Today is a rather odd but important anniversary: I have lived a year without shampoo. It is odd because it isn’t exactly the kind of thing you celebrate with friends and family. Frankly, tell someone you aren’t using shampoo and you’re more likely to get odd looks than anything else. But it is still an important date–because the day I decided to try the no-shampoo experiment was the day that I began a crazy, wonderful journey into natural living. I sat down to think about this 31 day series and thought what better way to kick it off than with the experiment that started me on this crazy journey to begin with!
I’ve written about my experiment in ditching shampoo in the past, and you can check those posts for more information. I thought I’d share today what I’ve learned over the past year and how my routine has finally settled.
1. We don’t need shampoo. Our hair was not designed for it. We as a country didn’t start using shampoo until the 1940’s, and even then, daily shampooing only began in the 1970’s. Shampoo is full of nasty chemicals and harsh cleansers that do way more than just cleanse our hair–they strip it of all the natural protection and good things God built into our hair. Even many “natural” shampoos in the stores have the harsh cleansers. Our hair does need to be cleaned, but shampoo is not the answer.
2. The more we shampoo, the more we need to shampoo. It is a vicious cycle. I hear it all the time “I have oily hair. If I go even one day without washing, I’m a greasy mess.” I know. Me too. Or, I was until a year ago! What I’ve learned is that it is in fact my shampoo that was causing that problem. I’d tried dozens of them, all were healthy shampoos–but they still were bad for my hair. Here’s how this works: our body produces a natural protectant for our hair and skin called sebum. The shampoo we all use strips sebum off the hair. The more you wash, the more sebum you strip off. The more sebum stripped off, the more sebum the body produces, to protect the head and hair. This is the “oily” mess most of us are used to. By taking a month and detoxing from this nasty cycle, I’ve come to learn that even with regular exercise, I only need to wash my hair once every seven to ten days. That’s right, I wash my hair less than once a week, and it stays clean and shiny the whole time.
3. There’s a whole host of natural ways to cleanse your hair without damaging it. I’ve used everything from baking soda to beer to honey to eggs. All of them cleanse my hair really well. You can read my post from this summer to learn about the different options available to you for cleansing your hair quickly and naturally. My favorite method is the egg yolk, which puts a ton of protein into your hair while cleaning it. A single egg yolk is enough even for my long hair (it’s now down past my shoulders), and it feels like shampoo in your hand (sans the lather.) It leaves my hair super silky and shiny, and well…fluffy. There’s no other way to describe it. My hair is fluffy. (in a good way!) I don’t always have egg yolks on hand, so when I don’t I use a bar of castille soap and rinse with lemon juice, which acts as a conditioner and seals the hair shaft.
4. Water is often enough to cleanse my hair on most days. After I went through the detox period, this was the biggest shock. I didn’t need products to cleanse my hair most days. A good scrub with my fingers on my scalp with really hot water was more than enough to get the previous day’s junk out of my hair. I’ve recently taken up jogging, and as I
sweat work my way through the Couch to 5K program, I thought for sure I’d have some issues with my hair. Nope. Even though I’m dripping with sweat at the end of my workout, hot water has been all I needed to get my hair clean again.
5. My hair doesn’t need the help of big manufacturing companies to be beautiful. When I stopped messing with my hair and using all the chemicals, I was amazed at what I found: shiny, beautifully healthy hair. I have volume and style to my hair, as is. I always needed products–lots and lots of products. Turns out I was removing the stuff I did need with shampoo only to put back in the stuff I didn’t really need to make my hair look good. Conditioners, mousse, gel, pomade, hairspray, moroccan oil…I’ve used them all. Turns out I didn’t need a single one! When I stopped stripping my hair with shampoo, my hair did all of those things on its own. I even have a little natural wave to it now!
6. I was spending a lot more on hair products than I thought I was! Now my haircare consists of three products: egg yolks, castille soap ($4/bar) and lemon juice. The castille soap was bought a year ago and still has more than half the bar left. I’m spending literally pennies to have the best looking hair I’ve ever had in my life!
I want to encourage you to take a step back from the never-ending cycle and try this today. If you’re not ready to go all the way and permanently ditch shampoo, give this a try: next time you’re due for a hair wash, try the simple baking soda wash. Take one tablespoon of baking soda in a cup and add about a cup of hot water to it in the shower. Wash your hair with this. It won’t lather, but when you rinse your hair it will be clean! Then do it again with a tablespoon of lemon juice in a cup of hot water, and rinse. This will act as a detangler and softener for your hair. Do this once a week until you feel you might be ready to ditch shampoo altogether!
My friends all thought I was nuts when I started this–that is, until they tried it themselves. Now I’ve got several friends who do this along with me. My kids haven’t used shampoo in over a year–you should see how beautiful LittleMissSunshine’s hair is! My mom started doing this not long after I did and has loved it.
Join me! Just try it! The worst that will happen? You will hate it and wash your hair a second time with shampoo. More than likely that won’t happen. You will be shocked and amazed at how soft and clean your hair gets without all the products and chemicals you think you “need.” Let me know in the comments if you’re trying this. I’d love to hear your questions and suggestions as well!