Why I Don’t Use Shampoo

Why I Don’t Use Shampoo

First of all, I just wanted to announce that this is Post Number 99. Seems like it should be the title of a thriller, eh? My next one will be a celebration of 100 posts and one year of blogging. So stay tuned.

Anywho… Let’s get started on Part 1 of a series also one year in the making.

Think “no-poo” is too crunchy? (Scroll down to “What the heck is ‘No-Poo'” at the end if you’ve never heard that term before).

When I decided to minimize my beauty routine and remove as many commercial products from my life as possible early last year, going “no-poo” was one of my first moves. And I’ve been gathering my thoughts ever since so that I could finally share with you.

This series will span a few articles. Over the course of it, you’ll learn what I’ve done that I no longer do. And what I’m experimenting with plus what’s currently working.

However, the series wouldn’t be complete without this foundation post and a little background.

What’s Wrong with Shampoo?

When you research the chemicals in beauty products and which ones to avoid, you will discover that there are almost no commercial shampoos that avoid all the “worst” chemicals.

Even natural brands which make great products for other purposes will swap out the known bad guys with ones lesser-known but just as harmful. Not always with nefarious intentions, I’m sure. If you want to learn more, read my fav book on chemicals used in traditional skincare.

The bottom line: store-bought shampoo just doesn’t seem to work without at least one no-no chemical.

For me, since I was easily removing those ingredients from all the other areas of my life, this was incentive enough to figure out a workable alternative for washing my hair.

Just because you rinse it off doesn’t mean it doesn’t seep into the highly absorbent surface of your skin. Especially in a steamy shower.

Beyond the Bottle

What is the basic need serviced by shampoo?

It is essentially soap. You’re cleaning your hair just like you clean the kitchen sink. And while us eco-conscious ladies and gents don’t smirk at making a quick mix of baking soda and vinegar to do a little bathroom cleaning, we cling to our shampoo bottles and think no-poo is too granola.

At the same time, hair care is such a tricky one to simplify. Until this past year, all my attempts at making my own “shampoo” or showering less always left my hair limp and greasy. 

Wash less

There’s a part of the raw food, natural hygiene movement that advocates never washing your hair. That’s not what I’m saying here.

Instead, how about this more moderate approach:

Save some water and cut your showers to a few times a week rather than every day. If you’re stinky, I give you permission to take a quick 1-minute shower to wash your pits and other delicate areas.

I have naturally oily hair, and I used to shampoo religiously every day. Then my hairdresser told me that every time we wash, we strip the natural oils in our hair. This, in turn, makes our glands produce more oil to make up for it, perpetuating the “oily” hair cycle. She suggested I start shampooing every other day.

I talked about this same concept in my article on moisturizing with just olive oil. The goal is to give your natural oils a chance to balance out. 

Since that moment years ago, I stopped washing every day. After the first couple of weeks of oiliness, it worked out its balance. To stretch my shampooing even further, I use this homemade dry shampoo.

So then, if I don’t wash my hair OR avoid the shower, then what do I do?

Next up in this series, I’ll talk about my experience with “no-poo” and why I no longer use baking soda and vinegar or castile soap to wash my hair.

Never heard of going “no-poo”? (Catchy, eh?) In case this concept is new to you, I’m ending this post with a definition.

What the heck is “No-Poo”?

“No-poo” typically refers to “washing” your hair with baking soda and then doing a rinse of diluted vinegar to condition and balance out the hair pH. It’s gotten pretty popular lately, and you can find tons of articles online. But it really is that simple.

Now your turn. Do you still use store-bought shampoo? If you’ve tried ditching it, how did it go?

P.S. See you next week at Post # 100!

10 Responses to Why I Don’t Use Shampoo

  1. Man, I’ve tried twice but I can’t get happy hair with vinegar and baking soda. I have SUPER DUPER fine hair. I color it, I flat iron it, I basically beat the hell out of it and since I’m only 32 with gray no color is not something I’m going to do. I’ve got a vegan shampoo and conditioner (pureology – love it) and I still have to shampoo ever 2-3 days. Sometimes if I’m not going anywhere over the weekend I’ll just put it up and dust some cornstarch mixed with coco powder (for color) on the roots to soak up some of the oil.

    I just couldn’t ever get things to balance out with the no poo routine. I know lots of people have great luck with it though!

    • Kathryn, I’m with you. I did baking soda/ vinegar for a few months until I decided to start experimenting with new things. It has a lot to do with the pH of your shower water, as I’ll discuss in the next post in the series.

  2. I’ve begun showering every other day because of dry winter skin. So that means washing hair at that time. I do a sponge bath on the days I skip the shower. Glad you discussed the vinegar/baking soda option. I had heard of it, but wasn’t sure if I wanted to try it. I think I’ll give it a shot. How long before your hair’s ph balanced out?

    • Jacqui, with “no poo”, the adjustment period is not so much about your hair’s pH balancing out as it is about the oils in your hair balancing after using commercial shampoo which strips them. At the same time, pH IS important and that’s why you should definitely follow the super-alkaline baking soda with acidic vinegar to bring the pH back down. I am currently making my own hair wash from herbs because the combo of hard water in Vegas and baking soda didn’t work out right for me. I’ll discuss that in the next post in the series. :)

  3. I’ve not tried dry shampoo. I’ve got super fine, dry hair. I am not sure how well dry shampoo would do for me. After working out, I am stinky & my hair gets sweaty/nasty. I am going to try the baking soda and vinegar thing. I would like to use less chemicals in my daily routine too and look forward future posts.

    • Paula, my hair is thick and oily so the opposite of yours! If you try out the dry shampoo and/or baking soda and vinegar on your hair, let me know how it works.

  4. I started showering about twice a week almost a year ago, down from 5-6 showers/week, in an effort to save water (and because I enjoy having more time for other things in my life). If I find myself a little smelly between then, I take a clean washcloth & wet it with only water and wipe up. I also use Crystal salt stick for my underarms about 2-4x/week. My husband has gone completely shampoo free (save about 4 washings) in the past year. It was greasy, smelly & a little icky for the first say, 2 1/2 months but I cannot believe how soft, full and nice his hair is now!! We both also agree that if we get a good workout in at least 3 days per week where we work out a great sweat, our natural odors are much more mild. My husband doesn’t wash with soap either, ever. He says it strips our protective acid mantle and allows more smelly bacteria to flourish than just by washing with water and sweating. His skin is soft, clean and he no longer has trouble with the dry skin that has plagued him since childhood!

    • Hi Steph, thanks for your feedback. I agree about “having more time for other things in my life.” And I like the in-between-showers sponge bath concept. 😉 It’s great to hear about your husband’s experience going completely product free from soap and hair wash! Adria

  5. Has any of you tried Rhassoul clay in chunks? You put it in a shot glass, fill it with shower water, let it sit a couple of minutes, and then it is a paste that you massage into your hair. It takes a bit more time, but I really loved the result. It can also be found in a dilluted-shampoo-bottle.

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