the magnificent no poo failure and resulting coconut oil miracle

I want to close the loop on my No ‘Poo adventure once and for all. And forever. I like words like forever. And always. And never. Basically, all words that end in “ways” or “ever” are awesome and I wanted to share that with you before we got too deep. My teachers always told me never to use them, which made (and makes) them all the more rad. If you get nothing else out if this blog, at least you’ll know me that much better. But anyways, let’s get back to it.

For someone whom the No ‘Poo movement was never going to work, I hung in for a very respectable amount of time. I dared it to work for me. But evidently it was too chicken. So whatever. I’m using shampoo again. Sue me.

If you haven’t already had the pleasure, you can read all about my personal No Poo journey in these blogs:

i don’t have to wash my hair; i’m just not that into you, that’s awesome! ready to go wash your hair?, egg-cellent, the faint scent of hopelessness

So, now I’m back on shampoo. I am, however, trying to be very careful about the shampoos I buy now. I’m always looking for shampoos with only a few ingredients, no colors or parabasticalsorbatphospheridelauthzodes, just natural and simple. That’s dang hard to do. Right now I’m using Millcreek Botanicals Biotin Shampoo and Conditioner. It’s not perfect. There are still some chemical-ly ingredients, but there are also some great oils. I only use it 2-3 times a week so I think this is a fair compromise. I’ve also tried Nature’s Gate Shampoos and Conditioners. If you have other suggestions, comment below. Please. I beg you.

The problem with shampoos and conditioners which are short on parabasticalsorbatphospheridelauthzodes is they kind of always suck a little. At least, so far. They’re like that employee or student that “meets expectations” every time, but never really goes above and beyond. What I’m trying to say is, my hair gets clean, but it doesn’t really glow… It’s not in a giant clump of impossible knots after a shower, but it’s not fully conditioned either. The products don’t do anything wrong, but they don’t often surprise me with sheer awesomeness either.

Luckily for all of us, I strive to exceed expectations in all that I do. Hooray! Unfortunately, the expectation I generally exceed the most is not a level of success, but of failure. I fail, greatly. Often.

I’ll give you an example that fits right into this bumbling ramble. I made a very-close-to-natural shampoo once. And I used said shampoo. Once. Within 30 seconds of rubbing it in my head basically felt like it was made of molten lava. I thought my scalp had actually spontaneously combusted. I greatly failed. This was actually the very moment of the end of the No Poo movement for me. I was forced to use good old fashioned carcinogenic shampoo to rinse out the hellfire. Come to think of it, I’m probably lucky I didn’t blind myself.

But these failures, these “mistakes” just force me to correct the blunder. And sometimes the concoction I make to correct the horrible effects of the concoction that was a disaster is absolutely brilliant.

When I was a month or so into No Poo I started concocting all sorts of remedies for effects of No Poo’s blatant refusal to work for me. I used egg whites, egg yolks, beer, lemons, all sorts of things and one thing in particular is working now to help me out with these “crunchy” shampoo and conditioner’s lack of glitz: Coconut oil.

I can handle any amount of just “meeting expectations” now that I use this particular concoction weekly. It totally fancies up the lack-luster performance of my crunchy conditioner, by leaving my hair shiny, soft, moisturized and conditioned. It’s so simple.

You’ll need 2 cups coconut oil, 2 Tbs. Castor oil, and 2 Tbs. Jojoba oil (wax). All of these oils are fantastic for hair, skin and scalp. OH! I also let my friend who’s name rhymes with Harry talk me into adding Rosemary essential oil.  I’ve had this conversation with some of you before, but I HATE rosemary.  Hate.  But it’s supposed to be spectacular for hair and the coconut oil masks the scent, so I’m willing to make the sacrafice.
Melt the coconut oil. I did this by sticking my jar in a large, glass measuring bowl of hot water.


Stir in the Jojoba and Castor oil  and however much Rosemary you can stomach, and mix together well.

Once mixed, I put my jar in the fridge for about an hour to harden. Then it sits on the bathroom counter waiting for me to grab a gooey scoop whenever I want.

When I apply this stuff to my hair, I don’t want it to saturate my scalp, just the ends. So I pull my hair into a high ponytail.

That lets me goop on as much as I want without worrying that my scalp will end up greasy mess.

I just massage it into my hair until it’s all melted.

Then I just twist it into a loose bun or knot and let it be for as long as I want.

My house is pretty cold in the winter, so the coconut oil sometimes starts to solidify or never has a chance to fully melt. If I notice this happening I’ll blast it with a hairdryer for a minute or so to keep it nice and oily.  When I’m tired of it being on my head, usually 45 minutes to an hour, I stand under water as hot as I can handle and squeegee out the oils with my fingers. Then, I shampoo and condition as usual.

I love my hair so much after doing this it’s hard for me to keep my hands out of it. And as an added bonus all of the oils used in the mix are great for skin. When I’m finished my skin is super soft and moisturized. Win, win.

So although No Poo was a no go, because I suffered through it I have a concoction that lets me have softer and shinier hair while still using healthy-ish products. Fair enough.



  1. waywardvictoriangrrl · · Reply

    I’ve had really good luck with Chagrin Valley shampoo bars. I was QUITE skeptical of them, because I’ve always heard soap was terrible for your skin and hair, but these arent’ really soaps. They are kind of like shampoo-conditioner combos and they lather well and they’re basically just awesome. Also, if you still need conditioner after, I’ve had quite a bit of good luck with a mix of 1 part water to 1 part ACV (with a splash of tea tree oil for de-flaking and also stimulating hair growth). It totally doesn’t smell once it’s dry and it’s basically just awesome.

    1. Thanks for the tip, Wayward! I would love to try them out. Where can they be found? Do you order them online or in any particular store?

      1. waywardvictoriangrrl · ·

        I got mine online. I think, if you live near where they’re based, they have a shop, but I’m not certain where that is, beyond “North.”
        But, yeah, good luck! Also, their sample sizes are around $3 and are actually quite sizable.

      2. I’m on it, thanks!

      3. waywardvictoriangrrl · ·

        No problema!

    1. Awesome! Thank you, Caroline.

  2. I’ve been very happy with Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle shampoo and conditioner. It’s much healthier than what I used to use with only a couple unpronounceable ingredients toward the end (one of which it specifies as being made from coconut). It feels good, smells good, and has lots of great stuff in it, plus it’s surprisingly affordable. I think combining it with your coconut oil treatment would make it even better!

    1. Thanks, Erin, for the tip! I use Trader Joe’s tea tree oil face wash and absolutely love it. Right now we don’t live near a Trader Joe’s, but I’m thinking a road trip is in the near future… I will definitely give it a try.

  3. I gave up on the no poo too! I got a build up that made my hair all grubby. I did make my own shampoo for a while using some castile soap, aloe vera gel, vegetable glycerin, and several different oils. But I ran out a while back and didn’t have time that particular day to mix up a new batch, so I used some “natural” shampoo and conditioner that I bought at the store for those moments. I ended up liking it and have continued to use it, but it still has some unpronounceables in it, so I will probably go back to mixing up my own shampoo at some point. I also still use the coconut oil infused with rosemary that I made as a leave-in conditioner.

    1. Jessica L! What up? I feel you, that build up. Terrible. I wish it would have worked for me, but alas… I just couldn’t deal!

  4. I’m only on day 12 and I thought I had read every post until in a hopeless moment I typed “no poo failure” into the search engine and found your blog. Whaaa! It’s like there is no Santa all over again. I’ve been using the Morrocco Method with zero positive results. My hair looks like it was styled by a Jiffy Lube tech. At present there is enough cornstarch in it to thicken a vat of gravy and my friend tried to hug me at the store tonight and I was paranoid about my smell!

    I think I’ve read more valuable advice on this blog than any of the bagillion I’ve poured over in the last month. You have some great followers.

    I did find this buzzfeed that made me laugh (until the end)

    1. I. Feel. You. Sister. It just never worked for me. It’s funny I totally just chopped all my hair off recently and was thinking maybe I’d give it another go. But no no No No NO NO NO!!! Thanks for the wonderful reminder… Jiffy Lube tech… Awesome. It’s not for me, BUT I am glad you’ve found info here. Makes my heart happy. And you’re right, that link is hilarious, right up until it’s just down right annoying. : )

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