Tag Archives: technique

No ‘Poo: Get Beautiful Hair with Just Baking Soda & Vinegar

Truly natural or organic shampoos can be pretty pricey, but you don’t need to drop big bucks for shiny, healthy hair. It might sounds like the recipe for a hair volcano, but baking soda and vinegar work great as shampoo and conditioner substitutes. Folks who use baking soda and vinegar instead of shampoo often call this technique the “no ‘poo” or “no shampoo” method.

Here are some tips on how to wash your hair with baking soda and vinegar!

Why Do No ‘Poo?

Like I mentioned above, it’s much cheaper than truly natural or organic shampoo and conditioner, but why not just grab a cheap bottle of Herbal Essences and be done with it, right? The trouble with conventional shampoo, including faux natural brands like Herbal Essences, is that they contain potentially harmful ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate and fragrance.

For me, fragrance is the worst synthetic chemical in beauty products. “Fragrance” is actually an unregulated term that could refer to any cocktail of thousands of largely under-tested chemicals. Companies can get away with this misleading labeling under the guise of “proprietary information.” Meanwhile, we’re washing our hair with potential allergens and carcinogens. Boo on that!

I used to wash my hair with shampoo every other day, and after a few months doing no ‘poo, I only have to wash it once or twice a week, depending on how active I am. That means that not only do you save money, but you save water and the energy used to heat it for all of those longer showers.

Before we get into the ins and out of no ‘poo on the next page, I think it’s important to talk about one downside to making this switch: many people experience a breaking in period.

The Breaking In Period

I will warn you right now that almost everyone who switches to no ‘poo initially does have a breaking in period that can last from a few days to even a few weeks while your scalp adjusts. Some folks write the no ‘poo thing off after just a week or less, saying that it doesn’t work, but chances are that is because their body hasn’t gotten used to this more natural method for cleaning their hair.

Shampoo strips your hair of natural moisture, so your scalp might still be in oil-production overdrive for a little while while you adjust. The breaking in period can be pretty unfun, but there are a couple of things you can do to make it easier on yourself.

If you have short hair, brush it regularly. This helps distribute the oils more evenly, so your hair won’t look so greasy during the transition. Brushing can help distribute the oil in long hair, too, and you might want to go for updos, like pony tails or buns until your hair adjusts.

Image Credit: Creative Commons phoot by trenttsd

The Basic No ‘Poo Recipe

There are a couple of different ways that you can do this thing, but the basic idea is that you “wash” your hair in baking soda, rinse it thoroughly, then follow with a diluted vinegar rinse that you also rinse out thoroughly.

What you’ll keep in your shower are a water-tight container full of baking soda, and a squeeze bottle with your vinegar mixture. The amount of baking soda you use and the vinegar to water ratio that works for you really depends on your hair. If your hair is oily, you’ll want to up the baking soda and use less vinegar in your rinse. For dry hair, go the opposite direction. Here’s what works for me:

1. Pour about 1 tablespoon of baking soda into the palm of your hand, and moisten it. Massage it into your hair and your scalp. Wait a minute, then rinse.

2. Combine 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or white vinegar and 1 cup water in your squeeze bottle. You can do this in advance, so you don’t have to mix it up every time you wash, and you probably won’t need the whole cup for a single washing. Give the bottle a good shake, then squeeze some of the vinegar mixture onto your scalp. Massage it into your scalp and your hair, wait another minute or two, and rinse thoroughly.

Like I said, this is the mixture that works for me, but depending on your hair type, you may need to adjust the amounts of baking soda and vinegar that you use.

No ‘Poo for Curly Hair

The most common question I get when I talk about no ‘poo is whether it works on thick or curly hair. My hair is thick and a little bit wavy, and it works just fine for me, but I couldn’t speak for truly curly hair. A little research turned up an account from Lorissa from Beautiful Somehow who did a 30 day no ‘poo experiment. Here’s what she had to say:

I am so completely happy with my curly hair now! The curls are bigger, more defined, and not as frizzy as before. I am still using a tiny, tiny, tiny bit of mousse to set the curls. I am currently looking for a more natural alternative for it though. So if you know of one, please share!

You can read all about her no ‘poo experience over at Beautiful Somehow, and if you have any tips for an alternative to mousse, I bet she’d love your suggestions!

Tips from Fellow No-’Pooers

Stephanie Moram from Good Girl Gone Green does a slightly different mix for her hair. She recommends about 1 tablespoon of baking soda in a cup of water, and about the same ratio for vinegar. You can read about her no ‘poo method here.

My Healthy Green Family doesn’t like to call this method no ‘poo, but over there, Free Range Mama talks about the baking soda and vinegar method that she uses. She likes the same ratio as Stephanie recommends, and she also talks a little bit about a common question that folks have when they’re new to no ‘poo: the vinegar smell. As she describes, that smell should fade quickly as your hair dries. If it doesn’t, try using less vinegar in your mix next time.

Do any of you do the no ‘poo thing? I’d love to hear what’s worked for you – and what hasn’t! – in the comments.

5 Recipes for Homemade Personal Care Products
51 Fantastic Uses for Baking Soda
Non-Toxic Shampoo & Conditioner Test: Day 18

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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No ‘Poo: Get Beautiful Hair with Just Baking Soda & Vinegar

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This Is the Lamest Defense of GMO Foods Ever

Mother Jones

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Over on our environment blog, Chris Mooney posts an excerpt from an interview in which Neil deGrasse Tyson defends GMO foods:

“Practically every food you buy in a store for consumption by humans is genetically modified food,” asserts Tyson. “There are no wild, seedless watermelons. There’s no wild cows…You list all the fruit, and all the vegetables, and ask yourself, is there a wild counterpart to this? If there is, it’s not as large, it’s not as sweet, it’s not as juicy, and it has way more seeds in it. We have systematically genetically modified all the foods, the vegetables and animals that we have eaten ever since we cultivated them. It’s called artificial selection.”

This is a very common defense of GMO foods, but I’ve always found it to be the weakest, least compelling argument possible. It’s so weak, in fact, that I always wonder if people who make it are even operating in good faith.

It’s true that we’ve been breeding new and better strains of plants and animals forever. But this isn’t a defense of GMO. On the contrary, it’s precisely the point that GMO critics make. We have about 10,000 years of evidence that traditional breeding methods are basically safe. That’s why anyone can do it and it remains virtually unregulated. We have no such guarantee with artificial methods of recombinant DNA. Both the technique itself and its possible risks are completely different, and Tyson surely knows this. If he truly believed what he said, he’d be in favor of removing all regulation of GMO foods and allowing anyone to experiment with it. Why not, after all, if it’s really as safe as Gregor Mendel cross-breeding pea plants?

As it happens, I mostly agree with Tyson’s main point. Although I have issues surrounding the way GMO seeds are distributed and legally protected, the question of whether GMO foods are safe for human consumption seems reasonably well settled. The technology is new enough, and our testing is still short-term enough, that I would continue to err on the side of caution when it comes to approving GMO foods. Still, GMO breeds created under our current regulatory regime are basically safe to eat, and I think that lefty critics of GMO foods should stop cherry picking the evidence to scare people into thinking otherwise.

(Please send all hate mail to Tom Philpott. He can select just the juiciest ones to send along to me.)

But even with that said, we shouldn’t pretend that millennia of creating enhanced and hybrid breeds tells us anything very useful about the safety of cutting-edge laboratory DNA splicing techniques. It really doesn’t.

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This Is the Lamest Defense of GMO Foods Ever

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Here’s a New Attempt to Fight the Scourge of Publication Bias

Mother Jones

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Tyler Cowen points today to a wonky but interesting new paper about publication bias. This is a problem endemic to scientific research that’s based on statistical analysis. Basically, researchers only publish something if their results are positive and significant. If their results are in the very large “can’t really tell for sure if anything is happening” space, they shove the paper in a file drawer and it never sees the light of day.

Here’s an example. Suppose several teams coincidentally decide to study the effect of carrots on baldness. Most of the teams find no effect and give up. But by chance, one team happens to find an effect. These statistical outliers happen occasionally, after all. So they publish. And since that’s the only study anyone ever sees, suddenly there’s a flurry of interest in using carrots to treat baldness.

The authors of the new paper apply a statistical insight that corrects for this by creating something called a p-curve. Their idea is that if the true effect of something is X, and you do a bunch of studies, then statistical chance means that you’ll get a range of results arrayed along a curve and centering on X. However, if you look at the published literature, you’ll never see the full curve. You’ll see only a subset of the curve that contains the results that were positive and significant.

But this is enough: “Because the shape of p-curve is a function exclusively of sample size and effect size, and sample size is observed, we simply find the free parameter that obtains the best overall fit.” What this means is that because p-curves have a known shape, just looking at the small section of the p-curve that’s visible allows you to estimate the size of the full curve. And this in turn allows you to estimate the true effect size just as if you had read all the studies, not just the ones that got published.

So how good is this? “As one may expect,” say the authors, “p-curve is more precise when it is based on studies with more observations and when it is based on more studies.” So if there’s only one study, it doesn’t do you much good. Left unsaid is that this technique also depends on whether nonsignificant results are routinely refused publication. One of the examples they use is studies of whether raising the minimum wage increases unemployment, and they conclude that once you correct for publication bias, the literature finds no effect at all (red bar). But as Cowen points out, “I am not sure the minimum wage is the best example here, since a ‘no result’ paper on that question seems to me entirely publishable these days and indeed for some while.” In other words, if a paper that finds no effect is as publishable as one that does, there might be no publication bias to correct.

Still, the whole thing is interesting. The bottom line is that in many cases, it’s fairly safe to assume that nonsignificant results aren’t being published, and that in turn means that you can extrapolate the p-curve to estimate the actual average of all the studies that have been conducted. And when you do, the average effect size almost always goes down. It’s yet another reason to be cautious about accepting statistical results until they’ve been widely replicated. For even more reasons to be skeptical, see here.

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Here’s a New Attempt to Fight the Scourge of Publication Bias

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