Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Rose Tinted glasses and No Poo Technique.

Okay so in January or something like that this year... I do know it was months ago...

I came across No Poo on Pinterest.

I began to see a lot of pins and posts about the No Poo technique from one blogger in particular (more so than anyone else).

The blogger is Leah and she's a pretty awesome lady. Very onto it regarding No Poo and things to try from recipe suggestions. I think she's tried everything in her recipe list.

I'm now helping to moderate/ admin the Facebook group with her and 2 others. (There's a link to that in her blog).

Basically, I came across it; thought this is interesting. Wondered how it works, why it works (or doesn't), how often it needed to be done to do what it says it does... I came up with a bunch of questions - some had answers I could find through various blog posts and her Facebook group, other questions I had to seek for myself.

I thought that I would attempt this as a science experiment for a minimum of 6 weeks, and ultimate goal of sticking to it for 6 months. Well that was January, we're now into September.

I wanted to know some things about the technique: How does it work? (What makes it different from regular shampoo and conditioner?) How often does it need to be done? How long does it take for 'real' results to be seen? How does it work on different hair types - curly, chemically dyed, naturally coloured, lightened, darkened, henna'd hair etc?
Can it be used on children? What different forms are there, what technique works best overall, and why? What's the science behind it?  What do hairdressers think of it? What are the long term effects of doing this? Does it cause hair loss? Can it really help reverse signs of hair loss, balding? Why do so many people swear by it? Can it fail?

I thought the only 'real way' to be sure, was to attempt it for myself.
What's the worst that could happen? I could find out I have (another) allergy? I could become bald.

The Facebook group has grown from under 500 members to well over 2,000 between January and September this year. It continues to grow every day. Approximately 80% of the people who join found us by pinterest: then went to Leah's blog- read all her info, joined the Facebook group and started on their jounrney.

The method itself: (this is straight up copied from Leah's blog: http://coderedhat.com/no-poo-method/).
No Poo Method One – The BS Solution No Poo Recipe (favored by others, I prefer the Hair Paste Method *I prefer this one: Lisa*)
Create a solution of baking soda and water – 1 TBS of baking soda to 1 cup of water.Use distilled (not boiled) if you have hard water. Make sure the baking soda (bs) has completely dissolved. The solution should feel slippery in your hands (if it doesn’t add another TBS of baking soda). Store in squeeze bottle.
Create a solution of vinegar and water – 2 TBS of vinegar to 1 cup of water. Shake to combine. Store in spray bottle
WASH: In the shower, wet hair and using the pointed tip of the bottle, apply the baking soda solution to the roots of your hair and massage into your scalp with your fingertips using a circular motion. DO NOT apply to the entire length of your hair. Leave on till it starts to feel “slippery”. Leave on while you finish bathing then rinse WELL.

CONDITION: Spray the vinegar/water solution on the length of your hair, focusing on the ends. Leave this on for a a min or so before rinsing.
NOTES: Your hair will have no odor once it dries. You can add some essential oils to your hair brush to fragrance your hair if desired.

Now the method seems good, right? (There's actually 2 ways to do the No-Poo shampoo part, however I prefer the Solution method, for info on the "paste method" refer to Leah's blog.

I have also adjusted the ratios of the water and Baking Soda... and the water and vinegar.
Baking Soda (2 teaspoons) in 1 cup of water for the 'shampoo'.
50% vinegar and 50% water for the conditioner.

The reason I changed the ratios to these is simply because the high ratio of Baking Soda and water left my scalp itching. It increased my dandruff, (was not cool).
I also found that I like the smell of the vinegar - I've used both the white vinegar and the apple cider vinegar at different times-. The vinegar being an acid is good for the hair too.

Okay for the science behind it: 
Shampoo and Conditioner companies want you to do one thing: use a lot of their product so you need to buy more of it. (Simple consumerism). That's why you'll find a "rinse and repeat" part on the instructions.
Shampoos strip our hair of the natural oils we produce. These oils are called sebum and are released all the time. Commercial shampoos strip these oils, and cause our hair to feel dry, brittle, damaged and overly ick. (Sorry I have no other way to describe it).
Conditioners contain silicones, which coat our hair, and if we apply heat (even from showering) it is enough to make some of them stick like glue.

SCIENCE: Baking Soda is a base, when we mix it with vinegar (an acid) we see a reaction. It foams up and neutralises.
-- This is a great time to point out the fun of making volcanoes! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOc04z8jHaM
Bill Nye the Science Guy: he shows it: baking soda (bicarbonate soda) and vinegar ("a mild acid").
This is a common science experiment we see at school when we're learning about volcanoes.
Plenty of us educators use this experiment to teach about both volcanoes and scientific reactions: what happens when we mix an acid and a base? They effectively neutralise each other - and create carbon dioxide in the process.

Another step in the No Poo Method is removing some key ingredients from our hair products.
These are: Silicones (reasons to follow), Parabens, and Sulfates.

Derm Net (NZ) recommends avoiding Parabens as they can cause some horrible skin issues, now for someone like me with multiple allergies, and sensitive skin at play... this isn't a bad thing for me to eliminate. http://dermnetnz.org/dermatitis/parabens-allergy.html

Sulfates: are generally used as Surfactants which act as a kind of detergent (among other things).
http://www.naturalnews.com/036334_sulfates_skin_hair.html (To clarify, this link, I am joking with, it's to create some debate and see how many of you're checking what I link to. hehe.)

This is what I wrote for the No Poo Facebook page regarding Silicones: 

So people have been asking about products to use with blow drying hair, or while curling with heated curlers. You need to make sure you're either using things that are Silicone free or that you're using things that contain only naturally occurring silicones!-- Explanation below: https://www.facebook.com/groups/nopoo/permalink/187494531417060/

Did you all know there are two types of Silicones? The naturally occurring kind and the artificial kind.

This article talks about the silicones and how they differ if they're natural or artificial: not all silicones are equal. "Cyclomethicone is one of the most commonly used silicones in hair care. It’s a volatile silicone, which means it evaporates and won’t build up on your hair. It gives a silky, smooth feel and leaves the hair with incredible slip when wet and is found in both leave-on and rinse-off products."http://blackgirllonghair.com/2012/09/what-is-silicone-and-is-it-good-for-your-hair/

This article talks about the usage of 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioners and why they're a bad idea..http://www.naturallycurly.com/curlreading/products-ingredients/silicone-hair-products-not-so-bad-after-all I need to add, I've been told (by my own hairdresser) to avoid all 2 in one shampoo and conditioners: they open/close the hair shafts at the same time and this is what causes the hair to tangle. A closed hair shaft allows a brush or comb to slide past, an open hair shaft stops the comb/brush and causes tangles. For softer smoother hair, use each product individually.

Silicones might be in the ingredients, their endings are: -cone, -conol, and -xane.


These silicones aren't all bad - however, depends on if they're plant based or not .
Some are plant based and evaporate when heat is applied to them - those ones are good. The ones which don't evaporate and just stick on the hair end up just building up more and more  over time. This is a cumulative effect and is not seen as a positive thing for hair in this case.

Overall I have to say the technique is controversial, a lot of people can't wrap their head around the science of it, and can't seem to get over the fact I wash my hair every 3 or 4 days with Baking Soda + Vinegar.
I do a technique called Water Only on the days in between - s approximately every 48 hours I will 'wash' my hair with water, and condition with the same vinegar spray.

Took a while for my boyfriend and flatmate to be convinced that I wasn't insane and did want to try this. I am now still using it, I am going to continue for a while longer. I am experimenting with other recipes - I haven't tried many. I have also tried the Tea Rinse (it's acidic). But I didn't like how it left my hair. Wasn't for me. That's fine.

Not all the recipes and techniques described in Leah's blog (or on the Facebook group) work for everyone and it is a real test of trial and error to see what does work.

I'm looking for more reports about it on science journals, and I do need to talk to more hairdressers about it as an option for their clients. -- I had to teach my hairdresser about it, his notes were mentioned above. (In the Silicones section).
Long term effects: can't say I have seen too many negative ones. Hair fall seems to be in there - but it is also a normal effect of the scalp and renewing/ growing hair.

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