Student’s Corner

While I was in Italy, I tried the “No-Poo” method.

The “No-Poo” method, if you haven’t of it heard, is a trend that involves the weening off of commercial hair products in favor of an alternative shampoo (like a baking soda or apple cider vinegar mix) or of no shampoo at all. This method is grounded in the principle that we are all over-washing/shampooing our hair, which strips it of its natural protection and causes the oil glands to overproduce in turn. Too much oil gives hair that greasy look that sends us right back to the shower and keeps this cycle going.

So I decided to give this a try for a few reasons. For one, the method essentially promises better, shinier hair once you “break the cycle” of chemical products and grease. For another, going shampoo-less means less money spent on hair product and less plastic containers being used. Also, it meant less to carry when I was traveling. All around, there are a lot of personal and environmental benefits from this lifestyle choice.

But here’s the catch – it doesn’t work for everyone. The internet says it could take “anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks” for your hair to stop producing excess oil and revert to, what I guess would be, its “natural state”. I quit conventional shampoo cold turkey in early February, and after 6 weeks my hair was still in bad shape. To be fair, there are a lot of things I did “wrong,” like completely stopping shampoo use instead of gradually stopping, but I am here to say that for every no-poo success story you hear, there is a greasy failure like me. I want to be clear, I didn’t just shower with water all the time. I bought some baking soda and vinegar and tried using those, to no avail. Eventually, I got fed up with the hot-mess-and-high-bun look and caved to the chemicals.

Since coming back to the United States though, I have made some changes that I think are a good place to start for people tentative to jump right in to “no-poo.” I’ve been using more natural bar soaps for my hair, mainly Lush and Dr. Bronner’s products (check out this page for Dr. Bronner’s tips on how to use their products as shampoo), and I’ve been showering with soap less frequently.

When it comes down to it, to each their own – whatever keeps you happy and healthy is best. And if you can reduce your plastic usage at the same time? That’s just even better.

Written by Teddi Shapiro, class of 2019


Featured image courtesy of the Wall Street Journal

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