I gave up shampoo and won’t ever go back (column)
Special to the Daily
I’m curious, did you follow through with your “no poo” experiment?
— Jennie, Frisco
Not only did I follow through with it but I’m now solidly seated in the choir of the Church of No (Sham)Poos!
Yes, you read that correctly, I am a firm convert to the no-shampoo movement. Last fall I wrote about how more and more people are choosing not to wash their hair with shampoo for environmental and personal reasons. It’s become a phenomenon, with everyone from CEOs to mothers opting in — really anyone who wants more time in their lives. And who doesn’t want more time? I do! In January I stopped washing or conditioning my hair and instead “balanced” it with a baking soda scratch and an apple cider vinegar rise. Here we are four months later and I’m loving it!
When I started this experiment I had no idea how my hair and scalp would react. Would I have such a greasy head that I’d need to wash my pillow daily? Would I end up with dandruff so thick I could create a snowstorm on a drawing of a covered bridge à la the movie “Pretty in Pink”? Would I be able to pull a brush through my hair without the silky help of conditioners? Would my head smell sticky sweet like a little girl who hasn’t bathed in a week?
My hair did get greasy and a little flaky, but the grease was only on the TOP of my hair, within an inch or so of my scalp. Easy fix: pull hair back into a braid or pony tail and wear a hat. I’m not a cute hat person like a teen at Coachella but all that crustiness was easily covered up by the ubiquitous master of disguises and warmth, a winter hat. Conducting this experiment in winter was perfect; no one noticed what I was doing!
As for my question about being able to brush my hair without the help of conditioner, all I can say is “Meh”! I have long hair and didn’t miss conditioners at all.
The smell did bother me but there was an easy fix for that, too. A natural-bristle brush spritzed with essential oil masked any harkening to “little girl who refuses to bathe” head smell. An unexpected bonus: Brushing my hair every night was surprisingly relaxing and my hair smelled like a garden of flowers and herbs.
There were more unexpected bonuses. I discovered more room on my shower shelf, and my shower time has been drastically reduced. And only people with long hair will appreciate this next part. If you have long hair, you know how it ends up on the shower wall making a little nest for tiny imaginary cartoon birds? Well, birds be gone! Now I collect only one or two strands during a shower, which is sadly not enough for tiny birdies.
Wait! There’s more! The very best part is that my hair now looks better than before. “What?” you ask incredulously? It’s true! My hair has more body and texture than before and I am constantly getting compliments on it. Plus, it never smells and it stays looking nicer longer. Who needs a blow bar (that’s a real thing BTW; look it up) when you can just stop fussing with your hair instead? Talk about a time saver!
You are probably waiting for the other shoe to drop … there is always another Ugg boot, right? In this case, the only negative thing I can report is that there isn’t a sexy way to talk about “balancing your scalp” with baking soda and vinegar. I mean, is there anything less sexy than that? And while we’re on the topic of baking soda and vinegar, be absolutely certain you have rinsed all the baking soda out of your hair before you pour on the vinegar. If you don’t you’ll end up with a middle-school science-project volcano erupting on your head.
So what are you waiting for? Try no poo-ing! It doesn’t hurt and you may end up loving it, too. If so, I look forward to sitting next to you in the church choir.
Ask Eartha Steward is written by the staff at the High Country Conservation Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to waste reduction and resource conservation. Submit questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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