My hair is naturally wrinkly, leaning more towards curly for most of my life. And then I got pregnant. Like many parts of my body, my hair freaked out but I was too focused on the aliens that had possessed my poor boobs to care too much about what was going on with my hair. It basically switched back and forth between straight and curly with each kid, this last time with Jelly Bean ending up mostly straight and all falling out! Aren’t hormones fun? While I’ve mostly been sad about losing so much hair I’ve also kind of missed my natural wave. (I don’t know why since it just means that I end up either having to curl it or straighten it. I guess I just like options?) So when I started reading about the “no ‘poo” movement – not using shampoo – helping with curly hair I decided to give it a try.
Oh, and I’m cheap and lazy. And not easily squicked out by bodily fluids. This is what happened.
Since my hair is so dark (almost black), I had to mess with the color contrast to try and get the curls to show up. It’s much better looking in real life.
After I posted this pic on Facebook I got a TON of comments and questions so I decided to just answer them all in one post and hopefully there are some of you who’ve been doing this longer than one week who can help me out!
Q: No shampoo? Nothing at all? Whaaaa?
A: There are several methods.
Q: What about conditioner?
A: Again, several options.
Q: Why would anyone do this? Shampoo isn’t that expensive nor difficult to use.
A: Most people say they want to avoid putting all those chemicals in their hair and on their scalp. There are some known carcinogens and endocrine disruptors in almost every popular brand. But me, I don’t care about that so much (I probably should but even I can only worry about so many things at once!). I’m cheap and lazy but the real answer is how many testimonials I’ve read from women who’ve said this method makes their hair shinier, healthier and more manageable! Short answer: I’m vain. Plus, it’s not like it’s expensive or difficult to try, right?
Q: Don’t you smell bad?
A: Well I’ve only been doing it for less than a week and it’s winter so there haven’t been too many ambient sweat juices to marinate in. Although if I do smell I hope my friends will tell me! Also, my other friends who’ve been not-shampooing for months and even years definitely don’t smell. I’ve stood next to them and creepily sniffed their hair. Promise.
Q: Don’t you smell like vinegar?
A: I don’t because I don’t use that method but some of my friends who do report a faint vinegar odor wafting up from their scalp when they get sweaty.
Q: But what about after your workout? Aren’t you all gross and sweaty??
A: Only on a good day!! I sweat like a dude. And that includes my scalp. But here’s my dirty (literally) little secret: my hair styles better when it’s got some sweat in it. My hair is super thin and dry so for years now I’ve only been washing it about twice a week, even with daily workouts. Occasionally I’ll use some baby powder on my fingertips to mop up grease in my bangs but the sweat actually gives my hair more volume and texture. I don’t think I smell gross and so far none of my friends or family have complained.
Q: What about tangles? Isn’t it hard to brush your hair?
A: Man, I’m outing myself about lots of stuff today so here goes: I haven’t “brushed” my hair in probably… 20 years? My hair, even before all the pregnancy hormones hit it, has been thin and dry and brushes just made it break off. I have a very wide-toothed plastic comb that I only use after my hair is dry (since I read somewhere that combing wet hair makes it more fragile). Some days I just run my fingers through it and skip the comb all together. And last I checked, no dreadlocks! I’m not sure how this would work with girls with thicker/curlier/tanglier hair than mine though.
Q: How do you not get split ends without using conditioner? Especially for dry hair?
A: Well I’m the queen of split ends so I’m probably the wrong girl to talk to. But I think split ends are caused more by rough treatment – brushing , hot tools, hair dryers – than anything else and are best kept at bay by regular trims. I don’t think conditioner can “glue” them back together. Unless you’re using real glue in which case you have bigger problems than split ends.
Q: Is there a transition time?
A: Lots of people on the web who skipped the soda/ACV method and went straight to just water said that they had to endure a week or two of extreme greasiness before their scalp oils settled out. So far this hasn’t happened to me but I’ll let you know if it does!
Q: How do you not have dreadlocks??
A: Because I do still comb it, even if it’s just with my fingers.
Q: How do you wash the rest of your body – like your pits and, uh, down there?
A: I still use a shaving gel on my pits and legs. I’m sure it’s full of chemicals and crap but if I don’t I get mad razor burn and since I’m a Yeti I really can’t not shave. As for “down there” I’ve interviewed enough OBGYNs to know that plain, warm water is best. Some say you can use a mild soap on your lady bits if you’re worried. But that area is pretty good at self-cleaning so special products aren’t necessary and can even be harmful by stripping away your natural protective oils and good bacteria. If you are having constant odor issues from your business you may have an infection and should see your doc. Plus, even though I don’t wash my hair every day, I DO shower every day after my workout so it all gets cleaned regularly.
Q: Are you going to do this forever?
A: No clue! I’ll do it until I don’t like it anymore? Seriously though it never even occurred to me until just a few months ago that shampooing is optional but like one friend on FB pointed out, our ancestors probably didn’t have lauryth sulfate and whatever so our bodies probably are pretty good at regulating themselves.
Q: What about hairspray, gel etc?
A: You guys know I LOVE my retro hairdos. Thankfully the 40’s and 50’s pincurl styles don’t need much (if any product) – those curls are deceptively hardy and long-lasting! But the 60’s bouffants take a ton of back-combing and hairspray and I’m not willing to give those up (sometimes). So I’m guessing that on days when I’ve used a ton of product in my hair I’ll either use the baking soda or a simple clarifying shampoo. Some days I’ll also smooth a little dab of vitamin E oil over my dry hair to help with frizzies.
Q: Are you gross?
A: Yes. But not gross enough to call it “no ‘poo” other than that first sentence. Because I happen to really dislike constipation and do not feel bowel movements should be maligned in that way;)
Any of you not-shampoo? Have any other tips for me?? What modern “essential” have you given up only to discover how little you really need it after all?