September 26, 2011


As a guy, this is not a post I would think to put on my blog. But like anyone else I do care about my appearance, hygiene, and health. More so about the last two.

That said- I have a few problems with shampoo.

I grew up with the idea that I needed to wash my hair everyday. In fact I have had a bit of OCD about it.

I don’t remember much about my hair growing up, except that it was thick and it looked like a mop whenever my mother or the $7 hairstylists and barbers cut it.

As I got older I noticed I needed to do more to keep my hair under control by using conditioner on a daily basis. I also found I had to buy special shampoos to remove build up and cycle my usual shampoo and conditioner from time to time.

In recent years I found out that the chemicals used in shampoos can cause estrogenic effects in the body that can lead to weight gain, Alzheimer’s or chronic fatigue to name a few. I also have less tolerance for strong smelling shampoos or soaps.

So I began to search for alternatives without the chemical baggage. I never really found anything that I liked and what I usually found was in little bottles that were $15 or more each.

This past year I started washing with shampoo every few days instead of everyday. My hair seemed to like that better, and that put my urges to wash with shampoo everyday in the corner.On occassion I would go almost a whole week where I simply scrub my hair under the water without shampoo and my hair seemed to be healthier for it.

I thought I was pushing the boundaries a bit until I came across a post from David William about his no shampoo experiment. He has gone 150 days plus without shampoo. All he has been doing is washing his hair under hot water. From his descriptions and pictures, he has a perfectly normal looking head of hair that looks clean and smells neutral (so he says- I wouldn’t know).

David’s post has fueled my curiosity about whether or not the body can regulate the condition and cleanliness of your hair long term by simply scrubbing your head with water once a day.

Since I like to experiment, I have stopped using shampoo and conditioner to see where things go with my hair and scalp. I have gone just over two weeks as of this post without shampoo. Not very long, but I think long enough to determine whether or not to keep doing this.

I am pleased to report my hair is so far taking care of itself and I am going to keep doing this. All I do is rinse and scrub it under water when I take my cold showers which is at least once a day. I was concerned that cold water would not be effective enough to remove excess oil and dirt from my hair, but so far it looks and feels fine.

By now some of you maybe feeling a little icky about this post. You are surely envisioning an oily, greasy mess infected with lice or something. But the results I am seeing are defying what I have been conditioned with (pun intended) ;)

The picture attached to this post is my own head of hair after 2 weeks of no shampoo, conditioner or any other cleansing agent. It has not been brushed or styled in this picture, I wanted you to see it el naturale.

Some things I have noticed in this self-experiment is that my hair is more manageable than it used to be. Most of my life I have awaken from sleep with a six foot afro and other craziness that wouldn’t come down without a hot shower.

My hair seems to have developed texture and is soft right after it dries. My scalp seems be the best its been. No dryness, itching or irritations. Bumps and breakouts seem to have subsided as well. The greasy or oily appearance I was expecting has not materialized.

What is more interesting is my hair seems to hold its own pretty well without styling products. I do use a bit of styling clay as needed when I need a sharper look, otherwise I don’t put anything in. And for two weeks now it has not looked dry or frizzy like it used to after washing with shampoo.

I am not telling you to stop using shampoo, but it might be worth experimenting with to see if it works for you. There will be an adjustment period where your hair may build up extra oil on your hair. But without the shampoo to strip it away, your scalp should adjust sebum production where a simple water scrub will clean your hair and make it look great.

My wife gave it a try and hit the oily period where her scalp was re-adjusting to no shampoo. She couldn’t hold out and went ahead a washed. If you are more like my wife but would like to wean yourself off of shampoo. I suggest adding one day extra between each time you use shampoo. So if you wash every other day, add a day. Then another and another until you feel that your scalp and hair have adjusted to the extended periods without shampoo.

I have read that if you must clean your hair with something other than water; baking soda, lemon juice, and apple cider vinegar are all good for cleansing your hair in small amounts. I have not gone this route and probably won’t since just water is working for me.

Some advanatages of going the no shampoo route include:

  • Reduced chemical exposure and therefore better health
  • Increased hair and scalp health
  • Less irritation
  • Possible reduction in spit ends
  • Saves money
  • Less plastic in landfills
  • Less chemicals going down the drain
  • Accomplishes simplicity
  • Less items to carry when you travel
Are you experimenting with shampoo alternatives or no shampoo to maintain your hair? Let me know about it in the comments below.

Post by Chris Harris @ Between the Temples.

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