It was September 2010 and I was about to run out of shampoo. Ok, so that sounds a bit dramatic. Just go to the store and buy some more you say. Read here about my battle with eczema. Before leaving home I had been using a local product that was all natural and I loved it, but it wasn't available in my new home town so my mum had been posting me bottles for a while. Since moving to New Caledonia I had constantly been on the lookout for a natural shampoo and conditioner but had found nothing with an ingredient list that I trusted enough to try and I didn't want my mum to have to be constantly sending it over from Oz. So I decided to go no-poo.
I got myself two plastic bottles, a container of bicarb soda and a bottle of apple cider vinegar. And I jumped straight into it.
The How To:
First bottle- 1 tablespoon of Bicarb in a cup of water - this is your "shampoo"
Second bottle- 2 tablespoons of the vinegar in a cup of water - this is your "conditioner"
*note: I read a lot that people use warm water, this obviously helps the bicarb to dissolve easier. However I do not have hot running water so I just give it a good shake and it dissolves just fine.
This picture is from a blog called Momma Muse where she has an interesting addition and some great question/answers in the comments. Site linked by picture.
Jump into the shower and saturate your hair. With the first bottle, pour the mix over your hair focussing on your scalp (I use a sauce bottle that has a pointed tip so it's easier to get the mixture through my thick hair and onto my scalp). Give your scalp a good massage as you normally would with shampoo. This breaks up oil and dirt and cleans the scalp. Give it a really good rinse. Then pour over the second mix. I'm sure I read somewhere that this helps to restore the ph balance, but don't quote me on that, it's been a while since I did my research. Leave it for as long as you wish then give it a really really really good rinse. You want to do a good job of the last rinse because if you don't it can stay smelling a little vinegary.
As you are allowing you hair to return to more of it's natural state rather than lathering it with chemicals all the time, there can be some time of adjustment. Most people report some amount of excess oil production, this is due to the fact that using regular shampoo overly strips our hair and scalp of it's natural oils, resulting in our scalps producing even more to try to compensate. Then when you let your hair go natural there is a period where your scalp continues to make too much oil because it hasn't yet realized that it's not being stripped and doesn't need to make as much.
I personally didn't have any adjustment period. Maybe due to the fact I was already using a natural shampoo. I found after a few weeks I didn't need to wash my hair as often. I found it was a lot softer and easier to look after. I also found that the curl was nicer and I didn't need to use anywhere near as much product. I was amazed and in love. I had never particularly liked my hair and now it was growing on me!
I continued for well over a year and washed my hair only when it felt it needed it otherwise I just wet it to refresh it. I'm sure I went over 2 weeks sometimes without washing, to which my brother declared, after years of telling me anyways, "you really are a hippy".
In February of this year I went to Australia to visit my family and while shopping with my mum came across a new product. I had been using this oil (below) for a while and loved it, now they had shampoo and conditioner. It had to be good right? So I gave it a go.
It was great! My hair was so soft and silky smooth. Then after a few washes I realized that my hair was... too soft, it was all fly away and it was loosing it's curl. The curl I had fought for so many years and finally begun to love, was hardly there any more. I stopped straight away and went back to no poo, where I found my hair felt waxy! Don't forget, I only have cold water where I live, I think it would possibly be a bit better if I had hot water to rinse and help get rid of this feeling. And a few weeks later I am still waiting for my hair to return to it's no poo state. It's slowly getting there, but it's too slow!
My conclusion- No more shampoo for me. I found something great in no poo. My hands/eczema is better, my hair 'was' so much better and I will not risk that again! Bring on the odd looks I get from hair dressers when I tell them I can't use regular shampoo due to the harmful chemicals and what it does to my hands and that instead I use bicarb and vinegar.