Going shampoo free!

‘What is wrong with you?’ a friend said to me when I told her I was going shampoo free. ‘Can’t you make a nice homemade herbal version instead’ another friend asked?  People don’t seem too impressed by the whole idea and I have to admit my hair is not looking at it’s best.

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I used to use Faith in Nature
shampoo, one of the more affordable eco-conscious varieties and never had any problems with my hair.  Since giving up shampoo two weeks ago however, I seem to have developed greasy hair with mild dandruff.  So why would I want to give up shampoo in the first place and why am I continuing?  

The reason is that shampoo is a detergent which strips your hair of it’s natural oils.  The theory behind giving up shampoo is that after a while the scalp will regulate the production of natural oils to perfectly suit your hair (well at least that is what I am hoping).  From reading around about this subject I need to give it at least 6 weeks to settle down.

Going shampoo free can mean switching to water only hair washing or it can involve using alternatives to shampoo.  It also may involve a change of hairbrush.  Lots of people call it going ‘poo’ free.  It took me a while to get that (I put that down to continued baby brain), but eventually I laughed.  

If it works then great – no need to spend money on shampoo, no need to buy products full of ingredients that I’m not sure of (although I will admit some products are better than others) and no need for anyone to produce plastic bottles to contain shampoo on my behalf!

Aside from reading many success stories around the web, I have two experiences which make me think that this will work and they are as follows:

  1. I only washed my kids hair with water i.e. no shampoo for the first 1-2 years of their lives and they always had perfect hair.  In fact two weeks ago when I stopped using it on mine, I stopped using it on theirs again and their hair looks and smells just fine.
  2. I recently gave up using
     lipbalm and lipsalve, something I was previously addicted to.  Constantly using lipsalve interfered with my lips ability to take care of themselves and I’m so glad I’ve given up such an unnecessary and wasteful habit.  I’m hoping something similar will happen with my hair and scalp after a while of not using shampoo. It was in fact a comment on that post from Jennifer Howze (thanks!) who inspired me to look into going shampoo free.

I will admit that the idea of enduring a potential 6 weeks of hair not looking at it’s best is annoying, but I’m  hoping it will be worth it (and I’m already 2 weeks in).  There are lots of ways to hide it e.g. wear it up, hide away for a couple of weeks, cover it up with a hat or scarf, or  if you are suffering from greasy hair like mine and don’t want to put it up all the time, wash it before going out to an important event or occasion and let it air dry – that way people think your hair is just wet!

If you are reading this article, you must be interested, so go on give saying no to shampoo a go with me and let me know how it goes in the comments below – I would love to hear your experiences!

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UPDATE: I have been going for 6 weeks now and have written an update here: No ‘poo’ – alternatives to shampoo and conditioner

Disclaimer:  This is not a sponsored post.  Affiliate links have been used.


  1. Tom

    I haven't used shampoo in 7 months now. It took a good 4 weeks for my scalp to adjust and my hair to stop looking greasy. I used to have really bad dandruff but now it is all but gone completly. I asked my barber a month ago if he could tell and he said that, if I hadn't told him, he never would have guessed.

  2. Wow Tom, that's pretty unbelievable.. I have lot of dandruff too and can’t imagine 2 or 3 days without using shampoo. What is more amazing are those 4 weeks of what I can imagine very annoying and itchy greasy hair.. How did you know it would eventually work? I'd appreciate more info, thanks a lot 🙂

  3. Zoe

    It's great to hear it worked well for you Tom, good motivation to keep going!

  4. Zoe

    Still experiencing greasy hair with dandruff 4 weeks in – writing a blog post on what I have been doing and it will be out soon. The kids hair is still looking great!

  5. I'm going through the transition right now and really struggling! I am beginning the 3rd week…I feel like my hair is wet and stuck to my head. It looks better than it feels….but man this is hard stuff 😉 I feel your pain!

  6. Zoe

    Thanks penguins and ladybugs – it's good that your hair looks ok though…

  7. Beginning week 3…and i feel like i'm losing a lot of hair…this isn't a side effect, is it? :/ i hope it gets better eventually!

  8. Zoe

    I couldn't say whether stopping using shampoo would cause hair loss medstudent, but I wouldn't have thought so. I am not qualified to provide any medical advice, so can only recommend that you consult a professional should you feel you need to.

  9. Anonymous

    i haven't used shampoo in about 11 years, except for a handful of times i was in dirty/dusty environments. it is only the first month that is a problem, because the scalp is used to overproducing oil to compensate for the oil being taken away from the shampoo. nobody knows and it doesn't smell – trust me!

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