My incredible stubbornness actually caused me to go shampoo-free one other time in my life by necessity. I was staying in Ireland with my aunt for a couple of weeks while I competed in a dance competition. We had reservations with an awesome Bed & Breakfast in Dublin, and like a typical 14-year-old American girl, I figured that they would be set up like the average American lodging, with a small assortment of shampoos and conditioners provided for the guest's convenience.
No little travel-sized bottles of shampoo glory greeted me in the bathroom. While most ordinary people would simply remedy this situation by buying or borrowing shampoo, I was no ordinary person. In fact, at that point in time, my top favorite scene from Pride and Prejudice was when Lady Catherine de Bourgh calls Elizabeth Bennet "Obstinate, headstrong girl!"
So, did I want to admit that I needed shampoo? No. Did I want to ask my aunt if I could borrow some of hers? No. Did I want to go to a local store and buy shampoo to use during my visit? No. Instead, I used my resources and took the bull by the horns: I went shampoo-free for the entire stay, which was just under two weeks. When I showered, I just pretended that I had shampoo as I scrubbed my hair under the water. My hair definitely got greasy, but I discovered that it really wasn't the end of the world. In fact, not worrying about shampooing my hair was kind of nice!
|Little 14-year-old me hanging out in Ireland :)|
Little did I realize that what I did by necessity, some people do by choice. Years later, I heard about the "no-poo" trend, and it seemed rather straightforward. I've heard many people mention the baking soda-apple cider vinegar combination, so I thought, how complicated can this be? Well, as I hit the Internet a couple of months ago, I discovered that apparently there is a huge can of worms that one opens when researching shampoo-free living. Glowing reviews of the baking soda treatment abound...followed by updates by those same people, months or years down the road, talking about how the frequent treatments of baking soda demolished their once-beautiful hair. Diagrams of ph levels, scientific discussions, and multitudes of alternative "no-poo" treatments that people all claim are the best possible option. Some claiming that Castile soap is the answer; others mentioning that it destroys hair.
I was sinking further and further into the overwhelming rabbit hole of Internet research, and it was getting crazy! Several women mentioned that not all hair responds well to the same treatments, and that it is important to discern what works best for each person's hair. So, I took a step back, examined my household resources, and made a game plan: Use a combination of water-only and lemon-water washes and see what happens. I also thought, If my hair gets super greasy-well, it's Lent, so that's a good humility opportunity. I then contacted one of my hippie friends to glean her wisdom and insights, and to see if she had another method to recommend.
What was the result?
On March 1, 2016, I washed my hair with shampoo for the last time.
(insert dramatic music here)
About 4-5 days later, I scrubbed my hair with only water, as I had done while in Ireland years earlier. As my hair dried, I noticed that it was slightly greasy, but I wasn't that concerned. After all, when I had still been using shampoo, I only washed my hair once or twice a week anyway, so I figured my hair could handle something crazy like no-poo.
Around 3 days after that (approximately 1 week after my last shampoo) I washed my hair with lemon water. I don't know what it did, but my hair was so soft and easy to brush when it was wet-I thought that was really cool! When my hair dried, though, I saw that it was just getting greasier. I didn't know whether this was part of the infamous "transition period" I've heard people discuss, or if I was just failing at the whole no-shampoo thing.
By week 3 of life without shampoo, I ran out of my lemon-water mix. Somehow, magically, I think my hair actually looked pretty good compared to how it had looked a week before! Yet, I had to ask myself: Was this a sign of success, or what it random chance?
|3 weeks of no shampoo! Still a bit oily, but|
definitely an improvement from what it was.
|6 weeks of no shampoo:|
Chamomile tea definitely didn't
do much for me. Also, excuse my sunburn;
I forgot sunscreen the other day, so
I've been looking a bit like Red Skull from
I must say that I've actually been enjoying it quite a bit! I've been learning so much, and I've really become more intentional about what I'm using and why I'm using it. For most of my life, I've used shampoo without a second thought. I've never really questioned why I regularly pour time and money into buying and using shampoo, and I've never wondered if it's necessarily the only way to cleanse my hair. I've really enjoyed looking into the alternatives that are cheap, environmentally friendly, healthy, and so very simple to do.
What does my hair future look like? I'm not entirely sure. I think I will head back to the lemon-water routine again, just because I started getting good results from it, it's insanely cheap, and I love the smell of lemon. I've heard that lemon will lighten one's hair over time, but I've also read that it mainly has that effect when you sit out in the sunlight shortly after applying it-regardless, it may be fun to go a little lighter for the summer. I'm open to other hair options too, especially ones that involve ingredients I have around the house; I'm frugal and don't want to spend loads on money on various ingredients that I don't regularly use. And maybe I'll eventually use shampoo again; who knows? I've also read that while baking soda is not recommended on a regular basis, a once-a-month baking soda wash can be good for hair, so I may give that a try prior to a lemon rinse sometime. I'm also planning to get my hair chopped off several inches before summer fully hits, so that will probably impact my hair routine, as well. Life is just full of adventures!