Well, I've officially been "no 'poo" (i.e. I haven't used shampoo) for four weeks now! And it's going quite well so far, although I haven't yet reached my ultimate goal of using nothing but water.
It's been a long process for me to get to this stage, but like many things along my journey so far, I've found that baby steps is the way to go for me.
Coming from good Mediterranean stock (back a couple of generations now), I have *very* oily hair (and skin), and have washed my hair every day, ever since I can remember. I also have to wash it in the morning, otherwise it gets greasy and horrible overnight. Perhaps it's because of that, but I've also been quite anal about the look and feel of my hair ever since I can remember. I'm not big on styling or the use of "product" as such (I think I spent over 20 years looking for a "wash-and-wear" hair style, without success), but I just can't cope with it feeling at all greasy, or sitting flat on my head, or hanging in my face in any way.
So it took quite a while to work up to trying bicarb soda "shampoo" and apple cider vinegar "conditioner" - and when I did, I ended up with a horrible itchy rash on my head and neck after three days! Back to square one.
What I ended up doing when my regular shampoo ran out was to try one of the natural, organic shampoos. I didn't like the first one at all, it didn't feel like it cleaned my hair properly, so I put it in the cupboard and tried another one. The second one, whilst I felt like it also didn't clean my hair quite as well as my original petro-chemical-filled shampoo, was not too bad, so I persisted with it. I have very short hair, so it took me about 5-6 months to use up that bottle. When I did, I got out the first bottle of natural shampoo I had tried, and found that, like the prior product I was using, it didn't clean my hair quite as well as I would have liked, but it was OK enough for me to persist with it, which I did. It's my feeling that the oil level in my hair had slowly adjusted over the previous six months or so - plus I was more used to the feel of hair that wasn't squeaky clean - which then allowed to me cope with the original organic shampoo I tried (when I had hated it the first time around).
Fast forward another six months, and I was coming to the end of that bottle. Dilemma! I was really keen to ditch the 'poo altogether, but I was worried about the bicarb rash I got the first time I had used it, so I had been vaguely looking at using some sort of home made shampoo made from (the herb) soapwort - but I hadn't (still haven't, I'm going to try seeds) been able to find any plants to grow, and dried soapwort root is not cheap to buy...
Then I wondered if perhaps using a much smaller amount of bicarb, diluted in a lot of water (as opposed to the paste I made up for my first experiment) would prevent the rash forming? I also didn't like the way the apple cider vinegar had left my hair feeling in my first experiment, and I had about a third of a bottle of commercially-bought organic conditioner left to use up. So - as of a month ago - Trial #2 has been a combination of a tiny amount of bicarb soda (about a teaspoon) dissolved in about 1 cup of water, massaged into the roots of my hair and rinsed out thoroughly, followed by the teensiest amount of conditioner (about the size of a pea) to smooth my hair down (I've tried it without the conditioner but it left my hair feeling coarse and it didn't style well).
It's working! I've had a small amount of itching on my scalp, but nothing too major, and I haven't had the recurrance of the rash I had the first time around (yet?), luckily. In the same way that the change to the two previous shampoos did, my hair does feel slightly oilier, but nothing like it did in my first bicarb experiment, probably because my hair has had many months to slowly adjust it's oiliness, rather than going "cold turkey" like I did orginally. I'd now like to go completely bicarb free, but I have very fine hair which I am finding still needs some hairspray to keep it in place and stop it sitting flat on my head like a helmet! (Very unnatractive, LOL). So the dilemma is, if I am still using hairspray, I still need to use something to wash it out. Bit of a vicious cycle I think: if I go bicarb free, I might not need the hairspray any more, but I'm still too chicken to give it up completely ;-)
With the weather getting colder here though, a) I am less sweaty, therefore my hair is less oily, and b) I could get away with wearing a beanie (although I despise the things, I look ridiculous in them!). Therefore I'm thinking of having a trial of using just warm water alone in the upcoming July school holidays, when I won't need to go up to the school twice a day looking like a complete yobbo, LOL. I'll let you know how I go!
In the meantime, if you aren't already following the trials of various members in the "No 'Poo" thread on Aussies Living Simply, the link is here.