By: Ava Alderman: Before I try to answer this question, I want to clarify what “no poo” means as it relates to hair. Essentially, it means that you are going to commit to washing your hair and scalp with something other than commercially available shampoo, which can contain harsh chemicals that strips your hair and scalp of the natural oils that many people feel are healthy.
People use different substances to get their hair clean without shampoo. Some just use water. Others use baking soda. Or apple cider vinegar. Or even gentle conditioner, since conditioners have less harsh ingredients with enough of a cleaning agent to get your hair clean.
Many people with curly or wavy hair embrace the “no poo” movement because it allows their curls to not get fried by shampoo. It makes curls soft and it helps control frizz.
If you are suffering from hair loss, “no poo” may sound very intriguing to you. During the worst parts of my hair loss, I hated washing my hair so much. It was traumatic every time. So I tried “no poo.” And I can tell you what happened for me and for some others who tried this experiment with me. Initially, it was a relief because less hair was coming out during grooming. But within a week or two, my hair loss got worse.
And here is my theory as to why. I believe that my hair loss (which was chronic telogen effluvium with some miniaturization thrown in) was always made worse by inflammation. Not washing it as much didn’t allow the inflammation to get kicked back or under control. In my own case, I found that using an anti-inflammatory shampoo helped me both in terms of hair loss and the pain in my scalp. So when I was no longer using something strong enough to help with inflammation, the loss got worse, at least that’s my theory.
Plus, if you are losing hair due to androgens or DHT, no poo may not allow you as much of an opportunity to at least wash some of those substances off of your scalp.
Now, my experience may not be true of every one. If your hair loss was due to some sort of allergic reaction to harsh grooming or hair products, then no poo may help. Baking soda and diluted apple cider vinegar can be pretty gentle to even those who are very sensitive. So I don’t think it hurts to give it a try and then if you notice worsening hair loss, you can stop.
What I wouldn’t recommend is just not washing at all. Some people use dry shampoo or come to hope that the hair and scalp is self-cleaning. In my own experience, it’s not. I think that it’s important to clean your scalp of debris and build up. You don’t want your follicles getting clogged or blocked. You want as healthy a scalp as possible so that you can support healthy hair growth.
I know that everyone is different. But for me, the key was bringing the down the inflammation in numerous ways. No poo just didn’t allow for that. You can read more about my experiences on my blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/ Now that my hair loss is under control, I do take breaks from shampoo once or twice a week and wash with conditioner only. This keeps my hair soft and brings out the natural wave.