Ditching The Shampoo?

I’m not sure of what I think of the “no poo” movement. It’s a group of women in places like San Francisco and London who have stopped using shampoo. Instead, they are using things like baking soda to clean their hair or letting it go unwashed because they think that “the scalp’s natural oils will keep it glossy and clean.”
The results seem mixed. Some women look like they have the beginning of dreadlocks going on, while others, like the girl above, are happy with the state of her hair, which surprised her with its natural wave.
There’s a couple of issues here. First of all, shampoos contain a lot of toxins that some people want to avoid putting on their heads. Secondly, if you are the type to spend a lot of time on your hair, all those products can get pretty pricey. One woman spent over $60 a month on her hair, which sounds insane to me. Naturally, it would be better to save that $60 a month.
That said, the scalp’s natural oils do not keep hair clean. Unless you want dreadlocks, you are going to want to wash those oils away or you are going to have a greasy mess on your head. Also, hair is exposed to the elements and gets dirt in it. So not washing? That just sounds gross.
Now there are home remedies to clean your hair. One mom tried baking soda and was originally pleased with the results:

Baking soda! It’s my new favorite thing! Today I cleansed my hair in the shower with a mixture of one tablespoon baking soda and one cup warm water. When my hair dried, it was silky soft. Is this because of the baking soda or are my hair’s natural oils finally kicking in?

But then she ran into problems:

On Day 14 of my “no poo” experiment, my tresses are caked in grease. Even my regular baking soda treatment didn’t remove the oil buildup. I’m afraid that I look a little too grunge for this decade.

Let’s face it, cleaning supplies are a perk of modern civilization. In the middle ages, only rich people bathed and then only once a month. Fleas and lice were everywhere, disease was rampant, and everyone stunk. So as much as I believe in making your own cleaners, in general, we have come a long way with this cleanliness stuff. Let’s not go backwards.
That said, the thing I like about the “no poo” movement is that it asks you to look at how much you use hair supplies and more importantly, how necessary they are. You could be buying into an ideas spearheaded by a beauty industry that profits off of making us all feel bad about ourselves so we’ll keep buying their products. It’s possible you’re dumping loads of chemicals on your head for nothing. Maybe some of the money you’re spending on hair could be cut back and saved or spent on more important things. These are all things to consider.
Personally, I feel pretty good about my choices. I wash my hair every two days, do not use any products beyond shampoo and conditioner, and let it air dry. As a result, every time I got to a hair stylist (which is only twice a year), she comments on how strong and healthy my hair is. And since I don’t use many products, I don’t worry about being overly exposed to chemicals. Moderation is my friend.
Best of all, I spend about $.50 a month on my hair.
That’s just me. Everyone’s hair is different. Still… not washing? That doesn’t sound like the way to go to me, unless, like I said, you’re into that whole hippie, dreadlocks look.
Here is a list of home alternatives to hair products.

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6 thoughts on “Ditching The Shampoo?”

  1. I too receive compliments from my stylist on how thick and healthy my hair is and that it will do anything I want it to. However, I use 3 products every day on my hair in addition to my every other day wash and condition. I too wash every other day unless I really work up a sweat. I think it just depends on your hair and I do “buy in” to the fact that the quality of products has something to do with it too. I recommend almost any shampoo, I get picky about conditioner, and VERY picky about styling products. Here’s my fab list:
    Regular Shampoo: Almost Anything – does not make a big difference
    Conditioner: not too heavy try Pantene or Nutrogena
    Once a Week Deep Clean: Bumble and bumble Sunday Shampoo
    Styling: mouse, spray, texture, serums etc… Pureology all the way = hold, beauty, volume, and shine
    Hair Spray: Lighter hold, aerosol, not too much – I like herbal essences

  2. Krista, yes it has something to do with genetics, but it also has to do with how you take care of your hair. A lot of people fry it with chemicals or break it with brushing and so on and so forth. Or so a stylist told me. They always ask me and some have told me it might be because I don’t wash it every day. Who knows?

  3. I also see that nutrition has a great deal to do with our hair. Vitamins, essential fats, and complex carbs are so essential to overall health. Most unnaturally ultra thin women I know have brittle, stringy hair that is limp and lifeless. By unnatural I mean starvation instead of genetics.

  4. First time visit. read your piece on no poo. I think i’m going to try it. don’t be fooled by only using shampoo and conditioner and thinking you are not exposed to chemicals. Have a read: There’s Lead in Your Lipstick by Jillian Deacon. Amazing book with a lot of very surprising and disturbing info. On average, women have slathered on more than 127 chemicals on their body BEFORE they even walk out of the house in the a.m.!

  5. Of course her hair was greasy at day 14. Your scalp overproduces oils in response to shampoos, and it takes a while for your body to adjust. This can be a couple of weeks (14 days, anyone?) to a couple months depending on the person. You won’t see the REAL results til 4-6 months in…


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