The no poo challenge

I had been blissfully washing my hair with baking soda (or bicarbonate of soda) and apple cider vinegar for 3 months when I came upon Carry Berry’s post in my Facebook feed. I am always up for a challenge, and even though I had already started my no poo adventure, at least I could provide some encouragement for the other participants or I might even learn something new! (Little did I know…)

The official challenge invitation

Besides, who could refuse the opportunity to learn more about getting beautiful hair without shampoo, and (hopefully) without spending a fortune?

Quite accidentally around the same time I came across the No Poo and Low Poo Hair Care Group on Facebook. Perfect timing – I’ll be able to reference their files section and ask questions should things not go as beautifully as planned ;).

As it turns out I was to learn something from the challenge sooner rather than later! Michelle, one of Carry Berry’s followers, posted a comment linking to The Hippy Homemaker‘s blog post on the ill effects of baking soda, The dirty hippy truth about no-pooing & why I won’t use baking soda on my hair – basically since baking soda is highly alkaline it disrupts the slightly acidic pH balance of hair sebum. This would explain why my hair was so dry after using bicarbonate of soda, particularly on the ends, and possibly why it got so terribly tangled too. Something else I’ve learnt is that most recipes call for 1 tbsp of bicarb to a cup of water, whereas the recipe I happened upon was 2 tbsp of bicarb, once again increasing the risk of over drying and possibly damaging my hair!

Carry Berry’s challenge was extended to include any of the no-poo cleansers in The Hippy Homemaker’s article, Natural no-poo cleansers for healthy hair. Since I would like to use ingredients readily available to me, and because I suffer from insufferable frizz, I have decided to go with the honey shampoo recipe posted on Empowered Sustenance‘s blog.  I am also leaning towards investigating a natural detangler recipe, like this one, again, from The Hippy Homemaker.

As part of the challenge we had to upload a “before” photo of our hair, and then will upload an “after” photo on the 21st of November after 3 weeks of no-pooing. Here’s my before photo, after washing my hair with 2tbsp bicarb mixed with 1 cup water (unfiltered) – roots only – and rinsed with 2tbsp apple cider vinegar mixed with 1 cup water (unfiltered) – lengths and ends only. I had previously been washing my whole head with baking soda, and apparently that is not the right way, so I did it differently this time around. The second photo is after I straightened my hair with my GHD. I had run out of my heat protection spray so rubbed some coconut oil into my hair before GHDing it. Not exactly scientific, I just figured that you can use coconut oil for so many things it surely could be used as a heat protector! Now that I think of it I was probably way off!

Bicarbonate of soda / baking soda wash & apple cider vinegar rinse

Bicarbonate of soda / baking soda wash & apple cider vinegar rinse

Straight styling with GHD and a little too much coconut oil

Straight styling with GHD and a little too much coconut oil

I am quite excited about the next few weeks, and a little nervous too! This happens to fall over a very busy time for me, so I’m not going to have much time to research or play around with alternatives if the honey shampoo doesn’t work out. I’m going to take a deep breath and take this one step at a time!