the epic tale of how I stopped using shampoo

OK, maybe not incredibly epic. But still. (This is adapted from my Mirror Mirror column, because I couldn’t just leave it to an unroast. I had to tell the whole damn story)

A little over a month ago, I stopped using shampoo. And, speaking as someone who has clearly never been in serious bodily danger, it felt like I was being very brave. Just a couple days, I told myself reassuringly. And then, when you look like a horrifying ball of dripping grease, you can do the rational thing and return to the sweet comfort of purifying chemicals and delectable fragrances. Because that is totally how I think of shampoo, when pondering its many virtues alone in the shower.

Honestly, I’m not sure what motivated me to attempt this reckless experiment. An article about the mountaineers who have scaled Everest’s ferocious flanks? That documentary on Netflix about the dude who illegally, triumphantly walked the high wire between the former World Trade Center buildings? Maybe just a quiet, deep-rooted sense of “now or never.”

A quick summary of my relationship with my hair (and please know that I am intensely aware of the fact that I recently wrote a piece critiquing the phrase “first world problems” and that this whole piece might fit into that phrase very neatly):

I did not ever want to be someone who cared about her hair. I picture myself as a kind of fiery, absentminded librarian-to-the-dragon-king type. You know, a Cimorene from Patricia C. Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles. Cimorene didn’t care about her hair, she was too busy running away from home to have awesome adventures, while her silly sisters fussed in front of the mirror, prettying themselves for visiting princes. The thing is, Cimorene had naturally fantastic hair. Those fantasy heroine’s, no matter how adorably tom-boyish, always do.

 

It also turns out that I might be, disappointingly, nicer than I am fiery. But that’s another thing.

My hair and I have a long and tangled history. Literally. When I was a little kid, I sometimes cried as my mom combed the vicious knots out of it. It took forever. I grew it down to my waist as a teenager, and later walked into a barber shop and asked for a buzz cut. My hair and I tend not to get along—you could say we have a kind of persistent, bitter rivalry going.

 

(I think I grew it down to my waist so that I could occasionally dress up like this, alone, in my room)

Part of the reason is that it can never make up its mind. It doesn’t fit any of the familiar categories. It’s not straight and not curly. It’s sort of wavy, but sometimes with distinct curls and also with very straight sections. It gets creative with cowlicks. It was very thick for a long time until one day it thinned dramatically (it turned out that I was very anemic at the time, but even after my iron levels were back to normal, my hair stayed fine and soft). It is even an indeterminate color—a shade of brown that sometimes looks dark and sometimes light. It’s obnoxious. It’s unpredictable. I never know what to do with it, and it makes me nervous. After all these years of living with my hair, I still feel suspicious, wary, unsure of what will happen next. I am still a novice. Which is why, I think, I get sort of superstitious sometimes. I get dependent on hair products when one of them seems to for just one blessed day coax my hair into looking nice. I start to believe that this exact kind of shampoo followed by that precise amount and type of conditioner is the only thing between me and the devastating certainty that I have the worst hair a woman has ever had.

I have been known to pour just enough of my special shampoo into a little bottle, like some sort of magical elixir of good fortune and youth, and take it along with me on a trip, in case the hotel shampoo is too unfamiliar-smelling and unhelpfully composed. It felt like a risk, gingerly applying the guest shampoo in my mother-in-law’s guest bathroom. My mind was whirring, trying frantically to calculate the humidity and conducting cost/benefit analysis concerning the different settings on the blow dryer. Or no dryer at all?

And then my mother-in-law’s shampoo seemed to work wonders—or maybe it was the humidity? And I rushed out and bought a bottle for myself, for home, and I used it for a year, as a precaution, even though it was no longer clear that it was doing what it did that one, glorious day. Just in case another brand would make things that much worse.

The day after I stopped using shampoo, I thought that I was the butt of some cosmic joke. The cosmos, having a slower day, fewer exploding stars and stuff, must be sitting around laughing to itself about my hair. Because it looked really good. Sort of wild and springy, the way I like it best, because it looks most like fantasy heroine hair when it does that. This couldn’t be right.

Days went by. My hair was hydrated, full, and, if I do say so myself, quite adorable. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

I went through several reactionary stages. Disbelief, joy, apprehension, and then a pure, burning indignation. Psychologists, take notes. How could this be? I thought. How could I have spent so much money on shampoo over the years? How could I have believed myself to be so dependent on it? How could we all be led to believe that we desperately need these products to make us clean and presentable and fit to participate in civilized society, when, in fact, they might be nothing more than a coconut-scented illusion?!

A primal scream erupted from my lips as I knelt there, naked, on the floor of the shower, water streaming down my face, my arms raised in sinewy defiance (in this image, my arms have to be sinewy-it’s important).

No. No. I didn’t get down on my knees in the shower. But I stood there, brow probably furrowed, scowling as I rinsed out my hair with some regular old water until it didn’t feel very greasy anymore. I felt as though I’d been deceived. I felt lame for not trying something like this until now.

And now, a little over a month since I last used shampoo, I am still sort of surprised that this is a secret. My hair hasn’t actually become fantastic, dragon-taming, royal-library-cataloguing hair. It honestly doesn’t look incredibly different from before. It’s just a little healthier and fuller, and a little better moisturized. It feels nicer to touch, in my opinion, and it doesn’t smell perfumed. It doesn’t really smell like anything.

(yes, this happened. i got that dagger at a flea market, for like $7, and i treasured it. it looked amazing with all of my elfyn warrior girl outfits. and i had a lot of those. god, this is embarrassing. why am i even sharing this?)

I can’t go so far as to say that my hair and I have become friends. We’re on decent terms, and that’s fine for now. But my new no-shampoo lifestyle has definitely raised some questions for me about the products that I grew up thinking were absolutely, critically necessary, and the ways that we all become almost superstitious about our beauty and personal-care routines. I don’t know if everyone else’s hair would respond as favorably as mine to forgoing shampoo—maybe not. But it definitely seems worth giving it a shot, based on my experience. It definitely seems like there’s a chance we’ve all been taken for some kind of cruel, sudsy, coconut-smelling ride.

And just like a rebel princess who faces down dragons without blinking, I am willing to be the one to step into the wilderness of the unknown, wild-haired, brave-hearted, without even a single 3 oz. travel-sized bottle of comfort shampoo tucked into my gown.

(I know, you’ve totally seen this photo before in another post, but apparently I have no other close ups of myself since I stopped using shampoo. Full disclosure, my hair is actually greasier in this pic than normal– I think maybe I hadn’t water-washed it yet that day. But I like it anyway)

 

(oh, wait! here’s another, clearly about the pregnancy, but you can still see the hair, in case anyone was really hoping for another chance at that. i know, my hair is riveting…)

*  *  *

Other no shampoo stories?

Unroast: Today I love the faint ridges on my fingernails. I know, really weird and specific, but it’s sort of fun to run my fingertips over the ones on my thumbnails. I don’t know why. It just feels nice.

P.S. If anyone else wants to enter the giveaway to win some cake baking swag, do it at the bottom of the last post, just by commenting that you’re in.

62 Comments »

Kate on May 6th 2013 in beauty, being different, hair

62 Responses to “the epic tale of how I stopped using shampoo”

  1. Jana @ 365 Hand Lettering Project responded on 06 May 2013 at 9:50 am #

    I tried this once…really I did. I just couldn’t make it work. But I only use water to wash my face. Does that count?

  2. Amy responded on 06 May 2013 at 10:36 am #

    I have wanted to attempt to go without shampoo for some time. I have finally let go of conditioner. That was a big step. I think I may, quite literally, be addicted to the green apple scent of my shampoo…I feel like a smoker trying to quit. “After this pack, I won’t buy another one and I’ll quit.” Once this bottle is gone I WILL try. I swear.

  3. Sarah responded on 06 May 2013 at 10:37 am #

    Kate oh my word you are a beautiful pregnant lady! And you make me want to give up shampoo.

    I hope you are doing just wonderfully.

  4. Erin Lee responded on 06 May 2013 at 10:43 am #

    Ooooo, maybe now is the time. I am officially finished and graduated from grad school as of yesterday, but I have no job! If my hair does not behave as spectacularly as yours, it’s ok because I rarely go in public anymore amidst this terrible job search. ;)
    Oh, and you are one of those fabulously-looking and AMMMMAAAZZZINNNGGGG pregnant ladies! You totally rock it! Stripes were a great choice. :)

  5. Lily responded on 06 May 2013 at 11:27 am #

    Looking great, Kate! If you ever feel like doing something fun with your hair, you could try highlights. Highlights look so fabulous on short hair (: I think you’d rock that too. You rock your round belly anyways! Looks so cute and huggable. Cheers from Holland!

  6. onebreath responded on 06 May 2013 at 11:56 am #

    I can totally relate to your comment about still feeling like a novice with your own hair – that’s me too! And my hair too has gone through an evolutionary process… super curly spiral curls, fuzzy frizz, softer curls, thin and wavy now. I’m in my thirties and just recently bought my first blow dryer. Haven’t used it yet b/c I don’t know how!

    Though not nearly as brave as you, I did have a mini-revelation myself. In the last couple of months, I have drastically reduced the amount of product I use. It had probably been literally 15 years since I had ever seen my hair dry without some form of gel, mousse, spray in it. And when I did… it was okay. It even looked better than with all the junk in it (I will NEVER tell the many well intentioned friends and family who told me to try it over the years… sigh, it sucks being wrong).

    Your are beautiful and I love that you are real and honest enough to share your stories – and that some are deep and socially moving and others are just the regular bits of life we all go through. Cheers to you.

  7. Elle responded on 06 May 2013 at 12:01 pm #

    YOU LOOK SO COOL IN THOSE DRESS-UP PICS. Do not be embarrassed, because I think you look amazing haha. I gave up shampoo over a year ago. I only use conditioner in the shower, and dry shampoo if I feel a little greasy. My hair was growing curlier by the day back then, so I learned about how to take care of curly hair. Apparently sulfates are really drying on already-fragile curlyheads. So I stopped. And my hair went through a dramatic transformation of being a frizzy lion’s mane to soft shiny curly goodness. And I know what you mean, it feels victorious.

  8. Heather responded on 06 May 2013 at 12:11 pm #

    On a only-slightly-related tangent, you should read The Ugly Princess and the Wise Fool by Margaret Grey. It’s a kid’s book but it seems like something you would like. Your comment about heroines having great hair made me think of it. Your hair looks fabulous, both when you were younger and now.

  9. Erin Lee responded on 06 May 2013 at 1:07 pm #

    @Elle, I have heard of this ‘dry shampoo’ stuff but don’t know where to find it. Where do you get it?
    @Kate, I did want to say that the knife pic is badass and I love it!

  10. tanner responded on 06 May 2013 at 1:08 pm #

    I stopped using shampoo last summer! I have curly hair and it’s definitely less dry now. I use conditioner in place of shampoo. Yay V05!

  11. Dana responded on 06 May 2013 at 1:10 pm #

    HURRAY for breaking away from products! In the last year or so, I switched to using a very mild castile bar shampoo (made by these folks: http://www.jrliggett.com/) from the scary stuff with sodium lauryl sulfates, etc, and in just the last few months, I have started to stretch out how frequently I use it. Used to be I washed my hair every day or maybe every other day… now it’s every four days so so, and my hair seems totally happy about that. I was skeptical, before I tried it, since I have straight, fine hair, and I’ve mostly heard successful no-shampoo stories from curly-haired people. But apparently it works with straight fine hair in a buzz cut, too. Sweet.

    I was actually just talking about alternative shampoo methods with some women from my women’s singing group, and it turns out that most of us had interesting stories to tell. One woman used just baking soda (to scrub out dead skin and grease) followed by cider vinegar (to condition/soften), someone else was on a rinse-with-water-only-add-coconut-oil-as-needed plan (and she was a little worried about greasiness but also really happy with how healthy her scalp was), someone else talked about how when you go backpacking, you’re like, “ew, my hair is so gross,” for the first few days, and then it mellows out and is totally fine.

    We definitely don’t need as many body products as the industry would like to sell us, that’s for sure. Thanks for posting about the bravery it takes to break away from all that stuff — even if might be a first-world problem.

  12. Emily responded on 06 May 2013 at 1:17 pm #

    True confession: I haven’t used shampoo in nearly 9 years. However, I have dreadlocks. What is fascinating is that I am in the process of taking them out. And I plan on continuin to not use shampoo because, well, it’s easier not to.

  13. darkfoxx responded on 06 May 2013 at 1:25 pm #

    I too am trying life sans shampoo. It’s … interesting. I have really fine, thin hair that does absolutely nothing but tangle and fly away. Like, it won’t hold a curl if you pay it and won’t hold dye to save its life.

    I’ve been sans-shampoo for a week now after gradually stepping off the daily shampoo + conditioner roller coaster – first with non-sulfide products, then with no conditioner at all, then shampoo every other day with a leave-in spritz conditioner/dry shampoo bath on the opposing day. My hair is not nearly as grease-logged as I had anticipated, but I do feel a bit of wax (a big change from slippery shiny-ness).

    It’s not a lot, but it has made me very conscious of my follicles all day. I’m hoping this hyper-attention will die down a bit as time progresses. No huge change in look – my hair may be fuller looking because I’m mushing it up all the time checking to make sure it isn’t a big grease pit – but it at least doesn’t feel dirty and gross.

  14. kate (in a 'I am spartacus' way) responded on 06 May 2013 at 1:35 pm #

    I only shampoo rarely – and usually just to get other products out – conditioner is essential on my full 80′s bon jovi mane … but I just use Soap and a light exfoliating mitt on my face – yup SOAP – i can hear the beauty industry tut tut in horror – followed with a light moisturiser – ( always cheap & cheerful ) Whammo – many people comment on how good my skin is! Reclaim Bathoom Space Ladies and Revolt against the beauty industry ! (love the elf princess look btw) xx

  15. kate (in a 'I am spartacus' way) responded on 06 May 2013 at 1:35 pm #

    I only shampoo rarely – and usually just to get other products out – conditioner is essential on my full 80′s bon jovi mane … but I just use Soap and a light exfoliating mitt on my face – yup SOAP – i can hear the beauty industry tut tut in horror – followed with a light moisturiser – ( always cheap & cheerful ) Whammo – many people comment on how good my skin is! Reclaim Bathoom Space Ladies and Revolt against the beauty industry ! (love the elf princess look btw) xx

  16. Ariella responded on 06 May 2013 at 1:41 pm #

    I love your pics of you in your elfyn costumes and your long hair. So pretty!

    I know many people who go “no poo”. They love it! i use a dr bronners on my hair. my hair gets really greasy and kind of yuck when I dont do anything with it. But my hair is kind of thin. I try to go as natural as possible on most things in life.

    I have a friend who makes her own deoderant! i just opt to not use any.

  17. elizabeth responded on 06 May 2013 at 2:10 pm #

    my hair has never been better since i stopped shampooing. that + a biweekly coconut oil=my best hair. you’re glowing! congrats

  18. Sarah responded on 06 May 2013 at 2:17 pm #

    Cake baking swag? In!

  19. Jennifer S. responded on 06 May 2013 at 2:22 pm #

    OHhh goodness, my hair is the same way. When I was younger I had the straight years…and then the curly. It stayed curly for quite a while! Now it has bits of straight, bits of curly, bits of wavy and bits of just flat out confused…
    I am scared of not having conditioner as my hair is very dense and gets tangled easily, I will have to think about this all!!

  20. morgaine responded on 06 May 2013 at 2:43 pm #

    I LOVE those elfyn-warrior pics! Not embarrassing in the slightest. Then again, I’m a Ren-faire sort of lady.

  21. Katrina Blanchalle responded on 06 May 2013 at 2:54 pm #

    When my hair turned curly (after 40+ years of flat straightness) I discovered the benefits of no shampoo, although it did take some getting used to. Now I wash with shampoo about once a week, with conditioner a couple times a week, and with just water the rest of the time. Hair and skin are much healthier!
    Love your elfyn self. My warrior princess days were long before digital, and I didn’t have a camera back then anyway, fortunately!

  22. Caitlyn responded on 06 May 2013 at 3:17 pm #

    I don’t use shampoo either. Just water and baking soda, with a vinegar rinse about once a week instead of conditioner. I also don’t use any cleaning products at all. I literally clean my whole house with vinegar, baking soda, and borax. My boyfriend and I even make our own laundry and dish washing detergent using a combination of those three ingredients. Commercial products are a HUGE waste of money (not to mention that fact that you’re never really sure what’s in them). I like this way better. No harsh chemicals and a little extra money in my pocket :) And I promise, everything is just as clean as it was when I used store-bought cleaners.

  23. Deb responded on 06 May 2013 at 3:38 pm #

    Love your hair. I think I’ll try no shampoo.

    And cake bake stuff? Yes, please. I’m in :)

  24. Sara responded on 06 May 2013 at 4:15 pm #

    I stopped using shampoo ages ago, but I do use homemade lavender and oatmeal soap, it’s lovely!

  25. Julia (Color Me Green) responded on 06 May 2013 at 4:23 pm #

    i stopped using shampoo and started using baking soda instead and i thought it was working out great until i realized it must have been drying out my hair because i accumulated wayy too many split ends. so now i’m back to shampoo, but my hair isn’t adjusting well. i’ve never had so many problems with my hair before!

  26. Rachel responded on 06 May 2013 at 4:40 pm #

    I used to love Cimorene in Patricia C. Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles! (And haven’t heard anyone bring them up in about 15-20 years.) #excited

  27. sd responded on 06 May 2013 at 4:46 pm #

    You look beautiful in the picture in the white outfit… your body has great shape, too. And you TOTALLY pull of the elven warrior look! I know I shouldn’t be so focused on how you look–especially since I have been reading your blogs for almost a year now–But I cannot get over how great you LOOK.
    Seriously.
    I have to go with hobbit usually b/c of my wavy blondish strawberrish hair and blue eyes and short stature…
    Not everyone can pull of the elven look at all. It’s a gift. You should cherish it!

  28. shana responded on 06 May 2013 at 5:10 pm #

    yay for no shampoo! i still use it once a week because i like the nice smell but honestly my hair really only takes off about the second day from a washing. and i usually get compliments when its been at least 3-4 days, including post exercise!

  29. teegan responded on 06 May 2013 at 5:11 pm #

    i did the baking soda/vinegar route from my last year of college on, and it worked great. then, a few months postpartum, i realized that it… wasn’t. my scalp was itchy and dry. i deep conditioned weekly for a month, but it was weird. now i rinse it really well in the shower to get the grease out and use a vinegar rinse on the ends. but i’m still figuring it out. just be aware, it may change a bit on you. you may find yourself wanting to shave it off again – i tried it super short (an inch long-ish) a few years back and it definitely did not suit me…

    also, three months post baby, i had the hair loss hardcore for about three months straight. it’s really obnoxious to find your hair EVERYWHERE when it’s as long as mine – in the bed, on the baby, on the floor, all over the bathroom.

    and you’re adorable. i’m so excited for you!

  30. R responded on 06 May 2013 at 5:49 pm #

    I stopped using shampoo, but in the end I wanted my hair to smell like almonds. I only wash my hair every few days, and I use only a little bit of product, so I don’t really mind spending $20/year on that.

  31. Baiba responded on 06 May 2013 at 7:00 pm #

    Well this was a bit mind blowing :D because I am also one of the shampoo addicted people and this is the first time I hear about not having to use it.
    I “found the one” two years ago when I was living in Paris and I didn’t believe that anything else could be as good with my wavy hair, so when I moved back to my home country – Latvia, I bought some extra bottles. Luckily when they were over I had a chance to go to Paris again and get some more (it wasnt the only reason for going there of course – I am not that obsessed haha) and if someone I know visits France I ask them to get me some bottle of how I feel magic liquid.
    But now I am really interested in trying to go no-shampoo at least for some days.

    p.s. And the photos you added are amazing! :)

  32. Marie responded on 06 May 2013 at 8:07 pm #

    @erin lee – you can buy dry shampoo from higher end hair salons or beauty stores (or online). Paul Mitchell and Tigi both make some that I Love. If you want to go more natural you can make your own using baby powder, baking soda, cornstarch or cornmeal. There are dozens of different recipes online but the idea is the same- sprinkle on roots and brush through your hair and the powder will absorb excess oil.

    I tried the no-poo thing when I had long hair and it didnt work for me, probably I didn’t give it enough of a chance. But now that I have a short pixie cut I want to try again. Right now I do use a sulfate free, non-sudsing shampoo, but it would be rad to take the plunge and use just water!

  33. Corinne responded on 06 May 2013 at 8:33 pm #

    Kate, Yes please for the baking swag.
    As for shampoo, every summer, when we hit the road for months of camping and travelling, I wash my hair very rarely….and it’s wonderful. Once home though, I begin my normal routine of washing and conditioning. Not sure why I do this, as while we are gone my hair feels wonderfully clean and does what I want. Maybe this year will be that year I bring my bohemian hair back to stay….we’ll see.
    Also LOVE the warrior pictures. Glad things are going well…baby wise.
    Corinne

  34. Gabriele responded on 06 May 2013 at 9:05 pm #

    You look amazing!!! And I love the long hair warrior priestess pictures – reminds me of my artsy myspace pictures from high school haha.

    I always want to try the no ‘poo’ method but I work out constantly and my hair gets super sweaty. I wash with a sulfate-free shampoo weekly, and rinse/use conditioner on other workout days.

  35. Erin Lee responded on 06 May 2013 at 9:16 pm #

    @Marie – thanks!

  36. Sheryl responded on 06 May 2013 at 9:48 pm #

    Six days. That’s as long as I can make it. I just feel gross and icky and itchy after that.

  37. Lynellekw responded on 07 May 2013 at 3:30 am #

    I get itchy without shampoo. I get itchy with the WRONG shampoo. But the best and nicest thing is going camping and washing your hair by swimming in clear, clean river water – I suspect if our tap water was softer I could go shampooless.

  38. Marijn responded on 07 May 2013 at 7:07 am #

    I have been wanting to let go of shampoo for some time now.. but I just never get round to it. I have impossibly thin hair that always looks horrible on shampoo days and is too soft to handle, so I try to only wash it every 2 or 3 days. I’d love to quit all together, but I have been told that your hair will get really greasy for the first 1-2 weeks and there’s always some party or social gathering coming up where I don’t want to be with lots of greasy hair flying around lol.

    Did yours get greasy in the beginning? Cause it doesn’t look greasy in the pictures at all!!

  39. Kate responded on 07 May 2013 at 8:31 am #

    @Marijn
    I’ve heard that it usually takes about a week or so for your hair to adjust to no shampoo, but mine actually stopped being greasy the next day! It was a very weirdly easy transition. It doesn’t itch, either, the only thing is that I definitely have to wash it with water every day, or it gets greasy halfway through the second day. I guess everyone’s hair is just composed differently, which makes sense. And also suggests that maybe we don’t all need the same amount/applications of shampoo, even when we’re using it. I’ve probably always used too much.

  40. Jess responded on 07 May 2013 at 11:01 am #

    Forgoing shampoo is a major curly-girl thing that I didn’t believe in for a long while. For a little over a year now, I have not used shampoo more than once a month and its never been better. What a lot of us do is called co-washing: scrub hard with a light conditioner. Other thing that textured hair-havers don’t need to do that I didn’t get til my 20s: Brush it. I too had my very curly hair brushed for me every day when I went to school til mid high school and it became my very giant hair. Then I discovered it was pretty if I left it be. Then, only this year, I decided combing it in the shower instead of brushing it just before would be ok, and now its happier than ever.

  41. Katherine responded on 07 May 2013 at 11:34 am #

    You just described everything I’ve ever done with and felt about my hair. I believe we have all been deceived, but I have been using shampoo… :/ I’m only so strong.

  42. Marylou responded on 07 May 2013 at 11:43 am #

    :)

    I’ve been shampoo-free for almost 2 years now. For me I made the leap because I was having awful dandruff problems. It was the best decision I ever made.

    If you do start to get build-up, you can make a paste with baking soda and water, and scrub your scalp with it. It cleans without extracting the natural oils. Then if the hair gets a little rough after that, you can either use lemon juice or an apple cider vinegar solution (2 parts water, 1 part acv) almost as a conditioner. Plus both of those are great disinfectants, and neither strip your hair of oils.

    I also make sure to brush my hair all the time. It spreads the oils out evenly, keeping your hair/head from getting that “greasy” feeling.

    I’m happy you’re happy with the switch! :)

  43. Pip responded on 07 May 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    You’re hair looks super punk in those unwashed pictures. And I mean super punk in a good way, like a big bohemian f’you to the conventions of the beauty industry and you’re rocking it!

    Also, those elfin pictures? Also awesome! And I love the fact you still have copies of them. You shouldn’t be embarrassed by them, I have a blog all about dressing up!

    Seeing you with great thick hair makes me want to cut mine short again and not wash it but I don’t know how well it’ll survive (poker straight and fine as anything with weird cowlicks) – only one way to find out!

  44. Alane responded on 07 May 2013 at 1:47 pm #

    I have been shampoo-free for 5 + years now, but still use conditioner when in the shower. Works really well with my curly/wavy/frizzy hair. There’s a book called “Curly Girls” that has lots of helpful tips. I will occasionally leave in a small amount of conditioner to help control the frizz if I have not washed (with water) after a few days.

  45. shim responded on 07 May 2013 at 4:59 pm #

    OMG ME TOO
    “Part of the reason is that it can never make up its mind” -that whole paragraph
    *will read rest of article now*

  46. sami responded on 07 May 2013 at 11:43 pm #

    I still use shampoo- but I gave up conditioner. I have long hair (a bit like your elfin days Kate, but dyed dark brown) and it’s been much shinier since I changed my routine to shampooing once or twice a week (I was always a lazy hair washer) and following that by an apple cider vinegar rinse. I have learnt never to shave my legs before doing that, but aside from that there are no negatives. It’s quicker and easier and more ‘natural’.

    I am just looking at my cat’s shiny beautiful fur and I know he has never used shampoo! So maybe I should give it up ;)

  47. besök sidan responded on 08 May 2013 at 4:35 am #

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  48. Amy S. responded on 08 May 2013 at 8:05 am #

    I have oily hair and an itchy scalp, and since I started coloring my hair red, sulfate-free shampoos were making the problem worse– I guess they were too drying or something. I started using a spray of 1 Tbsp. baking soda to a cup of water for my shampoo, and the same ratio of apple cider vinegar to water for my conditioner. So far, the itchiness is better and my hair feels remarkably nice, but it does look a little dull and lacks shine. I’m still figuring it out but I do like that my scalp feels better!

  49. NuclearSister responded on 08 May 2013 at 8:55 am #

    Pregnancy may be on your side here too. I tried not washing my hair for 7 years and it never got to the mythical self-regulating point. I went back to washing every other day until I was pregnant, when my hair only needed a wash once every two weeks. Things (everything!) may change when your pregnacy is over.

  50. jay responded on 08 May 2013 at 9:09 am #

    Kate – You are Ace xx

  51. Kate responded on 08 May 2013 at 11:29 am #

    @NuclearSister
    I didn’t even think of that!! I don’t know why. Well, I guess we’ll find out soon enough!

    But my hair definitely still gets greasy very quickly, and it doesn’t seem that different from my before my pregnancy. But who knows!

  52. Madelyn responded on 08 May 2013 at 5:52 pm #

    Well, I’m definitely one step closer to ditching the shampoo. I, too, have that not-quite-curly, definitely not straight, not even kind of wavy, and always frizzy hair and have been contemplating a more natural hair routine, so thanks for the piece!

  53. Jessica responded on 08 May 2013 at 9:05 pm #

    I’m re-inspired! I tried no-pooing it for couple of weeks. But it was summer. And I tend to slather on the almond oil after a shower and that wasn’t helping the greasiness factor. Hmmm… I’m think you’ve convinced me to give it another go!

  54. Iris responded on 09 May 2013 at 5:06 am #

    I already don’t often use soap/body wash when I shower, or deodorant – not out of any big, dramatic decision to embrace my natural scent but just because I was lazy as a child, so I never did. Rinsing my body with water works just fine, and if I’m especially dirty/smelly I’ll use some soap. I’ve asked people who know me well enough to be honest whether I have BO, because sometimes I get paranoid since I’m not doing the things you’re “supposed to”, and everyone has said I don’t. I never even considered that you could go without shampoo, though – this makes me want to try it. Officially giving it a go!

  55. Leah responded on 10 May 2013 at 1:17 am #

    I have been reading about shampoo-free hair-washing, with baking soda and vinegar.

    http://www.howtohairgirl.com/category/how-to-shamphree/

    I want to try it. I think I will soon.

  56. bethagrace responded on 11 May 2013 at 9:50 am #

    I love your elven dagger warrior princess photo. You look epic. :)

  57. Catherine responded on 11 May 2013 at 10:47 pm #

    I almost never use conditioner. I love the vinegar spray and I’ll use baking soda and shampoo alternately. I mix the baking soda with a lot of water in a bottle and pour it over, I find it rinses out much easier that way!

  58. shanda responded on 12 May 2013 at 8:41 pm #

    This is totally unrelated to the no poo thing, but I have been desperately trying to remember the name of that exact series for weeks now. Weeks! I could not remember the title or the author or the names of the main characters, just how much I loved it as a kid. I read the name Cimorene and suddenly it all clicked in my head. So, thank you!

  59. The Furries & The Happy Club responded on 13 May 2013 at 6:58 am #

    We should make an advertisement campaign for this wonderful idea!

    No one else will… After all, it doesn’t sell products.

    Great!

  60. Beth responded on 13 May 2013 at 7:34 am #

    I gave the no shampoo a go for a few months over summer! It was great! But after returning to uni and the grime of commuting it stopped working out so well. But I’d definitely give it another go next summer :) You hair looks like it’s loving it!

  61. Kaytrana responded on 31 May 2013 at 12:13 am #

    When my hair was long, like, uh, last week, (your blog was part of my inspiration to lop off a foot of it today. I friggin love it!) I found that when I went a few days between washes, it was incredibly easy to detangle. Although it almost sounds like a joke, I think going a couple days between washing may be a good idea for some, espec if you don’t like conditioner. I hate conditioner. Your idea on no shampoo is interesting. I might have to try it. I never liked the idea of working tons of petroleum based products through my hair anyway.

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