I love the look on people’s faces when I tell them I’ve not shampooed my hair in nearly 2 years now.
I think the image that conjurs up is unruly matted dreads, which is not how my naturally curly red hair looks. And actually, my hair has never been healthier and more manageable than since I went shampoo-free.
Notice I didn’t say I don’t wash my hair. Instead, I use a combination of baking soda and apple cider vinegar to care for my hair.
And even at that, I only use it once or twice a week at most.
Why I don’t Shampoo
It originally started when I came back from Burning Man, and my hair was ultra dry, brittle and frizzy. It was either cut it off and let it regrow, or try something drastically different to restore it. A friend happened to post that she was trying this thing called ‘nopoo’ to help control her frizzy hair, so I gave it a shot and never looked back.
I learned that not only do we humans not actually need shampoo, it’s unhealthy for us! Shampoo is a detergent and literally strips our hair of natural oils, then requiring replacement of those oils with conditioners and treatments. It becomes an endless cycle of cleaning, damaging and restoring. Shampoo also contains lots of chemicals, including mineral oils (that are byproducts of oil distillation) and sodium lauryl sulfate (which is on the material data sheet as a chemical that you should avoid body contact with).
The benefits of going Shampoo Free
- Significantly improved the health of my hair – my hair used to be frizzy, now it’s tame, soft and maneable.
- Saves me tons of money (I spend only a buck or two a month on hair care now).
- Saves me tons of time.
- Reduced impact on the environment.
- Better for my overall health.
- Removed my self one more step from the consumerist economy of health and beauty ‘aids’.
- Helped in water conservation.
And that last one, water conservation, is an important one when we’re living off grid in a small trailer with limited tank capacity. Going shampoo free allows me to just rinse or dampen my hair daily to pull a brush through it, and then do my nopoo routine once a week or so. With no bubbles to rinse out, I use very little water even on my washing days.
What’s the routine?
For me, I wet my hair and pour about a teaspoon or so of baking soda in my palm. Let a little bit of water turn it into a paste and spread it over my hair. I let it sit for about a minute while I soap up my body, and then rinse. I follow up (sometime a couple days later, I’ve just learned to read my hair and what it needs when) with a dilluted solution of apple cider vinegar and water, and pour about a 1/2 cup or so on my hair. Sometimes, depending on the environment I’m in I may also use a conditioner to give my hair some extra moisture .
For more information on going shampoo free: Check out this excellent posting that gives lots of further details.