Chronicles of Less Urban Living, Fresh from In the Night Farm

Project Pooless: Week One

There are two basic methods of shifting to a shampoo-free lifestyle:

1. Cold turkey, or
2. Baby steps.

Normally, I’m the cold turkey type. I like to do my homework, make a decision, then act without further hesitation. This time, however, the need to look decent at the office requires me to take the baby steps route.

So, here’s how Week One looked:

Saturday — No poo. Just a good, hot-water rinse after a day of sweat and dust among the horses. Next morning, my hair was reasonably manageable, if a little greasier than usual.

Sunday — Poo. Hey, I was off to see Ironman and didn’t want to subject him to the slimier side of my experiment. Yet.

Monday — Poo. Date day. See above.

Tuesday — Poo again. I didn’t want to, but wasn’t willing to risk an experiment just before heading to the office.

Wednesday — No poo! I telecommuted and was therefore free to test what I’ve come to call the Salad Treatment. I “washed” my hair with baking soda and “conditioned” it with apple cider vinegar.


I scrubbed about 2 Tbs of dry baking soda into my hair, focusing on roots rather than ends, and rinsed it out. This is not supposed to remove grease, but simply neutralize any odors. (I later learned that most people make a paste by mixing the soda with water, or else dissolve it in up to a cup of water, either of which is probably easier than trying to work dry soda down to your scalp!)

To condition, I diluted about 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar with 3/4 cup of water in a large, plastic cup. Into this I dipped the ends of my long hair, then tilted my head to allow the vinegar concoction to run through the rest of my hair while taking care not to get it in my eyes. I left the vinegar in my hair for several minutes while shaving, then rinsed thoroughly.

I was pleasantly surprised by the clean look and smooth, slightly heavier-but-fuller-than-usual texture of my hair post Salad Treatment. The only downside was a faint vinegar odor that lingered even after drying (everyone says the smell goes away with the moisture, but that didn’t work for me!) Furthermore, when my hair was re-wetted with sweat later in the day, the vinegar smell increased. It wasn’t overwhelming, but I’ll be interested to see what Ironman thinks!

Thursday — Poo. Office again.

Friday — Salad Treatment. AND office. Encouraged by Wednesday’s success, I once again applied baking soda and vinegar (not at the same time!) with very satisfactory results.

Saturday — Egg wash.

Details: Egg, unlike the Salad Treatment, is supposed to remove some oil from the hair without being as harsh as shampoo. I tried it after another dusty, sweaty day in the round corral. While I wasn’t in love with the eggy smell, I found the farm-fresh white and yolk easy to work through my hair. I let it sit a minute, then rinsed very thoroughly with COOL water (no need to poach a snack while showering). I followed up with vinegar for conditioning, then braided my wet hair instead of blow-drying. Interestingly, it was the eggy smell that followed me this time, more than the vinegar. Maybe it was mental. Either way, it was subtle. Next time, I might try adding a few drops of lavender extract to the egg.

Sunday — No poo. Hot water only. Next morning, my hair was a bit greasier than normal (too greasy for me to trust to a Salad Treatment before going to work.) But, it was not nearly as oily as I’d have predicted.

Monday — Poo. I tried following the wash with a vinegar conditioning treatment, but that was insufficient and I ended up applying a bit of leave-in conditioner before blow-drying.

All things considered, this is going better than I expected! Stay tuned…


One response

  1. I was able to go cold turkey with the 'poo less side of life. I rinse in hot/warm water scrubbing as I would for shampoo. Then, at the end of my shower, I rinse with cooler water. So far, no issues! Best of luck!

    July 12, 2010 at 10:31 am

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