The first time I heard that not washing your hair is a thing was when I ran into an old friend, who I had remembered as having bushy, dry, wavy hair. But this time, her hair was really shiny and smooth. She looked amazing! When I asked her secret, she told me it was because she had stopped shampooing it.
The idea sounded a bit gross to me, but I kept it in my head as something I might want to try some day. If it worked so well for her, why not?
My hair is very fine and it tends to get greasy fast. At the time, I was in this annoying cycle where I shampooed every other day, and immediately after shampooing, my hair would be frizzy and static-y, and then it went straight to being limp and greasy. I wasn't in love with it, and I just didn't really know what to do. I wanted to try my friend's trick and stop shampooing, but she warned me that when you first stop washing, your hair and scalp get really icky for a while. But still, at least it felt like something to try.
I finally decided to give it a shot a few months later while on a three-week vacation in Thailand. I figured, this way, I'll just have greasy hair on the beach. But I was not prepared for how intense those first couple weeks really were.
My hair was the greasiest it's ever been. I sometimes dealt with dandruff before, but there was a lot more during my three-week trial. It was really unpleasant and I was so embarrassed that I didn't want to show my head to anyone. I nearly cracked a couple of times and gave up on it. I felt like my scalp was going crazy.
When I got back from vacation, I wrapped my hair every day with headbands. Every time I showered, I wet my hair and scrubbed my scalp with my fingers. When you've been shampooing your entire life and suddenly you stop, your hair and your scalp are going to freak out. My boyfriend was cynical about what I was doing and didn't want to cozy up to my hair, but I felt committed. I just believed that it would be worth it.
After six weeks, my hair turned a corner. The dandruff and grease started going away. It didn't look amazing, but I looked like a normal person again. That happens to most people closer to three weeks, but I think I prolonged the really awful period by swimming in the ocean and getting salt water in it.
I somehow pushed through those six weeks of disgusting-ness, and then another six weeks of it just looking so-so. And that's when the magic happened.
I wasn't doing anything differently, but my scalp just stopped overproducing grease. It adjusted to the new situation and normalized. I started to see what my natural hair was like when I wasn't constantly doing stuff to manipulate it. It was silky and wavier and totally frizz-free.
The anti-shampoo movement has a name — No Poo — which has been gaining a lot of attention lately, so most people these days don't look at me like I'm crazy when I tell them that I haven't shampooed in years.
However, some people still don't get it. One time I went to a hair dresser who freaked out and physically tried to use shampoo on me. I had to keep telling her "I don't shampoo" until it clicked with her and she stopped.
But most of the time, I get really positive reactions from people when they can see my hair in action. If your hair looks good, then it's not embarrassing to tell people what your secret is!
No poo is a movement now, but when I started this, I don't think the term existed. It sounds like a beauty philosophy, but really, I was just experimenting. I don't think shampoo is evil or bad for your hair. But for the friend who turned me onto this and for me, I like my hair better this way. I still have good hair days and bad hair days, but overall, my hair looks and feels so much healthier. Plus, I save a ton of money on shampoo and other products. My hair is free, in every sense of the word.
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