How to go “no poo” using water only

You’ve probably  heard about the “no poo” method, or going “no poo” meaning not using any shampoo or conditioner in your hair. For backpacking and international travel, no poo is the way to go! With no poo there is no need to try to find products that work for your hair when you’re overseas. There is no more fear of containers exploding in your bag. It cuts down on overall costs, weight and worry. It makes your hair look great while avoiding all kinds of harmful chemicals.

But how do you switch from using shampoo and conditioner daily to using nothing without becoming super greasy?

That’s what we set out to discover a few months ago.

The answer: you have to become super greasy at first. People call this the “transition period” and depending on your hair this could take a few days to a few months. For me, this took about a month and a half.

Here’s a step by step guide of how to make the leap to water only:

1. Get rid of all your shampoo and conditioner!

2. Make baking soda wash. Mix equal parts baking soda and water in a plastic container.

3. Make apple cider vinegar conditioner. Mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and water in a plastic container.

4. For the first few weeks, about once a week wash your hair with the baking soda wash and condition with the apple cider vinegar conditioner. Wet your hair and massage the baking soda wash mixture into your scalp like you would with shampoo. Rinse thoroughly. Next, pour the apple cider vinegar conditioner over your head and rinse thoroughly.

5. After about a month, you should need these alternatives less and less frequently. Begin to ween completely off of the baking soda and apple cider vinegar until you are using water only.

6. Once you have completely switched to water only you will want to “scritch and preen” your hair before washing. I use my fingers only for this, but you can also use a bore bristle brush for preening. Here’s a little video explaining how to do that:

That’s it! You’re good to go. Just remember that it might take up to a few months before your hair’s natural sebum begins to be produced properly again after years of stripping your hair by using harmful shampoos.


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