Saturday, 18 January 2014

No shampoo - not all fun.

Minimizing my use of shampoo may have been great for my hair, but it didn't come without some discomfort. Here's some thoughts on the matter.

What suits one person does not always suit another

An obvious one, yes. Some people have easier time quitting shampooing their hair than others. It all depends not only what your hair and skin is like but also what kind of water you're using to wash your hair. Living in Iceland means there'll always be sulfides included - in the very washing water. That's why it smells faintly of rotten eggs, if you've ever visited Iceland I'm sure you've noticed the smell. On one hand it's bad for flimsy hair (Icelandic ladies' hair tends to be often strong like silk wire, I'm jelly about that), on another it's been great for my skin, almost killing off my acne entirely. 

When I tried the baking soda thing for the first time the result was kind of obvious: my hair felt clean, yes, but also lifeless, dull and oddly sticky. I later realized the stickiness was probably due to not taking enough time to rinse all the baking soda off my hair because it's never happened again after I began to take better care of the rinsing process. I battled this by brushing coconut oil to the ends of my hair, which was surprisingly effective: no oily look, healthy shine, the hair was super easy to brush and smelled faintly of coconuts. :D

Read the reviews with a healthy dose of suspicion

Never just take someone's word for how things work. See point 1), it may work for them but that's no guarantee it'll work for you. When people post pictures of how their hair looks like it's realistic to assume that those photos have been taken right after a wash, so take them as "this is how the hair will look at its best" rather than "this is how it will look every day". In fact you should be reading my posts with some doubt too.

Give similar suspicion to people who tried and failed, especially if they, too, try to write the experience off as something that will never suit anyone. See point 1) - if it didn't work for them that's no guarantee it won't work for you, that's how hair care tends to work (and there's always a chance that they're doing something wrong to begin with, as I did with the rinsing failure). Apply the healthy suspicion to also the treatments suggested in various blogs, if it sounds hazardous, unhealthy or unhygienic it may not be worth trying at all.

Your hair will look bad in the beginning

...and there may be no way around it. You could braid your hair but f.ex. with hair type like mine the dirty hair will just clump together, giving you a totally obvious greasy look. Braids help but very little. Also note that I didn't just quit shampooing my hair, I began to minimize the use of shampoo which is an entirely different thing, so if you go the whole no poo way, expect your hair to look even worse.

This is why I timed my start to coincide with the exam reading weeks. What a great excuse of not having to leave the house every day!

Not every symptom begins at the same cause

You will most likely see some massive changes in your hair, but keep in mind that they may not all be cause by the same thing. I'd like to once again mention my first time trying to wash my hair with baking powder, where the dullness and odd stickiness were actually my own fault for making a mistake.

Another thing that I noticed was that my hair seemed to grow a huge split ends problem over night, but curiously enough only in the front. I trimmed the front after which the problem went away, and although I can't say I know for sure what caused it I suspect my previous hair cleaning routine coupled with the fact that the only part of my hair that I put other hair products such as hairspray etc. in is the front. It's also the only part that receives heat as I like to curl the sides. Perhaps the previous hair care only served to hide the problem that nevertheless was always there?

Whatever it was, I'm happy that it seems to be taken care of now, and that it didn't immediately frighten me off of the idea of using less shampoo. It would have been so easy to link the split ends to baking powder (which admittedly I did do first) but experience has now shown that it must have been something else.

Fun fact: those amazing hairstyles of yore, how did they ever stay in place? To name one ingredient the ladies' hair was constantly oily, which was regarded as a healthy state of hair. They might have washed their hair only once in a month and right afterward applied oil to it to get that "beautiful sheen" that's often mentioned in texts that describe some lady's wonderful hair. :D


  1. Aivan mahtavia kuvia! Keskimmäinen kuva varmaan selittää, miten tukat pysyivät muhkeassa mallissaan - niissä oli aika paljno ylimääräistä fylliä mukana.

    1. Myös hyvä esimerkki siitä, miten hiusasioissa ei voi ikinä luottaa "myyntikuviin" - joop, 1800-luvun lopun +1900-luvun alun kampaukset olivat muhkeita, muttei niitä ihan pelkästään omista hiuksista luotu! :D