I recently gave up using shampoo and conditioner and haven’t used either for nearly 6 weeks now. The picture on the left shows my hair at around 4 weeks of no ‘poo’. My two boys (both under 5) have also been joining me in this experiment. My hope is that our scalps will appropriately regulate the amount of natural oils they produce and that we will never need to use shampoo or conditioner again!
So what am I doing instead?
Experimenting with bicarbonate of soda and vinegar:
Bicarbonate of soda is a great deodoriser and cleaning agent in almost any situation. Vinegar acts as a conditioner and softens your hair.
A couple of times near the beginning of this experiment I sprinkled a little bicarbonate of soda into my hand to rub into my wet hair – I used an old spice jar for this.
I diluted the vinegar in a little water and put into a small spray bottle and then sprayed it onto my hair.
For greasy hair use mainly bicarbonate of soda and very little diluted vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar – you can use white, but I didn’t have any to hand).
For dry hair use less bicarbonate of soda and more vinegar.
Water only washing:
I decided to stick with water only hair washing (i.e. no products and no substitutes) for my boys who both have lovely full heads of darkish brown hair. One has curly hair and one has straight hair. Their hair has put up absolutely no objections to this treatment and they both have lovely clean, shiny, grease free and soft hair.
After a couple of go’s with bicarbonate of soda and vinegar, I decided to just use water on my hair. Although bicarbonate of soda and vinegar may be more eco friendly than traditional shampoo and conditioner, they still have to be manufactured, packaged, transported etc and the more eco friendly and frugal option is to use no products at all.
Using a boar bristle hair brush and then a normal brush:
Boar bristle brushes are meant to be helpful in distributing the natural oils down the hair shaft or in simple terms spreading out the greasiness! I rushed out and bought one when I first started as I was suffering from that, however it soon got clogged up with greasiness and I haven’t found an effective method of cleaning it just yet. If anyone has any ideas I would love to hear them! I have in the meantime reverted back to using my normal brush which is far easier to clean.
Boar bristle brushes come in two varieties – just boar bristles or a mix of boar bristles and the usual plastic pronged brushes. I bought a mixed one as it was the only one available in the shop at the time. If you already have a normal brush though, you don’t need to get a mixed one, as you can just alternate with your old brush.
If you are going to use a normal brush, don’t use the ones with bobbles on the ends of the bristles as they are more likely to damage your hair.
Washing at the appropriate temperature for my hair:
I have been washing my hair in cool water as I have greasy hair and various sites suggest cool water is better. It also saves on heating up water! If anyone has any advice to the contrary though I would love to hear it.
Frequency of hair washing:
I always used to wash my hair around once a week, however at the beginning of this project I washed it more frequently to try and combat the greasiness. That was probably not a good idea as I have a suspicion that the more you wash it the more it produces the natural oils, so since then I have gone back to once a week (or as long as I can bear).
My conclusions so far:
My hair is still greasy and I still have dandruff. I am not ready to give up yet though. Most of the time it looks fine and although it feels a little waxy at the top the ends are always fine. I do find one side more ‘waxy’ or greasy than the other and I think that is because I generally sleep on one side.
I am not ready to give up yet, as I am taking inspiration from breastfeeding. I breastfed both my children each for 11 months. The first time round it took me 3 months to get the hang of it, but after that it was just great and I managed to get straight into the swing of it with my second child. Although it is a ‘natural’ process it definitely didn’t come naturally to me to start off with, but there is so much help and support out there, that I stuck with and was glad I did. There is very little help and support out there for giving up shampoo, however if I can survive 3 months of very little sleep while I figured out how to breastfeed I am sure I can survive living with greasy hair a bit longer easily!
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