"No Poo" brings a lot of things to mind, none of them very pretty. But a growing number of women swear that the No Poo method of hair care yields beautiful results.
No Poo, taken literally, refers to the practice of eschewing commercial shampoo in search of healthy, hydrated hair. And while advocates swear that skipping shampoo leaves locks looking better, there are also a host of health reasons that the No Poo set names as advantages in skipping shampoo. Namely kicking chemicals, such as sodium lauryl, sodium laureth sulfate, parabens and 1,4-dioxanes out of their beauty routines.
And while the strictest NP advocates skip shampoo altogether, there are variations on the shampoo-free theme. Some do wash their locks but opt for diluted vinegar, baking soda or even coconut oil to clean hair. And, of course, companies have begun cashing in on the No Poo trend by offering shampoo-less "cleansers" for hair.
Many in the NP community swear by using BS/ACV to cleanse hair, an abbreviation for Baking Soda and Apple Cider Vinegar. But Baking Soda can be very hard on hair, disrupting its PH balance and stripping locks of needed moisture while apple cider may be equally harsh, lending a brassy hue to otherwise healthy hair.
Another option is a DIY honey shampoo. One natural beauty and health blog I love, empoweredsustenance.com, suggests using a basic recipe of 1 tablespoon raw honey and 3 tablespoons of filtered water massaged into the hair and scalp to clean locks naturally.
Those interested in embracing No Poo but who wish to do so in less of a homegrown way can opt for one of the bottled No Poo offerings. Celebrity stylist Chaz Dean's was amongst the first to commercialize No Poo with his Wen line, a collection of hair products that are free of harsh chemicals and detergents. (You may have seen Dean's uber-convincing infomercials starring Alyssa Milano. Very dangerous after-midnight TV viewing for those of us with credit cards and beauty addictions.) Another popular, albeit pricier, product is Sea Chi Organics Leave-on Moisturizing Treatment and Hair Growth Formula. Sold in a 16-ounce bottle for $93 at seachi.com, this product is designed to be applied to scalp and hair and left on for 30 minutes with a hot towel wrap.
No matter what No Poo method you choose, be ready to embrace the dreaded adjustment period. A period during which hair may look greasy and dull as it acclimates to the switch from aggressive, sudsing shampoos to no shampoo at all. Many report that over a period ranging from one week to four weeks hair goes through changes as it regulates oil production on the road to the promise of shiny, healthy, hydrated locks ... with no poo in sight.
Carolyn Brundage is the founder of TampaBay.PrettyCity.com, a guide to the best in local beauty. Need beauty advice? Tweet Up with Carolyn on Twitter @tampabaypretty.