No Poo: Results!

SUPER IMPORTANT: If you’re not familiar with the principles of Paleo/Primal/Real Food Nutrition, you must understand that they are the foundation of any body care routine. My recommendations are meant to build upon the foundations of healthy eating as defined on my “What is Primal/Paleo?” page. No amount of oil cleansing can fix a nutritional deficiency, and nutritional deficiencies set the stage for acne, skin problems, hormonal imbalances, and – yes – stinky pits and bad hair. The quality and sources of our food – the only fuel we have – determines how well every single bodily process works.



I don’t put photos of myself up too often. I’m a lil’ bashful. But I’m extra excited about the 30-day results of my No ‘Poo experiment.

I wrote about the No ‘Poo method in this post. It was an offshoot of my incredible success with simplifying my skin care routine using the Oil Cleansing Method. I’m 100% committed to keeping the junk out of my diet and, no less important, off my body. That’s why I added a Body Care tab to my blog.

For the first few weeks of No ‘Poo, I looked like a brunette Doc Brown. I suppose that would mean I was Reverend Jim from Taxi.

"What does a yellow light meannn?" "Sloooow Doown."

Not a good look for me. But a few weeks later, after mixing in the No ‘Poo method at least 75% of the time, my hair has adjusted perfectly.

Before I show you photos, here’s a disclaimer: Please excuse the lack of makeup and winter lips. I was at a foundation fundraiser tel-e-thon to build a house for homeless kids and puppies, and I was told that chapstick would interfere with the Cause. Also, I didn’t get the memo that when taking photos of oneself MySpace-Hooker style, Angry Face is probably not the best look.

The point is, my hair looks almost normal.

Moving on to the back:

I'm crafty with the camera. Next stop, MySpace account!

Point is, I’m finally happy with my hair. And I’ve got lots of it. If I were a dude or a short-haired dudette, nothing would keep me from starting a cheap, easy regimen like this – the adjustment period would be nil for a short-haired individual. As I mentioned in my Paleo Love guest post on Paleo-Style self-care, “if you’re convinced that smelling like a slick-haired douche-nozzle or one of the Jonas Brothers is right for you…” hang on to the musky, overpriced junk, undo an extra button, and have at it. Or save yourself a few bucks and quit the ‘Poo!


46 Responses to “No Poo: Results!”

  1. Wow! Your hair looks beautiful.. Think I might try the no ‘poo method.

  2. But the problem with us shorter-haired people is that it looks even WORSE when it’s oily and greasy. I haven’t washed my hair since yesterday since I’m getting my stitches out today and looking forward to showering and it’s like I dipped my head in oil. Sigh.

    • That’s true…NOT an easy transition when you can’t ratchet the whole mess back into a home-facelift-style ponytail. I didn’t wear my hair down during the adjustment period…*double sigh! I’m glad you’re recovering nicely, though!

  3. You’re so pretty! I know we don’t each other, but would you like to hang out sometime?

  4. I think you look incredible! I’m really impressed by all the things you’re doing and your commitment to seeing them through. Can I hang out with you and Layna?

    • I miss you both. I would like to flash forward 10 years in our life when we all have unlimited funds, free time and gore hair so we could hang out more often.

  5. I agree, you’re hair looks great, but what about curly hair that needs some kind of frizz control. I can go ages without washing (dry,dry, curly hair) but definitely need something for the frizz. Ideas?

    • Primalmami, my hair is strrraight as an arrow, fine and there’s lots of it! On top of that, it was always quite oily. I always envied the curly haired girls and still do, but I’ve definitely had the opposite issues. I’m clueless about curly hair, but I did just have a commenter on this post:

      That reader DOES have curly hair and uses No ‘Poo. I’m wondering if she’s had the same issues as you with dry/frizz? I have heard great things about cocoapink’s Glissade:

      But have never tried it myself, although I’m a huge fan of their products (If you order anything from them in January use the code Paleolove for 20% off!) Another reader, Mel, also commented on my No Poo post about using coconut oil to smooth the hair a bit, and I do use that to tame flyaways when I wear my hair up.

  6. Thanks CaveGirl! I’m definitely going to try our cocoapink’s glissade. I’ve actually tried shampooing less but still needed some other product, which would build up on my hair. This should work perfectly:) I hope…

  7. I so want to try this….but I am afraid of the results. Which reminds me that I made a New Years resolution to try things that scare me. Hmm…

    • Do it and report back! That’s an order! (Actually, I’m beginning to think that if you can’t rock a ponytail for a few weeks, you may want to wait until you can hibernate for awhile. But if ponytails are a possibility, DO IT!) It’s so freeing to be liberated from the hair product world. Now my participation in the Herbal Essences Rat Race is voluntary, not compulsory. If I want to smell like a lavender scentgasm, I will…If not, I don’t have to!

      Whoa, looks like that last espresso wasn’t such a good idea 🙂

  8. Love that you posted pictures with the results, it looks good! I have thought about trying this several times but I have a LOT of hair so wasn’t sure how it would go. Recently I switched to using only silicone-free conditioner instead of shampoo and like it, but want to go even more natural. How often did you shampoo & condition during the transition?

    Also thanks for the Glissade rec & coupon code, have been looking for silicone free styling for my curly hair for a while & haven’t found anything I liked yet! I ordered it, so will see how it works 🙂

    • I hope you love the CP stuff! I sure do.

      I have always felt like I needed to wash my hair daily, so as I transitioned into using No ‘Poo I washed my hair ALMOST daily and used Baking Soda & ACV 75% of the time and the silicone-free, paraben-free stuff from the Gluten-Free Savonnerie 25% of the time over the course of the 30-ish days. I have started washing every other day (approximately) in the last week or so, and I know I could cut down the washing even more, but for some reason (probably psychological!) I don’t feel ready for the day until I’m showered with my hair washed & dried!

  9. So funny…Myspace angry hooker..rofl.

  10. after reading about No Poo on this blog and on MDA, i started the regimen earlier this week. i was scared; i actually put up a “good luck!” post-it in the shower the night before. but for some reason, my hair has not been going through any transition period. i have done the regimen for about 5 days now, and my hair looks completely normal. no Doc Brown dopplegangers, no flyaways, no need for a ponytail. it feels like i am cheating, or at least doing something wrong. does everyone go through a transition period? i was not using any gluten-free or any special type of shampoo (unless Suave is somehow totally natural and i missed it). will keep trying and keep my fingers crossed that maybe i just won’t have a transition period? any thoughts?

    ps Liz, love your blog. started using OCM too, and jojoba and coconut oil for moisturizers, both of which i LOVE. i feel like i am living in a different decade (1967, perhaps?)

    • Thank you for your comment Michele! That’s AWESOME that you transitioned so easily. My head felt like a crispy patch of burnt grass for a while there! All I can think is that after years of showering and heat styling daily I ruined my hair’s ability to maintain its own levels of moisture. You’re a more balanced person than I am! 😉 I’m so glad you like the blog and you’re having success! It’s AWESOME to hear about others’ experiences and to be in such great company. Isn’t jojoba the greatest thing? So light and absorbs perfectly. The only moisturizers I’ve ever used that don’t irritate my face in some way. My skin isn’t perfect, but when I think about what it used to be and how much I agonized about it, I know I won’t go back!

  11. Ok question for you. How the hell do you get rid of the crunchies? I don’t know if I’m not totally washing out the baking soda but the ends of my hair kinda get crunchy and stiff.. Did this happen to you? I’m dying! I have the same type of hair you described and it’s killing me feeling greasy!

    • This is exactly what happened to me during the “adjustment period!” It will go away, but it may take a few weeks of perseverance. That first 30 days is a real crunch-fest! I washed about 2 out of 7 times per week during that adjustment period with a silicone-free, paraben-free, natural shampoo from Gluten Free Savonnerie and CocoaPink to give myself a break from the crunchies, but for the most part I just pulled it back into a bun while I waited it out! I know, it’s tough! (the 20% off code is good through January – Paleolove)

  12. just curious… did you stop using styling products or styling tools as well? how does this fare for using a straightening or curling iron? i kinda just let my hair air dry and go wild, but did use a bit of hair spray to hold back a stray piece in a ponytail the other day. wonder if coconut oil would work…

    • Hi Michele! As far as styling products – I do still use non-aerosol hairspray on occasion (like to cement back severe bed-head when I’m in a hurry or when I want to keep some curl in my stick-straight hair for more than 5 minutes) and I do just fine with both my straightener and my curling iron, even on the highest heat settings. I have used coconut oil to smooth flyaways, but you have to be SUPER stringent with it because too much just creates an oil slick!

  13. So if I’m reading the comments right, the crunchy texture will go away after the transition period. Once past the transition does it feel silky, sticky, just kind of there? My husband is worried about my switching to a BS/ACV routine because he loves running his hands through my hair. I need to be able to reassure him before I switch.

    • I had a HORRIBLE crunch during the “transition.” I was ponytails and headbands for at least 2 weeks and almost gave up. Actually, I started up with this when my husband was out of town 🙂 I will say that I the first time I EVER forced my husband to sit down and run his fingers through my hair was when I felt my soft tresses after that adjustment period! I think you’ll be happy with the results.

  14. Found you through FB….thanks for all the info on your site. OMG. I just calculated that I can throw out $250 worth of hair products after trying the No-Poo method you posted. Now, I’ve only done it for 1 day…but like Michelle stated…no issues with a ‘transition’ period yet…. I mean, it felt weird in the shower, so I did a 2nd dose of the ACV rinse and my hair blow dried faster than before and not one ounce of product was needed! Soft and beautiful…thank you thank you thank you!!! I’m also battling adult acne (very much like your story…10+ yrs) and I just started the OCM, too. So grateful for your sharing this info ❤

  15. I have shortish, SUPER FINE, hair. Styling my hair involves more stress, and more cajoling then a hostage negotiation. If I go no ‘poo, do you think I can still do my normal styling routine (blow dry with round brush, not one, but two styling products to get it to stay in place!)? I, too hate using chemical laden crap on my skin and have been a regular consumer of all kinds of hippy-dippy, break out into kum-by-yah, over priced and not always so effective, health food store bought beauty products. Currently I’m using some styling products by Giovanni that are the best compromise between price, effectiveness and least toxicity I can find. I’d like to try No Poo and OCM though because I’m attracted to cost savings (more money for grass fed beef!!!) and the DIY aspect. Why do cheap beauty products have to be filled with ingredients with more syllables then I have pairs of underwear? And yet the clean, “organic” stuff is so expensive sometimes, I have to promise my first born’s first born to pay for it. Since when does some big, for-profit company traded on the NYSE know what’s better for my body then me???

    • You are hilarious. “Why do cheap beauty products have to be filled with ingredients with more syllables than I have pairs of underwear?” GENIUS!

      I definitely think you can do your normal styling routine – I do. I blow dry with a round brush as well. My hair is suddenly down to my mid-upper-back – I wonder if my regimen has made my hair grow faster? Seems like only yesterday it was shoulder-length. But I’m guessing that if someone with a fine (not super fine, but definitely fine) rat’s nest like me can maintain the normal blow-dry/style routine, you can too. Of course, it took a few weeks for my hair/scalp to adjust to the routine, but now that it has, there’s only a slight difference in texture which is neither here nor there. Just different – cleaner, maybe? Unfettered? – and my hair can still be cajoled into looking pretty with no more effort than it took before!

  16. I’m planning on trying this, and I was just wondering if you still use conditioner after this? Not sure I’ll be able to comb through my hair without it!

    • The ACV is meant to condition/detangle, and it works well! I have very long hair, and although the texture is slightly different (less “slip”) it’s not anything unmanageable!

  17. Okay, I need some serious help. I’ve been doing the no ‘poo thing for almost a month now, and my hair still feels hellish. There have been some better days–I even wore it down once–but it doesn’t seem to be getting any better overall. It may actually be getting worse. This morning I blow-dried it and could barely even get my fingers through after it was dry. It’s not actually tangled, it’s more like the texture is just so strange (coarse, maybe? filmy?) that it won’t let anything through. And it holds it’s shape in a weird way, sort of like…troll hair. HELP ME. It’s not greasy or dirty, just really, really weird. The ends also feel really dry, frizzy and coarse. I’ve been doing the 1 tbsp baking soda plus a cup of water/scrub into scalp/rinse/rinse again with diluted ACV thing every other day or so. Is it possible it’s just taking a really, really long time to adjust? I’m ready to give up! ARGH. ALL CAPS.

    • This is a tough one! I’m sorry you’re not having the success you hoped for 😦

      There could be a few reasons…It MAY be an extended adjustment period, but I don’t know if I would have the patience to try beyond 30 days – I definitely commend you for that! I will do some digging for a “Troubleshooting” post…but what comes to mind initially is that your water may be causing the problem. NOT saying your water is “wrong” or “bad,” but I do know that some folks with more minerals in their water (can’t remember if it’s soft or hard water) might have some trouble. Have you tried the method while traveling? I found that it worked slightly differently when I went to visit family in another state, and I think the water was to blame. I will do some digging!

      Other than that, you could try checking out Bubble and Bee, Dr. Bronner’s, or the lye soap I mentioned in yesterday’s post. Let me know if you experiment and what you figure out, and I will get back to you soon. Try a coconut oil masque in the meantime for a little added nourishment – soak hair in coconut oil for a few hours (or overnight if you can) and rinse out using a good dose of the vinegar OR just use quality foaming shampoo. I won’t tell anyone 😉

  18. Just came across this post while doing some reading on the no ‘poo methods. I’m a recent convert and am in the transition period, but nearing normal-ness again. I’ve found that if I just wash with water (and do a few minutes of a scalp massage – no baking soda), then follow with the ACV rinse, I don’t get that weird crunchy texture. The only time I use the baking soda is if I get really sweaty and feel super dirty. Seems to be working for me!

    I have also ditched the old styling products for some natural homemade things. I use a little bit of coconut oil (itty bit, warm between my palms then spread through hair to control flyaways). I made a mixture to replace hair spray, too: sea salt dissolved in water with the juice of a lemon. I keep it in a plastic travel sized spray bottle and shake it up before using because the salt sometimes separates out. It can be drying, so I don’t use it every day but it gives me a nice “beachy” wave if I spray it on damp hair and let my hair air dry. I’ve switched to aluminum free deodorant and only wash my face with raw honey (plus a sprinkle of baking soda when I want more of a scrub).

    I feel so much better without all of those toxins hanging around!

  19. Thanks, Liz! Sorry this reply is so late in coming, but I really appreciate you taking the time to respond to my questions above. I switched over to some paraben-free, gluten-free, whatever-else free shampoo for now (cheating, I know), but I’m hoping to experiment with the Bubble and Bee products once I feel ready for another transition phase, ha. I’m a little nervous because their site says the shampoos often don’t work well with hard water, so if my water is the issue it might screw those up too. We’ll see–I’ll report back if I end up trying them out!

    Thanks again 🙂 Congrats on the OK! mention!That’s huge.

  20. Ok I’ve been trying this no poo technique (baking soda and ACV for about 2 months)- so far so good.. I have short straight hair (bob style hair). I use Arm & Hammer baking soda and Heinz Apple cider vinegar (will get Braggs brand after I used up this)…one question hairstylist told me not to rub my scalp too much when washing hair as my hair falls out A LOT…and it’s true…when I try to wash off the build up around my scalp, my hair fell out a lot on the shower and she noticed how my hair starts to get thinner…

    Any solutions to this? Do you rub your scalp when washing your hair with baking soda mixture?

    The way I wash my hair is this: first I wet it, then pour the baking soda mixture on my head and try to coat as much as possible..leave it for about a minute then later I pour ACV mixture and then rinse off everything. Since acid+base = neutral, I don’t get that stinky ACV smell.


    • Hm, I’m not sure Jos! I do massage my scalp a bit because it feels nice 🙂 But I don’t have an issue with too much hair falling out. The way you do it sounds good, because I’m guessing the ACV on top of the BS kind of creates a bit of a “rub” in its foaming action, no?

      Another option I’ve tried a few times – since I have LOTS of hair and it’s extremely long right now – is to add a little Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castille soap after pouring the baking soda over my hair. I was starting to “miss spots” and using SO much BS now that my hair is long, and a small dab (the size of a quarter) of castille soap stretches the baking soda a bit!

      • Thanks for the tips. I try not rubbing my scalp too much (i know it feels nice just like you said) and seems like it helps my hair not to fall off too much..maybe I’m just getting old that my hair doesn’t grow as much as it used to be 😀


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