Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Jumping on the No Shampoo Bandwagon

In keeping with my tradition of jumping on a bandwagon once everyone else has already jumped on, run around, jumped off, jumped back on, and are sick of talking about it already, I think I’m going to join the no shampoo movement (I can’t call it no ‘poo, I just can’t).  In case you’ve been hiding in the same cave that I have (come on in! it’s warm in here), the no shampoo movement is the idea that people stop using traditional, mass-manufactured shampoo and conditioner to clean their hair and instead rely on more natural ingredients like baking soda and apple cider vinegar to do the job.  There are various reasons that people choose to do this, some are intent on leading a more “natural” life, some get icked out about by sodium laureth sulfate, some have heard that it just makes your hair really, really soft and healthy.  I kind of fall into all three camps, but mainly that last one.

First, you guys know that I love to try to be all eco and earth friendly.  These attempts have been thwarted a little bit by moving to Pittsburgh (for example, it’s hard to use public transportation to get around and the recycling process here is confusing and stupid), but I’m completely of the mind that every little bit helps.  I like the idea of using a harmless ingredient that doesn’t have to be manufactured in a plant, bottled in a plastic container that requires petroleum to be produced, and then shipped to Target and sold to me for $5 a pop.  I mean, I still buy a lot of things that fit that description (I will not give up my SPF face lotion, um, EVER), but if I can reduce the amount of these things, that’s pretty cool too.  

I’m not completely icked out by the sodium laureth sulfate issue, but again, anything I can do to reasonably reduce my exposure to chemicals is probably a good thing, right?  It’s not that I’m so concerned washing my hair is going to give me cancer as I think that the fewer chemicals we put into the water system, the better.  Baking soda and vinegar are both things we can and do eat, so if they get into our water supply it’s probably not as harmful as when a powerful sudsing agent is all up in that H2O we then treat and release back into nature, where our food and stuff is grown.

Finally, I’m mostly excited about the idea of nice, soft, healthy hair.  I’m not a scientist but the theory that commercial shampoo strips hair of its natural oils, which kicks the oil production into overdrive to overcompensate, which means you have to wash it more, etc. makes pretty good sense to me.  I like the idea of not having to wash my hair very often, and I would really like to have soft, healthy hair.  If it turns out that this no shampoo thing is completely bogus and that I NEED to wash my hair every other day, that’s fine too.  It’ll be a science experiment! 

Here's the plan:  My hair is really, really long right now, and I just want it out of my face until I can make an appointment to get it cut.  Turns out this dovetails nicely with reducing the number of times I wash it until I can stop using commercial shampoos altogether.  For the last ten years or so I would wash my hair every other day, which was about the amount of time it took to get so flat and lifeless that I needed to suds it up just to infuse some body into it.  In the past few weeks I’ve transitioned to washing it every two days, which has resulted in many side-part-low-buns and artfully-arranged-bang braids.  I mean, I still have to go to work everyday not looking like a homeless person.  The upside is that we’re headed into summer, when beachy hair and unique braids and updos are more acceptable.  Once washing it every two days seems to be doing the trick to stave off oil production, I’ll continue to taper and then eventually switch over to using baking soda and apple cider vinegar.  That part’s probably going to require some courage.  

So, it’ll be interesting to see how this goes.  Most things I’ve read about this movement talk about how great it is for thick, curly hair.  I do not have thick, curly hair, I have straight, flat, fine hair.  The upside is that I don’t use any other hair products, so I don’t need to wean myself off mousse or styling gel in addition to shampoo and conditioner.  The downside is that I imagine there will be bouts of frustration with how gross I think my hair looks.  Like I said, should be interesting.  Have you guys ever experimented with changing up your shampoo routine, or giving it up altogether?


Kaorichan said...

Interesting! I guess I've been living in the same cave because this is all news to me. My hair stylist keeps telling me not to wash my hair everyday, but how do you get in the shower everyday, and get your hair wet (even if you wear a cap it gets steamy/damp) and NOT wash it? It just feels so icky! (technically speaking)

I've been trying to use silicone free shampoo/conditioner this last year...but the problem is it only comes in uber expensive brands (I use Aveda) and so I'm probably going to switch back or alternate between that and cheapo Ganier Fructis or something. I don't notice a difference honestly.

I look forward to seeing how this experiment goes for you - I use baking soda and vinegar to clean the kitchen all the time and it works great! Question tho: Will your head smell like vinegar all the time??? haha

ReeseAnnaJean said...

First of all, you have beautiful hair, no matter what you use!

I have serious scalp problems (like irritations to the point of painful, bloody blisters, gross!)and have tried a thousand different shampoos, all to no avail. I also wash my hair every other day or every two days; I have thick dry hair so it would be crazy for me to wash everyday. I am totally going to try this, thanks!!

Lauren McKenna said...

This is fascinating! I've never heard of it before. "Poo-free" is too funny though. I think I might do this too :)

Let us know how it goes for you!

Amber Dushman said...

I had to comment because I always had really great hair up until a year ago, and now I spend way too much time thinking about washing my hair (like I'm trying to avoid a guy or something..."Sorry,I can't go to the movies, I have to wash my hair.") I have super thick hair and a lot of it. Last spring my hair started to get waxy and greasy at the roots even after I would wash it. (I've always been a wash your hair every few days kinda girl.) I tried a few things: vinegar and selsum blue, but they didn't do the trick long term. Now I use a prescription anti-fungal (I know, gross)shampoo to ward off grease/waxy. Long story short, I might have to jump on this bandwagon too. Let us know how it goes!

iris said...

So, I did this whole no 'poo thing last summer (the bf calls it, "shan't poo"), and i did a couple of posts on it:

The problem is...bangs are on your [greasy] forehead all day, and really need to be washed pretty much everyday. Or at least mine do. Whether you do it with baking soda & vinegar or sulfate-free shampoo (easily acquirable at Whole Foods), it doesn't matter. Just keep in mind that washing your whole head once a week may not be an option.

That being said, when I did wash my hair with baking soda & vinegar, it came out looking lovely, for a day or two. So I ended up needing to wash more frequently anyways. I've switched to sulfate-free shampoos, washing every few days (and my bangs every single day). This works okay. For me.

That was a long post just to say that this works differently for everyone. Good luck!

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

From what I read when the bandwagon was in full swing, this works very well. I actually don't wash my hair but every 3 days anyway, and I usually wear it up, so I could probably try this, but haven't. I do get a bit greasy at the end of day 3, but usually that is when my hair is most manageable (I have fine, straight hair).

Good luck to you. I am interested to see how it goes! It's always nice to do your part for the environment! Every little bit helps.

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

Do you read Ashley at Our Little Apartment? She's been doing the 'no poo for quite a while now and has written a number of posts about it. You'll definitely have to let us know how it goes!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Good luck, I find it intriguing, but have yet to jump on the band wagon. I wash my hair every day. Sometimes twice a day if I washed in the am and then work out that evening. If I wear my hair straight and don't work out, I can get away with not washing it the next day, but that rarely works for me!

Megan said...

ahhh i die when i can't wash my hair every day, but i could be up for this. what do you start doing once you're ok with washing every other day?
my solution is usually to go get my hair highlighted since it looks noticeably darker after a day of being unwashed.