No Poo: The Weird Beauty Trend That’s Not What You Think

3 minute read

By Jordana Weiss

When people first hear that the newest beauty trend has been nicknamed “no poo”, most people assume the raunchiest explanation. Fortunately, with an online search, you can learn everything you need to know about the “no poo” diet.

No, it’s not an all-natural diet that results in fewer bowel movements, or something that calls for you to hold in your, uh, natural impulses for long periods of time. It’s much less scary, and can actually lead to a healthier and more beautiful you.

What Is It, Really?

What is no poo? It’s simply washing your hair without shampoo (get it? no poo?) and subbing in natural ingredients like apple cider vinegar and baking soda to clean your tresses instead. Most commercial shampoos that you find in the drug store today contain a huge list of potentially dangerous chemicals and artificial ingredients.

As well, continually using drug store shampoo can strip your hair and scalp of the natural, healthy oils that it needs to keep protecting your hair from the outside elements, and can lead to it producing different oils to compensate, leading to a cycle where the hair gets more and more oily over time. Chemicals in shampoo like the common ingredient sodium lauryl sulfate are known irritants, and can dry out both skin and hair, leading to problems like dandruff and dry, brittle locks. Using conditioner can help alleviate this dryness, but it’s a temporary fix.

How It Started

Beauty blogger Lucy Aitken Read has been credited as the founder of the movement, and has even written an e-book on her journey to a poo-free life. She gave up using shampoo on herself and her family after her second child was born, she felt called to keep their lives as chemical-free as possible. She read an article in the paper about the harmful chemicals, especially SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) that women use on their hair every day, and from then on resolved to use only naturally sourced organic products to clean her hair. However, she was unable to find even an organic shampoo that didn’t contain some kind of preservative or artificial chemical, so she turned to her kitchen for a quick fix. Since then, she has cleaned her hair with everyday kitchen products like baking soda, apple cider vinegar, eggs, and herbs. She also brushes her hair once a day with an old-fashioned bristle brush, which she claims removes excess oil from the hair.

How To Start

It’s so easy to join the no poo movement. Just stop using shampoo and conditioner when you shower! In her book, Lucy Aitken Read writes about starting the no poo lifestyle, and admits that the first month was rough as her hair adjusted to the synthetic chemical cycle that kept it in check being interrupted. She admits that at first, her hair looked limp and greasy, until she figured out the trick of washing her hair using natural ingredients. Luckily, she suffered so you won’t have to- her e-book is full of recipes for DIY natural shampoo. There are tons of different recipes out there that are tailored to individual hair types. Now, a shampoo perfectly suited to your hair type doesn’t have to break the bank.

Do It Yourself

Some common ingredients that DIYers rely on are baking soda (it cleans the scalp without removing natural oils), apple cider vinegar (which restores the natural pH balance of hair), and seaweed powder (to clean and protect tresses). These ingredients alone, applied to the hair in small quantities, work beautifully. If you want to get a little more complicated, a few minutes in the kitchen with some ingredients and a mixing bowl can give you a shampoo perfectly suited to your needs. Need a shampoo that cleans hair and moisturizes the scalp at the same time? Pulse a cucumber and some lemon juice in the blender, then apply to hair. Cornstarch can be used in the exact same way as an expensive dry powder shampoo- simply pat on, wait, then brush out to remove visible oil from hair.

Joining the no poo movement doesn’t have to be a life-long decision. Give it a shot for a month or two, and see how your hair is instantly improved by being chemical free.

Jordana Weiss