Pros: Sulfate-free; hydrating; smells good; suitable for straight, curly, or wavy hair
Cons: Causes build up on scalp and dandruff!
Last Fall, my hair was feeling a bit dry, so I decided on a different approach to washing my hair. I began using DevaCurl No-Poo Conditioning Cleanser along with its matching conditioner, DevaCurl One Condition. I used this product for about eight months, and my opinion about this stuff changed from being not sure, to I kind of like this, to not so much. At first I wasn’t so sure about using a non-lathering shampoo, but I pretty much got used to it and really liked it for a while. Then, after a few months, I began noticing flakiness and buildup on my scalp, so in the end I decided that it wasn’t for me. Here’s how it went.
Similar to the Wen line of hair care products from the infomercials, DevaCurl products are sulfate-free and loaded with botanicals. They are intended to keep curly or wavy hair hydrated and healthy without using harsh detergents. This sounded great to me. I knew going in that using this product would be a departure from my normal, head-full-of-bubbles shampoo. No-Poo is a conditioning cleanser that contains no sulfates or lathering agents. In most shampoos, sulfates like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Trideceth Sulfate, or Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate are used as lathering and cleaning agents. Sulfates are said to fade color-treated hair and are a potential skin irritant. Some even believe that sulfates can be highly toxic and carcinogenic. Information available on the internet about sulfates varies depending on the source or writer’s agenda, so I won’t address those issues here. My hair is highlighted, but fading isn’t typically an issue for me unless I am in the sun a lot, and I’ve never experienced irritation from a shampoo, so the fact that this product was sulfate-free was nice, but not a requirement for me.
Here’s how Deva describes it: DevaCurl No-Poo is a gentle cleansing and hydrating formula for unmanageable curly hair, and severely dry hair and scalp. It's called "No-Poo" because of its lack of shampoo-like lather. A low (and I mean low) lather version is also available, called "Low-Poo".
No-Poo is a rather thick, white, creamy conditioning cleanser. It looks and feels more like a conditioner than a shampoo. In fact, it doesn’t resemble a traditional shampoo at all. There are no lathering agents in this cleanser whatsoever. I suppose that a product doesn’t have to lather to clean effectively. I use a creamy cleanser on my face that doesn’t lather, and it works great. Many household cleaning products don’t foam up, either. So, who says a hair cleanser must have suds? I was open to the idea.
The 32 oz. bottle of No-Poo comes with a pump which is very convenient. Smaller bottles are available, but I’m guessing that it is difficult to get the product out of the bottle when running low since it is on the thicker side.
No-Poo contains Hungarian rose and mint, and is evident from its scent. The scent is light and pleasing and doesn’t linger after it is rinsed.
The ingredients are: Aqueous Extracts of: Achilea Millefolium, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria), Cymbopogon Schoenanthus, Humulus Lupulus (Hops), Melissa Offcinalis (Balm Mint), Rosmarinus Offcinalis (Rosemary), Isopropyl Palmitate, Cetyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Chloride, Laureth-4, Grape Seed Oil, Peppermint Oil, Propylene Glycol, Wheat Amino Acids, Soy Amino Acids, Oat Amino Acids, Diazolidinyl Urea, Methyl Paraben, Propyl Paraben, Menthol, Fragrance.
My 8 Month Experience
My hair is long (middle of my back), slightly wavy, and highlighted. It usually pretty normal, except in the fall and winter when it tends to be somewhat drier.
I initially tried a 2 oz. travel size of this product to see if I liked it before investing in a larger size. I have to admit the first few times I used it, I felt like I was conditioning my hair rather than cleaning it! In fact, I had to pick up the bottle to make sure I was using the cleanser and not the conditioner. After a week or so of daily use, I finally began to get used the lack of lather. Quite frankly, I missed having lather, but I could deal with it because my hair was feeling less dry and more manageable, so I stuck with it. I worried that using such a heavy product would leave my hair feeling greasy, or would not keep my hair clean for long. I found this not to be the case. I typically wash my hair daily so I have a clean slate for styling each day, but on occasion I skip washing my hair. My hair didn’t feel any dirtier on the second day, than it did when I used a normal shampoo. It may be because it was late fall and winter when I used this product (meaning drier hair), and my hair is not very oily to begin with, but I had no problems with my hair getting dirty quicker or feeling weighed down. I was happy because my hair no longer felt dry.
I really wanted to see if using such a drastically different "shampoo" would improve the quality of my hair long term. Would my new hair growth be stronger, shinier, and healthier? I was willing to give it a long-term try so I bought the 32 oz bottle for $28 (not too bad considering it is a full quart).
The directions state to wet hair thoroughly. Evenly distribute a palm-full of No-Poo between both hands, and distribute to hair and scalp. Use circular massaging motions to eliminate dirt and product residue. I typically used two pumps of product to wash my hair (half dollar-sized dollop). I found that it was much easier to work the cleanser into my hair if I added some water to my hair while working it through. This product is slick like a conditioner and even does a decent job detangling my hair. It smells nice, kind of like a rosemary-mint scent, but with a hint of rose. It doesn’t rinse out completely like a normal shampoo, but instead leaves my hair with a smooth, slick feeling as if I had used a conditioner. My hair was clean, but not squeaky clean--not bad, just different. I felt that I could almost get away without an additional conditioner, but found that I liked to follow with DevaCurl One Condition anyway. Using a separate light weight conditioner helped eliminate tangles and made my hair softer. Those with shorter hair could get away with out a separate conditioner since No-Poo conditions as it cleans.
For about 6 of months I followed this routine, and my hair looked good. I didn’t notice any drastic improvement, but I was generally happy with the product and how it left my hair feeling healthy, not dry or oily. While this product is intended for wavy or curly hair, it does not do anything to encourage curls. I was able to style my hair curly or straight after cleansing with No-Poo.
Is that Dandruff?
Then one day when I was wearing a black shirt, I noticed white specs on my shirt! That day, I had used a new heat protection spray, so I immediately assumed that it was causing the flakes. However, on subsequent days, even when I didn’t use that particular styling product, I was noticing flakes on my shoulders. Ick! I then scratched my head, and noticed white specs falling onto my shoulders. Luckily I have a lint roller at my desk that I used to quickly remove this mess from my shirt. Since No-Poo is supposed to be so mild and hydrating, it took me awhile to suspect that it was the culprit. My hair and scalp were not dry, so the flakiness wasn’t cause by dryness. I guess that NoPoo is so moisturizing and mild that it didn’t clean my scalp adequately! I found the following information on the Brighton Beauty Supply website (where I purchased the product).
It is suggested that when using DevaCurl No-Poo for the first time, you should follow your usual routine as you would with a conventional shampoo. I did that. It then goes on to state that, once the hydration level in your hair improves, continue cleansing with No-Poo as often as necessary. We recommend once or twice a week. However, we do suggest wetting your hair and conditioning everyday until the desired hydration level is achieved. It didn't say this on the bottle, so I had no idea that it might not be a good idea to use NoPoo on a daily basis!
For the next 6 weeks, I only used No-Poo once or twice per week. The build up and flakiness on my scalp was reduced. Yeah! In fact, when I stopped using No-Poo for two weeks straight, the flakiness was virtually eliminated. Great! Problem solved. I guess I won't use DevaCurl No-Poo Conditioning Cleanser anymore (at this point, the bottle was empty anyway)! I suppose I could use it sporadically, but what’s the point? My hair seems to do just fine as long as I’m using a good quality conditioner to keep it hydrated.
No More No-Poo!
It was about two months ago when I stopped using DevaCurl No-Poo Conditioning Cleanser and as long as I condition my hair sufficiently, I haven't noticed any change in the texture or quality of my hair. I've tried a few different shampoos and conditioners during this time, and I have not had a problem with flakiness. I still occasionally use DevaCurl One Condition and DevaCurl Angéll Styling Gel because they work for me, but as far as DevaCurl No-Poo Conditioning Cleanser goes, I’m done!
Other DevaCurl Products:
DevaCurl One Condition
DevaCurl Angéll Styling Gel