No ‘Poo: Resolved – A Greasy Roots Drama
About 3.5 months ago I decided to try an alternative to commercial shampoo, all in the name of green living. You can read about the beginning of my adventure here and the sequel here.In this post I bring together the pieces that eventually solved the mystery of a beautiful start which turned into a gunky, greasy roots drama.
Here’s a quick summary since writing the sequel:
I have big hair. As in, one notices that I have a lot of it, it’s big, wavy, a little curly and long. The lengths of my hair have been totally fine since I started the no ‘poo method, not dry at all as it used to be and not greasy either (apparently those of you with straight and/or fine hair might have an issue with greasy lengths at the beginning of your no ‘poo journey). However, my roots turned into a gunky, thick mess. All would be fine for about half a day but then the drama would set in. It sounds gross. It was. I couldn’t run my fingers through my hair and it looked mottled and flat, usually stuck down on one side. I had to wash my hair way more than usual, my hair was constantly tied up and if I could have kept my bicycle helmet on all day without it being strange, I would have. I surfed and surfed and surfed reading every possible article on the internet, leaving no stone uncovered. My findings were as follows:
plothair thickened when I applied the baking soda. So I tried something totally unconventional in the no ‘poo world: I rinsed my hair with white vinegar only, including the roots. This goes against the grain as rinsing your roots with vinegar makes them greasy. This helped a little, for a day or so.
- I tried 2 baking soda rinses in a row. The thick mess got thicker.
- I tried dissolving the baking soda in hot water first. Made a difference to the feel of the mixture on my scalp whilst washing but no difference afterwards.
- I tried using a TON of baking soda. Didn’t make a difference.
- I tried using filtered water, it helped for about half a day.
Then, that light bulb shone right through the matted hair to bring me an ah ha! moment. The no ‘poo worked totally fine whilst I was on holiday in France and in Germany. In both places the water is softer than here in Copenhagen. It seems that hard water was the absolute cause of this greasy roots drama. This was very easy to work out:
I no ‘pooed as usual then rinsed my hair with a bottle of fresh water. Ta da! My lion’s mane re-instated. Hurroar! Drama over. To be honest, I very nearly gave up. Gasp! Going through a transition period is one thing, but when it’s a permanent state of gunky-ness as mine was, with no change, there comes a time when any green loving gal would want to throw in the (hair) towel.
Does this mean that I’m going to spend a fortune rinsing my hair with bottled spring water thereby increasing plastic usage? No. I have made an informed decision to go back to using 100% organic, toxin-free shampoo whilst in Copenhagen, faithfully bringing my baking soda with me on any trip that takes me to a soft water area – basically anywhere outside the city and abroad.
I must point out that I would much rather stay no ‘poo. Not only because of the benefit for the environment, but when the no ‘poo method works you wash you hair much less frequently than with regular shampoo. Every 4-7 days or so is usually fine once you’re in the swing of it. And the quality and colour of my hair is way better, richer, softer, fuller when I use baking soda. The difference is quite striking. I did read somewhere that you can collect rain water and filter it through a couple of coffee filters (perhaps you could even use snow…). Maybe I’ll try this. The best solution would be to fit a water filter to the shower or even the kitchen tap which would provide purified drinking water as well as water to rinse your hair.
Any of you find miraculous solutions to no ‘poo issues? Any of you give up but ready to try again?