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‘Poo Free

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Hi.  My name is Julie.  I’ve been free from shampoo for 17 months.  The recovery process from shampoo abuse took about 6 weeks during which time my hair looked, um, like I hadn’t washed it in 6 weeks. 

I decided to stop using shampoo out of vanity.  But others do it for safety.  Or, for frugality

Here is how it works for me:

I mix up some baking soda and water and keep it in an old apple juice bottle in the shower.  Before each use, I shake the mix.  I pour some on my head (yes, it is cold) and then scrub it into my scalp.  Then rinse. 

About once a week, before rinsing, I pour on some apple cider vinegar (ACV).  It bubbles in reaction to the soda and then I rinse.  The ACV takes care of any build-up and adds shine. 

I still use conditioner–I’m a curly.  But if you have straight hair, using ACV after the soda or even ACV alone may be all that is needed to soften, clean, and shine.

I finish with a quick rinse with cold water to seal the follicles.

Maybe once a month, I scrub a little brown sugar and honey into my scalp before the baking soda step.

My favorite hair help is a spray bottle I filled with water and lavender oil.  If my hair ever fills blah or if I don’t have time to wash it, I squirt on some lavendar love and it perks up.

And I never, ever brush or blow-dry.  No way.  Oh, and about that recovery process–depending on your hair, it can look crunchy for a period of time while it gets over the shampoos withdrawal.  Lavender water will be your best friend and must go with you everywhere.   

Want to know more?  Find full instructions, recipes, and reasons in this book.        

Of course, my husband, with his perfect curls, laughs at the lengths to which I go…


16 responses »

  1. i have only done the BC-ACV routine once, but have it all in the bathroom, ready to go! I am all about doing it, but what about the kids? I would really like to get them away from the pink and blue goop…

  2. i wholeheartedly love and praise this post and its advice. we too, due in great part to julie’s inspiration, are ‘poo free. kids have gone the same way with us… and they can go on only rinses for 3 or 4 days (sometimes longer) — unless it’s a mudpie kind of day. love how simple the shower looks now!! and mmm… lavender water… mmm…

  3. inexplicableways

    Yes, lavender is useful for many things…especially anxiety, eh?

    Sal, I use it on Norah now that she willingly tilts her head back. Got ACV in her eyes once and, well, it wasn’t pretty.

  4. Saweet! Thanks for sharing this. I think I am going to try. Do you think just regular lavendar water would do the same as lavendar oil? I have also made a rinse with Rosemary and it’s awesome. It made my hair extremely soft. This makes me want to join the poo free realm ;).

  5. I’m thinking of trying this, but I’m a little concerned about the 6-week recovery period. I can’t wear a hat to work! Might try it over a long weekend and see how it goes.

    I didn’t know you could go without brushing. I thought that made dredlocks. Do you just run your fingers through it to get the tangles out or what?

    My Jordan has pretty curls too–and doesn’t even appreciate them. He cuts them off.

  6. I think lavender water (if made with actual lavender) would work.

    Jenny–I don’t brush b/c I’m have curly hair. I don’t even run my fingers through it because my goal is anti-frizz. I think straight hairs can take the brushing.

  7. i wanted to add this– i did not experience a severe withdrawl from shampoo. granted, i washed every day the first 2 weeks with the soda/acv routine, but it was never horrible– just not bouncy and super-shine. now i am well-adjusted in only about 4 weeks? or is it 8? plus, straight hair=beautimous up-dos and braids during sketchy period.

  8. Hmm. I wonder if this would solve my hair issues (frizzly, knotty, strawlike hair when washed with too harsh a shampoo; waxy, nasty coated hair when washed with too gentle a shampoo or anything like Pantene, or with any shampoo while at the beach). That would be wonderful if it did. I’m excited!

  9. Love it! I have been poo-free for exactly one and a half years now, and I never ever brush my hair, which is fine and straight. (LOL, OK, I’ll fess up, I have dreads so I can’t brush it anymore anyway!) It really does keep my hair nice and soft despite the dreads. ANd the lavender smells divine! I haven’t tried the honey/sugar scrub on my head, that’s a great idea! I’ve been using one like it (manuka honey & sugar) on my face and my skin is clearing up and feeling soft though. Julie you should give it a try!!

  10. Lori VanScoter

    Poo free? What about natural shampoos? Are they ok?

  11. For me, the deal with shampoo is that it is a detergent and I wouldn’t dream of washing my cashmere with detergent. Shampoo strips out natural oils and amino acids. And that equals frizziness for my hair.

    Natural shampoos might be toxin-free but are they chemically still detergents–sudsy, lathering substances? If your hair looks great–then no problem! But if you have temperamental hair like mine…

  12. YAY…I finally did it! I’m officially ‘poo free and Elly is too! I’ve been putting this off in fear of the recovery period but my hair is doing great so far (about 5 days). I’m avoiding blow drying and as much brushing as possible, and I do have to wash every day. Hopefully I will get past that soon and return to my typically every 2nd or 3rd day wash.

    Any tips for yummy smelling hair besides lav. EO? I use it when I clean and do laundry, but it really gives me a headache (smell is too strong). Have you ever used anything else?

  13. I met someone who used Tea Tree oil–but that is a super strong smell! There are lots of recipes in the Curly Girl book. One idea is to dilute regular conditioner in water and spray that on. But if you tend toward greasy hair, maybe try lemon or chamomile EO in water?

    Congrats on taking the big step and joining the ‘poo free crowd!

  14. So many poo-free people! YAY 🙂

    And yep, me too. I use baking soda to wash, and apple cider vinegar to condition, followed by two days of not washing (rinsing with water most of the time though).
    The first few weeks do have some tricky oily days but it’s nowhere near as horrible as we’d expect!

    My next step is to give up the BS & V, or at least make it a rare monthly cleanse. Then I’m even more plastic-free, chemical-free and all natural, just the way I like it 🙂

  15. BTW – kids are easy – just stop using the shampoo! Kids hair bounces back from ‘poo-abuse’ real quick 🙂

  16. Pingback: Guest post: 'Poo-free hair care - no bubbles required | Crunchy Domestic Goddess

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