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No Poo?

"Have you seen this no poo thing?"

Uhhhmmmmm......WHAT?!  That, my friend, is a somewhat surprising first line to a Facebook message from a client!

The rest of the message goes on to say she'd recently been reading and hearing about the 'no poo' method of hair care.  If you still haven't figured it out - it's 'poo as in 'shampoo'.  No longer using the bubbly in the shower.....  

Now some people probably just gagged a little at the thought of not washing their hair - most of them are probably daily-washers - but let's stop for a minute and think about this.  When did it become normal to wash our hair every day? Or even every other day, for that fact?! 

Well, you can retract that gagging right now, because it's only been in the last 60 years or so  that we, as a culture, have become obsessed with suds-ing up our coifs.  Think about it - ladies used to get their hair done in the salon once a week by their stylist, go home and come back a week later to have it washed and done again.  What do you think they did during that week?  They certainly weren't washing it!  

In school for hairdressing, most students are taught to wash twice and condition once for clients.  But we've moved away from that now.  Clients are, indeed, washing their hair on their own between visits to the salon! *Collective Gasp!*  We don't need to wash and scrub away a week's worth of styling products and sweat etc; bringing me to the part of today's blog where we discuss WHY use No Poo and let you know what I think it.


Why Your Hair Gets Dirty In The First Place: Supply and Demand

Aside from actual dirt and dust and such, your scalp wants to make oil. And no matter how much you wash, it's not going to stop.  In fact, quite the opposite is true. The skin has sebaceous glands that produce sebum (oil) that coats the surface of the scalp, creating a thin film we call the acid mantle - this acts like  a protective barrier for your skin and this makes our skin happy.

As we brush and run our hands through our hair, as well as naturally through the force of gravity, this oil travels along the hair strand.  As it spreads and builds up, our hair feels heavy, clumps up and feels greasy; this makes us unhappy.

We wash our hair.  

And the oils go down the drain too.

Therefore, our sebaceous glands get to work and start making MORE oil as it has all been stripped away.  You wash your hair as it's feeling greasy.  Your glands work harder to make more oil.  

Getting the picture?


The No Poo Method

There's a few ideas about how to do the No Poo Method (NPM? lol) but the gist is this: You don't use shampoo again.  You rinse as you like and scrub your scalp during showers (well, you should be doing that, at least).  Once a week you use baking soda to do a deep clean. (I'm presuming that you could at least condition after this, though I haven't read that anywhere yet).

So.....not washing your hair for a week and just scrubbing?  Ain't got no problem with that even one bit!  I've done it myself for certain! The production of oils will gradually reduce as you wash less and less.

Once a week using baking soda to deep clean........yeah...definitely not too good with that.  See the thing is this, your hair and skin have a pH of 4.5-6.2 (even if you don't know the pH scale, stick with me, you'll still get the point) Baking soda has a pH of about 8.  Okay, so what does this mean?

The pH of baking soda is so much higher than the pH of our skin and hair that it will be very drying and suck all moisture and oils away, really just kinda stripping it.  It's high enough on the pH scale to swell the cuticle layer (the outside, shingle-like, protective barrier for your hair) which can weaken and damage hair.  And it can remove colour from the hair (including artificial colour, whether from the salon or the box).

So, pretty much you now have to do so much repair to your hair, you have to wonder if it was worth it *Side rant: This principle applies to those who love to put oils in your hair (avocado, coconut - doesn't matter) it may be "so moisturizing" to your hair, but how many times are you washing it to get it all out?? Think about that for a moment..... 

So, I could totally get on board with this concept,  if you just switch it up from baking soda to a good quality, deep-cleansing shampoo.  One to try is Joico's K-pak Clarifying Shampoo. It does a deep clean, so you wouldn't want to use this type of shampoo all the time or within a week of colouring your hair.


More Reason To Use The NPM (lol - like that?)

There's  a few other reasons people are choosing No Poo. One is because of ingredients in some shampoos that build up, or coat the hair, like silicones.  Most of the time, this is a problem with lower-end, drug-store shampoos.  I may be die-hard Joico but ANY salon-brand is going to be better in my books (and this means ACTUAL salon-brands, not "just like from the salon" brands)  This is not to say that all drug-store shampoos are filled with silicones and the likes, but they are more likely.

The last reason I found for people using the No Poo Method is environmental - washing the chemicals down the drain and throwing away packaging.  For this I have two answers:

Joico Structure Cleanse Shampoo and Conditioner : a new line from Joico for those that like "natural" shampoos.  Free from sulfates, parabens, silicones, glycols, animal derived ingredients, gluten, DEA & MEA, artificial colours and dyes and is 100% vegan.  It also doesn't dry hair out like most health food store brands I've seen and it lathers!!!! A HUGE deal for me, personally, hair doesn't feel like it's cleaned unless there's bubbles!

As for packaging Joico is in a league of their own (this is a quote right from their site here):

"Here at Joico, we are at the forefront of materials production. In 2011, we will launched new packaging created from a hybrid bioplastic resin, making us one of the first beauty companies to use this new and innovative material. The new packaging is a composite of post-consumer recycled plastic and thermoplastic starch derived from plants, which unlike other bioplastics, will not contaminate recycling streams. As a result, Joico is reducing its packaging-related greenhouse gas emissions by more than 75 percent. This initiative is just one of many at Joico. We also manufacture bottles with up to 70% post-consumer recycled plastic and cartons that use 100% recycled paperboard. We print information on the inside of our cartons to eliminate paper inserts. And we’re committed to finding new ways to shine bright, clean and beautiful…now and for generations to come."

How cool is that???

In conclusion:  it's not a bad thing at all to cut back on washing your hair (especially if you find it's dry but also if it just gets super greasy after one day!) the more important thing to think about is what you do use when you do in fact, wash your hair.  Look up pH balances of things you hear are good to put in your hair and think about what it's going to take to get it OUT again. Make sure to rinse your hair (using warm, not hot water will help prevent dryness) and scrub your scalp once in a while, even if you never use shampoo - just to get dry/dead skin off the scalp.  

Do what works for you but remember - the rest of us have to look at you and smell you, so be hygienic!!!! LOL

Do you have a No Poo method that's different?  Do you have a story to share about not washing your hair, or even washing it too much?  Did you find another way to solve the dilemma of overly dry or overly greasy hair?  Share with me below!


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