the no 'poo method

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Stiff hair?
Kristin Tara Horowitz wrote in no_poo

Hi guys,

I have been successfully "no poo" for about six months now, but I am having trouble striking a balance. My hair LOOKS fine, but it feels stiff and simply less soft than I like/am used to. I keep trying to say, "Well, that's how it is with this, it's natural" but I got my hair cut today and the stylist asked what product I had in, and I was finally able to put a term to how it feels: dried gel that's been brushed out after. I don't love the feeling.

My hair is shoulder length and normally soft, shiny, pretty much the kind of "perfect" hair type and thickness so I have no special needs. I was baking soda-washing it but it got a lot of build up so I have switched to just using Dr. Bronner's shampoo and rinsing with diluted ACV (1 TB per cup). I tried black tea but it made it more stiff. 

I think it's the rinse, honestly. If I use ACV too much, it will get greasy on the ends, so I try to go a few rinsings with either shampoo or nothing, but I'm sort of getting tired of the high maintenance of keeping my hair looking good. Help me stay on the wagon, please!

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For stiff-feeling hair, I would blame too much baking soda, Doctor Bronner's product, your water quality, or a combination of these.

Have you tried diluted lemon juice instead of ACV for your "conditioner"? Or how about tea with fresh lemon juice? I have been using earl grey with lemon for a while, and never been happier. (Earl grey has lavender, which is very good for hair in general.)

Please keep in mind that you do need some kind of acidic rinse after baking soda. It is also good for clarifying after shampoo. The point is that washing (especially with baking soda) alkalizes your hair, lifting the "scales" along each strand, creating a rough sensation and frizzy appearance. Following with an acidic mixture (after rinsing, of course) lays the scales down again.

If your hair feels like it is full of build-up, I suspect your water--but it could be a number of things. Remember to examine your diet and your air quality, too.

Hi Kristin,

I'd agree with Corval below that it could be a number of things (annoying answer I know). I've been no poo for a couple of years and have been tweaking my personal hair-care formula (just baking soda, lemon juice and ACV up until recently) to see what works best for my hair. In my case I was using too much baking soda for a long time.

Stay on the wagon and keep experimenting with quantities and maybe some other ingredients! I'm trying beer soon (on my hair...) as a rinse.

If you'd like to find out how it goes then feel free to sign up for my once weekly newsletter.

How have you found the Dr. Bronners shampoo in general?

A lot of home-made recipes recommend including it so I'll be dedicating one of my weekly experiments to it soon but it would be great to hear from someone who's already using it!

Best of luck and I hope you keep at it!


The stiffness that you are referring to is actually wax. Switch back to BS, mix it with hot water and scrub well. Use as little BS as you can get away with in terms of visible oiliness/greasiness. The BS will not rid you of wax. Then, instead of ACV, switch to WV (start with 50/50 and raise or lower it according to your results) or citric acid (a fav of mine). The ACV is too heavy for you (it is for most people), but you still need to use an acid rinse to get rid of the wax. The black tea is even less acidic than ACV, which is why comparatively you thought your hair was more stiff.

I ditched ACV for white vinegar (50-50) and then a green tea rinse with some honey (melts right into the steeped tea), aloe vera gel (same), and essential oils (I use tea tree, rosemary, and lavendar because I've had an itchy scalp all my life). For the BS I mix 2-and-a-bit tbs with 2 cups of water and then I only use as much of the mixture as fits in a hair dye applicator (what I use to get everything down to my scalp easily)--but I think that would be too much BS for you, since I have thick hair and when I used less my hair didn't end up as clean.

I know I don't have any troubles with my water, though (yet--moving into a city soon! :X), so if it's that I don't know what to suggest. But I do know that switching away from ACV, to WV and then the tea rinse (which doesn't do enough on its own, but is wonderful as sort of an after-conditioning and for smell), made my hair softer. Now people pet my head.

Hi guys,

I wanted to give it a few days before I replied to see how things went - awesome! Corval was totally right. I diluted the Bronners to 1 TB to 1 cup of water and did my ACV rinse (and I only use a bit of that) and my hair is looking and feeling fantastic! Thank you!

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