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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