Saturday, June 2, 2012

Losing the Shampoo: Why You Shouldn't Be Scared

If you've never heard of the "No 'Poo" movement, chances are you don't hang around too many beauty blogs. As squeamish as the name itself may make you, you'll probably be even more revolted by the real meaning behind it.  It took me a long time to warm up to the idea, but once I did, my first thought was that it was totally revolutionary. My second was the realization that it was absolutely the opposite- which is why, after the 'gross' factor, it makes so much sense.

As far as I have found, the movement's roots (pardon the pun) can be traced back to the book  Curly Girl by Lorraine Massey. The "No 'Poo" concept itself is quite simple: ditch the store bought shampoo and use only conditioner or natural concoctions to wash your hair. As disgusting as this may sound, it actually has a solid scientific foundation. Shampoos rely on nasty ingredients like Sodium Laurel Sulfate-- which is actually a detergent-- to clean your hair.  By definition, detergents are used with water to clean away oil and grease particles. While this sounds great in theory, it isn't just the dirt that's being washed down the drain. The natural oils in your hair, which are necessary for its health and luster, are washed away too. This hardly leaves for glamorous tresses: really, have you ever tried shampooing without conditioning afterwards? 

So (if you've made it this far) we've established we don't want those nasty ingredients in our hair. How do we stay clean?!?  There are actually a surprising number of answers to this conundrum, but before we get to that, there are a few things you should know about going shampoo-free:

1) You WILL go through a transition period. This means that, for a span of a few weeks to a few months, your hair will be more oily and greasy than you have ever seen it before. The duration of this period differs for everyone: my boyfriend's hair adjusted to the B.S. method in a matter of days, while the same method took my long hair a month to fully adjust to. This transition is completely normal. Your body is used to producing oils at a high rate to compensate for your frequent shampooing.  As long as you stay away from the bottle, your scalp will slowly adjust and begin producing those oils at a much slower rate. My recommendation? Invest in hair bands and cute ribbons to tie your hair up with (braids are especially good at hiding greasy-looking hair).

2) You WILL be tempted to go back to shampoo once, only to immediately regret doing so. This says nothing of your strength of character. Just know that once you step out of the shower and feel your hair post-breakdown, you will be so disgusted that it will only strengthen your resolve to go 'poo-free. Really, quitters never win.

3) You WILL save money. A lot of money. And even more than a lot of money if you go with the W/O or sebum methods.

4) Once you have adjusted, you WILL wash your hair substantially less than ever before.  As much as I  love saving money, this was THE selling point for me. I used to have to wash my hair daily if I wanted to avoid a greasy, waxy look. Now I'm washing my hair every three days or so, though I can go substantially longer without it being noticeable. In fact, my hair looks better five days after a wash (it was an experiment...) as it used to look after twelve hours. If you adhere to the rules (which we will get to in the next post), this will never cause your hair to be dirty or smelly.

Sold yet? Of course not, but for all of the benefits, you'd be crazy not to at least try it. I'm hardly an eco-freak, but when something is so good for your body, the earth, and your wallet... it's really a no-brainer.

1 comment:

  1. I started to not use shampoo because I ran out, and then before i knew it i had gone a month without using shampoo! I still shower every other day (if not everyday) and I use conditioner on my hair but I have completely stopped using shampoo! I always thought that I would feel dirty if I didnt use shampoo but I never did, but i never went thru a greasy stage so maybe thats why I went so long without shampoo and didnt notice. I then ran out of my paul Mitchell super skinny hair cream (which i used to swear by, i even used it on my dog) and stopped using that as well. My hair looks better then EVER! I have very long hair medium thickness, it now looks like i have a fresh hair cut everyday because my ends aren't all dry like shampoo used to cause! Not only that but my hair used to take literally 15 minutes to brush out, now i dont even have to brush it, it literally dries perfectly straight non greasy like i just spend hours doing my hair! im so glad that i accidentally ran out of shampoo because my hair is look awesome! (and growing 2x as fast!)