I attended an extremely liberal college where students often never washed their hair, or used alternative methods, some of which I’ll go over below. It seemed to work for them, so I figured I’d write this article for you guys! The gist of this is that there are certain chemicals within some shampoos that can cause detrimental effects to your hair. While you shouldn’t take this as a call to stop using shampoos entirely, hopefully it’ll get you to realize that there are certain alternatives out there if you want to pursue them!
So, that being said, what are some of the harmful effects of shampoo?
1. It reduces your hair’s longevity.
That’s a fancy way of saying that you’ll have to wash your hair more often if you use shampoo, which I know sounds counter intuitive. Basically, shampoos can leave nasty amounts of chemical buildup on your scalp, which over time messes with your skin. Eventually, your scalp will become so inundated by these chemicals that it’ll do all sorts of strange things, like overproduce oils (this is probably why my scalp is so greasy).
2. It causes your hair to frizz.
This is especially true for those of us with curly hair. I know I don’t look it based on my profile picture, but left to its own devices, my hair can get pretty loopy. I’ve indeed noticed that it frizzes up much more after washing it with shampoo compared to when I leave it alone.
3. It’ll lock you into a catch 22 situation.
This is pretty much where I am now. I want to stop using shampoo, but if I do, my scalp will go crazy producing oils, which makes me look utterly ridiculous. If I wait a couple of weeks, I’m sure my scalp would stop going crazy, but usually I break down and shampoo before that so that I look presentable. If you want to release yourself from the shampooing craze, do it during a stretch of time where you don’t really have to be seen in public!
4. It’s wasteful.
Apparently, using shampoo is a big no-no in the “zero waste” community. This is because most people go through it pretty quickly (at least if you have longer hair), and you’ll end up going through lots of plastic bottles as a result. The alternatives to shampoo are much more eco-friendly, as you’ll see in just a little bit.
5. It can’t be washed out.
This is just a bit ironic. Shampoo washes out just about everything from your hair except for itself. Your hair is porous, and so over time it absorbs whatever is in your shampoo like a sponge. If you’re using a cheap shampoo, or one with chemicals that doesn’t mix well with your scalp, you’ll run into problems. The only way to really get the shampoo gunk off your head is to either use a super strong shampoo made specifically for that, or just wait it out and let your scalp dispose of it naturally.
Now that you know some of the harmful effects of shampoo, what can you do?
1. Go “No-Poo”
This method basically removes shampoo from the equation. From what I’ve read, one of the easiest ways to begin doing this is to just use a minimal amount of conditioner in your hair while showering instead of lathering up a wad of shampoo and conditioner every time you go to wash up. Conditioner isn’t as harsh on your hair as shampoo is, and should keep your scalp and strands moisturized without upsetting anything too drastically.
2. Use alternative shampoos.
I’ve done my research, so I won’t advocate the using baking soda to you, as there are conflicting reports as to how destructive or beneficial it can be to your hair. What I kept seeing time and time again, however, is that apple cider vinegar is a useful shampoo alternative. Apparently some people take to it better than others, as there are a few who have stated that the vinegar smell is unbearable, while others say they don’t smell a thing. I guess it just depends on the person. Basically, apple cider vinegar serves as a natural conditioner. This blog recommends using approximately two tablespoons of the vinegar with water, mixed with rosemary to combat any salad dressing-esque after-smells.
3. Use natural shampoos.
For those who said that they experienced no luck with “no-poo” or apple cider vinegar, they did report success with so-called natural shampoos. These are shampoos that have, as you might have guessed, only natural ingredients. To find them I’d guess that Amazon.com is your best bet (just type in “natural shampoos”), though I’m sure your local Walmart likely has a selection of products like this as well. As always, be wary of labels. Always check the ingredients on the back to make sure the shampoo you are looking at is truly “natural.”
If you have greasy, frizzy hair like me, what do you have to lose by trying out this new anti-shampoo fad? It seems to be working for many; so it’s worth a shot! I went on a short run using only conditioner once, and while I couldn’t handle the greasiness, I definitely felt like my scalp was getting healthier. Had I stuck with it, I probably would’ve reaped the benefits sooner rather than later. Maybe it’s time that I gave it another shot? I think I will! If you choose to join me, post your results in the comments below!
Featured photo credit: martinak15/ Entagled via flickr.com