Thursday, June 2, 2011


Ok, guys. Now that my big D.C. trip is all recorded and preserved for posterity (I can't promise I won't lose my mind someday and not be able to recall any of it), I have a confession to make. Please don't disown me. It was just something I had to do.

I started pooing again.

You know, shampooing. My hair. In the shower. Regularly.

It all started in D.C. My hair was, how can I put it nicely? Uncooperative. To put it meanly: jacked the eff up. And I think it had something to do with the humidity. But in reality, the problem had been festering for months and it kind of came to a head in D.C.'s balmy air.

So let's back up to about, oh, January. This was when Smush started to wean and his feedings dropped considerably. I noticed all sorts of wonkiness suddenly happening in my body, including greasy, unmanageable hair. At this point, I had been successfully no-pooing for nearly two years, so I didn't think it could have anything to do with that. No, even now I'm certain it was my hormones, first and foremost. Nursing slows down, estrogen picks back up, face explodes with acne, hair explodes with grease. And the second issue was the fact I was stupidly trying to grow my hair out at the same time as the hormone bomb went off.

I figured out quickly that hormone explosion + growing out hair + no-poo = unpredictable grease-headed awfulness.

I got a little haircut in February, at which time my hairdresser washed my head with shampoo. Yes, I had an affair with shampoo back in February and my hair girl was the accomplice. Everything felt great again and I figured I'd be good to no-poo from that point on. Certainly, my hair would forgive me ... ?


A few weeks (maybe even days?) passed and I was back to being an ugly greaseball again, much to my sorrow.

So, I did what any good no-pooer would do and I washed with baking soda and vinegar. Like, 3 or 4 days in a row. And it helped very little. Actually, I'll admit it made things worse because my ends got really dry and my roots stayed greasy. Not to mention my head itched like it was constantly being attacked by a swarm of ants. Winning!

But I stubbornly endured. I didn't want to falter on the No-Poo Path to Greatness. I wanted to stick with it. I really did! So I just kept at it. Even though I looked worse than trailer trash my scalp was on fire. I kept on, DANGIT!

Sometime in March, maybe early April, I got the (somewhat desperate) idea that maybe I just needed to embrace my curly hair and stop straightening it. Curly hair kind of needs grease, right? Well, it made sense in my addled brain. So, I tried that for a few days and ended up not liking it at ALL. It was still greasy, only now the top was flat and the ends were all frizzy and crap. It just wasn't happening.

Mid-April, I got desperate and started using a teeeeeeny, tiiiiiiiiny amount of Dill's Head and Shoulders in the shower, along with the cone-free Suave conditioner I'd been using for the past 2 years. A very small amount of shampoo, just enough for my bangs, temples and the itchy parts of my head. My head practically sighed with relief. It stopped itching and my roots were no longer mangled with grease. YEAH, BABY! But then, I tried to style it. Oh no, my hair was like straw! And ridden with fly-aways! And FLAT everywhere!

But at least my head stopped burning. I'll take what I can get.

I kept up this shampoo theft (sorry, Dill) for a few weeks and then we were headed off to D.C. I don't know what I was expecting there but it was NOT flat, lifeless hair. But that's exactly what happened, of course! The first day, I told you I tried to wave my hair with my flat-iron and it was the biggest joke of all time. So on the second day, I bought some hairspray at a CVS in Crystal City so I could wear my hair curly, but that was a joke, too. Luckily, the air dried up quite a bit before the wedding so I was able to blow it out and straighten it for the special occasion (aka PICTURES), and it stayed nice. But it was then I realized my hair had a serious problem and it would need to be remedied ASAP.

When I got back to Phoenix I gave in and made the decision to quit no-pooing. I felt like I had failed and I was kind of sad, but let's face it -- my hair had changed since I'd begun the no-poo routine and it NEEDED shampoo. However, I didn't want to go back to the drying, sulfate-laden shampoo and 'cone-filled conditioner of my past. Not after all the reading I'd done about how damaging they are!
Basically, the no-poo philosophy is NO shampoo whatsoever. But there's another way, a less-scary way: Lo-poo. It's about shampooing less, and using sulfate-free, non-drying products to cleanse your hair when you (infrequently) do.

I promptly went to Wal-Mart (when am I ever NOT at Wal-Mart?) when I got back and browsed their sulfate-free shampoo options. One in particular stuck out to me, called SimplyU. It was cheap, said "paraben and sulfate-free" on the bottle and seemed like it could work. So I bought it. A huge bottle for less than $5.

I've been using it for about 2 weeks now and I really like it (good thing, since I have so much). Since it doesn't contain sulfates, it doesn't lather up a whole lot and it doesn't leave your hair feeling squeaky clean like regular shampoo does. But that's kind of the point -- you don't want that squeaky feeling, because that means your hair is as dry as a bone. And even without the sulfates, it cleans really well -- I've only had to wash my hair every 3 days or so. And no more fire-scalp! I still use the cone-free Suave conditioner, too.

So, the story of how I broke up with no-poo. I still stand by it and think it's GREAT for short hair. Like, pixie cuts and no-poo are seriously made for each other. But, at least for me, longer hair needs shampoo. So I am using shampoo again, but it's sulfate-free and I only wash 2-3 times a week tops. I think that's a good compromise.

If you're still wanting to try no-pooing but think it might kill you, take a step in between and go lo-poo. Most major drug stores have sulfate-free shampoos. I know L'Oreal has a line called EverPure that is supposed to be good. There's also Burt's Bees and Say Yes to Carrots that might be excellent more natural options. Or head to Wal-Mart and try SimplyU!

Remember how cute I was with short hair? Well ...
Long hair, here I come!
(and if that doesn't work out, I'll just hack it all off again. No biggie.)


  1. i am probably the one person in the world who things your long hair is the way to go! i know everybody loves your pixie cut, but i thought to myself.. how could she cut that pretty, curly hair?! i am envious because my hair is so blah and boring. anyway, good luck with your grow out stages!

    i've been using burts bees sulfate free shampoo for years and really like it.

  2. That's really helpful Jenna! I have been wanting to find a good shampoo and wash my hair less so you've helped me tonz!

  3. I love the lo-poo idea. I only shampoo my hair like 2 times a week and just condition it the rest of the time. I think it lets the good oils stay in to moisturize, but makes sure they don't overrun your hair and create a grease ball.

  4. Hello Jenna. My name is Kate and I'm here to escort you off the property. Please turn in your badge.

    Kidding! Lo-poo is a wonderful option and you have my support. :)

    xoxo Kate--No-Pooer for Life!

  5. I like the longer hair! Go for it!

  6. Ahhh! Kate found you out!

    Jenna, I loved reading this. It was like reading a sordid affair. Sorry that your hair does not like the no poo anymore.

    After I weaned #2 (before I got preggo with #3) things were so weird for me. I ended up taking Vitex to help regulate hormones and it helped a lot. Beware it does make you super fertile, but it helped my body get back to where it should be.

  7. Thanks for your comment on my blog the other day! I've officially decided to join the "lo-poo" club too :) In all honesty - I just couldn't stand the way I smelled after rinsing with apple cider vinegar. I'm all for a good house cleaning with the stuff...but on my head I felt like that looney tunes skunk with a stench following me everywhere. haha So now I alternate between regular shampoo and the baking soda rinse. But its regular conditioner for me - no more vinegar.

    As for the OCM - I think I just wasn't able to remove all my makeup well enough with it, so my pores were clogging up and then flaring up. I like how moisturizing it was though - so we shall see if I can find a happy medium.

    Thanks for all your advice :)

  8. I don't think I would ever go 'poo free, but I've always washed less than others. Probably 2-4 times a week. I, however, don't get my hair wet on the in between days. Yes, I use the shower cap like an old lady. But it works really well for me, and cuts down on the get ready time since you're hair just needs a freshen and you're ready to go. And I've had long and short hair washing like this, so that's something you might consider.


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