It’s been three months now since I stopped washing my very long, very thick hair with shampoo and conditioner.
Your first question might be very simply and quite rightly, why? What kind of a person doesn’t wash their hair? Am I some kind of dirty hippie, or something?
Hippie yes, dirty – well I like to think my personal hygiene levels are above average. I mean, I wash daily, with soap and I’m big on deodorant. That counts for something… right?
My desire to give up shampoo came from my year of no plastic, where I spent twelve months trying to eliminate the stuff from my life.
Toiletries were a big concern for me. I mean, consider how much crap we women especially end up housing in our bathroom cabinets. All those really quite redundant products for whitening our teeth, transforming our skin to make it soft and supple and making our hair shine (never mind that half these products don’t even deliver what they say on the box). Being a woman is like having a farm sometimes – there’s always something to cut, pluck or harvest.
Plus what about travelling? As far as I’m concerned, the less I can cart around, the better.
I wanted to bring things back to the basics. I consider myself a low maintenance kinda gal and I want my beauty regime to reflect that.
So, I decided to try to ditch the shampoo to cut back on plastic and save myself money.
Here’s how it’s gone, so far
[bctt tweet=”I haven’t washed my hair with shampoo for three months. Would you do the same?”]
The Last Three Months
If I had been writing this update a month ago (which I very nearly did), you would have found me closing the door on this experiment.
I’d been quite happy over the first few weeks of going shampoo free. My hair, which is disagreeable at the best of times, was faring quite well. It was a little greasy on top, but nothing I couldn’t deal with. I had hope for the future of my shampoo-less existence.
Then, chaos as my scalp exploded.
I have suffered from dandruff my entire life. It comes and it goes, with no rhyme or reason, other than to plague or embarrass me. I tried anti-dandruff shampoos in my youth, which only made it worse. When I quit using products that had Sodium Lauryl Sulfate in them, I had momentary success before it adapted and came back with a vengeance. Mixing bicarb soda into my shampoo helped a bit, but I’ve never been able to completely eliminate it from my life.
I was enraged when it hit me several weeks ago and I have to say, it’s one of the worst bouts I’ve had. Nothing seemed to soothe my scalp and I was this close to giving up and throwing the whole idea out the window.
When life gives you lemons…
…You put those lemons in your hair.
Yes, that’s what I did! Every morning for a week, I’d put two tablespoons of lemon juice in my hair, massaging it into my scalp, before rinsing with a cup of water, which also had a tablespoon of lemon juice in it.
And you know what? IT WORKED. The acidity of the lemon juice helped balance out that of my scalp.
I’ve now incorporated my “lemon rinse” into my hair routine and will use it whenever my dandruff threatens to return. I don’t want to throw it in there too often, as lemon juice has a tendency to bleach hair. It’s already brought out my auburn highlights (which I’m stoked about) but I would not look good as a ginger!
Alongside the lemon juice, I’ve been experimenting with other natural hair-washing solutions, to give my locks a bit of extra attention every now and then.
Once a week, I’m mixing the yolk of an egg and a tablespoon of olive oil together. I pop this into my hair when dry and brush it through with my bamboo comb. I then leave it on for about twenty minutes before washing it out. Wrapping your head in a warm towel after applying will help seal the mask in.
A rinse I’ve grown quite fond of is rosemary (the herb) infused water. Boil two cups of water, add 40 grams (1 ounce) of fresh rosemary. Soak for an hour, then strain the rosemary out of the water and put it through your hair next time you’re in the shower. This recipe is great for thick hair. If yours is fine, try this instead:
25g/1oz dried chamomile flowers infused in
1 litre/4 cups boiling water
And here is a progress shot of my hair. It’s still insanely curly.
I’m getting it cut for the first time since October 2016 in a couple of weeks and I’m beyond excited. Rather than getting it done at a normal salon, these days I splurge on having it styled by a curly-haired expert.
I love my kinks and waves. These hairdressers tend to know what they’re doing (although this will be my first time at the Melbourne salon). If you live in London and have curly or wavy hair, I thoroughly recommend checking out The Curl Whisperer. She is a pro!
Perhaps whatever leftover money I have saved from not purchasing hair products can be put into my my travel jar!
I’ll be updating the situation again in another three months time, which will take it to a full six months without shampoo.
What do you think of water only washing? Would you be keen to try it?
Do You Want to Read More Posts Like This? Try:
Green up your travels with these simple eco-friendly swaps.
4 helpful phrases for plastic free travel, translated into different languages.
How to travel responsibly, without blowing your money.
Ten tips for living zero waste in big cities like London.
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