We interrupt your regularly scheduled program of travelogues to report on an RV-related success: I have made it through 6 months poo-free! Shampoo, that is! I used to have the kind of hair that needed to be washed practically every day. I could make it to every other day if I was willing to look like a total wreck on the second day, but it was not ideal. While we were hooked up to water and a sewer drain this summer, it was no problem to wash my hair daily, but there was no way I could keep that up over the winter. I knew we would spend several months off the grid, where we would want to make our 55 gallon water tank last for a week. Considering that we were going through those 55 gallons in about 3 days over the summer, I had some big changes to make!
I read about the idea of “no-poo” from several other full-time RV bloggers (Wheeling It and Technomadia), and I loved the premise: the no-poo program of baking soda and apple cider vinegar means less frequent washing, and less greasy hair in between those washings. What?! I could save water and look better, to boot? I was in!
The theory is, commercial shampoos contain strong detergents that strip the natural oils from our hair, which then causes our scalp to overproduce in response to the assault. The alternative cleansers are much less harsh, getting the job done without overstripping your hair’s natural defenses. And less oil production means that you can go longer between washings.
I did lots of research before I started, and I knew to expect a rough period at the beginning. Most of the tutorials warned the newbie to be prepared for a month or two of hair craziness, as your scalp gets used to the new routine. So, I waited until we were in between jobs, so that I wouldn’t look too wild while I was working. On our penultimate night at the campground job in September, I took the plunge. I kept waiting for the naughty hair to surface, but instead, things went great from the get-go. I took a daily photo for the first 3 weeks of the experiment, and I was amazed at how nice my hair looked.
Miracle of miracles, my hair took longer and longer to look and feel greasy! I was able to quickly move to washing every 3 days, and then every 4-5 days. It felt soft and manageable, smelled nice, and was easy to maintain. Apparently, my hair is still acclimating, because I’ve recently been able to go 6 days between washings! While some of the bloggers I follow only need to wash once every other week, my hair doesn’t seem to be quite that durable. I consider the experiment a huge success, since I only need to use a large amount of water about once a week.
While there’s tons of recipes out there, I’ve gone with the simplest version: I wash just my scalp with a mixture of 1 tablespoon of baking soda shaken (not stirred) into 1 cup of water. This concoction does not lather, so it does require a lot more scrubbing to work. Then I work a conditioning rinse through everything but my scalp, made of 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in 1 cup of water. Lately, my hair has felt dry, so I’ve been using Suave conditioner rather than the vinegar rinse. I think the dryness is coming more from the super-low humidity we’ve been in for a couple weeks (usually single digits!), and the fact that I need to get my hair cut and thinned. (On today’s agenda: go to a salon and get that done!)
I also got a boar bristle brush, which helps to redistribute your healthy oils down the length of your hair, and away from being concentrated on your scalp. That old adage about a hundred strokes every day? It really does make your hair look much better!
I couldn’t be happier with the results of this experiment! I am the least girly-girl girl on the planet, and my ideal “beauty” routine is one that takes the smallest amount of work. This fits the bill, and also means that we can easily spend a week at a time in lovely, remote places. Add me to the list of “no-poo” aficionados!