When it comes to getting the healthiest, silkiest hair possible, many people will go to great lengths: trying every new hair-care product that hits the market, switching to organic beauty products, and even ditching hair shampoos altogether.
But wait, how can you expect hair to be clean and healthy without your daily shampoo suds? This is the basis for the latest hair-care trend, called “no-poo,” where you eschew using chemical-laden shampoos in favor of using only conditioner or homemade hair-care options to cleanse your tresses.
There are several reasons the no-poo trend has caught on. One is that most commercial shampoo brands contain a lot of chemicals like sulfates, which are the detergents that allow hair shampoos to foam and bubble. Many people associate the suds with the shampoo’s ability to cleanse, but in fact, sulfates are harsh and drying to the scalp, and can even allow other chemicals to leach into hair and skin. Another reason to ditch shampoo is for environmental purposes; the chemicals in shampoo get into the ground and water after rinsing, and years of hair-washing equals quite a lot of bottles in landfills. Finally, going sans shampoo allows your scalp to regulate its oil production, and gets your tresses back to their natural state. (It takes a few weeks — and even up to a few months — for hair to regulate itself, so be aware before beginning that your mop won’t look fabulous the first day.)
To go no-poo, you have to find new ways to cleanse and condition your coif. The first step is to stop using hair styling products. Similarly to shampoos, these can contain chemicals and weigh locks down, and the point of no-poo is to let hair be natural. To wash hair, mix a tablespoon of baking soda and one cup of water in a cup or bottle, and mix it well. Rub your concoction into your mane, focusing on the roots. Let it sit for a minute, then rinse thoroughly.
If you’d like, you can continue conditioning as usual, or you can mix your own conditioner as well. You can use regular vinegar, but apple cider vinegar works best; mix a tablespoon of vinegar into a cup of fresh water, then work it into your hair the same way as you did with the baking soda mixture. Rinse well when done. To keep hair from smelling like salad dressing all day, you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oils to the vinegar mix before use.
If you love the idea of putting fewer chemicals onto and into your body, but aren’t ready to forego your hair styling products for good, the next best option would be to look for shampoo brands that do not contain sulfates. You can find plenty of these brands online, and even a few in your local drugstore. Whether you choose to go no-poo or simply eliminate sulfates from your hair-care products, your hair will appear healthier.
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