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I'm still not using shampoo

Natural Shampoo from Biome

I stopped using shampoo in January 2012, I wrote about not washing my hair a few months later.  I hadn't done any research at the time, it was kind of my version of "do nothing farming" but for hair care.  I really did wonder what would happen if I did nothing.  For over a year, I washed my hair in water only.  It was quite a simple transition because at the time I was only using a very mild organic shampoo once a week anyway.  I didn't notice much difference between how my hair was without washing, and how it used to be by the end of the week (just before I washed it again).  It looked permanently like it kind of might need a wash soon, but it also just seemed to reach a certain level of oil and just stay like that, it doesn't get worse and worse, it seemed to me that it was a natural equilibrium and I was happy to leave it alone. I then started occasionally using our homemade soap, especially if we did any farm work that involved me getting actual dirt or poop in my hair.


eight acres: no using shampoo
This is me fresh from the hairdresser,
I had to take a photo because it won't look like that again!


I saw Lucy AitkenRead's book Happy Hair - The definitive guide to giving up shampoo: Save money, ditch the toxins and release your hair's natural beauty with No Poo when the media picked up on it late last year (the commentary went something like "oh wow this lady doesn't use shampoo, that's amazing!!!!").  It wasn't until a rather disastrous visit to the hairdresser a couple of weeks ago that I finally decided to purchase the book for myself.  I haven't had a proper haircut for over a year because I'm very particular about my hairdresser and I haven't had a chance to see the one person I trust to cut my hair how I like it without washing it for me.  I had, however, persuaded Pete to give my hair a trim back in December last year and I thought he did a pretty good job.  He cut it like you'd expect from a tradesman, straight across at the back, square and level, and fortunately still long enough to tie up!

He refused to cut it again, so I just had to pick a hairdresser in Brisbane and risk it.  I wasn't in the mood for explaining the whole not using shampoo thing, so I let her wash my hair (I also told her that Pete had cut it last, and I think she found that strange enough without horrifying her with the lack of shampoo).  She proceeded to wash it very thoroughly, I winced every time she squirted out more shampoo, she rinsed and repeated FOUR times and commented that I had dandruff.  Thanks, I'm sure all those chemicals will help.  Then she just kept putting more stinky gunk in my hair and spent longer blow-drying it than cutting it.  It looked ridiculous, but at least shorter.  When I got home I took a photo to send to Pete (for next time he cuts it, haha!) and then I washed out all the chemicals with soap.

Now as I was back to square "squeaky-clean" one , I decided to get the book and find out more about these baking soda and apple cider vinegar no-poo methods I keep reading about.  And I can report that it is an excellent book.  If you are curious about trying no-poo, this book tells you how to transition from a "normal" shampoo routine to the ultimate goal of washing with water only and occasionally baking soda and apple cider vinegar.  It suggests a number of natural and chemical-free alternatives to keep your hair clean and healthy.

eight acres: not using shampoo
Same haircut, a few weeks later, washed only with "no-poo" methods


The book helped to clarify two things for me.  Firstly, the "do nothing" hair care is probably not a good reason to stop using shampoo and I think I'm done with that experiment, as interesting as it was!  I need to be clear that my reason for not using shampoo is to avoid chemicals, and if my hair has dandruff or doesn't look nice, I should use some of the natural cleaning agents suggested in the book, while being mindful that healthy hair has a natural sebum balance.  And I will still be saving money compared to buying supermarket shampoo and conditioner.  (I'm going to try a rosemary infusion for the dandruff).

 Secondly the reason that baking soda is able to clean hair, and the reason people report varying results is that is actually reacts with the oil in your hair.  That is, as an alkali, the baking soda reacts with the oil in your hair to make a mild soap (I had previously assumed it was just an exfoliant, but when you use it, you notice a soapy feeling).  This means that you have to be careful not to use too much, as you will strip oil out of your hair and cause as much damage as the chemicals you were trying to avoid.  If you launch into no-poo without doing your research, you may find that you're not happy with the results and just go back to shampoo, and you can even damage your hair.  This book is the quickest way to find out what to do and why.

One last comment, if you currently dye your hair and use lots of hair products, you may have to wean yourself off all that stuff before trying no-poo.  For a start, there's really no point trying to avoid chemicals in shampoo if you're putting other chemicals in your hair anyway (check out the Environmental Working Group database ratings of hair dyes).  Maybe cold-turkey will work, but you can also try what I did and just start to go without products, change to a mild organic shampoo and then move to no-poo when you're only washing your hair once a week or so anyway.

So tell me what you think..... do you wash your hair with shampoo?  Would you consider trying no-poo?  Do you already go without shampoo? 

Note: if you purchase through these links I get a small percentage of the sale as commission, it doesn't cost you any extra.





Natural Shampoo from Biome

Comments

  1. I no longer use shampoo, instead I use a cleansing conditioner that works great and my hair never looks dirty. There are lots of brands but I use Renpure as it's the most reasonably priced and still effective.

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    1. That sounds like another good option that won't strip the oil from your hair.

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  2. My hair is short but I do use shampoo just to try to get it clean. I thought the whole thing with not washing it was to comb it a lot more to spread the oils that are found in your scalp to the rest of your hair. Sounds interesting but I think i'll stick ot eh chemicals for now!

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    1. Yes, brushing to distribute the oil is also important, that is covered in the book too and something that I do. Think about trying soap instead, that's what Pete uses :)

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    2. I used soap last night but I did it for about three month years ago and found that it made my hair kindof weird wjen I dried it. My scalp does get a little sensitive so I'm going to try soap for a bit again and see what it does.

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  3. Your hair looks good without the shampoo, it depends on how it feels to you. I am a guy with short hair and my hair get sweatty and dirty from working out doors with a cap on. I remember you talking about your hair a while back and was amazed at how nice it looked so much of the time I just use soap on mine as the shampoo just seems to have too much junk in it. It might even kill fleas and ticks from the way it smells.

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    1. Thanks :) Yes soap is good for sweaty hair days! Farm work will do that to you!

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  4. I've had similar hairdresser experiences in the past but haven't been for ages now. I just wash with my own soap if I'm going out somewhere. It seems to work well. I probably average a wash a week I think.

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    1. I try to limit hairdressers to once every year or two.... yes I find that soap works well too, I forgot to mention that its also a chemical-free alternative (if you know what's in it!).

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  5. Very interesting. Unfortunately if I don't use product on my curly hair, I look like I've been dragged through a hedge backwards. Most curly haired women I know use product to tame their curls. I think you would do well if you found a natural solution that could help curly hair look good :)

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    1. I can't comment personally, but the book did include testimonials from people with curly hair who had found that this method works.....

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    2. My daughter's hair is curly - throwback to granddad, because its really curly! The only way she can keep her hair clean and manageable, is by washing with white conditioner (no shampoo). The conditioner weights the curls and stops them from frizzing. The worst is knots! Switching to conditioner only, reduced that particular nightmare for her. ;)

      I imagine natural oils over time can weight the curls too. The only problem is when people do stuff to make them really stinky, like running for sport or just sweating in summer over several days. You need to wash the stink out and that's when you strips the oils again. It's a dilemma, which I know you're familiar with, with farm work. :)

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  6. My hair has grown back really curly and I use a small amount of coconut oil on it to control the curls. It works better than the u-beaut curl control creme that cost me over $50. My hairdresser said that the coconut oil might build up on my hair and if this was the case to wash it in baking soda. I know a lot of people nowadays wash their hair in baking soda, but I have read that the pH of the baking soda is too alkaline for hair.

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    1. Oh I want to use your hairdresser! You are right, baking soda is alkaline, that's why the rinse with apple cider vinegar is important, its all explained in the book. And coconut oil is suggested in the book too, I use that when my hair seems dry.

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  7. i haven't used any shampoo or conditioner on my hair/head for a few years now, Rhonda had me curious at first when she said she washed hers with her homemade soap & her hair looks great!
    i stopped cos my psoriasis got so unbearably itchy! after the 1st two washes it settled down, now i don't have a problem with it & i hardly ever wash my hair unless it needs it, sometimes i'll wash before i go into town, depends how long it's been without
    my hair has gotten thicker & the grey has even slowed down, if you can believe that?! it's long & tangle free & i don't go to any hairdresser, my eldest girl is a hair dresser & she won't touch my hair as she has even noticed it has improved heaps. split ends aren't even a problem either. at a guess i think i wash about once a month? when i'm not going anywhere, using homemade soap (rhondas' copha recipe) or unless it gets really dirty when out in garden too.
    great post
    thanx for sharing

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    1. Thanks for sharing your experience Selina :) Great to know that its working for you too.

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  8. I only use home made olive oil soap as does one of my daughters - dandruff free for the first time in 30 years

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    1. That's the beauty of making your own soap! You know exactly what's in it!

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  9. This subject is timely, since just this morning a young woman at work proudly told me that she had given up using shampoo & chemicals in her hair. We'd had discussions about it a few months ago when I told her I use my home made soap in my newly grey hair since giving up all chemicals. (A slave to my roots no longer). Yes, she was very proud of herself for using all natural products... then she walked away & lit up a cigarette!!

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  10. I still wash my hair with shampoo and conditioner, but not as often. Maybe once a fortnight. I prefer to wash with water in the meantime. I don't even use soap when washing in the shower - only for those days I get dirt on me, which needs to come off. I'm not stinky, as water is plenty good at cleaning the skin and natural odour is non-offensive. It's only when it builds up or gets caught in clothes that you really need a tougher option.

    I did give up dying my hair though, even with pure henna which is more natural. I just couldn't stand going through a routine which took up to 4 hours (with the henna) every 4 weeks to stop the roots from showing. Its much easier just to live with the grey, and improve my diet, so my hair is more shiny.

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Thanks, I appreciate all your comments, suggestions and questions, but I don't always get time to reply right away. If you need me to reply personally to a question, please leave your email address in the comment or in your profile, or email me directly on eight.acres.liz at gmail.com

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