the no 'poo method

no, we're not constipated. yeah, we get that alot.

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124 days in, need some help!
windsangel15 wrote in no_poo
I don't have a lot of time to write this, so please excuse any mistakes or easy fixes I haven't found.

I started my no poo journey 124 days ago (I have a day counter on my phone). I love the way my hair looks without shampoo and I am NOT interested in going back- not at all.

But I've hit a few road bumps. When I first started no pooing, I was following a friend's recipe. She made a paste out of baking soda (with essential oils) and water and scrubbed it into her hair. While I'm sure that works great for her, I have really thick, long, wavy/curly hair that dries out really easily. She has thin oily hair. Although my hair was super clean afterward, it was way too much baking soda for me. I had to use sooo much because I have so much hair, too. So I've gradually decreased it. I'm now at about a 5-6:1 (water:baking soda) ratio with lavender and tea tree oils. I use a dye squeeze bottle to get it into my scalp, scrub in light circles (not rough at all), let it sit for just a minute or two, and rinse. Then I rinse my ends (and a little of my head since I started noticing #3 below) with 1:1 apple cider vinegar and water. I do this about once a week, which was how often I was washing my hair with shampoo. My hair doesn't show oil well and washing it too much causes it to dry out and break.

Well, here's my issues:

  1. I have a buildup problem. I've always had it but I used to do this scalp treatment. I'm afraid to do it now though because I've always needed Dawn to get it out of my hair, and doesn't that kind of go against the no poo thing? It might be baking soda but I seriously work really hard to get it out so I'm not sure what else I can do for that. Like, if I scratch my head there will be stuff under my nails.

  2. My hair is falling out. You can't tell by just looking at me, but I have to clean my brush every time I brush my hair. It's that bad. I do have super long hair (almost waist length) so the length of the strands may make it look that it is more hair than it is.

  3. Connected to #2, my hair is breaking around my ears. I have all these shorter hairs now on top of my head. This makes me think I'm doing something horribly wrong because my hair shouldn't be breaking off of my head like that, not that high up. (And frizz, but my hair has always been frizzy.)

Today, I did an Argon Oil conditioning treatment after I washed it (my hair is soft, but not dry yet so time will tell). I've done an egg wash, too. It didn't seem to help.

I worry if I don't let it sit, it won't get my hair clean. It hasn't gotten as clean as the first time I did it. I also worry it won't get clean if I use less baking soda. I'm at a loss here. I don't want to go back to shampoo but I also don't want to be bald. Help is greatly appreciated.

Oh! And I think we have hard water, so I boil (filtered) water and let it cool before using it to make any fauxpoo or fauxconditioner.
I also make my own flaxseed gel. I don't use anything else on my hair (except I used coconut oil once). I occasionally rinse my hair in the shower but it's easier to only wash my body so I don't do it all the time.

I'm tagging anything slightly relevant because I'm begging for help, lol.

As a dry scalp-dandruff-hard water person, I've been egg-washing for 2 months now, and can tell the first 2 times were not really great. But then it got a lot better.
Rinsing with tea or/and lemon juice helped a lot, and the hair seems to get used to egg-treatment, even regained its sheen.
Tried honey-washing too, occasionally add it to egg mixture, but did not see any difference except more fragrance.
A few days ago in a trip got back to shampoo (2 washes, sad-sad-sad) and dandruff actually got back when using regular shampoo...

It's not that I didn't like the results of the egg wash. I didn't like that I couldn't get all of the egg out of my hair and I rinsed for sooo long. Even with cold water and lots of it, I brushed egg pieces of out my hair. I just can't deal with that personally, you know? Thanks so much for your advice though! Maybe I'll try tea in my hair because that's pretty nifty.

Ehehe, yes, I know what you mean about egg parts :) Gross! Even after fishing out the gummy part of egg's white and draining the yolk out of "skin" - still some parts stay in the hair. A lot less, but still... (( And the wet dog smell...

Good luck anyways, I do believe there is a solution somewhere, one only needs to keep looking ))

Have you read much on longhaircommunity.com? Though not a lot of them use baking soda as a wash (I think some of them think it increases their hair fall, like your #2), there are a lot of alternative washing methods on there. Also, if your hair keeps breaking, maybe switch to a comb instead of a brush and try not to brush it when wet, since hair is weaker when wet. And the acv doesn't actually condition hair, so maybe some conditioning treatments that don't require shampoo to remove would be helpful.

And is there a reason you don't use a weaker acv or alternate rinsing method on all of your hair and scalp? The balancing ph thing with an acidic rinse after seems mostly a theory, to me, but it could help. It should at least make it so you have a few less tangles, but that varies by person.

You could experiment with less baking soda, and even if it doesn't feel as clean, it will still probably look clean. And then you could see if that helps with the breakage.
And cornstarch or arrowroot powder as a dry shampoo works well for me (and I have dark hair) as a way to get a few more days before my hair looks gross enough to need washing.

I apply my 1 cup water and 1/2 tablespoon baking soda to dry hair and massage in and then rinse out without letting it sit and letting it sit doesn't seem to make much of a difference the times I've tried it, it you want to try doing that. Even if it does make a difference, it will probably only be noticeable if someone is touching your scalp and roots.

I tried to get into site that but it won't take my email! Haha. I've got to figure something else out though, lol. I was thinking about using a conditioner instead. Hmm.

Honestly, it's just what I saw first and it seemed to work. I never considered the vinegar to be the problem.

I used less baking soda this time (to dry hair!) and only made my hair look and feel less clean. I still had as much hair in my brush. I'm so frustrated:/

Thank you for your help!

Speaking as someone who is now recovering from a major hair shed which lasted well over a year and saw me lose at least half of my hair, I discovered that build-up of any sort on my hair or scalp increased my shedding. Lemon juice or ACV as a final rinse helps clarify.
Some people find baking soda weakens the hair shaft.....

That sounds awful! By final step, do you mean without rinsing with water again? Thanks for your help!

Do you apply the ACV to your scalp? Most people around here say they only apply it to their length to avoid greasies, but I found that applying it to my scalp as well got rid of build-up. I use mine in a spray bottle.

Also, try applying the BS mixture to dry hair. I found that this lathers up all the dirt and junk in my hair real good and I can get away with less BS because my hair isn't already wet, further diluting the mixture. My hair tangles easily though so if you have that problem too, I suggest you comb it out real good before hand to avoid a disaster when you're done.

Good luck and I hope we have helped some.

I tried adding it to my scalp and it didn't help:/ I did try baking soda on dry hair, too. Thanks for your suggestions! I'm going to keep looking for the a solution though!

If you use too much baking soda then it can be really bad for your hair! Baking soda has a really high ph, different than your hair and it will cause your hair to break at the top if you use too high of a concentration or too often. At least that's just what I've heard...I have similar hair to yours (long and wavy) an I just use one tbsp of baking soda to one cup of water. I have very oily hair since transitioning though so I might try and up the baking soda. As for the hair loss, that is probably not because of the no poo; if you have thick long hair then your brush will fill up no matter what, it happens to me all the time! I have no idea how I'm not bald!!

Newbie with lots of data

gatorgirl7563

2014-10-09 07:40 pm (UTC)

All right. I'm a new no-poo-er but I've been doing tons of research and recorded many symptoms and their causes. If my explanations are too simple, too obvious, for your experience level, Sorry. I'm naturally thorough and this is my first comment.

#1
As I understand it, your build up problem known as being "waxy". Waxiness is an excess of sebum caused by interaction between baking soda and minerals in hard water. It means the ph of your scalp is too basic and your best bet for a cure is softer water, such as what a carbon filter on your shower head would provide. Since you are already boiling your water (and it's already filtered water) then I can only suggest that you make sure you are boiling the water long enough and hot enough.


A too basic scalp ph can be solved by using less baking soda. I have heard that adding a bit of salt to your mixture makes the bs work more effectively.
My recipe is 1 cup water, 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 1/8 teaspoon of salt. (1/8 tespoon was randomly decided so feel free to in/de-crease for yourself.) But even that mixture is double the bs that some others use. (I'm new at this and still experimenting for what works best for my super-thin, super-greasy, and super-long hair.) Salt is also used to filter hard water and some people incorporate salt water as a regular part of their no-poo strategy because it supposedly helps activate the baking soda.
A water-only wash (where you finger scrub your scalp with scalding water and then rinse in frigid water) could help break up the wax. I've heard that a boar bristle brush can help move and distribute oils, too.


#2 & #3 dry, brittle, and breaking
Whenever you put anything basic (low ph like baking soda) on your scalp, you need to follow it up with an acid rinse, which can be anything sour: apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, lemon/lime/orange juice, tea, citric acid. It is my understanding that you don't change the dilution rate just because you switched acids. If ACV isn't giving you the desired results, try another acid.

Also, I haven't come across anyone else (beside me, formerly) whose vinegar recipe is 1:1. I've come across recipes when it's diluted as much as 1:16 ! Though 1:2 or 1:4 is much more common. Too much vinegar can cause oiliness, which is not the same as waxy.

Hair stiffness can be caused by too much protein in your recipe, while too little protein can result in weak hair. (coconut oil might be just what you need. http://www.naturalhairrules.com/5-ways-coconut-oil-can-prevent-hair-damage/ or avocado.) Brittleness and easily broken hair is a sign that your are using your vinegar/baking soda combination too often or too concentrated, with most of the fault on baking soda.
Long term baking soda use is actually very bad for hair.
http://empoweredsustenance.com/no-poo-method-damages-hair/

Also, baking soda should only be put on the scalp, not your hair length. (I'm currently considering putting my hair in a ponytail with the scrunchie near my hair tips, tying a string to the scrunchie and tossing the string over my shower head/curtain rod/soap dish to act as a pulley so that baking soda water doesn't run down my hair when I put it on my scalp.)

I'd recommend diluting your vinegar 1:2 or 1:4 and then not rinsing it out, except maybe a quick splash to further dilute it. Unlike, baking soda, vinegar goes more on your hair length than your scalp. You can add oils like castor, lavender, cucumber, tea tree, vitamin e, aloe vera juice, too, to disguise the vinegar smell (which is honestly very very faint when hair is dry) and help your hair recover, or just switch to white vinegar, lemon juice, strong black tea, etc.

Instead of baking soda, honey is an excellent moisturizing cleanser. Applesauce is a mild degreaser that helps hair keep natural oils.

A lot of people talk about dipping the tips of their hair in oil but I don't yet know enough about that to do more than recommend you look into it for yourself since your hair is in desperate need of moisture and a more acidic balanced ph.

Tea tree oil is supposed to be great for dryness, but my problem is the opposite - my hair is a criso factory.

Don't brush your wet hair except maybe with a wide-tooth comb, as wet hair breaks more easily.