Being quite a tomboy, I would have never thought that I'd write about hair. But there you go, never say never.
Phase 1: Cold turkey no poo
Few months ago, I became a bit frustrated with the fact that I needed to wash my hair so often, i.e. at least every other day, because the roots greased up so fast. The frequent washing also dried out my scalp. Reading about the harsh chemicals, especially sulphates, in regular shampoo disgruntled me even more. - Right then! What are my alternatives?
I came across a blog post claiming that you can wash your hair only with water, so-called 'no poo' method. Not sure whether the 'poo' part of the word is a wise choice... Anyway, it made sense because the use of shampoo is a created need and in the wild there is no such thing. So, I tried it out for a month. I washed my hair at the same frequency as before and combed with a natural bristle brush. It appears that natural bristles absorb the oils much better than synthetic ones due to their porous structure and help distribute the oil along the length of the hair.
Whatever the theory, my hair became so greasy that it was unbearable. How do you get rid of the excess oil? Water apparently quite easily rinses your scalp and removes its oily layer, but it has a harder job with the oils in your hair.
Phase 2: No poo cheat
So, I decided to cheat. First with a bit of nasty dry-shampoo just before washing which didn't do much, and then with another no poo method using bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) followed by a rinse with diluted white vinegar, both from the kitchen supplies. Apparently, that's all the rage according to various blog posts I had come across. Indeed, so it was! The first time I must have used not quite enough bicarb, but could already feel and see a vast improvement. The second time I increased the amount of bicarb, and it was amazing! My hair felt soft, totally cleansed and light. I was sold. I managed to whittle the washing frequency down to twice a week within less than a month.
Phase 3: Oh no, science!
Finally, I wanted to learn about the science behind this miraculous effect. It didn't take long, and I stumbled over this blog post which instantly killed my enthusiasm for my no poo revelation. In short, the drastic and rapid changes of pH that you subject your hair to with the bicarb and vinegar treatment eventually lead to the weakening of the hair structure. Disaster!
Phase 4: So, what now?
I'm not sure what to try next. That same post cited above mentions a rye flour-based no poo. That might be an option. I have also read that you should brush your hair for much longer than I usually do to give the bristles a chance to distribute the oil along the length of the hair. Back to pure no poo and patient brushing then?