A couple of months ago I decided to give up shampoo. Like all of my 2014 lifestyle changes, I did it gradually by waiting until my giant bottles of 365 (the wholefoods brand) shampoo and conditioner ran out.
It’s been a couple of months now, and it’s been an adjustment period but I’m happy overall with my no-poo lifestyle. Afterall, its just hair. To the average observer I think I look clean. But we do get a lot of curious questions about our lemons in the shower.
My aversion to shampoo might stem from the fact that I have ridiculously unhardy skin. Remember those fun Disney brand bubble baths? That spelled out a pretty horrific bathtime experience for me. So maybe its the chemicals, and a lack of understanding of my allergies. Maybe it was the idea that all shampoo is manufactured somewhere, packaged, and shipped to me. Or maybe it was that most shampoo comes in plastic bottles, and is a lot more expensive that homemade hair-cleansing routine. In the end it was probably a combination of these reasons that convinced me to try baking soda as a hair cleanser, and various natural conditioners.
I read a lot of blogs (some suggesting beer as a hair cleanser?) and talked no-poo a lot at parties, and got some good advice on what to try on my hair. Even still there were a lot of bad hair days and experiments.
My first no shampoo shower was an experience. I walked to the bathroom with an old glass jar, a box of baking soda, a (PLASTIC) bottle of apple cider vinaigre, and a butter knife. I did as I was instructed by this other no-poo girl at a party, and I put about a centimeter of baking soda in with about a cup and a half of HOT water. I stirred it up in the jar using my butter knife. I awkwardly (AWKWARDLY) poured the mixture over my hair (you’re going to want to avoid tasting the mixture if you try this). And then I rinsed it out.
I decided to be a little more careful with the vinaigre conditioner, pouring an inch or two into my glass jar, then stuffing my long hair into it and pressing the jar to my head to create a seal. Awkward again, but no vinaigre in the eyes, no tears. I suddenly felt a huge craving for salad topped off with apple cidre vinaigre. As instructed, I hopped out of the shower without rinsing the vinaigre.
First impressions: The vinaigre worked AWESOME. I could comb through my hair no problem. But it still didn’t exactly feel like my hair was clean. My next shower, I did the same, except for doubling the baking soda in my mixture. You really DON’T want to do that. Instead of getting a better clean, I ended up with excess baking soda all over my scalp. So that’s worth warning about.
People and blogs assured me that over the weeks my hair would readjust and become less oily the less I washed it. I started washing my hair only twice per week.
I also finished my bottled of vinaigre and moved on to lemons as conditioning agents, for their obvious lack of packaging and processing. I just take a lemon or two into the shower, cut it in half and squeeze it over my hair. CAUTION: too much lemon and your hair will look mega dry and over-moussed. Also, lemon do not mix well with shaving, especially safety razor shaving.
Two months later and I’m not sure my hair leveled out, I may have just become more lax about the appearance and feel of my hair. I can be honest and say that my hair is thicker, healthier and gorgeous for at least the first day following a wash. And maybe feeling dirty is good for the spirit, I feel like a cavewoman, back to my roots. Until 5 minutes later when I throw my hair in a towel and send a couple of emails.