How many hair products do you have in your bathroom? Shampoo, conditioner, and maybe a styling gel, spray, or mousse... All of these products (with the exception of expensive, specially made organic brands) contain synthetic colors, fragrances, and alcohols that compromise your health, dry your scalp, and rob your hair of its natural luster.
Why not throw out that synthetic junk and simplify your haircare routine with an all-natural, minimalist approach? You'll have more time in your day to do what you love, and your happy hair and scalp will thank you.
First, let's talk about no-poo. The "no-poo" method is a minimalist hair care approach that eliminates the need for shampoo without sacrificing the integrity or luster of your hair. Daily shampooing may make you feel clean, but it strips your hair of the natural oil your scalp produces that keeps the hair healthy, shiny, and thick. Going shampooless can also preclude any need for conditioner, as your hair is less likely to become tangled or dry.
- If your hair is curly or prone to dryness, before your shower, rub a bit of organic coconut or sunflower oil into your scalp and through the hair. Just a dab will do. Let this be part of your daily Ayurvedic oil massage.
- Take a hot shower. Stand directly under the shower head and thoroughly massage the scalp with your fingers to loosen any dirt or dead skin. The hot water will rinse excess oil from the hair, along with the dander and mess.
- Before you get out of the shower, blast yourself head to toe with cold water to seal the hair shaft and tighten your pores.
- After your shower, dry your hair gently with a soft cotton towel.
- If your hair is long enough to tangle, comb the hair (again: gently) with a wide-toothed wooden comb. Avoid using combs or brushes made from plastic, as they produce static electricity that zaps the hair shaft and follicles dry, causing split ends and eventual hair loss.
- Once your hair is completely dry, brush the hair in long strokes from scalp to tip with a natural bristle brush. Boar bristles are best, but for those ethically opposed to boar bristles, vegetable fiber brushes are available. I like Bass brushes and combs, as they are not only practical, but also lovely and well made.
The Arsenal: Boar bristle brush and wood comb
The last two steps are crucial to a successful no-poo experience. Natural fiber combs and brushes prevent oil buildup (a.k.a. the "greasy hippy" look) by absorbing the oils from the scalp and redistributing them along the length of the shaft, leaving hair soft, clean, and shiny.
Some may find, even with daily brushing, that the scalp becomes excessively oily after a few days or a week of no-poo. If this is the case, resist the urge to 'poo. Instead, dust a bit of baking soda into the hair before your shower, and then proceed with the steps outlined above. If baking soda leaves the hair overly dry, you can try using a small amount of castile soap once a week, or whenever the scalp feels grimy.
I have thick, wildly curly hair and, being heavily pitta dosha, tend to have oily, temperamental skin. I was skeptical that the no-poo method would work for me, but with patience, refinement, a hair cut, and an open mind, my haircare routine has grown simpler and my hair healthier than ever before.