Well Being

Life Without Shampoo: Week One

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Last week, I wrote about my curiosity with the “no-shampoo” movement, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: folks who are eschewing shampoo, in favor of a more natural approach. People are skipping the sudsy stuff for a number of reasons, including a desire to be more eco-friendly, and concerns over the potentially-harmful chemicals often used to create lather and make it smell good. I gave it up just to see if the hype was worth it, and to see if it could work for someone who was active (read: sweaty). [tagbox tag=”no shampoo”]

Going shampoo-free doesn't require many special ingredients–in place of “shampoo”, I used baking soda and water mixed together in a travel-sized bottle. The “conditioner” recommended is a mix of apple cider vinegar and water. Over the course of the week, I spent probbably 30 cents on supplies, had to re-make my products just once, and washed with them 4 times. It's definitely an inexpensive approach.

Making the hair products is easy enough, though if you, say, forget to make a new batch before hopping in the shower, it's a little inconvenient. But other than that, actually making the switch is simple.

As far as the effectiveness of the natural approach, it's working pretty well. I've washed my hair after each workout this week (that's 4 times, total), and it's mostly keeping things clean. 

In fact, after the first baking soda shower I took, my hair looked super-shiny, lush, and full. I have what'd politely referred to as “combination” hair (which is just a nice way of saying that it can't make up its damn mind), so I tend to straighten it. It looked awesome even before I did. Even if you'd never consider ditching your shampoo for the long haul, I'd highly, highly recommend the baking soda wash and the vinegar conditioner just once

However, by day 4, I noticed that my hair wasn't staying as clean for as long–which is probably a combination of the new treatment, and the fact that I couldn't stop touching my hair (shame on me, I know) for the first three days. I'm not sure if that's just my hair getting used to being without shampoo, or if a little extra grease is something I'm supposed to get used to.

One concern I had at the outset was that my head would smell like a salad, because of the vinegar. But it turns out, the vinegar scent washes right out, leaving no odor at all. If you're used to your head smelling like a fruit basket or floral garden, the lack of a scent may be a little disconcerting, but for people who don't like artificial fragrance, it's a relief. [tagbox tag=”shampoo”]

I wasn't sure at the outset whether or not I could use my other hair products (smoothing serum, heat-protecting spray) on the no-shampoo diet, but so far, I haven't really needed to. One thing I would recommend, though, if you're trying to go au naturale and you have very dry hair is to use just a few drops of extra virgin olive oil to smooth things over–it's a trick I used when I was too broke to buy actual smoothing serum, and it doesn't put a lot of chemicals back in your hair.

This week, I'll have to pack my non-shampoo supplies to my family's house for Thanksgiving, which will be an experiment in and of itself. And at the end of next week, I'm supposed to break up with the baking soda, too–which I'm a little nervous about.

Have you gone without shampoo? What can I expect? Let me know in the comments.