Frizz is not my friend. In the past two decades of my existence, I’ve tried (almost) every product, technique, and tool on the market in hopes of managing my curly hair. It’s come to the point where my life revolves entirely around my hair-washing schedule. Gym Thursday? Sorry, can’t wash my hair until Sunday because FRIZZ.
So when I was told to give up shampoo altogether and try the "no-poo" method, I was skeptical. If you’re unfamiliar, no-poos, or conditioning cleansers, are basically conditioning formulas that contain a teeny tiny bit of cleansing agent. Curly-haired girls, this is our jam. Why? While shampoo is lovely and wonderful and leaves our strands super squeaky clean, it’s also extremely dehydrating, especially for textured hair. It simply makes our already-dry curls even drier, and that means frizz. Lots and lots of frizz.
With a quick search on making the switch, I came across thousands of reviews that had me a bit hesitant about the task at hand. Will my hair be stuck together for the rest of my life? Will my scalp be too confused to even grow hair anymore? After a chat with one of DevaCurl's no-poo experts at the Devachan Salon, Jacqueline Walent, I've gotten to the bottom of this and put the rumors to rest. Here are the answers to the most common no-poo myths.
Myth #1: It's going to make my hair greasy and I won't see results for months.
Here’s the deal. When you wash with regular shampoo, you’re likely using sulfates and heavy detergents, which strip your scalp and hair of natural oils. In order to compensate for everything you’ve been removing, your scalp produces more oil than it needs to. But, when you switch to a no-poo method, you’re leaving some of those natural oils behind, and your scalp no longer has to make up for what's lost. At first, it seemed as if my scalp continued to produce the same amount of oil that it was while I was stripping it—but once it realized that there was some moisture left behind, it stopped producing as much, and was fully adjusted to the method.
Myth #2: People with certain hair types shouldn't try the no-poo method.
Wavy, curly, kinky, fine, coarse: you name it, you can no-poo it. According to Walent, once your scalp gets into the swing of things, your strands will thank you—no matter your texture.
Myth #3: My hair is never going to feel really clean.
OK, so this is where things get weird. You’re going to start scrubbing, and there won't be any suds. It’s the strangest feeling — shampooing and feeling like nothing is happening. But don’t let the lack of bubbles fool you; they’re actually a sign of heavy, oil-stripping detergents. So just keep on keeping on, and you'll get the hang of it. Here's how Walent recommends getting the most out of your no-poo:
- Focus on your scalp, applying conditioning cleanser directly to your roots.
- Massage for a minute or two. (This will also aid in circulation and the health of your scalp.)
- Spread the no-poo through the length of your strands, adding more if needed.
And more on the weird front: When you rinse, you’re not going to feel squeaky clean. That's a good thing — a squeaky texture means you've stripped your strands.
Myth #4: The no-poo method delivers the same results whether you cleanse with baking soda, plain conditioner, or a conditioning cleanser.
Sure, there are tons of other approaches — like washing with baking soda and vinegar — that seem tempting, but when it comes to curls, they may not be right. Conditioning cleansers, like DevaCurl's No-Poo, are specially formulated to give you the perfect proportion of cleanser and conditioner, so they will still remove dirt and some oil while keeping the moisture locked in. (Pro tip: Steer clear from ones that contain silicones, which can cause buildup.) Straight-up conditioner, on the other hand, doesn’t contain any cleansing agents, so you’ll just end up with a way-too-hydrated, greasy head of hair.
Myth #5: If I use cleansing conditioner, I don't need to use actual conditioner as well.
This isn't a one-size-fits-all plan. "Even though you’re technically washing with a conditioner, it may not be enough hydration for your hair," says Walent. If your curls are on the finer side, you'll probably be able to get away without added conditioner. However, if you have unruly, coarse strands like mine, go ahead and slather it on; I love Devacurl's One Condition. (It'll save you from turning into a ball of frizz.) If you’re feeling extra dry, Walent recommends a partial rinse, leaving some conditioner behind for all-day hydration.