April Extreme Challenge

>> Saturday, April 3, 2010

Here's your extreme challenge for April:

Go No 'Poo

"No 'poo" is slang in the green world for "no shampoo." What it really means is that you wash your hair with baking soda and rinse with apple cider vinegar, and you wash your hair less often.

Why go no poo?
  • To save money. Compare a $5 bottle of shampoo to a $1 box of baking soda.
  • To save packaging. Shampoo and conditioner usually come in plastic bottles, and even if you recycle those, their next life is probably a park bench. Baking soda comes in a cardboard box and vinegar in a glass jar, and because you only use a small amount each time you wash your hair, you end up using a lot less packaging.
  • To avoid potentially harmful chemicals. Although there are plenty of eco-friendly, less toxic shampoos and conditioners on the market, what could be less harmful than baking soda and vinegar?
  • To live naturally. Hey parents, have you ever noticed how long you can go without washing your kids hair? Supposedly, that's how hair is supposed to be, and if you wash it less and put fewer chemicals on it, your hair can look that natural, luscious, and shiny too.
Those are the main reasons I've thought of. If you've gone no poo, why did you do it?

There are several methods for going no poo. Here's one:
  1. Obtain a couple old squirt bottles such as old shampoo bottles, salad dressing bottles, or sports bottles.
  2. Fill one bottle with a ratio of 1 Tbsp. baking soda to 1 c. water. Fill the other bottle with a ratio of 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar to 1 c. water. If desired, you can add a few drops of essential oil to the apple cider vinegar solution to cover the smell.
  3. Squeeze some of the baking soda solution on to your scalp and massage for a few seconds. You're aiming to clean your scalp, not your hair. Leave on while you wash your body and then rinse out.
  4. Squeeze some of the vinegar solution on to your hair. Leave on for a few seconds and then rinse.
I've read that there's an "adjustment period" while your hair returns to it's natural state and starts producing less grease. Then you'll be able to wash your hair less and less - some people go as long as a week!

Want to see no poo in action? Here are a few bloggy friends that have gone no poo:
Here's what my family will be doing:

Last month's challenge was easy peasy. This one, I'm not excited about. At all.

I'm starting this challenge late this month because of spring break, but I'm committing to try no poo for at least a month. I'm really nervous about it because of the supposed adjustment period. I'm also skeptical.

My sister the cosmetologist only washes her hair every other day, or even every third day, and she has gorgeous hair. She told me that if you stop washing your hair so often, your body will adjust and produce less grease, and that hair is healthier when it's not washed so much. So I gave it a go...For a whole year, I gave it a go! I kept thinking, "Soon my head will catch on that it doesn't need to make so much grease." But it never did! Finally after a year, I was tired of looking awful every other day, and I went back to daily washings. And that is why I don't believe no poo will work for me. But we'll see!

Will you accept the April Extreme Challenge to go no poo for a month? Let me know in the comments what your family will be doing.

You have hereby been challenged to go green in a year without going broke! Check out the last challenge, or view the whole list of Challengicious Mondays. Sign up for my RSS feed, follow me on Twitter, and join my "Go Green without Going Broke" group on Facebook!


Wonder-ful April 3, 2010 at 5:23 PM  

I made the switch to shampoo bar, but the upside to it (other than not having to switch shampoos after 3 washes due to skin reactions) was that I really could go a week without washing my hair. I started timing it so that activities that would require a shower afterwards (yard work, colorguard clinics, our home version of "last chance workout") occured right before an event or day when I felt I needed to be squeeky clean (like Sunday mornings).

Speaking of... just finished 3 days of painting, cleaning/dusting, pricing, and yard selling. I'm so craving that shower!

Also, I'm able to go months with just one shampoo bar. A double sized bar from the Etsy seller would require no more plastic than the regular bar, and last me most of the year.

Big change from 2 different shampoos a month.
((I may go ahead and try no poo though. It's just one month))

Debra April 3, 2010 at 9:46 PM  

I have been no poo for almost one year and I love it. My initial reason for the change was to reduce plastic consumption. The reason I stay no poo is the convenience of washing every seven to ten days while still looking good in between. I had no greasy "adjustment" period. I have thick, wavy hair that is mid-back length, and live in So Cal with hard water. 1 T BS to 2 cups water works well as a cleaner for me, and 1 T ACV to about 3 cups cooler water and a few drops of rosemary essential oil does a good job as a detangler.

DramaMama April 3, 2010 at 10:23 PM  

I'm w/you Wonder-ful. We use a shampoo bar too. I did it first and just didn't buy any shampoo when it ran out for hubby. I wash my hair every other day and use no other product. I am really happy w/it! I wrote about my transition on my blog...I have really thick wavy wiry hair. I guess I never had much trouble w/oil...maybe a little at the beginning but I guess I was determined not to quit. I found a local supplier so that helps too, but otherwise, yeah, I'd go to etsy. Good luck!

Shona~ LALA dex press April 4, 2010 at 8:06 AM  

Initially when I tried it I did not know about the apple cider vinegar + it was a mess. I've been using baking soda + apple cider vinegar since around Thanksgiving last year + have no plans on going back. I wash my hair every 4 days now + love the way it makes my hair feel.

Cherie April 4, 2010 at 9:27 AM  

Erin - thanks for posting this as lately I've been considering going no 'poo. Thanks for giving detailed instructions. Once I went no 'poo and had a hard time coordinating everything in the shower. It seemed too much trouble so I quit. It never occurred to me to use old sports bottles to premix everything.

Right now I only shampoo every other day and seems to work for the most part. I've tried to go for three days but my hair gets too greasy.

I'm going to use up the shampoo I have and then try this. A while back I purchased some shampoo bars but haven't used them yet - maybe I should use those up as well....

Tara @ Green St April 4, 2010 at 7:13 PM  

I have tried to go no poo and my hair was so oily I could not stand it. I have been using a shampoo bar for a while and just recently tried out a new shampoo bar that my kids love.

My Shampoo bar normally lasts 1 month with myself, hubby and our 5 kids.

Sense of Home April 4, 2010 at 10:02 PM  

You're brave, I have not tried this yet. I use Burt's Bees shampoo, it is natural and like it but the point of using fewer plastic bottles gives me something to consider.

KaKi April 5, 2010 at 10:04 AM  

I am interested to hear from people with fine hair. I will admit, I have NEVER tried this. But so far what I have read, all the people have thick hair. Fine, thin hair is a whole different ballgame. I guess you can tell this makes me nervous. I am more vain than even I think!!! :-) After I use this bottle of shampoo, I am going to try the bar. Maybe try to go every other day without washing my hair????

DownDoggin in MN April 5, 2010 at 2:24 PM  

I'm with you on this one. I've been slowly making the switch over to no poo shampoo by using baking soda but I still use shampoo about every 4-5 days. I have yet to go no poo when it comes to conditioner. I have long hair, about to my waist and really don't want a snarly mess. Your chellenge has given me the final push, I picked up my apple cider vinegar over the weekend so I’m giving it a try tomorrow morning. Can wait to hear how it goes for you!

Erin aka Conscious Shopper April 5, 2010 at 2:36 PM  

DownDoggin in MN - I think it might work better with short/medium length hair, but on the other hand, if your hair looks bad with long, you can always put it in a pony tail or braid it. I've always thought that was probably one reason women always wore their hair up back in the olden days.

jules April 6, 2010 at 12:43 PM  

I have been 'no poo' for about a year not. At first I tried it just washing with BS, no AC vinegar. The key here is the AC vinegar. My hair felt much better once I did both. I have short, fine hair. I find I need to shampoo at least every 3rd day. Otherwise it just looks greasy. In between, I have to water it down to get rid of the 'bed head', which might contribute to the greasy look. When I do use shampoo, it just doesn't feel as clean anymore.

I realized that my mom used to use AC vinegar on my long hair growing up when we were out of conditioner, and also as a detangler, so there must be something to it.

Diane April 7, 2010 at 8:27 AM  

Great challenge! I'll be no poo for a year in May, and I love it! The adjustment period is certainly the challenging aspect, and it takes awhile for the hair to go from washing, say, every day to once or twice a week. I wash mine twice a week now, and it's not the least bit oily or greasy. And my hair is so much curlier and easier to style. Do I look like a super model? No, I still look like me. But it takes a lot less time to look like me, and I definitely have fuller, healthier hair. I'm cheering you all on!!!

A Green Spell April 9, 2010 at 7:37 PM  

I have been making my own shampoo or using baking soda for two years now. And I NEVER wash my hair more than once every two days. I used to have EXTREMELY oily hair, but since I stopped washing so often, I don't have that problem anymore. I did go through a period of yucky adjustment, but it was totally worth it and I won't go back!

82andsunny April 10, 2010 at 3:05 AM  


I went searching for this and discovered it has been just over two years since I went no-poo. And I never looked back. :)

Anonymous,  April 26, 2010 at 2:01 PM  

I'm on day 15 and I can go about 3 days before I need to wash my hair. Between baking soda washes, I wet my hair with hot water and message my scalp and rinse with whatever herbal tea (lavender and rosemary are my fave) I have made and then rinse with cool water. I let it air dry if I have time. I love it! I've had a few greasy days, but not bad. I always thought I've had straight hard to manage hair....really, I have wavy hair, that does it's own thing, and looks great! No one can tell I've stopped using shampoo. --Liz

Erin aka Conscious Shopper April 26, 2010 at 8:56 PM  

@Liz - You're doing better than me! My hair is still looking fine, but feeling weird. It feels like I have product in it, but I don't. I might try your trick of wetting and rinsing with tea between washes. But I'm still sticking with it for at least another couple weeks, and then we'll see.

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