Why I Quit No ‘Poo and My Beauty Routine These Days

Why I quit no 'poo (and my beauty routine these days)

When something isn’t working for me, I’m learning to stop the madness.

Put down that boring book I’m halfway through. Switch up the daily routine to accomodate when I’m most productive or a toddler’s morphing nap time. Drop that homeschool curriculum that yes, I paid good money for, but is causing tears and friction each time math rolls around.

So when the “no ‘poo” method of shampooing only with baking soda stopped working for me, much as I was infatuated with this simple and uber-frugal practice, I ditched it.

It’s not that no ‘poo is bad. At all. In fact, I know plenty of people that still do it, have done it for years, get great results, and rave about it. I used to be one of them.

My problem is that although my hair tends to be greasy on the top, it gets very dry everywhere else, is fine, and very prone to being breakage.

After doing no ‘poo for an extended period of time (a couple years), my hair was actually getting brittle, dry, and damaged. Yes, I was doing it properly, being careful with how much I used, adding in a vinegar rinse, doing a conditioning treatment every once in a while, cutting back on how often I washed… all the things that should make it work. Except it didn’t. Not for me.

When I gave up on it, I figured I would go back to using natural store-bought shampoo from my local health food store. Just around that time, I got introduced to these fantabulous shampoo & body bars, and got hooked. The rest is history.

I switched over, went through a brief transition period, and promptly fell in love. These had that extra bit of moisturizing power my hair needed. They didn’t strip it dry like baking soda. The combination of the shampoo bars and a very small amount of natural store-bought conditioner, worked really, really well for me, and gradually my hair became healthier again.

I took an unexpected hiatus from using them during our Big Trip. I had originally planned to use them throughout, for myself and the whole family, and had bought plenty in advance to have shipped to us as we went. The challenge was that being in so many different places, different climates, different levels of water hardness or softness, my hair got finicky and I decided to take a break from them until we got home.

Instead, I used regular (or natural, when I could find it on the road) shampoo, switched to all-natural again as soon as we got home, and now I’m going back through the adjustment period that my hair needs to get back to the shampoo bars.

What do I love about these shampoo bars so much?

They really seem to nourish my hair. They’re made with only the best ingredients, nothing I disapprove of in the slightest. They smell and look divine. I can wash myself, head to toe, with one bar.

They’re no more expensive than using shampoo from an organic or natural brand, but I honestly like them a whole lot better. They’re convenient for traveling (like to weekend conferences or to take camping). Plus, I’m putting my dollars towards a business I’m happy to support.

This post is perfect timing for me, because Natalie (the owner of Apple Valley Natural Soap, a previous KOTH writer, and long time online friend) approached me to write it and review some of her new products just when I had been planning on getting back on the shampoo bar bandwagon. I thought it would be a great opportunity to tell you about what my beauty routine currently includes, since that has been a popular topic in the past, so here goes:

Why I quit no 'poo (and my beauty routine these days)

What beauty products am I using currently?

MakeupLavera foundation, currently trying out making my own powder, mineral makeup eyeshadow- Redeeming Minerals and Everyday Minerals, lip gloss – plain (homemade mostly, and Natalie has a great recipe for this), also Burt’s Bees shimmers and colored

Perfume – Essential oils. 

Washing my face – My homemade foaming facial wash at night. On the mornings I shower, I use a scrub, and I’m really enjoying Pineapple Strawberry Yogurt Facial Scrub. It’s a surprising texture and ingredient list, and works surprising well! After washing, I use this toner. About once a week, I use a masque, which can be as simple as plain bentonite clay, this pore-refining mask (now discontinued, I believe, which accounts for the insane price), or Natalie’s new Coconut Milk and Honey Masque, which I’ve just started using but might like even better.

Moisturizing – I like hard lotions bars for body and hands, and Argan oil for my face. 

Deodorant – I’ve been using two different store bought natural deodorants, both of which I hate, quite frankly. They don’t really do anything useful. But I haven’t had the ingredients for making my own deodorant. I was planning to buy them and start again, when Natalie asked me to test her new natural deodorant creme, so that’s what I’m using right now. The ingredients are great, and though it was weird to rub on a cream at first, it’s getting normal now and it rubs in really nice and clean, without clumps or residue. It doesn’t prevent me from sweating all together (remember, that’s not the job of a deodorant but we don’t want to use antiperspirant either, because blocking sweat pores and trapping toxins in your body = bad), but I do stay fresh smelling, which is the point.

Shampoo & Conditioner – I was using Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Shampoo & Conditioner, but have now switched back over to my beloved shampoo bars. I’m also trying Natalie’s awesome new herbal vinegar rinse. I love using it as a leave-in conditioner, to allow the infused herbs to really penetrate my hair, and I’m hopeful that using it long term will add some extra lustre. The scent is strong when it first goes on, but it dissipates really quickly. This is better than using the thick cream, which adds greasiness and weight to my already fine and thin and greasy hair. If the herbal vinegar can help to keep my hair strong and healthy, I’m all for giving up the white stuff.

Why I quit no 'poo (and my beauty routine these days)

Dry shampoo – I’ve been over the moon about dry shampoo. My hair can start to look greasy even the day after I wash it, but I try really hard to take at least two days (or better yet, three) between showers. Dry shampoo is my answer. I had been making my own, but am enjoying Natalie’s new citrus dry shampoo, which smells prettier than mine and is far more elegant in it’s proper shaker than my reccyled parmesan container (classy, I know).

Pretty earrings or a cute necklace – These are my daily non-negotiable, even for a day doing gardening or projects around the house, even when I’m not going out, even when I’m tired. Two things I learned during our travels (thank you, women of Europe) are that a) I have my own style and I should be confident in it and b) it’s worth it to take a little bit of time and effort to make yourself look nice each day. I’m talking 10 minutes here, not an hour. It makes me feel more beautiful and productive and ready for whatever my day holds. My husband appreciates it. It’s worth it. 

Two other non-beauty related products of hers that I have to include: 

Arnica Muscle Rub - I have some serious issues with a bad back and shoulders (I’m sure my computer work doesn’t help) but this rub is really nice on tense muscles. 

Healing Herbal Salve – This product wasn’t even part of this review, but I’d been using it for years now and can’t recommend it highly enough. My kids all know that when they get an owie, this is what they should use. We have several tubs of it around the house, and brought it with us on our trip. It works extremely well for speeding healing and preventing/treating mild infections on cuts or scrapes. It is the bomb for diaper rash. A must-have. 

I have a feeling I’ll be asked this, so I’ll answer in advance… my favourite shampoo bars are Peppermint Tea Tree, Simply Shea, Wheat & Honey, Coconut Milk & Citrus, Wild North, and Man 2.0 (yes, even for myself). The Calendula Castile bar is my pick for kids. 

But really? I’ve tried far more than that (I’m about to try Princess Buttermilk, and I’ve also enjoyed Marshmallow and Aloe, Rhassoul and Avocado, and Latte Brunette) and I’ve never found one I didn’t like.

Not sure how to choose the right bar for your hair? Check out this quick guide.

Why I quit no 'poo (and my beauty routine these days)

On supporting small business and conscientiously-made products

One brilliant aspect of blogging is the opportunity it gives me to share companies and brands I truly use and love. Natalie has told me several times that over the years that her best and most long-term customers have come from Keeper of the Home.

I would venture a guess that this is because a) her products rock and b) because I am one of her long-term customers. It’s really easy for me to honestly promote her products because they’re all over my home and I buy them in between doing reviews for her.

We talk all the time in the natural-living blogsophere about wanting to support small business, and buy locally, and especially to purchase from conscientious companies whose products and practices we can wholeheartedly endorse. I don’t run nearly as many giveaways or sponsored posts as I used to, and I never accept them for products or companies I’m not sincerely interested in or don’t believe in (as in, I won’t take any old review just to make a buck).

But when I do, it gives me the opportunity to introduce you to brands and smaller companies you might not have heard about otherwise. Hopefully I can steer you to some sweet finds, and save you time and effort in finding great places to shop!

That said, I hope that you do visit Apple Valley Natural Soap and see what they have to offer. Their ingredients are pure, often organic or naturally sourced whenever possible, totally non-toxic, and lovingly hand crafted. You’ll be supporting a true family business, and in turn, supporting the high quality suppliers from whom Natalie buys her ingredients. You’ll be using products that your skin will thank you for.

One thing I recommend no matter what is that you sign up for her newsletter. You’ll automatically get a coupon for 10% off any future order, and twice a month, they offer special deals for subscribers only, including limited edition bars each month.

Did I mention that Natalie is one funny writer? She was a writer here on KOTH for a long time and she never fails to crack me up. Getting her newsletters will be a treat.

deodorant and bug repellant

Here are a few special deals that you can snag right now:

  • TODAY AND TOMORROW ONLY – For our readers, the all natural Bug Repellent will be 20% off for two days (July 10-11). No coupon code necessary.
  • Any KOTH readers who place an order July 10-13 get a FREE organic lip balm of their choice ($4 value) OR a free natural perfume sample of their choice ($3.00 value). Place an order that values $25 or more AFTER ANY DISCOUNTS and before shipping is applied. Then leave Natalie a message when you check out requesting the free item of your choice. If your order meets the requirements, she’ll be sure to tuck it in your package!
  • Sign up for their bi-monthly newsletter to get a coupon for 10% off any future order. Twice a month they offer special deals for subscribers only, and let them know about limited editions. (They’ve got new, fun limited edition bars every month.) 

So potentially, you can get free shipping (any order $50 or over is free), 10% off your order, and a free balm or perfume sample if you play your cards right. (And save $2 on the bug repellent too!). 

Natalie also sent me some trivia, which I’m a sucker for. Here are a few quick facts straight from this Minnesotan’s mouth:

  • I’ve got nine kids ages 2-20. This next year I’ll have one kid married, one in college, some in private school, some in home school, and some in diapers. 
  • We have over 4,000 bars of soap in our house. Yet last week I realized my 6 yo daughter had somehow slipped through the Saturday Bath Routine and hadn’t had a bath (or changed her clothes – please don’t report us to social services – she loves her green striped leggings) in two weeks. 
  • We have over 40 varieties of soap bars including shampoo bars, salt sink bars, organic coconut oil body bars, and luxury facial bars. 
  • When we go somewhere as a family, people ask us, “What is that smell? You guys all smell like something…can’t put my finger on it…” The teenagers look away and try to pretend they belong to someone else, and the little kids all proudly tell them that we smell like soap. (No matter how many weeks we haven’t bathed.) 
  • My sister works for me, and we spend more time gabbing than we do working. We also play music loud (I’m on a Sara Bareilles kick right now), and my kids complain. 
  • I buy 20 pounds of essential oils at a time. 
  • My top favorite products I use daily and couldn’t live without include: Peppermint Tea Tree shampoo bar followed up by the Herbal Vinegar Hair Rinse spray. I use the Citrus Dry shampoo in between washing days. I always do a body scrub in the shower. I love the Matcha Mint and the Citrus ones best. I have horrible lips that only respond to the Lanolin Intensive Lip Therapy. I always and only use Salt Bars by our sinks. They last for. ev. er. My favorite is the Kitchen Spice. The scent is unusual and incredibly addicting, in my opinion. And I never thought I’d be a fan of natural deodorant, but I’m in love with mine. It works. It smells terrific. And unexpected bonus? SOFT PITS! 
  • Most of my best customers came originally from the KOTH blog. I love KOTH readers! They are a perfect fit for our business.  

Go meet Natalie and check out Apple Valley Natural Soap. Tell her I said hi! 

What are you using in your beauty routine right now? What hasn’t worked for you and what have you switched to instead? 

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Apple Valley Natural Soap, and some of the products mentioned were sent to me for the purpose of review. All opinions and ideas for this post (except for the parts where I quoted Natalie) are my own. 

About Stephanie Langford

Stephanie Langford has a passion for sharing ideas and information for homemakers who want to make healthy changes in their homes, and carefully steward all that they've been given. She has written three books geared to helping families live more naturally and eat real, whole foods, without being overwhelmed, without going broke and with simple meal planning. She is the creator of Keeper of the Home.

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Comments

  1. I love AVNS! My husband also really enjoys the natural bars and how neat the bathroom looks without a bunch of shampoo/conditioner bottles. We used these bars even in a city where the water was sort of hard, and it still worked (we would just do an 10-1 water + acv rinse more often). We travel an insane amount so the bars were super convenient for carry-ons. The best part is just knowing that the ingredients are beneficial. Oh and- the bars last a long time (even with our semi-hard water). I’ve also used AVNS bug spray- AWESOME. And I gifted my cousin three lip balms and she raves about them.

  2. You have to do what works for you. I also tried the no poo and didn’t care for it at all. OTOH, my daughter’s roommate has done this for over two years (with a vinegar rinse) and her hair looks beautiful — never better.

    I also tried the shampoo bars and got very uneven results. Some days I absolutely hated my hair after using it and was afraid to try again. On the few days it worked, my hair looked great so I’m not sure what I was doing wrong. I’ve been using organic shampoo and conditioner ever since, however, I’m willing to try the bars again at some point.

  3. I do ‘no poo’, and like it. I wash with baking soda and spray with diluted acv. Occasionally I pour chamomile tea on my hair, too. I keep thinking I should make a chamomile vinegar rinse. How hard can that be? Put herbs in vinegar, let sit, strain. But, yeah, hasn’t happened yet…
    I have used shampoo bars, and liked them. I keep thinking I should make my own(years ago I used to make soap), but, yeah, that hasn’t happened, either…
    *I will say that hard water is HORRIBLE for natural hair washing. When we moved last year, I kept wondering why my hair was so gunky and matted. Seriously. It was nasty greasy looking and I couldn’t get a brush through it. Then I read about someone else’s experience with no poo and hard water. I washed my hair with filtered water, and wow! Nice hair again! So now I take a couple big cups of filtered water into the shower on hair washing days. Just thought I’d share in case anyone else has had no success with ‘no poo’ or natural shampoo bars…it could be your water!*
    I use makeup from Everyday Minerals. Best price for natural makeup, and for me, it’s local. : )
    For my face, I really haven’t found anything that works, so I stick with water. I have horrible skin. I’ve tried the OCM, the acne bar from Apple Valley…nothing works as good as just warm water, though I can’t say that it really “works”. I use Tropical Traditions moisturizing cream, and that helps the dry/flakiness without making me break out more. So that’s really all I do right now. Apply cream to combat flakiness…apply makeup to cover redness, etc…rinse off at night. Any tips, anyone?

    • This is going to sound crazy but have you ever heard of using beef tallow as a face moisturizer? I swear by it! I render my own Grassfed suet into tallow and then whip it with a little almond oil. Makes a gorgeous white fluffy lotion. Helps with acne scars, sun burns, dark circles… I’m amazed how bright my skin looks. Best thing I’ve ever tried and it’s cheap! Search Dr Weston A Price and beef tallow for more info if you’re interested. Hope this helps and oh dear! I do hope you’re not vegan and I have not offended you!
      Ashley

      • Ha ha! Nope, not vegan. I’ve heard of using tallow in lotion, but have never tried it. I’ll have to research it. I’m all for “crazy” stuff that’s healthy and cheap! I used to render suet for tallow soap when I was a teen, but that was a number of years ago. I so need to get back into soap making!

      • Nope, not vegan. :) That is really interesting, I would never have thought of beef tallow! I’m a fan of Dr. Price’s work and use beef tallow regularly… just not on my face. Now you’ve got me curious!

  4. Bethany Millikan says:

    Stephanie, I used to do “no poo” too and when I learned our scalp needs an acid mantle (like all our other skin) I stopped! The baking soda is too alkaline for the hair and it will over time destroy the integrity of the hair and the scalp. Now I use Natures Gate shampoo and my hair looks better and is healthier. The downside is doing “no poo” is cheap!! I find just by not using SLS my hair is better looking. Castile soap is also very alkaline and so it is not suitable as face wash or shampoo. Although I do use it for cleaning, laundry and body and hand soap.

  5. Hi Stephanie, I have a question, are you located in Canada? I thought for some reason I remembered you mentioning this in a post I read, could have been another blog though… The reason I’m asking is because I got super excited after reading this post, I went right to Apple valley to see about ordering some shampoo bars as the no poo method is not working for me either:( I am pregnant with my fourth, so that could have something to do with it. Anyway, their web site says they do not ship to Canada:( we are in Alberta. So anyway, thats why I’m asking if you live in CA because I’m curious how you get your bars if you do and how I can get some too!!! :) Thanks, Ashley

    • Ashley, we are now shipping to Canada. I just configured it today. There may be glitches for the first few customers who go through the process, but I thought I’d let you know! :)

  6. Thanks for the informative post! I never went totally no poo. And I have always used Cake’s Body and Hair Powder, nothing homemade. But I never felt like my hair would survive the no poo lifestyle. The ends especially get super dry in the winter (joys of living in the praries). I also get dry scalp/dandruff occasionally. I’ve been meaning to try making a shampoo bar for ages, but I’ll definitely try your friends bars. They are reasonably priced and look great!

  7. I have used Natalie’s soap and moisturizer products for over a year, and love some of the new things she has developed. So happy to see her featured here!

  8. Love this post! I have been using a shampoo bar for over a year now and absolutely love it. It’s a different brand, but I’ll have to give Apple Valley a try! I have a 5-10-minute make-up routine, and I use a lot of what you do. Will says I take really long showers, though! Haha!

  9. I still do the no-poo method while alternating with a Trader Joe’s brand of gentle shampoo/conditioner. I have noticed, as you have, that I have lost a lot of the shine and silk my hair used to have. It also seems drier. These shampoo bars sound like something I need to look into. I am also intrigued by her dry shampoo, herbal vinegar rinse, and deodorant. Thanks so much for the info. The packaging is just beautiful!

  10. I have been doing the no poo method for several months and it works okay for my hair, but I’ve been noticing my daughters’ hair is lacking the silky softness it used to have. I might have to give this a try for them.
    I use Norwex makeup cloths with water for my face cleansing and makeup removal. Our whole family uses the Norwex body cloths with just water for body washing, it’s been a great switch for our skin sensitivities.

  11. I am curious what you use for a body wash. Do you mind telling us, if that’s not too personal of a question? Thanks in advance! :)

  12. I tired no-poo natural shampoos and apple cider vinegar clarifying rinses on my hair and had similar results. My hair dried out over time. It was the over time that was the worst part because you didn’t notice it until the damage was done. Currently I switched back to regular shampoo and conditioner. I really liked the idea of the natural products, but they just were not moisturizing enough for me:(

  13. I would love to try these items but live in Canada. Their website says they only ship to the U.S. right now…..I hope that changes soon. I would love to try these products!

    • Erica, I just opened up shipping to Canada. I’ve been meaning to do that for a long time, and finally got around to making it a reality. Shipping is EXPENSIVE – but it is available now. :)

  14. This post resonates with me. After reading so many amazing things about the no ‘poo method, I gave it a try last year. Oh my. It was the worst hair I’ve experienced since puberty. Maybe worse. Maybe it works well for some people, but not me!
    Right now, my husband and I are using Jason fragrance free shampoo that is very gentle. I’m also using Kiss My Face olive oil soap that is nice too. Instead of face washes, I use a Norwex body cloth, with great results.
    Normally, like you, my hair (and skin) are very oily. Skip a day of washing and it looks horrific. During pregnancy, though, it mellows and I have the most beautiful hair and skin (at least I get some bonus for my misery).
    I really love nice soaps and always loved the idea of shampoo bars. During travel they seem especially useful-no liquid size restrictions (on airlines) or fear of leaky bottles to worry about. I’ve looked at Apple Valley’s things before and really wanted to buy, they’ve just been a bit pricey for me. Maybe I’ll splurge soon and try some anyway. If the bar lasts a long time, maybe I can justify it. That pink lemonade shampoo bar sounds delicious :) thank you for sharing.

  15. Thank you so much for sharing about these products. I went over to Apple Valley and ordered one of a lot of their products. My husband loves products that are both shampoo and soap, so it was perfect! He was more than happy to try them out. Thanks again!

  16. Wowzer bowzer, Stephanie. That was one sweet post. What can I say?! Thank you! I AM totally cracking up over the recommended posts underneath where you’ve talked about our stuff in the past. Oh dear, are those pictures sort of scary, or what? Anyway, I so appreciate it that you’d share your opinions with your readers once again (and so glad they are favorable!) Have a groovy day. ;)

  17. I would love to try these shampoo bars! I’m a little hesitant to order something like that without smelling it first though. Do you have any thoughts on her scents? Which scents have you tried and liked? I found the samples on the website, but with so many choices it’s hard to narrow it down to a handful!

    • Heather says:

      Kate,
      I’ve been using Apple Valley soaps for well over a year now…. that was my biggest fear that I wouldn’t like the smells. I honestly have not found one yet that I don’t like. If you want one that is pretty fragrant, the Bella Rose is!

      If you want a more mild one I find the Wheat and Honey, Marshmallow and Aloe are less fragrant!
      No matter what you choose, you cannot go wrong! They are amazing!!!!!!!!!!

  18. I am *so* excited about these products, they look amazing! I went straight over to the website to order some goodies and then realised when I checked the shipping info on that they currently only ship to USA (I’m in Canada). Perhaps you could mention if this is the case when promoting products as I’m sure you have many readers outside America. They look wonderful though! Thanks, Lottie :)

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