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White Blogger Tries the “No Poo” Method for 5 Years, Receives Major Backlash

Avatar • Feb 7, 2014

crunchymomma2

About a year ago Jacquelyn Baers stirred up quite a bit of controversy when she posted an article on her blog entitled, “Haven’t Washed My Hair in Three Years”.  Her story was picked up by various news sources, which debated her cleanliness. Baers’ blog stated that her decision not to wash her hair did not mean that she no longer cleansed her hair, rather she had chosen to give up shampoos and other store bought hair cleansers. Why was this so, controversial? Well, aside from the cultural norms associated with shampooing and hygiene, there was another, less discussed reason: Baers is a white woman.

For years the natural hair community, comprised primarily of curly haired women of color, has viewed traditional shampoos as detrimental to hair health.  The impact of sulfates and other harsh chemicals that dry out our hair lead many women in the natural hair community to skip traditional hair cleansers.  Knowing this key rule of natural hair care I found it interesting that this woman received considerable backlash because she chose to do what quite a few women of color have done for years.

A self-described “crunchy momma,” Jacquelyn Baers makes it pretty clear on her blog that she prefers organic and natural products over chemical laden items that fill store shelves. Still, it seemed that some thought she broke the unspoken taboo that  “crunchiness” shouldn’t  be at the expense of cleanliness. Especially since straight hair is prone to become oily and smelly after two or three days without washing because sebum (the oil produced from the scalp) travels down the length of the hair. Those of us with curly/coily hair know that after 2 or 3 days our hair may still smell like conditioner and we have to make an effort to add oils to our highly textured hair. It therefore, isn’t a taboo for many of us to opt out of washing our hair for one or even two weeks, nor is it an issue to forgo using shampoo altogether.

Another important aspect of Baers story is that she chose not to use any product to cleanse her hair. She tried baking soda and apple cider vinegar, but eventually decided to rely solely on good ole H2O.  I know some naturals who have also chosen the “water only” method of cleansing, though they tend to cleanse fairly often and may use a baking soda rinse once or twice a year. Because those methods not only have positive implications for overall health, but healthy hair it makes such choices fairly uncontroversial within the natural hair community. Especially since “no-poo” is certainly no more controversial than applying a harsh chemical relaxer that would sometimes burn our scalps.

In case you’re wondering, Baers also uses a natural conditioner, coconut oil, daily to seal moisture in her hair. In her opinion her hair is more thick and healthy than it’s ever been.  No harsh hair cleansers, sealing with oils…doesn’t sound too controversial to me.

Do you think the controversy over Jacquelyn Baers’ decision made sense? Have you ever received negative backlash due to your healthy hair care practices?

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FinVoilaQuoi
FinVoilaQuoi
6 years ago

I just don’t get why people get so wound up about what others are doing in their own personal lives that have no effect on anyone except those that are doing it. Live and let live.

Cre8tive
6 years ago
Reply to  FinVoilaQuoi

Fox Philly just didn’t have any better news to report…must have been a dry week for them. Ridiculous

lablooplah
lablooplah
6 years ago

If water is sufficient for cleansing her hair and scalp, and if her hair is healthy then why is this a big deal? ugh. Me no get it.

Bkbutterfly
Bkbutterfly
6 years ago

It could be a big deal if you run a TV station and your biggest advertisers just happen to be cosmetics/ haircare producers…

Elle
Elle
6 years ago
Reply to  Bkbutterfly

EXACTLY!

Tabatha_Frm_ Ri
Tabatha_Frm_ Ri
6 years ago

She’s been using this method for a while. It’s working for her. That’s all that should matter. People seems to have to much to say about shit that has no effects on their livies.

Andrea Taylor
Andrea Taylor
6 years ago

If it works for her hair that go for it. I think people r making something of it bacause she’s white. I agree with her. Shampoos are very drying and rarely use them myself.

TWAtl
TWAtl
6 years ago

hubby who is white has been using the the no-poo water only method of cleansing for years. when i first met him i was not natural and thought he was nuts. now that i’m natural, he’s laughing at me very smugly. he said shampoo actually makes his hair more greasy since his hair responds by producing more oils. he has the shiniest healthiest looking hair ev-ER!!

Grace
Grace
6 years ago

When the natural hair movement started becoming popular online, I read about the no-poo method a lot on White blogs, not Black blogs. The environmental, natural product types were using no-poo, vinegar, and baking soda because they wanted natural products. Lorraine Massey is White I believe and isn’t she the one who coined the term “no-poo”? I don’t think that Black folks can claim they came up with the no-poo method even though it’s probably more common for natural Black women to use the method now.

LBell
LBell
6 years ago
Reply to  Grace

Your comment posted while I was still writing mine but yes, you’re absolutely correct. The first edition of Lorraine Massey’s “Curly Girl” book, in which she lays out the no-poo concept, came out around 2001.

Pseudonym
Pseudonym
6 years ago
Reply to  Grace

Yep! Both writers of the “Curly Girl” method book are white and that’s where the “no poo” craze came from.

Djanira
Djanira
6 years ago
Reply to  Grace

Before going natural I learned of co-washing from a blog targeted for those with fine, thin bone-straight hair. Co-washing was suggested to increase volume!

LBell
LBell
6 years ago

For the record: The “natural community” didn’t invent the no-poo concept…unless “natural community” refers to people from all over the world, regardless of race, who either don’t have access to commercial shampoos or opt out of using them for health or other reasons. Shampoo itself (as we know it today) is a relatively new invention. Baking soda, vinegar, plain water, certain plant combinations…these have been used for much, much longer. The fact that this woman would get criticized for her choice to use only water shouldn’t be all that surprising in an environment where for generations we’ve been programmed to… Read more »

Tabatha
Tabatha
6 years ago
Reply to  LBell

Well lets just say Cavemen did it first and I’m sure the days of Adam and Eve and Biblical times as well. If it was good for them I’m sure its great for others. I love that you added regardless of race. when people hear naturals they always assume its only blacks.

Elle
Elle
6 years ago
Reply to  LBell

Right on!
I use water only. Agree, disagree, I don’t care. However, the new norm of RUDENESS and outright vitriol and beauty-industry fear is the real story in my opinion. Also, which group invented water or sebum-only cleansing?! MANY people, everywhere, for a long, long time survived without added cleansers. Nothing is NEW!

Missc
Missc
6 years ago

I agree with this lady. Shampoo is very over-rated.

TWA4now
TWA4now
6 years ago

She is doing the right thing for her hair as she sees fit! Cool! I never received any remarks about my washing regimen, but I did receive a LOT of looks and stares when I returned to natural hair and some negative comments with just sprinkles of compliments only.

Tabatha
Tabatha
6 years ago

I saw this on my local news and I thought to myself. Had she not said anything no one would have known. She even benefited from doing this. I use apple cider vinegar and its great especially if I need a clarifier. I don’t see how people can put egg, mayo, honey, avocado, and other foods in their hair and want to get grossed out over vinegar and backing soda then to later choose plain water. Clearly she doesn’t smell or someone would have called her out on it long time ago. And clearly her scalp is easy to wash… Read more »

Elle
Elle
6 years ago

“Especially since straight hair is prone to become oily and smelly after two or three days without washing because sebum (the oil produced from the scalp) travels down the length of the hair. Those of us with curly/coily hair know that after 2 or 3 days our hair may still smell like conditioner and we have to make an effort to add oils to our highly textured hair.” I’ve found, that my hair has all the tools to naturally take care of itself just like naturally straight hair, and from what I’ve seen, heard and read, I don’t feel that… Read more »

Monica Kay
Monica Kay
6 years ago

I’m of the same mind of a lot of ladies in the comment section: shampoo is a relatively recent invention as is the practice of shampooing hair daily shampoo. From what I’ve read, modern shampoo wasn’t developed until the 1930’s and after that it became one of our most heavily advertised products. Most people did not started shampooing regularly until the 70s. A lot of people are now questioning whether we need shampoo at all.

Since it works for her, she should continue the water/coconut oil method. I’m not sure why people are up in arms about it.

CommonSense
CommonSense
6 years ago

Hair companies are just angry because people are getting hip to what these conglomerates are selling us!! AND the fact that we can make our own products in our own homes, *GASP*!!!!! Whatever works for you is what you need to do!!!!!!!!!

Barbara
Barbara
6 years ago

I read about this not too long ago but didn’t realize she was receiving backlash about this. Why knock something that is working for her? Her choice in how she cares for her hair isn’t hurting anyone. Good grief.

Owls
Owls
6 years ago
Reply to  Barbara

Clearly, it’s because she’s not following the status quo~ smh

Francesca
Francesca
6 years ago

i’m all for no shampoo…it’s not like we’re coal-miners!!!

Ana
Ana
6 years ago

I’m all for us doing whatever we need to do to be healthy and take the best care of our hair possible. My question is as a sufferer of dandruff: does anyone have any experience with how this “no poo” system works when you tend to have a lot of dandruff? I eat fairly healthy, get exercise, but have always had dandruff to some degree and massaging only seems to make it flake out like crazy throughout my hair. I have curly “combination” hair and wash every couple of weeks. My hair does not take well to oils–I have tried… Read more »

Jamila
Jamila
6 years ago

Mmmmm.…First big question why in the world in this news worthy? Secondly, why in the world is this anybody’s business? I mean if in fact she is unclean that is on her as long as she doesn’t stink up the place…Ugh, Amercian Media can be so dumb.

Miss T
Miss T
6 years ago

I don’t use shampoo since I’ve been natural, and I rarely co-wash because usually I keep a pretty good amount of conditioner and other moisturizers in my hair. Before I was natural, I was a shampoo get my hair pressed once or twice a month kinda girl, and I am just amazed at how since being natural my hair literally never smells and haven’t had any dandruff issues period. When my hair was straight after awhile I would get a slight odor and I would get dandruff every once in awhile, 4 years natural and my hair is clean, healthy,… Read more »

Zaza
Zaza
6 years ago

I work out 3–4 times a week and have been using organic shampoo (no parabens etc for 2 years up until last September before I decided to go “no poo” with ACV and baking soda and my hair always smells fresh like my Herbal Essences Hello Hydration based conditioner that i mix with honey Olive Oil and Coconut Oil. My hair is also the shiniest it’s ever been!

ShantaFabulous
6 years ago

Seems like she got caught up in a click-bait title. That’s unfortunate because she’s obviously cleansing her hair just not with conventional shampoo.

mykah
mykah
6 years ago

i think if she was a women of color this would have never hit the news. but sense its not the norm for most women(not of color) they think she is dirty. thats just ignorance.

heather
heather
6 years ago

I seem to be the only natural that isn’t anti shampoo lol. I cleanse weekly with a creamy, sulfate, dye, and paraben free shampoo diluted with 8 oz of water. I apply the diluted poo to my scalp and let the suds run down the shaft of my hair. My hair is never stripped or dry after I shampoo and is normally so soft, I could skip conditioner if I wanted (although I never do). I guess the no poo bandwagon is one I could never jump on.

Joy
Joy
6 years ago
Reply to  heather

Nope. You’re definitely not the only. I use shampoo too. Even the ones with sulfates once in a while. Every1 should just do what works for them.

Jade Ashley
Jade Ashley
6 years ago
Reply to  heather

You’re definitely not the only one. Lots of naturals use the type of shampoo (which I call clean or clear) that you do and many have gone from no poo to using products from Shea moisture and the like. I personally switch between diluted trader joes tea tree tingle and no poo methods. Yay for options.
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/image‑6.jpg[/img]

Just as I am
Just as I am
6 years ago
Reply to  heather

That sounds great. What shampoo do you use?

Just as I am
Just as I am
6 years ago
Reply to  Just as I am

Sorry, what shampoo do you use, Heather?
I don’t know how I wound up all the way down here.

Heather
Heather
6 years ago
Reply to  Just as I am

I alternate between Elasta QP Creme Conditioning Shampoo and Jane Carter SLS free shampoo

Thetruthisoutthere
Thetruthisoutthere
6 years ago
Reply to  Heather

I LOVE that Elasta QP Crème Conditioning shampoo. If it were a man, I would marry him and bear him many strong sons! LOL!

Ugonna Wosu
Ugonna Wosu
6 years ago
Reply to  heather

I still use shampoo, but I respect the no poo method as one that works. I just don’t have time to figure out which conditioners are best for cowashing.

Heather
Heather
6 years ago
Reply to  Ugonna Wosu

As I am Cleansing Pudding is great. I use it on my goddaughters hair. Their coconut cowash didn’t clean her scalp effectively, so I use the cleansing pudding instead. I cleanse her hair/scalp weekly, alternating between the cleansing pudding and shampoo.

Ugonna Wosu
Ugonna Wosu
6 years ago
Reply to  Heather

sounds good! thanks

LBell
LBell
6 years ago
Reply to  heather

I shampoo with a sulfate-free shampoo once every fourth wash (about once a month) although lately due to some product experiments/mishaps I’ve had to shampoo a little more often. Having recently (and finally) killed my bottle of Giovanni Deeper Moisture shampoo I’ve just purchased L’Oreal’s Evercreme Intense Nourishing shampoo. I got a sample of this way back when it first came out and I liked it a lot.

Darlyn
Darlyn
6 years ago
Reply to  heather

Doesn’t sound like “bandwagoning” to me (no disrespect). With my personal experience, it was a trial and error thing to choose the no-poo method. If it wasn’t for trial and error, I’d be using everything under the sun for my hair like I was when I was relaxing my hair.

Heather
Heather
6 years ago
Reply to  Darlyn

I remember those days lol.

Jacky
Jacky
6 years ago
Reply to  heather

You’re not the only one,i also use shampoos.I wash my hair once a week with a sulfate shampoo. I’ve been trying to find a sulfate free shampoo in my area but i haven’t found one yet. Also,i tried co-washing my hair once but it didn’t work for me,my scalp and hair were itchy and misbehaving immediately after i cowashed and they stayed like that for the next few days until i couldn’t take it any longer and shampooed my hair,my hair was the dirtiest it’s ever been when i cowashed it and i wasn’t proud of that.

Jacky
Jacky
6 years ago
Reply to  Jacky

I mean,i noticed a lot of residue(along with the itchiness and unruliness) left my hair when i eventually shampooed it a few days after cowashing it.

Heather
Heather
6 years ago
Reply to  Jacky

Same here. The conditioner did what it was supposed to do.…coat. It coated whatever was on my scalp lol. No matter how much I rinsed, my scalp was a mess lol. I shampooed a few days later after I had scratched my scalp raw from all the buildup on it. Sadly, I tried it a few more times after that, with the same disastrous results lol. Nothing takes the place of a good shampoo lol

Ugonna Wosu
Ugonna Wosu
6 years ago
Reply to  Heather

your comments are too general, for some ppl conditioner is enough.

Ugonna Wosu
Ugonna Wosu
6 years ago
Reply to  Jacky

I think you need to try more than once to get good at it. But its cool, do what works for you.

Heather
Heather
6 years ago
Reply to  Ugonna Wosu

It wasn’t anything that required any real skill. I understand what certain products are formulated to accomplish, and I act accordingly. I don’t experience issues with shampooing because I know how to select products based on my needs and how they should be used

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lottie b!
6 years ago

Once again, other people trying to tell someone what they SHOULD or SHOULDN’T be doing. I’m about to say something CONTROVERSIAL, white people almost always want to control what other people are doing. There I said it and I won’t apologize for having said it.

claire
claire
6 years ago
Reply to  lottie b!

It’s no just white people; although the ignorant ones do it too it’s a lot or of black people also, especially when it comes to black hair.

Liz
Liz
6 years ago
Reply to  lottie b!

Yes they do, I followed that link and it was clear none of them listened to her say that she cleanses her hair, just not with shampoo. They all had a million opinions on how she doesn’t know anything, and basically repeating TV shampoo commercials on the importance of it. I am not very sure why they feel it personally affects them–there are cultures that only wash in oils for crying out loud.

Jacqueline
Jacqueline
6 years ago

I believe in preserving the integrity of the hair and not abusing products whether store bought or homemade. Treat hair like you would your finest silk scarf. I also believe in cleanliness being next to godliness and never skimping on hygiene. I think hair care requires a balance of the two and this lady prefers to be on one extreme end. She stated that she is not using organic shampoos because it “got too expensive” so it sounds like her motivations are not strictly “anti-chemical”, but also financial. I can understand the controversy for people who battle oily hair and… Read more »

Gummi_Bears
Gummi_Bears
6 years ago

I for one find it kind of funny that she is receiving this sort of backlash. If folks in general will look back, shampoo is a relatively new invention that was introduced around 1860s or so but was used more commonly in early 20th century if I recall correctly. Before that, people probably rinsed their hair with their own blend of herbs and what not. I think the reason behind the “outrage” and “disgust” is that mainstream people have been brainwashed to believe that they need to shampoo daily by the manufacturers of shampoos. Think about it, if the general… Read more »

Stephyqt
Stephyqt
6 years ago

Terressentials clay wash ladies, it will change your life. Now i make it on my own no dry icthy scalp harsh chemicals. Its bentonite class and essential oils and aloe vera..hair washing heaven.

jessybabe
6 years ago

Sounds like Fox was running dry on stories. I believe I read her blog before. Everyone has their own methods of washing hair, and most end results in it being healthy and cleaner than what regular shampoos can offer. People are appalled because it doesn’t fit into the norms of society, and love to point fingers and judge. My motto is “You do you and I do me”

Ugonna Wosu
Ugonna Wosu
6 years ago
Reply to  jessybabe

can please you link me to her blog? I tried to find it (google it), but all I find are stories on her ’ ”not washing” her hair for 5 years’. Thanks in advance. 🙂

jessybabe
6 years ago
Reply to  Ugonna Wosu

Actually its funny, the webpage I read wasn’t the one mentioned in this article. BUT a different girl who is doing the same, using baking soda to cleanse her hair. It’s pretty informative.

http://justsarahg.wordpress.com/2013/08/14/ill-never-shampoo-my-hair-again-ever-seriously/

The girl who is being mentioned in this, here is her blog as well

http://littleowlcrunchymomma.blogspot.com/2012/10/havent-washed-my-hair-in-three-years.html

Hope this helps 🙂

Ugonna Wosu
Ugonna Wosu
6 years ago
Reply to  jessybabe

thanks! Appreciate it!

Rach
Rach
6 years ago

Whoooo cares??? Just like she said, she is just not using shampoos and cleansers. Its not like she said she is no longer bathing herself at all. I could care less what color she is, if she wants to cowash and she’s not “Black” and doesn’t have “Kinky” “Afro” hair who cares. If anything her decision and many naturals decisions should say something about what us ladies think about the junk on the shelves companies are selling us, but instead the story is a white girl giving up store bought shampoo??? Articles like these I wish BGLH would not even… Read more »

KJ
KJ
6 years ago

Sweat, dirt, bacteria, all build up on the hair scalp. It needs to be removed by more than just water.

Ugonna Wosu
Ugonna Wosu
6 years ago
Reply to  KJ

lots of women do fine with just water, she’s not the first I’ve heard of doing it. You scrub well with pads of the fingers.

tracy collins
6 years ago

Wow not washing your for five years would damage your your hair’s complexity.

Autumn
6 years ago

I actually first heard about “no poo-ing” from a white woman’s blog. I tried it for about 3 months. It’s not about race, it’s about being healthy. The mass doesn’t even try to understand our hair, so if this was a black woman, no one would pay too much attention to it.

ChaNita
6 years ago

I honestly don’t see what the issue is. If she chooses not to wash her hair, it’s her business. If she chooses to wash her hair only with conditioner, that’s her business. If she chooses to wash her hair only with coconut oil, again, that’s her business. People have to do what is best for them. There is no one stop shop for hair care. We should all realize this. She said so herself that her hair is much thicker than it would have been. Maybe this is what she was going for from the beginning. Now, I would say,… Read more »

Michelle
Michelle
6 years ago

I think she should wash with baking soda once a month or so. You still have to clean dirt from your scalp. She is probably a ‘strong’ personal emotionally because she knew that there would be people out there that judged her very harshly for not using a shampoo.

Regina
Regina
6 years ago

I wash my hair once a month with shampoo. I use Pantene natural and it does not strip my hair. However,she chooses to wash her hair is really her personal choice.

Pseudonym
Pseudonym
6 years ago

The “no poo” method was possibly invented, but definitely made popular by a white woman with curly hair who wrote the book “Curly Girl” (or something to that effect).

Tabitha
Tabitha
6 years ago

this is an economic battle. majority population in the US is white. if word go out that women/people can take BETTER care of their hair with simple and affordable household items, more women would stop using the chemical products, which leads to less profits. so, companies hire trolls to discredit viable solutions and convince the masses that people like Baers are nuts.

carla
6 years ago

I have been shampoo free now for 2 months and love it, read about my journey here

http://misscmytake.blogspot.com

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