The Need: We have all heard about the “no-poo” trend before (heck, I’ve written about it in the past!) This typically involves women forgoing shampoo completely in favor of cleansing conditioners of sorts… baking soda… or other alternatives. Although most of us know that shampoo can strip and damage our hair overtime- messing up the natural oils from our scalp and creating dry strands- there is often one little problem: no-poo doesn’t work for everyone. Even though I fell hook line and sinker for the concept in years past, my hair always felt a little bit deflated when putting it into practice. Yes, it was softer and smoother and I found benefits to the idea. But I couldn’t shake the fact that my hair just wasn’t completely happy: it was lifeless, diminished, and under-achieving.
Never-the-less, the idea of switching back to shampoo seemed almost ludicrous at this point- like eating meat after lifelong vegetarianism- and took months to endeavor. After the recent witch hunt against shampoo (lets be honest: it’s getting vilified, guys!), how could I possibly put such an offensive monstrosity on my scalp? …. And then I did it. I shampoo’d my hair. Not only that, I did something wild and crazy- the literal antithesis of the no-poo movement. I over poo’d. I used a lot of poo. By the way, cosmetic diatribe aside, is anyone getting sick of my fecal-ly inspired sentences? Because I’m giggling like a fifth grader over here.
To be fair, this was my hair a few days after a recent blow dry.
Moving on. How do you “pro-poo” your hair? After getting it super wet in the shower or bath, fill your palm with equal amounts of at least two types of shampoos. Yes, really. I keep as many varieties as I can in my shower (the cheaper the better, in my case), and mix them up like Pollock on a painting bender. Call me crazy (not nearly as crazy as that time Melissa Joan Heart said letting mascara run down her face in the shower was the key to clear skin), but keeping my hair guessing and consistently changing the amalgum of shampoo has worked miracles in the volume department. Obviously, at this point you have no choice but to shampoo your hair as per usual and rinse.
Now here comes the crazy part: skip conditioner. Ok, not every time (what am I, a monster?), but at least once or twice a month aim to shampoo, rinse, gently comb strands and leave it. The rest of the time, apply conditioner only to your ends the way your momma told ya (or at least every magazine you’ve ever read). I know this sounds completely insane and some of you may be scoffing at the computer right now (nothing wrong with a good scoff now and again), but as G.Michael once said: you gotta have faith. Here is why: I have thick, coarse, dry, bleached, crazy wavy hair.I have the kind of hair that doesn’t even look wavy until Day 2 or 3 post washing, because it’s just an enormous ball of fluff until then. I have hair that laughs in the face of blow dryers (which is why I never use one), and is so off-texture from my blue eyed complexion, that I’ve legitimately wondered if I could call myself a “woman of color”. (Greek-Scott-ish or not, I seriously wish I could be another race, but unfortunately, we can’t choose.)
After washing, “plop” hair like this in a crazy, smushy bun
So how can a lady with the craziest, most wayward hair around get away with over shampooing and skipping conditioner now and again? I have literally no idea. I wish I was a scientist (just kidding, I would be terrible), but if I was one, I’d have some fascinating factoids to deliver proving my illogical theory. Instead, the only fact I have is how much better my hair has looked and felt the last 6 months, and the new-found inundation of compliments. I know that when my teenage dance students beg me for secrets for high volume, healthy, beach-looking hair… something is working (teenagers are like soothsayers of what’s acceptable in the land of beauty. Approach them carefully- judgement can be fierce).
And even though I have tons of volume, curl and shine, my hair does not feel extra dry or damaged (despite any and all evidence to the contrary). I truly don’t understand it, but I do know that I still try to limit washings to once every 3 – 4 days. I keep hair looking clean and fresh in between with a thorough massage of baby powder, a “plop” bun atop my head, and shaking it out after a few minutes. I’ve also been avoiding product entirely- no shine sprays, or mousses, or serums- just literally letting my hair breathe and ‘be’ as much as possible. I do comb it out every morning by Day 3 or 4 to avoid dread levels of tangles, but then coax it back to spiral shape with the babypowder + bun method.
Simple shampoo (sans extra products): see the end result on the right?
For those of you with straight hair, this could be a cool way to create more volume and a little texture. The same goes for anyone with fine or limp strands. Honestly, for some of you, this idea could be disastrous and simply not work. A lot of us need deep conditioning treatments and olive oil rubdowns, and I understand (if you’ve met my hair before, you’d know that I was- or rather am- technically one of those people). But for whatever reason, downsizing my routine to bare bones washings, fresh air, and natural techniques has truly changed my locks for the better… although it may take some time and patience for your scalp, oils and natural texture to adjust.
Girl got volume. Hey there, big hair!
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Speak Up: Would you ever try the Pro-Poo method/