I stopped shampooing my hair about 18 months ago—and I've never looked back.
From the beginning, my shampoo experiences were always lackluster, if not completely terrible. Like a lot of hair-conscious people, I used expensive shampoos from salons—convinced that they were "the best"—washing every three days or so, wreaking havoc on my budget. And after sinking in all this money and time, the day after I washed my hair, it'd always be greasy and oily. So then, I'd have to use dry shampoo. It got to the point where I'd just wear my hair up most of the time because I didn't want to bother with it.
Truthfully though, my hair had no reason to do me any favors. I completely wrecked it about five or six years ago through adventurous dyeing—and cut off all my sad, dead locks into a short bob. Eventually I grew it all out and stuck to my natural color—something every dyeing woman I know has tried to do sooner or later.
So now, after months of dedication, here I was with a mane full of greasy, oily, natural-colored hair. I was frustrated—what's the point of having long, pretty hair if it's constantly disgusting?
After reading about the sulfates in shampoos, I knew that I needed an alternative. I tried some organic shampoos, and they were awful. They turned my hair into a sticky mess. Eventually, I came across an article about a blogger hadn't used shampoo in two years—and her hair looked amazing. My hair was already gross, I thought. What's the worst that can happen? It can become even more gross? That's when I decided to give it a try.
"My hair was already a gross mess, I thought. What's the worst that can happen?"
I did my research. Everyone's hair seems to go through an adjustment period after they stop using shampoo. A lot of people who do "no poo" are hardcore—even when your hair feels like a solid block of filth, they often advise pushing through. I am not one of these people. I still wanted to feel, somehow, that my hair was clean so I did some reading and found a clay to take all the gunk out. I used it to help me detox off shampoo for nearly a year. But, over time, I learned the clay breaks your hair down. It's too rough to use long-term.
Still determined not to go back to shampoo, I sought out alternatives to remove dirt and excessive oil. Now, nearly two years into my non-shampooing, I use a recipe of the color herbal powders. I mix them together to get the Shikakai, which is softening and gently cleansing, but not quite cleansing enough for me—so I include ground soap nut powder to be more shampoo-detergent like (but without any chemicals). I'll mix that into a paste with rosewater and, after wetting my hair, work it through my scalp and then I'll leave it for about a minute. Then I rinse—and that's it. I do a deep condition every few weeks, but maintaining the natural oils doesn't keep me dependent on conditioning.
Since giving up regular and conventional shampooing, my hair has grown much faster—and become a lot thicker. There's also more natural volume.
I don't straighten, blow-dry, or use any heat unless it's a special occasion—like my wedding this past September.
My friend offered to do my hair, so I washed it the night before with my powders and let it air-dry. In the morning, she just ringlet curled the whole lot, brushed it out once, used standard hair products to keep the shape—it was the first time I'd used "normal" products in a year and a half and I was a little resistant at first. But unfortunately, I still find those products to be more effective on my hair than the organic stuff. It's my wedding day; one day of cheating is fine.
The day was lovely. And so was my non-shampooed hair.