the no 'poo method

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

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My Understanding, 2nd Edition
gatorgirl7563 wrote in no_poo
This is my second edition of “My Understanding”, which is basically an expository essay I’ve written describing the basic ideas, science, terms, and ingredients involved with no poo. Most of this information was copied and pasted from snippets gotten off this site, so if you see something that looks familiar, don’t get paranoid or worry about memory problems. If something looks a little TOO familiar, then send me a comment containing a link to where you wrote the advice (to prove it’s yours) and tell me your preference about whether you want credit given to you in the essay or for it to be reworded so that it no longer resembles your advice.

If you disagree with one of my “facts”, tell me so I can do more research, please. Also, feel free to tell me about a detail or step I’ve left out or something I skipped altogether. If you know of another basic to add or an abbreviated acronym, feel free to tell me. Do you agree or disagree with anything? PLEASE GIVE ME FEEDBACK!


BS – baking soda
ACV – apple cider vinegar
WV – white vinegar
WO – water only
BBB – boar bristle brush
TTO – tea tree oil
EO – essential oil
CO – conditioner only
cone – silicone
CG – curly girly
SLSs – Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate
OCM – oil cleansing method
EVOO – extra virgin olive oil
GSE – grapefruit seed extract


People go no-poo for many different reasons - to save money, protect the environment, keep strange and unnatural chemicals off themselves, traditional hair care isn't working for them - but the goal is always the same - healthy, natural, great-looking hair at an affordable price, or, put another way, to have hair and a scalp that naturally maintains itself with the help of the fewest and most natural ingredients possible and looks great doing it.

The natural ph of your hair is 4. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PH) Substances with a ph less than 7 are said to be acidic and substances/mixtures with a ph greater than 7 are called basic or alkaline. Pure water's ph is 7 and hard water's ph can be as high as 9, which means that even pure water is basic compared to your hair. As a no poo-er, you want to keep your scalp's ph as close to 4 as possible, while at the same time it stays moisturized, shiny, strong, easy-to-untangle, supple, good volume, etc.

It's a balancing act. Each ingredient you use while trying to achieve your own unique hairy balance does at least one thing you like and, sometimes, has at least one effect on your hair you don't like. The ingredients interact with each other, too, not just with your scalp. For instance, acids like tea or lemon mixtures will speed up the release rate of dye in henna, or using vinegar after carelessly rinsing out baking soda can turn your head into a middle schooler’s volcanic science experiment.

Basic (aka alkaline) ingredients and mixtures are your cleansing shampoo, while acidic mixtures are your conditioner, bringing your hair back up to its normal acidity, making it shiny and untangle easily.

But what about frizzy-ness, dandruff, fluffy/limp, extra greasy or dry hair?

Well, that's when your other ingredients and how your basic ingredients and acidic ingredients interact matter.
Tea tree oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, coconut milk, castor oil, grapeseed oil, safflower oil, olive oil, vitamin e oil, avocado, shea, aloe, essential oils like rosemary, orange, nettle, lemongrass, peppermint, spearmint, cinnamon, or soaking your rinse in the actual herbs and then filtering them out before use. There's castile soap, homemade soaps, Dr. Bronner's soaps and shampoos, silicone- and paraben-free shampoos and conditioners.

And, of course, your hair is unique. Its natural: color, texture, length, thickness (fine to thick), moisture level, shape (straight to curly), and porosity will determine how it looks and feels in reaction to the ingredients you put on your head. People with fine, dark hair know that a little bit of oil on the scalp is very obvious, while curly blonds can still look good with greasy hair. Your quality of water -- hard, soft, filtered, distilled, rain, boiled, salt – will also have a big effect on how your hair reacts to the ingredients. Same with harsh commercial dyes, natural henna dyes, and level of heat you subject your hair to. Your health, diet, medication, stress level, and the weather also have an effect on your hair. Activities like swimming in a chlorinated pool, or spending the day with the sun beating down on your unprotected head might make your next wash, rinse, or soak need a little extra something to return to normal.

In order to have a naturally self-maintaining head of hair, no poo-ers must check each ingredient to see if it passes the no poo tests in the first paragraph, rather than just blindly following an interesting-looking recipe he or she found online. Instead of continually doing X, Y, and Z, even when your routine isn’t no longer working, no poo-ers must put mixtures on their scalp that actually have the potential to treat whatever problems your hair/scalp is exhibiting. Each wash, rinse, scrub, or soak should be a response to the ‘symptoms’ of your hair for that day and treatment for how you hope your hair will look tomorrow. For every ingredient or mixture and every interesting recipe they find online, ask yourself, “Will/Could this help my scalp naturally balance itself and make my hair look great?”

Conditioning, acidic ingredients are apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, lemon/lime/orange/apple/grapefruit juice and juice from other sour fruits, strong tea, amla berry paste, alpha-hydroxy rich fruits like tomato juice and applesauce, shikakai, beer, egg yolks, the juice of green vegetables, etc.
Apple cider vinegar is probably the first acid new no poo-ers try. Some people love what apple cider vinegar does to their hair so much that they would marry it if they could, while others run screaming from apple cider vinegar after a single use and still have nightmares about the mess it made of their hair. Others love apple cider vinegar, but can’t stand the smell. Apple cider vinegar is said to naturally have some oils in it, so might not be a good choice for those with naturally oily scalp. Heinz is an ACV brand to avoid. What I'm trying to say is, don't be afraid to experiment. If apple cider vinegar leaves your hair feeling grimy, try white vinegar, or lemon juice.

Basic (alkaline) ingredients are baking soda, honey, clay, yucca root paste, castile soap, Dr. Bronner's, corn starch, egg whites, tonic water, water with dissolved TUMs tablets, etc.


Acids can be put on the scalp and hair length, though people with fine/thin hair often say that acid on the roots of their hair makes it look greasy. Basic mixtures go on the scalp and never ever on the hair length.
Acids washes are usually diluted anywhere from 1:16 to 1:2 (1 tbsp vinegar & 1 cup water to 1/2 cup vinegar & 1 cup water) but are occasionally as strong as 1:1 (1 cup of each). Basic washes (when they involve baking soda) are usually not stronger than 1:16 and can be as diluted as 1:96 (1/2 teaspoon baking soda & 1 cup water). A good place to start your acid and basic experimenting is the standard 1:16. Decrease, or increase, your proportion of baking soda and vinegar from there until you find the minimum amount that gives you the desired results.

Base before acid. Always. Always. Always! Or acid after base. Whichever is easier for you to remember.

I really loved cactus_rs's advice: "Scrub harder and rinse longer. The reason shampoos and soaps are effective is because they make it easier for water to cut through dirt and rinse it away. That's what the lather is doing: water's job, just much more effectively. When you take out the foaming agents and lather, that means you have to work a bit harder at getting stuff out. "

Water-only washes are scrubbing your scalp with the pads of your fingers under scalding hot water to open and clean your pores and mechanically remove oil/grease and waxy sebum, then rinsing in frigid water to close your pores.

Conditioner only wash is where you wash your hair only with a conditioner (which can be all natural/eco-friendly, homemade, or regular store bought) because, believe it or not, most conditioners contain enough cleaning agents to do shampoo’s job. If you want to try this method, which is especially popular among the curly-haired girls, check the Ingredients section on bottles to be sure they don’t have parabens (a chemical preservative), silicone, or any Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate (harsh detergents which often causes skin irritation, responsible for the foaming suds found in most cleaners).
http://www.wikihow.com/Plop-Your-Hair

There are egg washes (usually egg yolk but sometimes whole egg) and beer washes. Some people swear that boar bristle brushes or wooden/horn combs will solve all your oil and wax/sebum problems by distributing oil from the scalp down the length of your hair. Raw, unpasteurized honey is a great moisturizing cleanser, while applesauce is a mild degreaser that doesn't strip your hair of its natural oils. Aloe vera is said to cure anything from itchy, flaky, dry, or frizzy hair/scalp.

Acidic egg yolks, which add moisture to hair, and basic egg whites, which gently remove excess oils, both leave hair shiny and the boost of protein gives it strength. Too much protein, or egg washing too often, can leave hair frizzy, stiff, and easily broken. Always rinse the egg out with cold water unless you want scrambled eggs in your hair.

Baking soda is a harsh and abrasive (think sandpaper) cleanser. It does make hair softer but that is because the baking soda is actually slowly destroying your hair’s keratin. The softness is a symptom of your hair disintegrating and falling apart. This damaging side effect is why you want to use the minimum amount of baking soda needed to get a slippery feeling on your hands and scalp. If you have distilled, bottled, rain, or boiled water, the basic mixture is a great place to use it. It is possible that adding between 1/8 to 1 teaspoon of salt per cup of water will help increase the effectiveness of the baking soda, making it possible to use less. Another baking soda minimizing technique is to apply your mixture to a dry scalp, because putting your mixture on a wet scalp means the water already on/in your hair will combine with the water mixture containing your baking soda to dilute it even more, which forces you to use more baking soda. Unless you truly have something nasty stuck in the lengths of your hair, apply baking soda only to your scalp, not your hair length.
http://empoweredsustenance.com/no-poo-method-damages-hair/

If your hair is a bit oily, but you want to delay washing, then use corn starch to soak up extra oil. Put a couple pinches on the palm and fingers of one hand, rub hands together until the white is distributed everywhere so that only an iridescent sheen remains on your hands, (perhaps clap your hands if too much corn starch was dusted on and you now have clump left on your hand), then rub the hands onto greasy areas of hair. Use a brush or comb to further spread the starch through your hair. If, when you are done, your hair is ashy or pale, wipe a dry terry cloth across the affected area until you are satisfied.
Nothing involved in this cornstarch process should be wet: hands, hair, brush, towel, the cornstarch itself. ALL dry. Don’t apply the cornstarch while wearing the outfit you plan to wear for the rest of that day; not because this technique is super messy. Never apply cornstarch directly to your scalp or it will appear that you suffer from the world’s worst case of dandruff. Some people recommend brushing the cornstarch through your hair while upside down by lying on a bed with your hair hanging off the side. (This technique requires you to afterwards brush your hair again while right-side up.)
For those of us with dark hair, mixing cornstarch with some cocoa powder, cinnamon, mineral makeup, colored sidewalk chalk, or oatmeal pulverized to powder in a clean coffee grinder makes cornstarch less obvious.


For VOLUME try
A rinse with flat beer.
Gently rubbing coconut oil through your hair and scalp the night before a morning shower.
Brushing cornstarch into your hair.
Using less honey, IF you have fine hair, since it can weight down the thin strands.

For DANDRUFF try
Washing in the order of acid, basic, acid. The first acid rinse on your scalp, with white vinegar being specifically recommended, loosens future dandruff so that your ordinary basic scrub removes more. The final acid wash, made up of whatever you ordinarily use, simply returns your ph back to normal.
Using henna.
Using more moisture-friendly ingredients, like aloe juice.
Applying diluted tea tree oil.
Using more acid and/or less baking soda.
Staying hydrated by drinking more water.
Putting cinnamon in your acid rinse. It can be ground cinnamon, a stick, or tea. The recipe for ground cinnamon is 1/2 teaspoon in 20 oz of acid rinse. Too much cinnamon can cause skin reactions, so experiment carefully and never before an important event.
Avoiding clay as a basic washes.

For DRY ENDS try
Dipping the ends in coconut oil a few hours before or the night before your morning shower.
Dipping the ends in argan oil a few hours before or the night before your morning shower.
Dipping the ends in jojoba oil -- which might be significantly more effective than coconut oil, so be careful -- a few hours before or the night before your morning shower.
Dipping the ends in (extra virgin) olive oil a few hours before or the night before your morning shower.

For SPLIT ENDS of hair try
Cutting current split ends off. Sorry, only glue will put the splits back together. (*Don’t glue your hair.) Until cut, they will only increase in size.
Dipping the ends in coconut oil a few hours before or the night before your morning shower.
Dipping the ends in jojoba oil to reduce likelihood of future split ends a few hours before or the night before your morning shower. (Jojoba oil might be significantly more effective than coconut oil, so be careful.)

For STATIC hair try
Using more moisturizers.
Using less coconut oil.
Using more mild cleaners, like applesauce or egg, so that your hair retains its natural oils.
Using combs made of wood or horn to distribute the oils in your scalp along the length of your hair.
Using a boar bristle brush to distribute the oils in your scalp along the length of your hair.
Using baking soda less often.
Using baking soda in a more dilute mixture.
Getting a haircut to remove split ends.
Use drying and damaging heating elements like blow dryers, flat irons, and curling irons less often.

For SHINE try
Using more concentrated acid.
Switching acids.
Leaving in your acid rinse, perhaps leave in a diluted version after rinsing out your regular acid rinse.
A rinse with flat beer.

For SOFT/STIFF hair try
A rinse with flat beer.
Gently rubbing coconut oil through your hair and scalp the night before a morning shower.
Using protein-rich washes less often.
Adding moisture to your hair.

For BREAKING hair try
Using protein-rich washes less often; twice a month, or once every two weeks.
Infusing strength into your hair with a protein-filled egg wash.
Making sure that you rinse thoroughly between your basic and acid washes.
Using baking soda less often.
Using baking soda in a more dilute mixture.
Adding moisture to your hair.

For STRINGY hair try
Using less conditioning ingredients.
Using less moisturizing ingredients.

For ITCHY hair try
Adding moisture to your scalp.
Increasing the acidity of your scalp.
Using baking soda less often.
Using baking soda or other basics in a more dilute mixture.
Making sure that you rinse thoroughly between your basic and acid washes.
Adding around 1 teaspoon of salt to your baking soda mixture to increase its effectiveness.
Changing from baking soda to another basic.
Using aloe juice to soothe and moisturize your skin.

For RED SCALP try
Changing from baking soda to another basic because some people are sensitive to baking soda.
Using baking soda less often because baking soda is very abrasive.
Using baking soda or other basics in a more dilute mixture.
Using aloe juice to soothe your skin.

For FRIZZY hair try
Using aloe juice.
Using protein-rich washes less often.
Changing acids.
Rinsing your acid off sooner.
Using a heavier cleaner like honey.

For WAXY hair try
Increasing the acidity of your scalp by applying more concentrated acid.
Increasing the acidity of your scalp by applying your regular acid mixture more often.
Changing acids.
Using combs made of wood or horn to distribute the oils in your scalp along the length of your hair.
Using a boar bristle brush to distribute the oils in your scalp along the length of your hair.
Using water only washes, properly performed, more often.
Leaving in your acid rinse, perhaps leave in a diluted version after rinsing out your regular acid rinse.
Rinsing your acid off your scalp after a longer soak.
Rinsing your acid off your scalp after a harder scrub.
Using water that is not hard in your basic and acid mixtures: distilled, filtered, bottled, rain, or salt water.
Installing a carbon, chlorine, or other kind of filter on your shower head to lessen the effects of hard water.
Washing after heavy/sweaty exercise.

For GREASY/OILY hair try
Changing acids.
Using combs made of wood or horn to distribute the oils at your roots along the length of your hair.
Using a boar bristle brush to distribute the oils at your roots along the length of your hair.
Using water only washes, properly performed, more often.
Keeping acid off your scalp as much as possible, IF you have thin/fine hair.
Using gentler cleansers that don’t strip the scalp of natural oils, reducing your scalp’s need to produce oil.
Washing after heavy/sweaty exercise.

For EASY TO UN/TANGLE hair try
Changing acids.
Using combs made of wood or horn to distribute the oils in your scalp along the length of your hair.
Using a boar bristle brush to distribute the oils in your scalp along the length of your hair.
Using gentler cleansers that don’t strip the scalp of natural oils.
Rinsing acid off your scalp after a longer soak.
Leaving in your acid rinse, perhaps leave in a diluted version after rinsing out your regular acid rinse.
Spraying an acid mixture in a spray bottle onto your hair.
Applying a paste of fenugreek seed powder on your hair and rinsing after 5 minutes.


Whether your scalp is oily/greasy, waxy with nasty grey/yellow sebum that leaves gunk on your brush, has static, is limp, fluffy, dull, frizzy, brittle, breaking too easily, dry, dandruff, itchy, has split ends, the tags on http://no-poo.livejournal.com/ can help you learn more about your hair type and how to make it look wonderful cheaply, naturally, and hopefully, easily.



All units are metric and liquid. Conversions according to http://www.onlineconversion.com/cooking.htm
cup
1 cup = 16 2/3 tablespoons (tbsp)
1 cup = 50 teaspoons (tsp)
1 cup = 8.45 US ounces (oz)
1 cup = 8.8 UK ounces (oz)
1 cup = 4869.22 drops
1 cup = 250 milliliters (ml)

US ounce (oz)
1 oz = 1/8 cup (0.1183)
1 oz = 1.97 tbsp
1 oz = 5.9 tsp
1 oz = 576 drops
1 oz = 29.57 ml

UK ounce (oz)
1 oz = 1/9 cup (0.1136)
1 oz = 1.9 tbsp
1 oz = 5.68 tsp
1 oz = 553.4 drops
1 oz = 28.41 ml

tablespoon (tbsp)
1 tbsp = 1/16 cup (0.06)
1 tbsp = 3 tsp
1 tbsp = 0.51 US oz
1 tbsp = 0.53 UK oz
1 tbsp = 292.15 drops
1 tbsp = 15 ml

teaspoon (tsp)
1 tsp = 1/50 cup (0.02)
1 tsp = 1/3 tbsp
1 tsp = 0.169 US oz
1 tsp = 0.176 UK oz
1 tsp = 97.4 drops
1 tsp = 5 ml


Fractions and their decimal conversions
1/16 = 0.0625
1/9 = 0.111
1/8 = 0.125 ___ 2/16
1/4 = 0.25 ____ 2/8 , 4/16 ,
1/3 = 0.333 ___ 3/9
3/8 = 0.375
1/2 = 0.5 _____ 8/16 , 4/8 , 2/4
5/8 = 0.625
2/3 =0.6666 ___ 6/9
3/4 = 0.75 ____ 12/16 , 6/8 ,
7/8 = 0.875



Next edition:
How to apply regular and essential oils
How to treat dry ends
What is and how to fight Hard Water
Value of henna use for no poo-ers
When to use Glycerine
Tips for shortening the transition period
Why 15 minutes soaks are so important

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Thank you so much for putting this all in one place, perfect "cheat sheet"

(Deleted comment)
YOU'RE WELCOME! :) :) :)

I really wanted to make my collection of notes available for everyone.

I started my 3rd edition a few days ago and I have already almost doubled the word count: new Cures, a recipes section, alternative rinse/washes, info about making your own acids from kitchen leftovers, how to choose/store/use essential oils, how to deep condition effectively...

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