Nourishing Flourishing

Archive | March 23, 2011

I Don’t Wash My Hair.

23 Mar

NOTE: There is a follow-up/FAQ post! Click here if you are looking for more detailed information : )

Yessir (ma’am?), you read that correctly. I don’t wash my hair. Fact. (I hope I roped you in… I feel like we’re taught early on in middle school to have a catchy title that’s misleading and sensational enough for a teacher to give it a proud nod, and pass your name on to the National Enquirer. Apparently that’s an important part of learning to write an essay. Who knew?)

Anyway… I suppose I should come clean (*snort*) and let you know that I may or may not wash my hair, depending on your definition. (Most of you are thinking, “If that has to have a definition, it’s not washing…” Please don’t exit yet. I’m not as gross as I seem.)

Here is an accidental shot of my hair my husband took whilst hiking this Sunday (after a few days of not ‘washing’)…pretty normal, right?

Our good friend Joshua (the one I bribe to eat salad by making honey mustard dressing) was here last night, and somehow it came up that I don’t use shampoo or conditioner, nor do I really use much soap (an upcoming post). He was shocked. But after talking we seemed to be on the same page, and it actually made sense that my hair looks as healthy as it does.

This is what I do, instead of shampoo: After getting my hair wet, I use a small amount of (1-2 Tb) baking soda and (1/2 – 1 cup) water, mix, pour or rub into my roots only, let the shower spray a little more on roots (only) again to spread it out, massage my scalp, let it sit for a minute or so, rinse, and condition with a tiny bit (>1 Tb) of apple cider vinegar mixed with (1/4-1/2 cup) water only on the ends of my hair, and rinse. If I want, I rub a miniscule amount of almond extract on my hair (totally unnecessary, I just like the scent). No, I don’t smell homeless. No, I don’t smell like vinegar. No, my hair doesn’t look like someone who never showers. If anything, I get kind compliments on how healthy my hair looks! No one believes me when they learn I don’t shampoo.

Let me start by giving you the main reasons I believe that shampoo is not a necessity, and is actually more destructive than helpful:

1) Cost

After I realized shampoo was not a necessity, I also realized how much money I wasted on it in the past. Some women are willing to shell out $50 (yes, I have seen this) on shampoo and conditioner. On a normal basis. Most people might spend $6 a month or so on average for hair care like this. Baking soda is so much cheaper, especially if you get it in bulk! I spend maybe $1 a month, and I don’t even get mine in bulk. Why be dependent on something you don’t need?

2) Health

This was my internal conversation as I considered going “[sham]poo-less”: Self, did you know that your skin is the largest organ in/on your body? And that those little pores actually absorb things into your bloodstream? Guess where your bloodstream goes? Oh yeah, all through your entire body system. Do you really want to fill it up with things like Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate? You wouldn’t eat it, right? Sick. That junk is used in car washes and engine degreasers. Why are you putting this in your body?!

This was my logic, at least. It’s one of the easiest ways to avoid nasties like carcinogens and other toxic chemicals. It just seems like even if not using shampoo didn’t work out, it would be better to sacrifice a little vanity for the sake of…you know…life, health, vitality.

Emily did a great post earlier on how preparing for pregnancy helped her make some good choices about products like these — things that she would never want to expose her (yet unborn) baby to. This led her to question exposing herself to them, too.

3) Environmental stewardship

I considered how many plastic bottles are produced for the purpose of beauty products. And how few of them are recycled. And how much energy and other resources are used by factories to continue to manufacture shampoo alone. It makes me sad. I reuse the container I keep my baking soda in. That makes me less sad. Oh, and I don’t have to wash my hair as much! Saves water. Saves time. Win win win.

What about all the junk going not only into my body, but also into my drain and water system? How might that affect other people and animals who drink the water, bathe in it, etc? I found that once I actually looked into this, I wasn’t very satisfied with the results… That’s not a scare-tactic, it’s an honest reflection: things need to change.

4) Simplification/Less consumerism

You spend less, you buy less, you need less. I love feeling like I’m free and not “owned” in some sense by “stuff.” It’s nice to not be reliant on a product.

5) It makes my hair look and feel awesome. There, I said it.

My hair is soft, manageable, and shiny. Shampoos are harsh bleach-mimickers, and they strip your hair of necessary oils. This makes your oil-glands freak out and start producing extra oil, because they’re confused (soap does this too, by the way). Then, the vicious cycle continues…–> oil –> strip –> extra oil, etc. With a [sham]poo-less approach, your hair gets the oils it needs, and is no longer high maintenance! No damage = no need to drop big $$$ on fixing your hair constantly. My hair has never been healthier. Ever.

Does this all sound crazy? Yes. Most good ideas do. That is not a reason to blow something off, in my opinion.

Is there a transition period? There is indeed a transition period, of about a month, where your hair might annoy you a little. If you are really afraid of this, you can ease into being ‘poo-less by using either organic shampoos that are safer than normal junk or some Dr. Bronner’s. But try to wean yourself off of it — down to once a week or so. Then let it go. Give yourself a full month or two before you say “I can’t do this!” It’s going to take time. Change is hard, especially when your body has grown accustomed to responding in a specific way. Don’t worry about it. It takes time for your oil glands to adjust. Just be patient with yourself. You’re still pretty. You’re still lovely. You will be healthier. It’s all good. Love yourself enough to trust that it will be ok, and this is what taking care of yourself looks like! <3 (Oh, and maybe invest in a cute headband to cover it up if you’re that self-consious ;  )

I wish I could cover everything extensively, but as it is, others have done a better job than I. I think if most people really looked into this, they wouldn’t easily dismiss the costs (figurative and literal) of using shampoo. Here are more helps to check out as you mull this over:

Ok. Enough lecture. What about you? Thoughts? Objections? Questions? Speak your mind!