No ‘poo: Is a shampoo-free lifestyle right for you? For me?

no shampoo movement hair washing conditioner baking soda apple vinegar healthyThough it’s been around for awhile, the no ‘poo movement has popped into my conscious in recent weeks. Seriously, I think I’m having one of those moments where life is sending you a message. I first linked to Bambino Steps from a tweet. Then I stumbled upon A Sonoma Garden when searching for a summer beef stew recipe! At this point I listened up. And then Sarah (aka @Paleothoughts), my fellow short-haired Paleo Twitter friend, said she was also pondering.

I’ve heard of minimizing or going without shampooing before, but always in reference to curly-hair care. A curly-haired girl I am not.

Alas, I hate my hair the day it’s washed.

I really do, and I pretty much always have. It’s fuzzy and frizzy and poofy with flyaways. It doesn’t lay, it doesn’t shine, it bugs the hell out of me. In the past I have dealt with this by showering in the evening. When I was growing my hair out (it’s now short, and platinum blonde) a few years back I embraced my natural color, shunned heat styling, and tried my best to work with my natural texture. After years of blow-drying (borne by years of short hair) I discovered for the first time the slightest wave to my hair. I’d go to sleep with damp hair and by morning my hair would be wavey-ish and I would have maximized the necessary calm-down-time overnight.

I’ve never been an every day hair washer. In fact, I’ve almost always liked my hair better on the second day. And sometimes even tolerated it on the third. About two years ago I had long, boob-length hair that I wore straight with bangs. And it was red-red. I dearly love red hair (and I wear it well, if I do say so myself) but it fades like the dickens. It was during this period that I discovered dry shampoo and basically began counting days as:

  1. Shampoo day (ehhhh)
  2. Good hair day
  3. Okay (can get by with some dry shampoo in the front)
  4. Choice between eeking out another day or giving in and losing a shade of color

The worst part about not being happy with my hair the day I wash it is the lag time between action and desired reaction. If I want good hair for an occasion or event I need to be on the ball the day prior. It’s just a whole lot of melodrama for hair!

Now that my hair is short (which I love, really I do. It’s easy, it’s breezy. But when it’s messed up? There’s nowhere to hide. No ponytail to come to call. So then it can effing suck.) the cycle looks more like this:

  1. Shampoo (usually I find a chance to shower in the afternoon) – my hair is clean but it frizzes out a little which looks silly with a cropped cut.
  2. Hair has calmed down and is looking good.
  3. Hair greases up a little. Still looks good but the “action” around the scalp makes it susceptible to sticking straight up in the back this morning. Can sometimes be tamed and sometimes not so much. Options are to continue on or shampoo and look forward to a better tomorrow.
  4. If the stick-ups weren’t out-of-control yesterday, they are today. With some greasy bangs thrown in for good measure.

I realize that I have it much, much better than most people, who couldn’t dream of regularly going 2-2.5 days without washing their hair. I think because of this it may be easier for me to kick my shampoo dependence. I know there are a lot of reasons to break the habit (environmental, toxins, time) but my top two motivators are vanity (described above) and money (I’ve used Aveda products exclusively for two years. I’ve been very happy with them, especially for my skin, but they are not cheap).

Ironically, one of the things holding my back from jumping in full throttle are my above mentioned products. I’ve got nearly a full liter of regular shampoo and a full liter of blue tinted (it works best for very blonde hair to use a purplish color shampoo once weekly to counteract any yellow tones). I’m not sure I can stand to see them go to waste! I’m also hesitant about my very chemically treated hair. Most testaments I read are about people going truly au naturale in the hair department. While I’m intrigued by this no ‘poo phenomenon, I have no plans to stop dying my hair. I may be young, but I’ve got greys people!

That being said, it’s been a week since I last shampooed. Once I washed with conditioner and once just water. I didn’t like the water only effect of my hair. I know there is a transition period as my hair and the scalp break work through fact that the natural oils are no longer being stripped away and therefore working overtime to replenish isn’t necessary. I’m not sure I’m willing to weather too many bad hair days. Many accounts I’ve read say how easy it would be to go no ‘poo with short hair. Yes, but we’ve got no ponytail to hide behind.

I’m not exactly sure what direction I’ll end up choosing, and I’ve no idea where I’ll end up, but I feel a strange sense of liberation and excitement. I think these no ‘poo people are on to something!

Some resources I’ve found particularly helpful or inspiring:

What do you think? To ‘poo or not to ‘poo? That’s really the question.

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3 Responses to No ‘poo: Is a shampoo-free lifestyle right for you? For me?

  1. Kimberly says:

    Thanks for the mention! Perhaps just wash with water if you’re concerned about using BS/ACV with processed hair. Or try out BS/ACV until your next hair appointment (just know you’re definitely going to go through a detox period) to see how it reacts. If you’re not a fan, on to the next experiment – plain water! My husband for example just washes his hair with water. Here’s pics: http://bambinosteps.com/2011/07/surf-n-turf/ and http://bambinosteps.com/2010/05/saturday-looks-good-to-me/. Amazing right? I mean very, very seldomly he’ll use ACV and on even rarer occasions he’ll using baking soda. We’re talking once every six months. Good luck!

  2. Karlin says:

    Oh, girrrl, I have been trying to be no ‘poo for so long now. And failing. Jared is no ‘poo. He just rinses water through. I want this so badly.

    Having the work hat on 5 days a week makes it a tiny bit easier to transition, because nobody will see my greasy hair all day (but there are still evenings that I see people! Ack!). I even got a boar bristle brush, which apparently helps spread the oils throughout the hair instead of it just sitting at the top. The best I got was to only shampooing every three or four days. Which, I guess shampooing twice a week is better than 7 days a week, but still. And, as the weeks went on I thought that my routine of only shampooing twice a week would start to settle in and my hair would stop looking greasy on days 3 and 4, but it just never did. And sometimes you have an event or something to go to and you absolutely can’t go without washing… ughh, it’s really hard. Just the transition period! I will probably give it another good effort soon.

    • robust_ly says:

      Karlin, why has it taken me many weeks to reply to this? Of course you are a no ‘poo-er, I love it! And go Jared!! I want to hear when you’re on your next effort! I wonder if for some people 3-4 days w/o washing is the best that it gets? Or if there are maybe some difference standards of acceptable? 😉

      It’s so hard to embrace looking overly disheveled or -gasp- unhygienic. I also notice so much more should I or shouldn’t I stress instead of just going through my shampoo/conditioning routine whenever I deem it necessary.

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