The No-Shampoo hair care method, that is. Several Northwestern students have given this method of healthier hair care a try, including Kate Wallin, Heather Heilman, and Amanda Schuld.
Amanda Schuld stumbled upon an online article about ditching shampoo and decided to experiment with it. She told several friends about, including Wallin and Heilman, and they stopped using shampoo on Jan. 1.
Why not use shampoo? We’ve all grown up with it. It gets the job done, doesn’t it? In her article “Bubble Trouble” at www.mnn.com, Traci Hukill explains, “The problem with shampoo is that most of it contains sodium lauryl or laureth sulfate as a foaming agent. Both are detergents capable of degreasing engines. Not surprisingly, they are also skin irritants. The charge against them by the no-’pooers is that they strip the hair and scalp of natural oils, creating an artificial demand for moisture that only commercial shampoos and conditioners can fill.”
So, the idea is to stop generating this artificial demand and allow your hair to naturally produce the oil it needs. In order to cleanse your hair, you stop putting chemicals in it. This means everything from shampoo to hair spray. Going without shampoo can work for any type of hair, although it is generally believed to yield the best results with thick or curly hair.
While all three girls eventually noticed benefits, they admitted that there is an unpleasant transitional period in which their hair was extremely greasy and dirty-feeling while it adjusted to the deprivation of chemicals.
There are several ways to go about cleansing your hair of chemicals. You can start by just washing your hair once or twice a week in order to ease into the process, or you can just go cold turkey. Some people use conditioner every few days for cleansing, as they typically contain a different kind of detergent than shampoo—but a much smaller amount.
There are also homemade cleansing solutions that you can use to cleanse your hair. Wallin uses one of the most common No Poo homemade recipes—baking soda and vinegar. She has been doing this since January and is pleased with the results. She admits to breaking the fast during RUSH, however, “because of all the hairspray.”
Schuld said she just wanted to see what would happen if she didn’t use shampoo. She found that “your hair stays cleaner longer than usual. My hair used to be greasy by the next day after my shower. Now I can go for about five or six days without it looking greasy.”
After two months of her experiment, Schuld has reverted to a modified version where she only uses shampoo and conditioner once a week: “I came to the conclusion that shampoo and conditioner, like most other things, are not bad in moderation.”
Even if you decide not to stick with it, Schuld would recommend going without shampoo, at least for a while. “If not for the sake of healthier hair, I would say try it because I learned a lot about my own body. Also, it was a good way to push my boundaries of caring so much about what others think of my looks. When your hair is a grease-mop and tied up in a nasty ponytail, you focus more on your interactions with people and less on what they might be thinking about how you look. It was very freeing to push the unspoken expectations of society that we all have to look perfect.”
Heilman, on the other hand, is totally converted. She has used the baking soda and vinegar method a few times, but mostly she just wets her hair down. She likes that it’s cheap and healthy—and it doesn’t feel any different: “I don’t see much of a reason to ever have to use regular shampoo again. My head is just so happy right now.”
Wallin is also planning on ditching shampoo for good: “Your hair is actually cleaner because you’re not producing as much oil, and you’re saving resources.” She also feels that this is a way to prepare for her SOS to Malawi this summer. Water is scarce and she doesn’t want to use more than her share of their precious resources. As you think about ConServe, try out a ‘No-Poo’ routine for a while and take shorter showers.
For more fact and other home hair care mixes, check out http://motowngirl.com/index.php/no-shampoo-routine.html.