Straight up, I haven’t washed my hair in three months. Do I smell? No. Instead my hair looks better than ever!

About a year ago, I was introduced to the concept that shampoo might be unnecessary.  At the time, I completely ignored it as hippy-dippy nonsense.  My hair tends to be oily, and after 24 hours of no shampoo it gets super greasy.  However, it stuck around in the back of my mind, and when I recently found myself traveling in Asia I decided it was a perfect time to test it out.  Why?  Simple, I figured with the salt water and humidity I might develop a “sexy, stranded on a beach” look.

I don’t know if that happened, but I like my hair better now than before and I don’t see myself returning to shampoo anytime soon.  Here’s why:

1. Shampoo cleanses hair by removing your natural, necessary oils. This causes your scalp to produced more oils to compensate, which can cause a viscous circle of greasiness and make it difficult for you to stop using shampoo. Because of this, when you start the no-shampoo lifestyle you’ll likely have to put up with an awkward, greasy-hair phase until your scalp’s oil secretion adjusts. I didn’t experience this, but I figure that’s due to my daily swims in the beautiful, calm waters of Thailand. According to wikipedia, a 2 to 6 week period is typical.

2. Most shampoos contain harmful, chemical additives such as parabens (which can cause endocrine disruption & neurotoxicity concerns), carcinogens, and sulfates (which can actually contribute to the development of gray hair).

3. Shampoos can strip away beneficial bacteria. These natural bacterias in your hair and on your skin kept our ancestors smelling and looking good. Shampoo didn’t exist before the 1930’s, before then we had to rely on natural bacterias to keep us clean.

4. Shampoos can hurt our planet. Not only does your shampoo container contribute to plastic pollution, but the shampoo itself can cause damage in our aquatic ecosystems if not properly processed by waste treatment centers (usually in 3rd world countries).

5. Shampoo is expensive (especially the good ones). When I was still using shampoo, I was spending between $10 and $40 per bottle to make sure it was free of harmful chemical additives. Not only do you save time by not washing your hair, but that shampoo money adds up!

6. It looks good! 3 months later and my hair is thicker, shinier, and wavier than ever before.  And I’m not the only one!  Out of 500 participants who went 6 weeks without using shampoo, 86% reported that “their hair was either better or the same” following a 2007 ‘no-shampoo’ challenge in Australia.  Who needs hair gel when you have natural oils and bacteria in your hair? 😉

So how do I start?

Everyone’s hair is different, and different hair has different needs. I went full out and switched to 100% warm water (hot water will kill bacteria), but if you find that your head starts to look like a greasy hub-cap, you could test out an all natural baking soda shampoo that you can mix up in your home!

Just combine 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 1 cup of water, and voila! Baking soda will help to absorb excess oils in your hair, without the harmful chemicals of shampoo. If you find your hair starts to dry out, you could try adding (or following up with) a bit of apple cider vinegar to balance out the ph of the baking soda.

Over time, you should find that your scalp starts to produce less natural oils and you may be able to slowly ween off any kind of soap at all. YAY!

Your 6 week ‘no-poo’ challenge: I challenge you to test this out!  Try it for 6 weeks, how does your hair respond?  Leave updates and comments below!

Happy no-poo-ing!

Ryan Vrba