If you read Part 1 of this (I’m hoping you have) you know that I researched a TON before diving into going no poo. If you HAVEN’T read it yet, here’s the link: http://herbivorehomemaker.com/my-no-poo-experience-shampoo-free-part-1/ Anyways, despite all the research,  I failed (but, you already know that).  Since that moment of defeat (a very greasy haired moment of defeat), I have tried to figure out what went wrong. Call me an optimist, but I’d like to try to go no poo again.  So, I have researched EVEN MORE since ending the no poo experience. If you are wanting to go no poo or if you’re simply curious as to why I failed (which is an interesting enough reason on its own I think) keep reading!  Hopefully these tips and suggestions come in handy. Failure has its perks. 

THINGS I WISH I HAD KNOWN BEFORE GOING NO-POO (reason’s I think I failed/tips for going no-poo):

Boar Bristle hair brush (& scritching & preening):

When I went no-poo, I had read about the important of a good bristle brush, scritching and preening, and using a comb to detangle.  Instead of getting an ACTUAL boar bristle hair brush I foolishly got a cheap plastic imitation at Target.  DO NOT do what I did.  The savings are not worth it.  Spend the extra money and get a proper hair brush. This is the one I purchased (before I went vegan): Boar Bristle Hair Brush Set for Women and Men – Designed for Thin and Normal Hair – Adds Shine and Improves Hair Texture – Wood Comb and Gift Bag Included (black)

This link shares WHY I ended up buying a bristle boar brush: http://empoweredsustenance.com/boar-bristle-brush-benefits/
If you aren’t vegan and want to purchase a bristle boar brush, I would strongly suggest getting the one linked above since the boar’s are not harmed or killed in the harvesting of the bristles AND it works great! However, if you are vegan, a great alternative to the boar bristle brush is a sisal hair brush. In my research on it, the Cebra brand seems to be high quality.  Here is a link to their website: https://www.cebraethicalskincare.com/eco-friendly-vegan-sisal-hairbrush/ 

BUY A QUALITY BRUSH! It’s well worth the investment.  

On a random side note, are you wondering HOW to scritch and preen? Basically you massage your scalp with your fingers for a few minutes, then spread the oils from your scalp down your hair with your fingers AND THEN distribute your scalp oil (called sebum) with your brush.  Here’s a good video on it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gKjl_D3knM Truthfully, I DON’T do this all that often.  I scritch a couple of times a week and then flip my hair upside down and brush it, and then flip my head back up and comb through it with a wooden comb.  I haven’t preened all that much because it takes awhile.  BUT, the little I do seems to make a difference.

-PH balanced shampoo: THIS IS SOOO IMPORTANT! I didn’t realize HOW important it was until about half way through my no-poo journey.  Fail on my part.  Anyways, I know I already talked about this some in my Part 1 post about going no-poo but I wanted to briefly cover it again because it REALLY is super vital for the health of your scalp.   If you don’t have a PH balanced shampoo, your hair can end up too greasy or too dry.  This can result in dandruff, itchiness, and other problems on your scalp.  You can buy PH testing strips at health food stores, or you can estimate what the PH is.  I have compiled a list of approximate PH values relevant to no-poo methods to help any who are interested.  If you don’t trust me (it’s okay if you don’t, I don’t always trust me either), here’s a link to a somewhat similar list: https://www.teachengineering.org/content/cub_/activities/cub_air/cub_air_lesson06_activity2_phvalues.pdf

Common PH Values:

2= Lemon

2.2= Vinegar

3.67= Hair shaft

4.5= Raw honey

4.5-5.5= Human Scalp and Aloe Vera Gel

5.5= Rye flour

5.5-6= Human skin

6.6= Milk

6-7= Cucumber

6-7.3= Glycerin

7= Pure water (neutral)

7.4= Human blood

8.3= Baking soda

8-9= Castile Soap

13= Lye

-Hard water: About half way through my no-poo experience, I discovered we had hard water.  I had suspected it before, but upon much reading that hard water can totally screw up one’s attempts to go no-poo, I realized I had to find out.  Once I found out we had hard water, I bought shower head filters, but the minerals still made their way through (darn minerals!). I found out recently that’s because you have to get a water softener in addition to filters.  Good grief.


Here’s a good article on the signs of hard water so that you can determine if your water is hard or soft: https://hubpages.com/living/Top-5-Telltale-signs-of-Hard-Water

These are the top 3 worst effects we have due to hard water:

    1. We get crazy mineral deposits ALL THE TIME.  For instance, a ring around the toilet and bath tub happen in less than a week!  It’s crazy.  It looks like I never clean (ok, sometimes it IS because I haven’t cleaned for awhile, but…we don’t need to go there).
    2. My hubby is SUPER sensitive (as in he gets so sick it’s like he has the stomach flu) to water with minerals.  He cannot drink any of the tap water in our house.  Not even a sip.
    3. When you pour tap water into a glass of water it tends to look a bit cloudy.  NASTY! Thankfully, we have an under sink filter that ALSO de-mineralizes/soften’s the water for our kitchen sink, so we can get filtered water in the kitchen.  BUT STILL.

One of these days we’ll get a water softener.  When we get one, we want to get a whole house one. They’re pretty pricey so that’s why we haven’t gotten one yet.

-Low porosity vs high porosity hair:  I have what is considered to be ‘low porosity’ hair.  This means it’s very hard for my hair to absorb product of any kind.  This also means my hair takes longer to dry.  I believe this is partly why my hair got so greasy.  Most of the wonderful natural no poo ingredients just sat on my hair.  How nice of them.  They were quite literally suffocating my hair with grease.  When I go no-poo again, I’ll have to look into finding a DIY no-poo method that is good for my type of hair.  

A quick test to see how porous your hair is can be done by putting your hair to float in a bucket of water.  If it floats, even after a day or more, you have low porous hair (like me!).  If it eventually sinks, you have normal porousness.  If it sinks quickly, you have high porosity.  For more information about this, and to see what the porosity of your hair is, please see the following link: http://thenopoomethod.com/porosity/

Even if you don’t go no-poo, the information in knowing what type of porosity your hair is can aid in your hair care routine so you can figure out what products would be best for your hair.

-THIS no-poo recipe: Based on what I learned from my own no-poo experience, I think this recipe would work great.  For starters, it DOESN’T have castile soap.  I love castile soap for so many things, but NOT for my hair.  Also, based on the ingredients, it looks like this no-poo method would be pretty PH balanced AND work as a 2 in 1 shampoo.  Here is the link for any people wanting to try it out: https://almostexactlyblog.com/2013/10/21/problems-with-no-poo-or-low-poo-heres-the-holy-grail-of-natural-shampoos

It does contain honey, so I won’t be trying it (although when I originally wrote this I wasn’t yet vegan so, full disclosure, I intended to try it) BUT so far it is the best option I have found and wanted to share it for any non-vegans that are looking to go no-poo.  Hopefully I can find a good vegan no-poo option to try.  If anyone knows of one, please let me know.

-Soapwort as a shampoo: I have wanted to try it but haven’t gotten around to it yet (STILL in recovery from my no-poo experience).  It SEEMS like it would be something that would ACTUALLY work.  Basically, soapwort is a type of herb that actually can be boiled and strained to make shampoo. Apparently it suds up and leaves your hair feeling grease-free (HOORAY!). Of course, maybe it would be a fail too (maybe my hair is anti-natural stuff, who knows?) BUT it is something I have high hopes for in regards to when I try to go no-poo again.  It’s on my ‘must try’ list.  Since I HAVEN’T tried it, here’s a great link about how to make shampoo with it, if you’re feeling adventurous: http://www.natural-homeremedies-for-life.com/homemade-soapwort-shampoo.html

-Everyone has such different hair:   At the end of the day, everyone is SO different (but, you know that already).  This is ESPECIALLY true when it comes to cleaning your hair.  I read so many blog posts with people promising that their no-poo method was the magical one, the one destined to work no matter what, the one that would make you rue the days when you had to use AWFUL store bought shampoo!  I got my hopes up so many times, only to have my heart left in the dust, shattered in pieces, broken once again by false promises (AND longing for store bought shampoo).  Okay, it wasn’t really THAT bad but I would get frustrated thinking to myself that these people MUST be frauds and that it probably didn’t really work for them (the no-poo experience legit started messing with my mind people).  After the no-poo experience, I read accounts of people that were no-poo having to switch up their no-poo routine from time to time.  Some people had to do something different EVERY TIME they washed their hair. Some people had to give up doing it after a time.  It made me feel better. Even these expert bloggers didn’t have it all together.  It also made me realize that WHEN I go no-poo again that I will have to remember it is a very personal journey (sounds funny, I know, it’s JUST hair, but it IS true). Yes, I will make a list of things to try, but I’m not going to freak out (okay, maybe I will a little, it’s how I am) if something doesn’t work.  I’ll move on and keep searching.  At least I’m low poo.  I don’t know, maybe I’m TECHNICALLY not low-poo, but I like to think of myself as low poo.  I only need to wash my hair once a week now and I feel content for now with my shampooing routine.  So, here’s to hair! And all the craziness that comes with it in keeping it clean and presentable looking.

Quick recap: before going no poo do the following…

    1. Make sure your water isn’t hard water.
    2. Make sure you use a PH balanced no poo method.
    3. A quality brush is a must!
    4. Find out the porosity of your hair.  
  1. Are there any other reasons you think I failed going no-poo?  What do you think of the reasons I failed?  Did one of the points particularly stand out to you?  Thoughts?  Questions? Let me know in the comments below (seriously, leave a comment.  I always get excited when people comment.  Just ask my hubby).  
Written by Rebekah
I'm a vegan homeschooling mom of 4, DIY addict, & natural health advocate.