Color treated hair: skipping shampoo

5 years ago

I've been "no poo" (without shampoo) for over a week now (see previous post)! When I first researched this method, I am embarassed to say that it never occurred to me that my experience might be different due to the fact that I regularly have my hair highlighted. It was Calley, The Eco Chic, who pointed out that we were both having a lot of dry, tangly hair and that we both have color-treated hair!

I will say that my hair was much drier than everyone online said theirs was. Most people seemed to struggle with too much oil, but not me! I'd also noticed that when I blow dried my hair, it took much longer than usual. It used to take me 10 minutes or so to blow dry, but since I've been doing "no poo", I'd dry it for 15 minutes and still find wet spots.

Fortunately, when I went to get my hair cut last week the hair advisor there helped me understand how color treated hair is different than natural hair. Here's what I learned from her:

Problem: Color treated hair is more porous. Baking soda is a substance that makes things more porous. So you can imagine how fragile the baking soda can make color treated hair. This is also why it started taking so long to dry - my hair was just sucking up all the water and holding it in like a sponge.


Solution 1: If you have color treated hair, you don't want to use baking soda every day (like I was doing... oops!). Not even every-other-day. Probably more like once a week, at the most.


Solution 2: Keep up with the apple cider vinegar! Sue even suggested the ACV before she knew that was part of the "no poo" routine. So what I'm doing now is wetting my hair in the shower but only rinsing with the ACV. I haven't used baking soda at all since last week.


Solution 3: Use some kind of moisturizing oil on the scalp. Since I have a flaky scalp and the baking soda wasn't helping, Sue suggested that I massage Aveda's Balancing Infusion for Dry Skin into my scalp regularly. Because it's typically used on the face it doesn't block pores, and it won't lay heavily on top of hair to make it greasy. There are also a lot of other oils you could try, such as argan oil. I have also read about a lot of "no poo" folks using coconut oil, which is much cheaper, I'm sure. Whatever you use, just put a few drops in your palms and work it into your scalp before getting into the shower. I like to let the steam from the shower help the oil soak in for a while before rinsing with the apple cider vinegar.


So there you have it - my tweaked "no poo" routine for color-treated hair!

I started using the Balancing Infusion oil on my scalp and have only used baking soda once, and only at my temples where the hair gets a little oily. I rinse with apple cider vinegar at a ratio of 1/4 cup ACV to 1 cup water almost every day. I immediately saw an improvement in my hair. It's not nearly as dry, and I can run my fingers through it with no tangles in the shower. I think this is the kind of results most "no poo" users report, and I'm excited to be on my way to permanent "no poo"!

How about you? What are some challenges you've encountered if you've tried to go "no poo"?


Jenny Bradford is a WAHM living right next to Dallas, TX who blogs at Conscientious Confusion (a blog about living consciously) and works in social media part-time.

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