and the aftershot that will come later was before today, before I gave the coconut oil another go. It’s really just to point out that even on super dirty hair, the baking soda is just as, if not more, effective than traditional shampoo. And again, the dryness is definitely starting to taper off, so I’m erring on the side of optimism that baking soda and ACV may just be my new hair care regime of choice.

I'm told it's artsier not to look at the camera when taking a selfie.


As you can see from the picture (or not, it’s a terrible shot),  my hair is still a little on the frizzy side, but overall, it’s holding up very well. I didn’t use any product in my hair when I took this pic, which probably accounts for the flyaways, but I’m still cautiously optimistic that my hair will smooth out. Your scalp goes through cycles where skin is replaced, and a typical scalp turnover is 28 days, so I know I probably won’t see optimal results for at least another three weeks – but I’m liking the progress I’ve made so far!


Now, as for the coconut oil bit…I did that again today. And this time, by George, I was smarter. I shampooed my hair after using the oil, and I used much less than last time, but this time,  of course, I fear that I didn’t use enough! But again, we’ll have to see in a few weeks. Using coconut oil is not going to be a weekly thing – more like a bi-weekly deep conditioning, to be adjusted as needed. The important bit, however, remains that the baking soda and ACV treatment do seem to be working well, and I’m pretty pleased with the results. More research, however, I think is necessary before I reach a conclusion, but for me and my hair type and bathing habits, I think it’s working pretty damned well. We’ll check in again in a week and see if there’s any further improvement! Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I smell my birthday cake.

A&L Series: Does This Shit Really Work? An Experiment with the “No Poo” Method


The irony of that title is literally killing me.


Anyway, since this blog is supposed to be a sort of jack-of-all-topics kind of thing, I’m starting up a series to coincide with the Weight Loss Series. I figured since I’m spending a lot more time focusing on my health, I should also be paying attention to the bits of me that don’t necessarily benefit from going to the gym.

It’s funny, but once you start adapting to a more active, healthy lifestyle, you really do start to think about all of the things you put in/on your body. I’ve gotten much pickier about what kind of produce I buy (much to the annoyance of my family/wallet), and I’ve long since stopped eating most processed food and all fast food. Going to the gym and jogging 6 days a week has been doing wonders for my body tone, but now that I’m kind of in the zone, I’ve been thinking about what else I can do to support my overall health.

My extremely beautiful and awesome friend Rochelle, who is one of my biggest fitness inspirations, linked up a post on Facebook about a woman who had given up shampoo in favor of what is apparently floating around the internet as the “No Poo” method (these puns will be the death of me). The method entails forsaking sulfate-loaded shampoo and conditioner in lieu of baking soda in order to remove oils from the hair and apple cider vinegar for conditioning. The idea itself intrigued me, especially since my hair is really prone to flyaways and frizz, no matter what I do with it, so I debated over giving it a shot. I was a little worried about the whole baking soda thing because testimonials from those wiser than I claimed that baking soda was too harsh for hair, because it’s a high pH alkaline. But my resident natural product guru Anna assured me that using apple cider vinegar would help mitigate any damage that the baking soda could do, along with a dosage of coconut oil. And as luck would have it, I happen to have an abundance of both in my pantry and I’m fresh out of shampoo! Hooray?

So let’s figure this shit out, one week at a time. Is baking soda and ACV a better alternative to shampoo, or does it cause damage in the long run? A&L will be figuring it out!

At least if it works on my hair. Your results may vary 😀

So to get started, here’s a look at my hair in its current condition.


My hair in its current state of poof.

As you can see, my hair is curly and fine, and prone to some major poof in the right conditions. I get split ends very easily because curly hair goes hand in hand with brittle cuticles, and this, naturally, leads to some major frizz if I let the dead ends get out of hand, so I have to trim the ends off roughly every 2-2 1/2 months. It’s kind of a pain because I’m trying to grow my hair and I end up cutting off all of the growth I’ve accomplished to keep it from looking brittle and frizzy. My hair is fairly healthy, but the problem is that I shampoo it almost every day because I sweat so much when I exercise, and dry shampoos never really did the job. So I’ve become increasingly worried that my hair is going to start paying the price for my frequent need to shower, especially because it’s prone to drying out.

But anyways, let’s talk about the ingredients.


Value-sized for great justice

All three ingredients are incredibly easy to find at pretty much any reputable grocery store. Baking soda has been around since the dawn of creation, and apple cider vinegar is currently enjoying a renaissance due to the health world’s espousal of its multitude of health benefits. Coconut oil is making a splash lately since its promotion by supermodel Miranda Kerr, who I would, quite frankly, murder a village to look like (Don’t worry, I plan to stick to diet and exercise, and conveniently forgetting that she only eats fruits, vegetables, and fish). Coconut oil is meant to be used only on occasion because you do need some kind of soap to thoroughly clean it, but it reputedly makes for an excellent deep conditioner, since raw, unrefined coconut oil is the only oil with a molecular structure that allows it to penetrate the shaft (giggity). Make sure that you’re using raw, unrefined coconut oil, since the refined stuff has an altered structure.

As far as measurements go, I’ve heard 1/2-1/3 a cup of baking soda per wash, with enough water to make it into a paste; but I don’t buy that. Remember, baking soda is still an alkaline, with a pH balance of 8.3-9 on a 1-14 scale, whereas healthy hair and skin has a pH of around 5. So for the initial bit of this experiment, I added more water so that I had a solution that was roughly the consistency of milk. I figured less is better, as long as it still cleans. As far as ACV, an ideal ratio would be 2 tbl to 8 ounces, or one cup of water. Any less water will make it harder to wash out the smell.


Plz ignore my greasiness thx

For containers, I just recycled my shampoo and conditioner bottles for their less chemically counterparts. Recycling is good, children.

I opted out of doing a coconut oil conditioning, since I showered late last night, and I was substituting in the morning. Plus I had no soap to wash it out with. Don’t judge me.

So I mixed up my solutions, brushed and detangled my hair, and I took a shower. Sorry, no pictures! I focused the baking soda on my scalp first, then the rest of my hair, and it felt WEIRD. I guess it’s because I’m so used to having sudsy, sweet – smelling stuff in my hair when I wash it, not some strange gritty nonsense. But I scrubbed it and rinsed like usual. With the ACV, I soaked the ends of my hair first before applying to the rest of my hair, since my ends are often the driest bit. The solution rinsed out easily, and didn’t leave any lingering vinegar smell. I normally don’t blow dry my hair and I’m not about to start now, so I brushed my hair again, put it up, and went to bed.

When I woke up this morning, I did notice that my hair was very clean, but was definitely drier than usual. I didn’t have any concerns, however, since this is a common issue when starting out. Shampooing normally strips the hair of all oils, including the essential, so the scalp has to pump out even more oil to make up for the loss. As a result, when switching to the “No Poo” method, the hair and scalp have to readjust to the chemical change, which means dry hair for the first few days. I’m not planning to do the coconut oil conditioning until tomorrow, since I’ll be challenging the “No Poo” method with my post – gym hair, which will be way greasier than my hair last night, and the fact that it’s my birthday tomorrow and I think I deserve a little pampering. So expect a report tomorrow sometime about whether coconut oil is as awesome as Miranda Kerr says it is. Until then, happy washing!