the no 'poo method

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

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My understanding so far
gatorgirl7563 wrote in no_poo
I'm new at this, but I've been reading, researching, and collecting data like crazy. I want to know if my understanding (gained mostly from reading the advice and opinions of the people here) is right. It's kind of in expository essay form, sorry. I've been writing too many school papers lately and can't help it.

BS baking soda
ACV apple cider vinegar
WV white vinegar
WO water only wash
BBB boar bristle brush
TTO tea tree oil
CO conditioner only

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 - a healthy, natural, great-looking hair and scalp.

The natural ph of your hair is 4. ( Substances with a ph less than 7 are said to be acidic and substances/mixtures with a ph greater than 7 are 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 to accomplish this balancing act does at least one thing you like and often has at least one effect on your hair you don't like. Oh, the ingredients can interact with each other.

Basic (aka alkaline) ingredients and mixtures are your cleansing shampoo, while acidic mixtures are your conditioner, bringing your hair back up to it's 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, moisture level, shape, and porosity will determine how it looks and feels in reaction to the ingredients you put on your head. Your quality of water (hard water, soft, filtered, salt water) also have a big effect on how your hair reacts to the ingredients. (i.e. Dr. Bronner's and hard water do not mix!)

Acidic ingredients are white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, lemon/lime/orange juice, strong tea, tomato sauce, applesauce, beer, etc. Some people love what ACV does to their hair so much that they would marry it if they could, while others run screaming from ACV after a single use and still have nightmares about it. What I'm trying to say is, don't be afraid to experiment. If ACV leaves your hair feeling grimy, try WV or lemon juice.

Basic (alkaline) ingredients are baking soda, honey, clay, corn starch, egg whites, etc.

Acids should be put on the hair length, and mostly not the scalp (there's some debate over this). Bases go on the scalp and never ever on the hair length (it does make the hair softer but that is because it is actually slowly destroying it; at least that is what baking soda does. softer = falling apart).

Vinegar 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 1:8 (1 tbsp bs & 1/2 cup water) and can be as diluted as 1:96 (1/2 tesp bs & 1 cup water). A good place to start 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.

Water-only washes are scrubbing your scalp with the pads of your fingers under scalding hot water to open and clean your pores, then rinse 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.)

There are egg washes (usually egg yolk but sometimes whole egg) and beer washes. Some people swear that BBBs or wooden combs will solve all your oil and wax/sebum problems. 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.

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. "

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 can help you learn more about your hair type and how to make it look wonderful cheaply, naturally, and hopefully, easily.

I have more but it's not in essay form (still copied and pasted snippets from internet or an incomplete thought format).

If you know of another basic to add or an abbreviated acronym, feel free to tell me. Do you agree or disagree with anything?

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OCM is the oil cleansing method (for your face)

you can go acid>base>acid (that's a recommended solution for dandruff. put undiluted white vinegar on your scalp to help loosen the dandruff before scrubbing with your baking soda etc.)

the "never put acid on your scalp" thing is for people with fine hair. folks with fine hair from early on in the community had noticed that their hair was constantly greasy, and as soon as they kept their acid rinse off of their scalp, they noticed less greasiness. (this is because their cuticle was still open up by their scalp, so the grease would then be absorbed into the hair instead of sitting on top. most people do just fine putting the acid rinse on their scalp. and it's better for the scalp and hair because your scalp wants to be acidic. leaving the rinse off means it will take a lot of effort and grease production to bring the pH back to where it wants to be, and if you're not overproducing grease in the first place, you don't want to encourage it.)

and to mix this theory up, from time to time, i use shikakai as my washing medium, and that's acidic. :-)
i just did some googling, so i might try this method of using shikakai and a dash of BS because i do get the buildup this person mentions.

i did damage my hair early on, but i was using 4 cups of the BS mixture. oops! that's when we (as a community) discovered that longer hair doesn't need comparatively more baking soda. (my hair didn't get softer though, it was crispy. i was overstripping the oils. when i learned that the length needs oils, and stopped BSing the length each tie i showered, my hair became much happier. the color didn't come back though. that was interesting, but made complete sense. when it'd get limp and coated, i would clarify the length by brushing the 1:16 or 1:32 BS through maybe once every other month or so. that didn't seem to damage it. as long as i rinsed it out as soon as i was done brushing.)

for conditioners, we make sure to avoid any silicones.

as for people running away from ACV, that's usually when they've used mainstream fake ACV. (heinz) ;-) i did that once, it was horrible. the real stuff looks and smells nothing like the fake stuff.

I used Braggs ACV and I looked like a greasy fucking mess. Even when significantly diluted and only on the ends. Honestly, I don't think acid/conditioning rinses are totally necessary for everyone, especially people with superfine hair.

aah! ok, i assumed it was referring to people running from the smell. yes, ACV does naturally have some oils in it.

have you tried lemon or pure citric acid crystals in water as a rinse?

but if you're fine letting your natural sebum balance your pH, that's cool too. especially with superfine hair and a greasy scalp. it's your hair, you know it best. for most people, their sebum production wanes when it is allowed to sit on the scalp for a few weeks, but i have no experience with fine hair, so i defer to you.

I tried tea and lemon juice to similar effects. My hair seems to do its best when I just wash with BS and let everything else do its own thing.

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