DIY
Pinbusted or Pintrusted: The No Poo Method

pin-busted

We are many. We are crafty. We are adventurous. We are drowning in baking soda, coconut oil, Mason Ball jars, and glitter.

We are the Pinterati.

As Geeky Moms, it should come as no surprise that we’re a little obsessed with Pinterest. And not just for the shiny (though I admit, I’m a bit on the lurker side) but also for the know how. Pinterest isn’t just a breeding ground for fashionistas and the nail-polished obsessed, it’s also a place for those of us who want to take everything apart and make it better. You know what I mean. Those of us who use lemon-infused vinegar to clean our countertops, put Borax in every cleaning solution, and know that blue Dawn is probably something devised by magical wizards.

So we’re here to help. Welcome to a new feature: Pinbusted or Pintrusted?

But beyond that, I’m personally a bit of a self experimenter. I hate buying expensive beauty products and have insanely sensitive skin, so even when I spend a ton I end up with breakouts and rashes and flakes that I paid too much for. Fantastic.

Plus, I grew up in the 80s and 90s, when the promise of beautiful hair was everywhere. I distinctly remember singing along to this song with my little sister:

I have a lot of hair. I used to keep it short, because it was easier. But over the last few years I’ve let it grow and grow. Everyone says it’s lovely, which is nice. And for the first time in decades, it’s free of dye. I only use henna for coloring, and that keeps it super healthy. However, my mane skews oily and semi-curly (a new development since having my daughter a year ago–I’m still adjusting) and temperamental. Also, since I have so much, I need a half cup of shampoo just to get full coverage. And don’t even get me going about how long it takes to dry or the headaches I get from too-tight ponytails.

In an effort to prevent myself from cutting said hair, I’ve experimented on and off with dry shampoo and non-sulfate shampoos (liking Trader Joe’s quite a lot, as well as Organix with Argan Oil, the exotic oil of the moment). I want to keep it healthy and happy.

During my Pinterest perusal, however, I came across the “no poo” method of keeping hair clean. This differed slightly from other methods I’d seen, aimed at balancing your hair back and not stripping of its natural oils which, presumably, when absent just start producing more to make up for the loss. But instead of just using hot water and brushing like every five minutes, this suggested using baking soda and then apple cider vinegar while in the shower.

Baking soda and vinegar, CC BY 2.0, by katerha via Flickr

Hey. I shop at Costco. I have TITANIC-sized baking soda and vinegar. It would essentially cost me zero to try.

So, for a week, here’s what I did:

  • Hop in shower, sing a song. Usually something from “The Little Mermaid.” (Step optional, but good for the soul… “Part of your… worrrrrrrrld…”)
  • Realize that you forgot to get a cup, leave shower, get cup. Get everything soaked in process.
  • Return to shower. Fill plastic cup (mine’s about 4 oz.) halfway with baking soda, then add just enough water to make a paste.
  • Slather paste on hair, concentrating on scalp and oily areas. Massage a bit.
  • Let sit. Feel the baking soda slither down your face. Lick grit off your lips.
  • Optional: While waiting, use the remaining baking soda on your face as an exfoliant (totally works).
  • Rinse. And rinse. It feels really squeaky.
  • Fill said cup with half vinegar and half water.
  • Pour on head.
  • Avoid eyes, or else weep for a few minutes before you can…
  • Be amazed at how soft your hair feels.

Seriously, that’s the big thing. The vinegar… it’s so weird. You’d totally expect the hair to feel as if it’d been stripped, but it doesn’t. It feels as if you’ve conditioned. Sleek, even.

The results? It really works just fine. I’ve used expensive shampoos that have done less. I won’t say it’s the best in the world—I did it for a week straight, and now do an every-other-shower with sulfate free shampoo—but it’s definitely clean. I found it took longer for my hair to dry, and honestly, that’s the biggest deterrent for me. My hair already takes 20 minutes to dry. I really don’t need any extra time.

Pinbusted or Pintrusted?
Trusted, but with a caveat. After reading up, I’ve noticed that people have had a varying results. Many ladies with curly hair indicate that it didn’t help keep curls tame; others had the opposite effect. My suggestion is to experiment a little. The whole process is a pH balance, and I imagine everyone is different (not just with your own body chemistry, but with how your hair reacts to ingredients). Just vinegar or just baking soda also works. Or maybe less vinegar—or try using white vinegar, lemon juice, or another acid (one without sugar, to avoid a sad mess). While the vinegar smell leaves very quickly, I’d imagine some essential oil drops would work great if you want to up the scent factor.

Honestly, though, my biggest takeaway from this is the baking soda exfoliant. It really works wonders and, I swear, is helping my skin. My complexion is smoother and brighter, and I seem to have fewer breakouts. Unintentional win!

Natania Barron

Founding editor Natania Barron is a geeky mom, an author, a Gryffindor, and a Took. She tweets about writing, cooking, life, and other mysteries at @nataniabarron.

3 Comments
Darcie

June 10, 2013 2:11 pm Reply

It sounds weird, but I love this way of cleaning my hair! I have a corn allergy, so the chemicals in normal shampoo are super bad for me. I’ve found I don’t have dandruff or icky scalp buildup anymore either. It isn’t for everyone, but it works well for me.

Elizabeth S. (Russia)

June 10, 2013 4:36 pm Reply

I have had a very similar experience, and I think I have a similar hair type, semi-curly but not in such a way that it needs extra moisture. And I can’t too ponytails either, instant headache. I almost always end up with a messy bun of some sort. Baking soda is one of the few substances that makes my hair really feel squeaky-clean.

Carla

June 30, 2013 9:17 pm Reply

I have been doing the “No Poo” method for a few months now. My method varies slightly from yours though. I dissolve 1 Tbs of soda into 8oz of water and then work that into my scalp and through my hair but I do use the 50/50 vinegar mix. I have very curly hair (I’m white just incase that makes a difference) and I will admit that my curls now have exceptional volume but I love it! For years shampoo would weigh down my hair and make me wish it wasn’t curly, now I can’t get enough of the curls! For control/anti-frizz I just work some coconut oil in while my hair is still wet from the tips up.

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