“Well, I am going to tell you a secret.” Ha. Ha. Ha. Right!
That’s how all those blog posts start isn’t it??? How people quit using regular old shampoo and conditioner and start using baking soda and apple cider vinegar to wash their hair. Blah. Blah. Blah. It is the same old dog and pony show with slight variations on each site of how people make it work for them.
Though I never blogged about it, I was one of those same people who had quit using shampoo and conditioner and started doing the infamous crunchy way of ‘no-poo.’
I did the method for over two years. I had the ‘getting used to it’ phase where oils go out of control and then all was good. Hit a period about 4 months in where I finally figured out I was using too much because my hair was a wreck and dry and awful. You can’t say I wasn’t consistent with it. I really tried. I tried hard. I supported it and recommended.
If you know me, you know I am not prone to dropping what I do and changing at a whim. I am a researcher and I tend to be on the practical side too. I hate to spend a ton of money for something that is literally going to go down the drain. With makeup, I am more on the homely side of the spectrum than the Hollywood glam side. Regardless though, I can appreciate any beauty, cooking, cleaning, etc routine that is simple, and easy to do. No poo met those in criteria for me. So, what happened?
Someone asked me if I no-pooed. I delightfully shared yes and all the tips and tricks that worked for me. I got the email in the middle of the day and just replied.
Then, a day or so later I thought to myself, well, what IS new with no-poo. What is online out there that got her interested in the no-poo bandwagon? What is the fuss people are saying now since I started the whole deal with it over two years ago? What I found actually led me to deep down evaluate if it was really working. Or not. And I discovered it wasn’t.
I emailed back the person who had asked me about it. The key statement in my email was this:
I found out that no-poo is bad on the hair. That the potential for the extreme alkalinity of the baking soda on the hair opens up the shafts and then pulling it back via the acidity of the ACV closes it back but the extremes of this is comparable to giving your hair a perm. every. time. you do this method of washing.
It was a killer to me. Of course, yeah, yeah, I know that I can’t believe everything I read on the internet. But the proof is in the puddin’ huh?! So on I went with my research and here is what I found (on the internet, haha).
Number 1: If, based on this comment that I shared above by a hair care pro on some blog is real, then what should our scalp ph be? Well, according www.healingherbsbyrene.weebly.com our scalp pH should fall somewhere between 4.5 to 5.5 to keep it healthy. Also, note that www.health24.com puts skin at a 5.5 pH.
So, number 2: So, our healthy pH range of our scalp should be around 4.5 to 5.5, then where baking soda and vinegar rate? According to www.chemistry.about.com, vinegar rates down there in the acidic range at a 2.2 and baking soda ranks up there as an alkaline at an 8.3.
So I chew on that for a minute and I realize that hey, yes we dilute baking soda and apple cider vinegar, and yes, I leave it on for just a couple minutes, but do I really want to continue to chance my ratios of water to baking soda and water to ACV to be in the appropriate pH range to not damage my hair and further, if I did get it in range, will it even be effective. Who knows?
So, I hit my favorite online shopping store, www.amazon.com for litmus paper to test and check into maybe buying some so litmus paper I could check if it really was within the recommended range of a balanced ‘no-poo’ and ‘no-con’.
But, I decided not to try that out right now. My number 3, proof in the puddin’ moment was this: I stood at my bathroom mirror and actually took the time and really evaluated my hair. I had just done my favorite all time henna hair coloring on it just a week before. Henna is known for its conditioning properties, but on my head, not so much. Honestly the conditioning treatments on it have gotten harder to achieve and I couldn’t help but begin to wonder if it was because of the no-poo method. The grays that I cover with that wonderful henna are still so wirey and not the easiest to manage. After over two years of doing no-poo I still couldn’t go without washing it over 2-3 days because it looked like a wreck after the 2nd or 3rd day unless I did intense styling on it. I put a lot of my frustration on the fact that I have naturally thick, curly, wavy hair. But I began to wonder that night, if perhaps my frustration was my no-poo method and not must my hair. So, I googled new ways to wash my hair. I tried homemade honey shampoo, washing with a mix of aloe vera and milk, etc. Two weeks later after quitting no-poo I took 5 jumps back and decided to give my scalp a break. (I know you are thinking from those infamous Friends episodes, “WE WERE ON A BREAK!!!).
Well, for me, this break is un-known how long or if I will ever return to the no-poo method. If I do return, I’ll let you know. I finally broke down today and washed with my husbands commercial brand of a two in one shampoo out of desperation to look nice for an outing with the kids. And you know, that pH balanced shampoo he buys apparently did the trick in one wash.
MY CLOSING POINT is this. If you do no-poo, or if you are considering doing the no-poo method, I hope that you will consider evaluating whether or not you can risk damaging your hair and scalp if your no-poo ratios are not balanced. Further, I hope you will consider buying some test strips to check your ratios because all water is supposed to be relatively neutral, but not all are exactly the same. Do your research and determine your exact ratios so you don’t damage your hair doing no-poo.
AND FINALLY, what am I going to do? For now, I am going to try an organic product by Dr. Bronners .I read about it on LisaBronner’s blog. It is due to arrive from Amazon tomorrow. I will give it a whirl for awhile and let you know if it sticks or if I end up ordering that litmus paper and doing some testing and studying ratios myself.
Thanks y’all for listening. We have one body and one earth. I am glad so many of us are trying to better care for it and also help be greener and crunchier while doing it, but you know, we all need to be safe and smart with it too.
Happy and healthy crunching!