Last October I wrote a post for you guys about how I’d stopped using shampoo on my hair. At that point, it had been about half a year since I’d started. Now that I’ve been “poo free” for a little over a year, I thought I’d give you guys an update on how it’s going and some things I’ve learned.
First things first, some proof that I don’t look like one of those horribly matted dreadlock sheepdogs.
To put into perspective exactly what it is you’re seeing here, this is my hair, washed last night, slept on wet, run through with a comb once this morning and entirely unstyled. I haven’t had a trim since probably last October? I seriously need one, but I just haven’t had time.
Clearly I take every effort to make sure I’m beautiful for you internets.
I still have a little bit of frizzing around the crown, but that’s from my hair all falling out when I stopped nursing, and not any fault of my non-shampoo.
You guys, I don’t think I’m ever going back.
Before I started this experiment, I had to wash my hair every single night or I looked like an extra from the mechanic shop scene in Grease. Now I go three days between washes and it still isn’t as gross as it was after a day and a half before.
My hair is extremely fine, and before I switched I had more or less resigned myself to the fact that my hair was always going to be plastered to my head. Now, probably because I don’t need to use nearly as much conditioner, I have tons of body…and (as evidenced by my photoshoot two weeks ago) I can actually have BIG hair. That was impossible before without some serious outside help. Like, you know, my finger in an electrical outlet.
Also, while I can’t guarantee that this is because of getting rid of shampoo (it might be a post-pregnancy hormone change thing), I’ve found several grey hairs that have gone dark again. Yeah…now you want to try it, right?
Over the past year I’ve had a couple of things crop up that I’ve had to work through. I figure I’ll share what works for me, and hopefully it can help you work through any issues if you decide to try this out as well!
Things I’ve learned:
Err on the side of too little baking soda- When you’re making your shampoo, you want to have your ratio of baking soda to water be about 1 Tb soda to 1 cup water. As the weather got colder this past fall, I took out the Tb of castille soap I’d been adding and added a little more baking soda to the mix. Big mistake. My scalp got itchy and irritated and I was finding baking soda residue under my nails when I scratched it. Cutting the ratio back to a little under a tablespoon per cup of water fixed the problem immediately.
The vinegar rinse IS NOT optional– The bottle that I keep my apple cider vinegar in to rinse my hair is significantly smaller than the one I keep my baking soda mixture in. That means it runs out more often and I have to remember to take it to the kitchen and refill it, and well, I’m just lazy, and so for a couple of months I figured “eh, I don’t really need to rinse with vinegar…” Cue the itching…and baking soda build up…and a weird, texture-y dryness of the ends of my hair. Yuck. I refilled the vinegar bottle and after one rinse with it, my hair was back to being wonderful.
You probably don’t want to use the vinegar every time you wash your hair, but make sure you’re using it at least every few weeks.
Shower caps are your friend– Obviously, if you’ve just run a half marathon you’re going to need to wash your hair, but most days, while your body may need a quick scrub down, your hair probably doesn’t really need the full treatment.
There will be a period of adjustment to get your hair to go longer and longer between washes. Expect to wear your hair up or in a ponytail on the last day before you wash it, but know that doing so means you’ll soon have an extra day you can wear it down without shampooing. Make yourself a headband and practice French braiding your own hair. The internet has a billion ideas for cute ways to keep your hair off your face for that one day.
You won’t get to 3 days between shampoos if you don’t let your hair be a little oily the second day to start. Keep a can of dry shampoo on hand to soak up the oil in the hair around your face so the rest of your hair can stay unwashed if it really drives you nuts.
Product– I’ve had several people ask me about product in regards to doing this. I don’t typically use a lot of product, because, uhm, lazy, but any time I do, I can’t say I’ve had any difficulty getting it out of my hair. Yes, if you empty an entire can of Aquanet into your hair every morning, this is probably going to be less effective for getting it out than industrial strength soap, but if your product usage is fairly reasonable it shouldn’t be a problem. And, if my hair is any indication, as you do it, you’ll hopefully need less product to start with.
Color treated– I can’t really speak from personal experience as to if this is safe for color treated hair or not. The bottom of my hair was color treated, as were several highlights up underneath, but having not done any real dyeing of my hair before this, I can’t speak to how my hair would have reacted to dye with shampoo. I can say that I don’t notice any particular difference between the two portions of my hair, other than that the dyed part (being at the bottom) really needs to be trimmed.
From what I’m finding when I do a search, the only thing that makes a shampoo color safe is that it’s lacking in harsh sulfates, so I suspect this would be great for color treated hair.
Conditioner– I do still use commercially made conditioner. I’ve realized I’m a compulsive cosmetic aid hoarder and so I’m having to slowly wean myself away from the beauty department. That being said, I now use about a quarter sized dollup of conditioner on my hair every week, as opposed to three different kinds of conditioner every night like I used to. The bottles are all awfully pretty lined up at the store, but it’s so nice having a couple less to balance around my shower now, so I expect I’ll eventually get away from using it all together.
I’ve had quite a few people tell me the first article had piqued their curiosity, so hopefully this update will help a few of you feel a little more confident to try it out! Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or send me an email if you have any questions I haven’t answered, and fellow no-poo-ers, please keep telling me about your experiences, I’ve gotten some great feedback from you that has kept me from giving up when things got a little dicey!