No ‘Poo: Update Photos and FAQ

Well, it has been about nine months now since I officially stopped using shampoo and conditioner on my hair, replacing with baking soda and apple cider vinegar.  (Go here and here for all the juicy details on that.)  I know…you want to see proof.  How about some No ‘Poo photos?

When I started “No ‘Poo” I thought maybe I would be giving up styling my hair.  I was just planning to go completely natural with my curl (which I still do sometimes).  To be honest, it is because was scared it wouldn’t work if I tried to straighten or style it any other way.  Of course, within a month or two, I got bored of that and started pulling out my other styling tools.  Turns out, my hair is just like it always was, only better.  I can go up to four days between washes!  This has turned out to be so awesome as a busy mom.  I really like to have my hair styled every day without the whole ordeal of washing and starting over every single time.  Now getting up to do my hair and make-up every morning is actually fun.

Is it greasy and matted? Is it flat and boring?  Is it dreads?  Just to prove it to you that No ‘Poo doesn’t mean giving up your vanity, here’s a little sampling of my hair over the last four days.  To keep it real, I even give you shots of my roots!  My sister gave me an awesome cut with tons of layers that is perfect for experimenting with.  There is no product on my hair except for hair spray.  It’s textured with a 1 1/2 inch barrel curling iron.

I went photo-crazy this week to give your some detail pictures of my No ‘Poo hair!

No Poo Update

No Poo Hair Down and Curle Day 1d

Day 1: Curled and down for church.

No Poo Hair Sides Back Day 2

Day 2: Sides back with leather headband.  Love these leather headbands.  Jazzes up any ol’ hair do!

No Poo Hair Updo Day 3

Day 3: Low chignon.  I have a saying.  It goes like this:  “You can never go wrong with a  low chignon.”  Yes, it rhymes.  My sis and I “made up” this hair do in high school.  It’s called the “hair ball.”  Ha ha!  All you gotta do is make sure you have a nice crown poof, and then ball up that hair with an elastic band at the bottom of the neck.  Shove some bobby pins in if you’re feeling OCD about strand placement.  Works in a pinch for pretty much any occasion.  I had actually worked out the day I took this pic.  My hair had no problem.

No Poo Hair Side Twist Day 4Day 4:  You can see in these photos that my hair is definitely losing it’s mo-jo, but it still works.  It’s a little flat, but no one else can really tell that but me.  I like to twist the bangs back since those tend to be a little funky on day 4.  Other than that, I wore this hair to the grocery store and around the house to cook.  Works for a SAHM!

Now how about some FAQ?  Following this post, I got dozens of Facebook messages and comments with questions about No ‘Poo.  Some people had very quick, positive results like I did.  Others…not so much.

No ‘Poo FAQ:

1.) “I like to exercise a three to four times a week.  I heard you shouldn’t use baking soda more than a couple times a week.  How does that work with No ‘Poo?”

The first answer  is that you should be able to simply rinse with water and massage your scalp after exercise.  For most people, sweat should not require a full re-wash.  I currently don’t have a “sweaty” exercise routine.  I walk for cardio and do pilates and yoga workout a couple times a week.   When Libby gets old enough to go to the children’s area at my gym, I will go back to cycling class.  Then rinsing with water and massaging the scalp is what I plan to do.  Second, your hair and scalp type might actually tolerate baking soda up to three times per week.  You will have to experiment to find out.  Therefore, if you exercise three times per week, you may not have any problem with washing after each work-out session.  Third, if exercise is truly wreaking havoc with your scalp and hair, you might find that No ‘Poo simply is not the right path for you.  That is fine!  You might consider just using an organic, sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner.  This coming spring and summer, exercise will be a huge priority until I lose my baby weight.  In that instance, if my scalp is not responding well to sweat and no ‘poo, I’ll happily switch back to shampoo for a time.

2.) “I tried no ‘poo on my hair for three days, and I hate it!  It looks like someone oiled up my roots at Jiffy Lube.  The ends of my hair feel like a scarecrow.  I am so depressed and stressed out.  I’ll never win at life.”

Do not quit no ‘poo after three days and deem yourself a failure.  Your hair is supposed to be failing miserably after three days.   You will have a gross, oily scalp for up to one month.  If it were me, I would opt to wait for winter where I could wear a cute hat every day for a month.  You absolutely have to give it time (fortunately it’s weeks, not months!).  If you have curly or wavy hair, now is the time to rock it.   Those textures camouflage oil production very well.  I also recommend waiting until you don’t’ have any big events coming up where you want your hair to be perfect:  family photos, ten year class reunions, best friend’s weddings, spouse’s company Christmas parties.  You know.

Your scalp is used to producing lots of sebum to make up for being stripped with chemicals five to seven days a week.  It won’t know what to do at first, but it will slow down in a few weeks.  Although not shampooing your hair will significantly slow down your rate of sebum (oil) production, please note that your hair will still produce it, but at a slower rate than ever before.  This “normalized” rate still varies from person to person.

If you are brave enough to give No ‘Poo the old college try, I applaud you.  But by the same token, if your hair just is not cooperating after about one month or so, feel free to go back to a sulfate-free shampoo.  Not everyone’s hair is the same.  Going No ‘Poo is supposed to make your life easier, not more stressful, so if you’re not feeling amazing after several weeks, forgeddaboudit!

3.) “Why don’t you shampoo your hair?  What is all this No ‘Poo talk I see on Facebook?  I thought you were talking about poop!”

Nope.  You can read more about that here and here.  No ‘Poo simply means that you are no longer using commercial products to cleanse your hair.  There are several methods, but the most popular one is cleansing with baking soda and rinsing with apple cider vinegar.  No ‘Poo is increasing in popularity as awareness is being raised about carcinogenic chemicals in shampoo and conditioner.  People that want to avoid these chemicals are looking for a more affordable option than the expensive organic shampoos (which often still contain chemicals).

4.) “How many times a week should I No ‘Poo?”

There is no right answer to that.

Really, this will be unique to each person.  You will have to assess this yourself because you have your own hair texture and scalp type.  Some people must wash more than others.  My scalp is on the dry end of the spectrum.   The signs that I need to wash are: my bangs (the section of my hair I mess with the most) won’t cooperate or I start to get little white flakes in the front.   Obviously, the cardinal sign that my hair is just way overdue is a junior high-style oily scalp, as you would expect.  (Which when you have a reputation of being the girl who does not shampoo her hair, you really try not to let it go that far. In public, anyways.)  The number of times I No ‘Poo every week depends on a number of factors:  what I have going that week; whether or not I put any hair spray/product in the ends; whether or not it is cooperating with me when I try to style it;  and whether or not I’m noticing flakes.  I take it one day at a time.  Typically, I wash two times a week on Sundays and Thursdays.  (I always like to have my hair freshly washed when I’m going out, so it worked perfect:  Sunday is church and Thursday is my “Errand Day” when I schedule all my appointments and run my errands around town.)

5.) “Do you use any products to style your hair?”

Yes.  Hair spray is a must for me.  If I use a lot it does weigh my ends down a little, but it washes out with no problem.  Because I like to stretch out the times between washes, I use it sparingly only when I need it.  Whether or not I use it depends on how I style my hair!  Normally, I try to save hairspray styles for days closer to when I’m going to wash.

I used to use tons of products in my hair, but I found out that they really don’t do much for me.  Having a great cut with the right layers and textures for my hair type eliminates the need for other products.  In my opinion, a lot of hair product is only necessary if you are trying to pull off a style that is not compatible with your natural hair type or texture.

6.)  “This  is very interesting.  I want to try this.  How can I go No ‘Poo with my hair?”

Check that out here!

7.) “I went No ‘Poo recently.  One time when my hair got wet, I could smell apple cider vinegar!  I’m so grossed out!  What do I do?”

If you are smelling apple cider vinegar on your hair, don’t worry about it.  This is likely only to happen if your hair has been rinsed with ACV very recently and then gets wet again soon after.  You might be able to smell it, but others likely won’t.  When your hair is dry, you will definitely not be able to smell anything.  Plus, I can think of a lot worse smells than apple cider vinegar!  Like Taco Bell ground beef.

My best advice is not to use too much ACV.  Make sure are using the correct amount.  Then rinse it very thoroughly!  Cold water is best!  You can also try adding a few drops of essential oil to your rinse (I love peppermint!).  If you have fine hair, you may need to use less ACV altogether.  For shorter or finer hair, use one tablespoon in a cup of water.  If you have longer or thicker hair, you can use more like two tablespoons.

The vinegar whiff phenomenon happened to me once when my stylist wet down my freshly ACV-rinsed hair to give me a trim.  I got wind of some as she was combing me out.   (That’s because of course, I always have to wash and style my hair right before I see my stylist!  Duh!)  Horrified, I asked her if she could smell it and to my surprise, she said could not.

8.) Is baking soda and apple cider vinegar safe for colored hair?

This is a great question that I don’t have the knowledge or expertise to answer.  Before going No ‘Poo, I got my hair colored every eight weeks.  I colored my hair every shade imaginable for about 15 years!   A little over a year ago I decided it was time to stop the madness and embrace my real color!  (Which I do love now).  I had my stylist apply a color that matched my natural shade and let it go.  I just couldn’t justify the chemical overload or the $120 every eight weeks. That is why I have a hard time speaking to the affects of No ‘Poo on colored hair.  I personally did not notice a drastic change in the remaining colored portion of my hair.  However, my sister (the hair stylist), who colors her hair often said she felt as if No ‘Poo removed some of the luster from her fresh color (she uses shampoo now).

When I looked further into the subject, I found more conflicting reports.  Some reported that baking soda (an alkaline) stripped the color from their hair.  If hair color is a must for you, some recommend using baking soda no more than once a week.  On the flip side, some reported that since you have to wash the hair much less often, it actually allows your hair to retain the color. Sulfates strip color (probably just as bad or worse than baking soda), so you could end up making an even trade.

So there you have the pros and cons of hair color and No ‘Poo.  You’ll have to try it to find out!

Do any hair color aficionados use No ‘Poo?  What have been your results?


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  • Priscilla

    This is great! Thanks so much. Blessings!

  • MerriMari

    For those going through “No Poo” detox, where the hair is still producing too many oils, I found that adding the method of distributing the oils with a towel after rinsing with water was a very helpful addition to the routine. You just rinse your hair with water, massaging your scalp, and then rub with a dry towel in a downward motion, from scalp to tips, 50 times per side. Now that I haven’t used shampoo in more than two weeks, I find I don’t need the rub down anymore.

  • BunsMom

    Super glad I found this blog.
    I have only been doing this for a week (a week tomorrow I will be off “real” shampoo) the 2nd day after trying the baking soda/ACV my hair was as if I dipped my head in baby oil…okay not THAT bad, but super oily. Let me give you a tad bit of back story here: I am a hair coloring “addict” and have previously spent up to 1 hour each and every morning for as long as I can remember doing my hair, blow drying and straightening… my hair is fried and I just want hair I can wash and air dry and not look like Medusa!
    After day two of supreme oilyness, I decided to wash again with the baking soda, but I upped the “dose” I used 3 tablespoons of BS and 3 tablespoons of ACV. Let the BS sit on my head for a minute or two and same with ACV..VOILA! Problemo solved. This was Monday and I’m going on Friday with no oily disaster to speak of. Last night I did rinse my hair with warm water and scrub my scalp a little, worked great. As I mentioned My hair is fried from over highlighting a few months ago so I do add some argon oil to the ends and the especially fried area. Guess what? After only one week I have hair I can wash and let air dry and not look like Medusa.
    I did dye my highlights a dark brown about 3 weeks ago and I can tell you the baking soda did lighten the color a bit, but I intend to stop coloring altogether, so I don’t really care at this point, the color looks fine.

    • frugalfaye

      Thank you so much for this feed back! This is really valuable information for readers! I’ll be able to refer people to this comment when they ask questions! Thanks again.

  • Katie

    I’m so glad Eco Chic recommended your blog. I want to start “no poo” tomorrow but I also wanted to see how much of the ACV and baking soda to buy. I plan on sticking with it because I am a new SAHM and can’t justify the $ for my shampoo anymore. We have very similar hair stories so I figure I gotta do it!

  • Bailey

    I really think we are soul sisters! Love love the blog!! What kind of hairspray do you use??

  • Squirrel

    I can’t speak to salon-colour, but I’ve found that henna (with pure henna, not “henna dyes”) actually sparkles after a vinegar rinse. Granted, I do a vinegar (white, not ACV) soak once every two weeks because I get sebum/dandruff buildup (1 cup white vinegar in about 2 cups water), but after that rinse the copper just pops right back into my hair… even though I hennaed it almost 2 months ago! You can even soak your combs and brushes that have developed a gross grey sebum buildup in the same mixture to clean them!

    • frugalfaye

      Thank you for mentioning this because I just went to clean my brushes this weekend and was wondering the best way to do that!

  • SM

    I used the baking soda method when I first decided to go “no poo”. It felt awesome but after time made my hair feel like straw so I switched to a chamomile-based homemade shampoo and rinsed with an equal portion of white vinegar and water. I’ve been sticking with that and my hair has never felt healthier, stronger and frizz free. I have naturally curly hair too that I’d use a million products just to tame the frizz. It’s been over a year “no poo” and there’s no looking back.

    • fromfaye

      That is great! Can you share your recipe?

  • Emily

    Can you No-Poo and still use products like heat protectant spray? I have stick straight hair that I love to curl but am looking to try this shampoo free method

    • fromfaye

      Good question! I really minimized my use of product when I was going “no ‘poo” because I wanted to stretch my washes out for a few days. Baking soda can be hard on your hair if you use it more than a few times a week. I was always able to wash out any product I used on my hair. I really tried to stick to natural prodcuts though. The heat protectant I use is Moroccan Oil. Expensive, but lasts forever! Highly recommend.

      Now for me, if I straighten my hair with a flat iron and moroccan oil (or other product like a heat protectant), then I will need to wash within 1-2 days. My hair gets greasy when I try to straighten it. But if I let my hair go curly/wavy with some gel and pomade, I can go four days between washes. So it really depends on how your hair and scalp respond to products and styling! Hope this helps!

  • Nette

    A little late to the party perhaps… just a few weeks into no poo and loving it. Question though… how do you handle going for a haircut? Do you ‘fess up and ask them not to shampoo?

    • Linda

      Easy. Just let them know you just washed it and ask them to spray water on it to cut or trim. I do that all the time :-)

    • fromfaye

      Yep! I would just tell them I had already been washed and ask to have them wet my hair. Eventually I told my stylist what I was doing and that they might notice a difference in my scalp. Mine was very gracious about it!