TL;DR I dislike going out with extremely greasy hair.
So I found this no poo method months ago. I’m a fan of these keywords: natural, DIY, organic, skincare. And finding bunch of articles of them in Pinterest is my weekly joy (I know, my life consists of obsession to Pinterest hyper-reality). Well, it’s supposedly loving and caring for your body, as I’ve been doing with my face using no-soap method. A mixture of grapeseed oil and castor oil — at long found after struggling with breakout from coconut oil and no improvement from olive oil — is my daily face cleanser. Completed with towel dipped in hot water, I’m set to bed. Toning my face using ACV plus water is my on-off routine, much less applying mud mask which requires rinsing with lukewarm water and face towel afterward.
Anyway, oil cleansing method works wonder for my skin. My complexion rarely has problem with acne. Comedones come and go, and physical extraction or sometimes baking soda mask helps, but that’s because my pores are genetically large. I use silicone-based primer daily. Hence, oil cleansing is a must at night. A year consistently applies silicone-based primer for work, I never had breakout.
So, I guess all DIY products must work their similar magic to me, right? Right?
Started off by immersing myself in Pinterest hyper-reality again, I pinned a lot of these no-poo articles. No-poo basically means no shampoo. For people who are tired of SLS stripping off their natural hair oil and causing their scalp dry and flaky, mild and pH-balanced shampoo might improve the condition. By pushing it even further, no shampoo at all might work best. People share their stories of using only conditioner, some others use castile soap, and there are also folks who make their own concoction, dry-shampoo-like powder mixture to be diluted into paste.
I opted for castile soap.
A. Because it still has cleansing property without SLS. Yeah, I know, it’s soap
B. Because of the fatty acid contained in that bottle
C. Because I was an engineer, to be precise, chemical engineer, so I remember saponification reaction in the back of my hand
Yeah, and that overlooking simple chemical reaction thing is my Achilles’ heel. How? Okay, so I don’t want to post multiple diagrams of chemical reaction, I’ll just be concise here.
Castile soap is alkaline. I don’t have pH meter with me at home, because I work at a completely far business from engineering. But let’s get my fact straight here: castile soap’s pH is >7. Scalp pH is supposedly 4-5, and by putting it in alkaline environment, your scalp will not like it. Rudimentary.
Therefore, all castile soap no-poo method always advise us to rinse with solution (see, I refer it as solution, not mixture) of ACV in water. Diluted ACV is the only way to do, believe me, even when it’s diluted, the vapor stings your eyes. The science behind ACV rinsing is pretty simple, which is to restore your acidic environment of scalp and hair.
At this point, everything seems normal and simple. And you can’t mix ACV solution with castile soap right away because they will cancel each other. Well, theoretically it’s not “cancelled” because there must be some leftover H+ or OH- ions depending on the pH (once again, I don’t have pH meter with me nor the exact % v/v of the KOH/NaOH in the castile soap so I can’t calculate it for you). Thus, for the sake of simplicity, let’s just assume:
A. ACV is of the same molarity than base solution in castile soap
B. Yes, rinsing with ACV will return your scalp to its normal slightly acidic state
But, too much assumption can go wrong. When the ACV solution touches your scalp and hair, it reacts with leftover castile soap. We can’t expect the castile soap has been washed away by water you use to rinse it. There is remaining soap on your scalp, and by the time it contacts the ACV solution, things go downhill.
Fatty acid in olive oil, coconut oil, and some sorts that compose the castile soap is long-chain C. Example is oleic acid, C18:1 in olive oil. ACV acid is CH3COOH (acetic acid), and it’s stronger than all those fatty acid. By chemical reaction, if soap molecules (Na-fatty ester) meets acetic acid, the fatty ester which is negative ion will be protonated by the H+ from acetic acid. The Na+ will react with CH3COO-.
Please understand the weight of my last two sentences.
…the fatty ester which is negative ion will be protonated by the H+ from acetic acid.
It means the fatty ester will become fatty acid again. Back to its original state, be it oleic acid or something else acid. Then, what happens to your scalp? Oily, obviously. Those fatty acids become gunk and linger onto your scalp and hair. Welcome to the oily-disgusting hair look of 2017.
Another workaround posted in interweb is by mixing the castile soap with coconut milk. Yeah, whatever. Or just coconut milk to shampoo your hair, not even castile soap. Same oily thing. The worst thing I realized after 2 weeks of no-poo: actually it strips open your hair follicle and it’s a nightmare for whoever having dyed hair. I don’t really understand how dye pigment is stored in your hair but some articles state that alkaline solution opens the follicle and by doing that letting the pigment loose. Even some sources go even further by stating that alkaline solution is used for removing hair dye.
*insert shocked emoji here*
To sum it up, I stop using no-poo after:
- 2 weeks of super greasy hair
- anxiety of getting rid of precious dye pigment from my hair (I love my burgundy color)
- some colleagues comment on how I look like didn’t shampoo for a month
Tonight, I just finished washing my hair using shampoo again. SLS-ed, to be precise. Hopefully, tomorrow morning I’ll get back my crown.
Result update: Yes, I’m OK and fine and healthy and my roots are not covered in oil anymore!
What use could I make castile soap of?
For showering, cleaning my body. It can still work, plus for my body it doesn’t need ACV rinse. And if my body is oily, I don’t care. It would look supple and fresh, not dry.